Who can get asylum?

Swedish law states who can be granted asylum in Sweden. The Swedish Migration Agency examines whether the reasons you and your family tell us are sufficient to be granted asylum. You can be granted a residence permit if you are a refugee, or a person in need of protection or if you need to stay for other reasons.


According to the UN Refugee Convention and Swedish law, you are a refugee if you have reason to be afraid of being persecuted because of:

  • race
    – for example, what skin colour you have
  • nationality
    – for example, your citizenship, language or ethnic group
  • religion
    - which god you believe in, or that you do not believe in a god at all
  • political views
    – for example, your views on how your home country should be governed
  • gender
    – if you are a girl or a boy
  • sexual orientation
    – for example, if you are a girl who falls in love with girls or a boy who falls in love with boys
  • that you belong to a particular social group
    – sometimes children can be considered a separate social group.

Sometimes it is those who decide in a country who persecute and threaten people so that they have to flee. But you can also apply for asylum if there are individual people or groups who are persecuting, and the authorities in the home country (such as the police) are unable or unwilling to protect and help the victims.

It is not enough that you have experienced this kind of persecution. There must also be a high risk that you will be exposed to it again if you go back. That is why the case officer at the Swedish Migration Agency asks about what you think will happen if you have to go back to your home country.

If you are considered a refugee, you will be granted a residence permit for three years.

Alternative subsidiary protection

According to Swedish law, you can sometimes get asylum in Sweden even if you are not considered a refugee in the way described in the items above, but are still afraid to return to your home country.

You are called eligible for alternative subsidiary protection if you risk torture, the death penalty, or other inhuman or degrading treatment in your home country. You can also get a residence permit as a person eligible for alternative subsidiary protection if there is so much war in your home country that everyone who stays there risks being killed.

A person who is considered eligible for subsidiary protection receives a residence permit for 13 months.

Residence permit in other cases

In some cases, an asylum seeker may be granted a residence permit even if he or she does not meet the requirements of the law to be called a refugee or a person eligible for alternative subsidiary protection. It is unusual and requires special circumstances, for example that the person is very ill or that the situation in the home country is very difficult.


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