If you are seeking protection in Sweden, you must submit your application for asylum either to the border police when you enter Sweden, or to one of the Migration Agency’s application units.
The Swedish Migration Agency cannot approve an asylum application which is submitted at a Swedish embassy. If you are not able to come to Sweden to apply for protection, you can turn to the UNHCR.
The Dublin Regulation decides in which EU Member State the application is to be examined.
An asylum seeker is a person who makes their way to Sweden and applies for protection (asylum) here, but whose application has not yet been considered.
Reasons for granting asylum seekers residence permits
Sweden has signed the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. This means, among other things, that Sweden will examine each asylum application individually.
The individual examination includes taking the applicant's gender identity and sexual orientation (that is, whether the applicant is homosexual, bisexual or transgender) into account.
Sweden will grant a residence permit to a person who is a refugee in accordance with the UN Convention, and also to a person in need of “subsidiary protection" in accordance with joint EU regulations.
In accordance with the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, Swedish legislation and EU regulations, a person is considered a refugee when they have well-founded reasons to fear persecution due to
- religious or political beliefs
- sexual orientation, or
- affiliation to a particular social group.
The persecution may originate with the authorities of the person’s native country. It may also be that the authorities are unable or unwilling to offer protection against persecution from individuals or groups.
A person who is assessed as a refugee will be granted a refugee status declaration, which is an internationally recognized status, based on the UN Refugee Convention as well as EU regulations.
Persons with a refugee status declaration are normally given a residence permit for three years.
Person in need of subsidiary protection
A person deemed in need of subsidiary protection is one who
- is at risk of being sentenced to death
- is at risk of being subjected to corporal punishment, torture or other inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment, or
- as a civilian, is at serious risk of injury due to armed conflict.
A person who is assessed as in need of subsidiary protection will be granted a subsidiary protection status declaration, which is founded on EU regulations.
Persons with a subsidiary protection status declaration are normally given a residence permit for 13 months.
Exceptions from the right to protection
If the investigation into your application reveals that you have committed war crimes, crimes against humanity or other serious crimes, or if you pose a threat to the country’s safety, you cannot be granted asylum in Sweden. You can still get a residence permit for a limited period if you are unable to return to your country of origin on the grounds that you risk being killed or persecuted there.
Residence permit in exceptional cases
In exceptional cases, a person may be granted a residence permit even though he or she is not in need of protection or does not meet the requirements for a residence permit on some other grounds. It requires exceptionally distressing circumstances for adults, and a slightly lower requirement of particularly distressing circumstances for children. When the Migration Agency makes a decision, an overall assessment is made of the person’s state of health, adaptation to Sweden and the situation in the country of origin.
Safe country of origin
The Swedish Migration Agency has a list of so called safe countries of origin. In order for a country to be assessed as a safe country of origin, several criteria need to be met.
Children seeking asylum
According to Swedish law, the Migration Agency has to specifically consider a child’s best interests. All children who can and wish to have their say have the right to do so and to be listened to. A child’s reasons for seeking asylum are to be examined individually, as they may have other reasons for seeking asylum than the parents. When the reasons for seeking asylum are examined, the case officer must adapt the investigation as much as possible to the child’s age, health, and maturity. The child has the right to be accompanied by an adult during the examination. It can be a parent or other legal guardian, a guardian, and/or public counsel.
- The UN Refugee Convention External link, opens in new window.
- UNHCR (The UN Refugee Agency) External link, opens in new window.
- EU Asylum Qualification Directive External link, opens in new window.
- Aliens Act (in Swedish) External link, opens in new window.
- Aliens Ordinance (in Swedish) External link, opens in new window.
- The Dublin Regulation External link, opens in new window.