Residence permit for a parent of an unaccompanied child in Sweden

If a parent who is a citizen of a country outside the EU wants to move to Sweden to live with his or her unmarried child who is under the age of 18, the parent must have a residence permit. The main rule is that the child living in Sweden must have been granted a residence permit on grounds of asylum.

Residence permit requirements

A parent who is a citizen of a country outside the EU and who wants to move to his or her child in Sweden must have a residence permit in order to do so. In order for the Migration Agency to be able to assess whether the parent is entitled to move to Sweden, the child living in Sweden must

  • be unmarried and under the age of 18 years or be under 18 years when the application for protection was made and an application for family refunification is made within three months after the child has been granted refugee status or status as a person eligible for subsidiary protection
  • have arrived in Sweden without parents or any other guardian, or have been left by him or herself after arriving in Sweden
  • have been granted a temporary residence permit as a person eligible for subsidiary protection and applied for asylum before or by November 24, 2015 or or
  • have been granted a permanent residence based on the grounds for asylum.

Particularly distressing circumstances

In exceptional cases, a parent may apply for a residence permit in order to move to a child who does not have grounds for asylum in Sweden, but who has been granted a residence permit for particularly distressing circumstances.

Before and after 24 November 2015

Children who applied for asylum on or before 24 November 2015 will in most cases be granted a permanent residence permit.

Children who have applied for asylum after 24 November 2015 will be granted a temporary residence permit. If the child gets a residence permit with status as a person eligible for subsidiary protection, s/he will in most cases be granted a 13-month permit. If the child is granted a residence permit with refugee status, s/he will be granted a three-year permit.

If the child has been granted a temporary residence permit with subsidiary protection status, parents and siblings can normally not be reunited with the child in Sweden.

Parents who receive residence permits will get permits of the same duration as the child’s.

Important to remember before applying

When a parent applies for a residence permit in order to move to his or her child in Sweden, an individual examination of the case is carried out. In cases involving children, the Migration Agency takes the child's right to be reunited with his or her parents into account. For that reason, processing includes examining the child's opportunities of being reunited with his or her parent in the country where the parent resides.

If the parent is already in Sweden

In some cases, an application can be made from Sweden. It may be, for example, a parent who has a residence permit on other grounds but now wants to apply for a residence permit to stay with the child.

Learn more about applying from Sweden

How to apply if you are a parent

You can apply online from your country, or from some other country than Sweden where you are living

In most cases, you will have to pay a fee.

Fees for residence pemits

What to include with your application

  • copies of the pages in your passport which show your personal information, photograph, signature, passport number, passport issuing country, the period of the passport's validity and whether you have permission to live in countries other than your country of origin
  • documents certifying your reasons for applying for a residence permit or making them probable.

Your application and the documents you send to the Migration Agency help to make a decision about whether you can be granted a residence permit. It is therefore important that you explain as much as possible about your particular reasons in the application. You must also include documents certifying your reasons or making them probable.

The documents should have been translated into Swedish or English by an authorised translator. A copy of the original documents must always be included.

When we have received the application

Once the Migration Agency has examined your application, you will receive an email asking you to make an appointment with the relevant embassy or consulate-general for an interview. During the interview you will be asked questions about yourself and about your relationship to the child in Sweden.

Your child will be interviewed at the Migration Agency together with the person appointed as guardian in Sweden.

Swedish embassies and consulates-generalexternal link, opens in new window

After the decision has been made

The Migration Agency's decision will be sent to the embassy or consulate-general you selected in the online application. When you are going to collect it, you have to bring your passport.

If the Migration Agency refuses the application

If the Migration Agency refuses your application, you may appeal the decision within three weeks of the day you received it. Information on how to do this can be found in the decision.

If you are granted residence permit

If you are granted a residence permit you will receive a residence permit card. The card, which is proof that you have the right to be in Sweden, contains your photo and fingerprints. The fingerprints and photo are stored on the card's chip.

If you need a visa to travel to Sweden, you will need the residence permit card when travelling to Sweden. You will therefore be photographed and have your fingerprints taken in connection with the interview at the embassy or consulate-general.

When your residence permit card is ready, the embassy or consulate-general will hand over or send the finished card. Bear in mind that it can take up to four weeks after you have received your decision to produce and deliver the card to the embassy or consulate-general. Your residence permit card has to be presented along with a valid passport when you travel to Sweden.

If you can travel to Sweden without a visa, you should to be able to present a copy of the decision when you enter the country. As soon as you come to Sweden, you have to visit the Swedish Migration Agency to be fingerprinted and photographed. When your residence permit card is ready, it will be sent to your address in Sweden.

Book an appointment with the Migration Agency to be fingerprinted and photographed, if you can travel to Sweden without a visa

Read more about residence permit cards

Information if you recently moved to Sweden with a residence permit

The Swedish Institute’s website Working in Swedenexternal link, opens in new window

If you do not apply online

If you are not able to apply online, you must fill out the form Application for residence permit to settle in Sweden, no 161011 and submit it to a Swedish embassy or consulate-general in your country of residence. The application form specifies which documents to enclose. Contact the embassy or consulate-general before you submit your application.

Application for residence permit to settle in Sweden, form No. 161011PDF (in English)

Find your closest embassy at swedenabroad.comexternal link, opens in new window

If there is no possibility to submit an application in your country, you must apply at the embassy or consulate-general closest to your country of residence. Contact the embassy or consulate-general before you submit your application for further information.

If you are applying at an embassy or consulate-general, you pay the fee when you hand in your application. For more information about the fee, contact the embassy or consulate-general where you are applying, as they do not have the same fees and terms of payment as the Migration Agency.

Last updated: 2018-08-29

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If you wish to ask the Migration Agency a question you can find our contact details under the heading Contact us.