If you are seeking asylum without a parent or other legal guardian
This information is for you if you have come without your parents and have applied for asylum (protection) in Sweden. Here we describe what stages you go through as an asylum seeker, how the Swedish Migration Agency decides who has the right to asylum and what support children and young people seeking asylum have the right to.
This information can be used both by you as an asylum seeker and by other young people who want to know more about what asylum is and how you go about applying for asylum, or by adults who want help explaining the asylum process to children and young people.
The information can be read in different ways. You can either read it right through from the first page to the end to get knowledge about what happens when you apply for asylum. Or you can read the section that you feel is the most important for you right now.
At the end you will find a list of organisations that can help you and websites where you can find more information, and a glossary that explains difficult words.
It is a good idea to save the information so that you can read a bit at a time or go back and read some part again. You will also find all this information on www.migrationsverket.se/barn.
In this part you can read about what rights all children in Sweden have and what support you have the right to when you apply for asylum without your parents. You can read about some of the authorities and people who are responsible for you being given the security that you have the right to, and you can read a lot about your right to housing, school education, financial support and healthcare.
Being a child in Sweden
The dividing line between being a child and an adult can differ from country to country. In Sweden you are a child until you turn 18 years of age. All children in Sweden have the same rights.
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the so-called Convention on the Rights of the Child, is a law in Sweden. It says what rights all children must have. Some of the most important rules in this Convention are that
- all children have the right to life and development
- the best interests of the child must always be important
- children have the right to say what they think
- all children have the same rights.
Child asylum seekers have the same rights as all children in Sweden. This means, for example, that you have the right to live in security, attend school and have leisure time. You have the right to the healthcare and dental care that you need. You are able to decide about your own body, and no one is allowed to force you to have sex or get married. No one is allowed to strike or threaten you.
When adults who have responsibility for you decide something that affects you, they must listen to what you want and think about what is best for you. You have the right to say what you think and to be listened to, but that does not mean that things will always be the way you want them to be.
You have the right to special support
Children who apply for asylum without their parents, so-called unaccompanied minors, have the right to special support. It is the social services in the municipality where you live that have to make sure that you get accommodation that suits you and your needs. You will also be given a ‘guardian’, who will speak for you when your parents are not able to do so. You have the right to this support even if you come to Sweden with an adult who is not your parent.
When you turn 18 years
When you turn 18 years old, you are an adult and do not have the same right to support and protection as a child has.
Further on you can read more about what happens when you turn 18 years.
People and public authorities you meet
You will meet several authorities and many different adults who are responsible for various matters concerning you.
Public authorities have to make sure that society functions according to the law of Sweden. The Swedish Migration Agency and the social services are examples of authorities that you will have a lot of contact with.
Swedish Migration Agency
The responsibilities of the Swedish Migration Agency include
- investigating your application and deciding whether or not you have the right to asylum and a residence permit
- appointing a public counsel who can help you with your application
- giving you financial support if you do not have money of your own
- deciding what municipality will be responsible for giving you accommodation, school education and a guardian
- helping you to make contact with your parents if this is possible
- helping you travel from Sweden if you are not allowed to stay here.
You will meet several different people at the Swedish Migration Agency. If you feel more comfortable talking with a man or a woman, you can say so.
The responsibilities of the municipality include
- getting you somewhere to live that suits you and your needs
- enabling you to attend school
- getting you a guardian.
Every municipality has something called the social services. The social services work according to rules about how society has to help everyone who needs support. It is the social services that decide where you will live. All unaccompanied minors are given a contact person in the social services who is called a social worker.
Read more about how you can live under the heading Accommodation.
If you are under 18 years and come to Sweden without your parents, you get a guardian. You will not live with your guardian, but they are responsible for helping you with several matters that your parents would otherwise have handled.
For example, a guardian has to
- be present when you have contact with authorities, for example the Swedish Migration Agency or the social services.
- handle the contact with your school
- help you to make appointments with a doctor, dentist or psychologist
- be responsible for your finances if you are under 16 years.
Read more and see films about what a guardian does at https://rfs.se/om-rfs/projekt/min-ratt-din-roll/filmer/.
To enable you and the staff at the Swedish Migration Agency to understand one another, an interpreter will translate what you say. The interpreter can speak both Swedish and the language you speak. The interpreter will either sit in the same room as you or will be on the phone or a video link. The interpreter has to translate everything that is said in the room, and not say any more than that.
It is important that you and the interpreter understand one another and that you are not afraid to say anything when the interpreter is present. If you do not understand the interpreter you must say so. Also tell us if you and the interpreter are related or if you know each other in any other way. If you would prefer to have a male or a female interpreter, you have to say so in advance.
A public counsel is a person who knows the Swedish law. They will give you legal advice and help you with your application for asylum. It is the Swedish Migration Agency that appoints a public counsel for you, but they do not work for the Swedish Migration Agency. You can suggest a person if you know a counsel that you trust, but it is not certain that you can get the specific counsel you would like to have. You can also say if you would prefer a male or a female counsel.
Obligation to observe secrecy
Everyone who works at the Swedish Migration Agency, in the municipality and in healthcare or at school has an obligation to observe secrecy. This means that they are not allowed to tell anyone what you have said unless that person has a legal right to know that. Only the people working with your case have the right to know what you have said. The interpreter and your public counsel also have an obligation to observe secrecy.
But a guardian does not have an obligation to observe secrecy. This is because, just like your parents, a guardian has to speak to various authorities about you.
Everyone who has obligation to observe secrecy is allowed to break their obligation to observe secrecy if they think that you are going to harm yourself or that you are in danger in some other way.
The municipality is responsible for arranging accommodation that suits you and your needs.
When you apply for asylum the Swedish Migration Agency will contact the municipality that has to arrange temporary accommodation for you. After a few days or weeks you will be told which municipality will have the long-term responsibility for and that will have to make sure that you attend school and get the support you need while you are waiting for a decision on your application for asylum.
If you have relatives or friends in Sweden that you want to live with or near to, you should tell the Swedish Migration Agency when you apply for asylum.
You can live in different kinds of accommodation
The municipality is responsible for finding good accommodation for you. The form of accommodation can differ. You can, for example, be allowed to live with relatives or friends, with a family who receive children and young people in need of help in their home or with other young people in a residential home where there are staff who help you.
If you want to live with relatives in Sweden, the social services in the municipality must give their approval to you living with them. Before the social services make their decision, they investigate whether the family is able to look after you.
If anything happens that means that you do not feel secure where you are living, you should tell your guardian or social worker right away.
Accommodation if you have turned18
When you turn 18 years, or if the Swedish Migration Agency assesses that you are over 18 years, the responsibility for arranging accommodation for you shifts from the municipality to the Swedish Migration Agency. This means that you may have to move to temporary accommodation provided by the Swedish Migration Agency or arrange your own housing.
You can read more about temporary accommodation for adult asylum seekers etc. on www.migrationsverket.se/asyl.
When you apply for asylum in Sweden, you are able to apply for financial support from the Swedish Migration Agency if you do not have money of your own.
There are two types of financial support to apply for: daily allowance and special grant.
If you have the right to daily allowance, you get a sum of money per day that is paid out once a month. The money is intended to be enough for your personal needs, for instance clothing, shoes, medicine and what you want to do in your leisure time. Sometimes you get money from the people running the home, and in that case the Swedish Migration Agency does not pay any daily allowance.
If you have a special need of something that the daily allowance is not sufficient to cover, you and your guardian can apply for a special grant. This can, for example, be glasses, winter clothing or something else that you cannot do without.
Your guardian is responsible for your finances
If you are under 16 years, it is your guardian who fills in the application and is responsible for your money. When you have turned 16 , you have the right to apply for and be responsible for your daily allowance and special grant by yourself. You are given your own debit card that daily allowance and special grant are paid into.
You have the right to attend school like all other children living in Sweden. School is free.
In Sweden all children have to attend school. It is the municipality that is responsible for schools, and your guardian has to make sure that you start school as soon as possible.
The compulsory school is for ten years and you usually start it in the year when you turn six years old. The first year of school, which is called preschool class, contains a lot of play and creative activity to prepare children for their coming school years. At compulsory school all pupils take much the same subjects.
Upper secondary school
Upper secondary school is a voluntary education, where pupils are able to choose a specialisation to prepare themselves for working life or further studies at a university or other higher education institutions. To be able to study at upper secondary school, you have to have completed your studies at compulsory school.
As an asylum seeker, you have the right to complete an upper secondary education if you started your upper secondary studies before you turn 18. This applies even if you move to another municipality.
Read more about education for asylum seekers on https://www.informationsverige.se/en/jag-ar-asylsokande/skola-under-asyltiden/
Law on upper secondary level studies
The so-called law on upper secondary level studies is a law that gives a person who has applied for asylum and is studying at upper secondary school more of a chance of being able to stay in Sweden and complete their upper secondary education.
If your asylum application is approved, you generally get a residence permit for 13 months or three years. If you are between 17 and 24 years old and are studying at upper secondary level, you can, in certain cases, get a longer residence permit to enable you to complete your education. In certain cases you can also get a residence permit to study at upper secondary level even though the Swedish Migration Agency considers that you do not have grounds for asylum.
Read more about residence permits for upper secondary level studies on www.migrationsverket.se/asyl.
You have the right to the healthcare and dental care that you need. It is free for all children in Sweden.
If you fall ill or do not feel well and need to see a doctor or dentist, your guardian or someone from your residential home can help you to make an appointment. Remember to bring your asylum seeker card (LMA card) to the appointment.
Everyone who applies for asylum in Sweden is given an offer of a medical examination. The purpose of the medical examination is for you to get early help and treatment if you need healthcare.
At the examination you are given information about how health care in Sweden works. You have to answer questions about your health and are given an offer of having tests done.
Take the opportunity to ask if there is anything you wonder about, and do not be afraid to say how you feel. Healthcare personnel have an obligation to observe secrecy and the medical examination does not affect your application for asylum.
Violence and sexual abuse
Many asylum seekers have been subjected to violence or sexual abuse, in their country of origin or during their flight to Sweden. That kind of experience can make you feel bad both physically and mentally, but help is available. You can, for example, talk to healthcare personnel when you have your medical examination, with the youth clinic or with the nurse or welfare officer at your school. They can help you to get the right care.
All forms of violence and sexual abuse are illegal in Sweden. It is always the person who has harmed you who is responsible, and you can never be punished for being subjected to violence or sexual abuse. This applies irrespective of what relationship you have to one another; it also applies, for instance, to rape within a marriage and when parents hit their own children. When an adult has sex with a child under the age of 15, it is counted as rape. In Sweden it is also illegal to force or deceive someone into getting married, and children under the age of 18 are not allowed to get married.
Contact the police on telephone number 114 14 if you are being subjected to violence or sexual abuse or are afraid of being married off. If you are in acute danger, you should call the police on telephone number 112.
Female genital mutilation
We know that female genital mutilation happens in many parts of the world. This is when someone cuts a girl’s or a woman’s genitals. Female genital mutilation is completely forbidden in Sweden and is seen as a serious offence. A person who has been subjected to it is not punished. If someone has done this to you and you have problems because of that, you can get help from healthcare. Talk to your school nurse, youth clinic or health centre.
Contact the police if you are afraid that you, or a girl you know, will be subjected to genital mutilation. You can also call Kvinnofridslinjen on telephone number 020‑50 50 50 to get advice and support. Kvinnofridslinjen is the national helpline for women who have been subjected to threats and violence.
Sexually transmitted diseases
You have the right to knowledge about how to protect yourself from sexually transmitted diseases and how to avoid infecting other people. Examples of sexually transmitted diseases are chlamydia, hepatitis, gonorrhoea and HIV. If you know that you have such a disease, you must say so when you have your medical examination so that you can receive healthcare and avoid infecting anyone else. If you are uncertain about whether you are infected the healthcare personnel can run tests.
Contraceptives and maternal health care
In Sweden maternal health care and obstetric care are free for asylum seekers. You also have the right to free contraceptive advice so that you can choose by yourself whether you want to be a parent. Both girls and boys have the right to information about how they can protect themselves and other people from pregnancy. If you are a girl and become pregnant and you do not want to have a child, you have the right to terminate the pregnancy through abortion.
It is usual for people to feel worried about what will happen in the future when they are waiting for a decision on their asylum application. Some people may also feel bad because they have experienced awful things or because they are missing their family. Examples of feeling bad mentally can be having anxiety, having difficulty sleeping or feeling sad and dejected.
You can get help and support from healthcare where you live. You can also talk to the welfare officer or nurse at your school.
A disability is when you have an injury or illness that, for example, makes it difficult for you to move about, hear, speak or understand. If you have a disability, you have the right to practical support in your everyday life, at school and when you are going to talk to the Swedish Migration Agency. Having a disability does not affect your application for asylum. At your medical examination you can say if you have, or you think you have, a disability.
You have the right both to preventive dental care and to the treatment that the dentist assesses that you need. Dental care is free for all children in Sweden.
If you need glasses, your guardian can make an appointment with an optician for an eye exam. If you need to buy glasses, the optician has to sign a document that you take to the Swedish Migration Agency so that you can apply for a special grant for this.
More information about health
At www.1177.se/other-languages there is information in several languages about different diseases and about how healthcare in Sweden works. You can also call the healthcare helpline on telephone number 1177, where you can talk to a nurse who can answer questions and give you advice about who to turn to so as to get the right healthcare.
At www.youmo.se there is information for young people about health, relationships, sex and much more in several languages.
At www.rfsu.se/upos there are short information films for anyone who wants to know more about the body, sexuality and health. The films are available in many different languages. Here you can, for instance, find films about contraception, giving birth and pregnancy.
Kvinnofridslinjen, a helpline, offers support and advice to women who have been subjected to threats and physical, mental or sexual violence. Call 020‑50 50 50. They can arrange an interpreter in a few minutes. You can read more on kvinnofridslinjen.se. The information is available in several languages.
Call the police on telephone number 114 14 if you want to report a crime; if, for example, someone has hit you or subjected you to sexual abuse. You can also call the police if you are afraid of being married off or subjected to genital mutilation. If the situation is acute, you should call 112.
The asylum process
This part is about the asylum process, i.e. the steps an asylum seeker has to go through, from when you come to the Swedish Migration Agency for the first time, through the decision you are given until either you are settled in Sweden or you must leave Sweden.
Here you can read about what the law says about who has the right to asylum in Sweden, how the Swedish Migration Agency makes a decision and what you can do if you do not agree with the decision. You can also read about what happens if you must go home.
Applying for asylum
At the first meeting with the Swedish Migration Agency you have to answer a lot of questions, you are given information about the asylum process and you can also get help to call your parents or other relatives to tell them where you are and how you are feeling.
With the help of an interpreter you can, for example, tell us
- who you are
- what language you speak
- about your family
- whether you are married
- how you feel
- how you travelled to Sweden
- why you have left you country of origin and what you think will happen if you go back
- if you have friends or relatives in Sweden that you want to live with or close to.
If you have special needs, for example a disability, you should say so. If your disability makes it difficult for you to speak to the Swedish Migration Agency, you have the right to help.
The staff ask these questions in order to enter you in the Swedish Migration Agency's IT system and to prepare your application for investigation. You will get similar questions from both the Swedish Migration Agency and the municipality you are going to live in. This is because the Swedish Migration Agency and the municipality have different IT systems.
Show who you are
The Swedish Migration Agency wants to know who you are and where you come from so as to be able to make the right decision. It is your responsibility to show what your name is, how old you are and where you come from. The best way to show your identity is by handing in a passport or identity card.
It is particularly important for the Swedish Migration Agency to know how old you are since children seeking asylum have different rights from adult asylum seekers.
Under the heading When you turn 18 years you can read more about what the difference is between children and adults as asylum seekers.
Photo and fingerprints
You will be photographed and fingerprinted. To have your fingerprints taken, you press your fingers against a machine that reads your fingerprints. If you are 14 or older the Swedish Migration Agency checks whether your fingerprints are registered in any other country in Europe. Children under the age of six do not need to give fingerprints at all.
If your fingerprints show that you have already applied for asylum in another country and an investigation shows that you have been given a decision in that country, the Swedish Migration Agency can decide that you have to go there.
Read more about the Dublin Regulation on www.migrationsverket.se/asyl, under the heading ”You cannot choose the country where your application for asylum is examined (the Dublin Regulation)”.
After the initial interview
When your application for asylum has been registered, you get a receipt that you have applied for asylum. After a couple of weeks you can exchange the receipt for an LMA card that proves that you have applied for asylum and have the right to stay in Sweden while you wait for a decision. An LMA card does not count as an identity document; i.e. it does not prove who you are, just that you are an asylum seeker in Sweden.
The Swedish Migration Agency contacts the municipality, which makes sure that you get accommodation and a guardian. The Swedish Migration Agency also appoints a public counsel who helps you with your application.
Read about what a public counsel does under the heading People you meet.
Waiting for an asylum investigation
The next stage in the asylum process is that you have to come to an asylum investigation; this is an interview where you have to tell us more about why you want asylum in Sweden. How long you have to wait for an appointment for an asylum investigation can differ from person to person. It is important that you come to the meetings you are summoned to. If we must re-book an asylum investigation, it can take time for you to get a new appointment.
The asylum investigation is an interview in which you have to tell us more about why you want to have asylum in Sweden. The Swedish Migration Agency wants to hear your own account of what you have experienced and what you think will happen to you if you must return.
Your public counsel has to accompany you to the asylum investigation. Your guardian can also accompany you, if you so wish. A person from the Swedish Migration Agency is in charge of the investigation and writes down what you talk about in a record. Sometimes two people from the Swedish Migration Agency may be present at an investigation; then one person asks the questions and the other person takes notes. An interpreter translates what you all say so that you understand one another. The interpreter may sit in the room or be present by video link or telephone.
Things that are difficult to talk about
An asylum investigation takes between two and three hours, and you will be asked questions about things that it can be difficult or embarrassing to talk about. It is important that you tell the Swedish Migration Agency the truth, even if it is hard. If you need to take a break, you can ask to do so.
When the Swedish Migration Agency investigates your grounds for asylum, the case officer tries to adapt the investigation to your age, maturity and health. If you do not understand a question, you should say so. If you do not understand the interpreter, it is also important to say so.
At the asylum investigation you will be asked questions about your identity, your family, what has you have experienced in your country of origin, how you came to Sweden and what you think will happen if you must return. You are sure to have heard these questions before, but now you will have the opportunity to say much more than you have done in previous meetings with the Swedish Migration Agency. The case officer will ask follow-up questions and ask you to give more detail in order to really understand your account. Try to answer all the questions as accurately as you can. If you are asked the same question several times, it does not mean that you have given the wrong answer; just that the case officer needs more information.
If you have any proof you must bring it to the investigation. Example of proof can be identity documents or something else that shows that your account is correct.
After the investigation
After the investigation the case officer sends the record to your public counsel, who goes through it together with you and your guardian. If anything is wrong, or if you think that case officer or interpreter has misunderstood you, it is important that your counsel notifies the Swedish Migration Agency quickly so that the record is corrected – otherwise it may be difficult for you to explain what is correct later on. Also tell your counsel if you think of something important that you forgot to say at the investigation.
The Swedish Migration Agency decides whether to give you asylum in Sweden by looking at everything you have said and presented and at what we know about the situation in your country of origin. Then this is compared with what the law says about who is to be given asylum in Sweden.
When the Swedish Migration Agency has made a decision on your application for asylum, you and your guardian are summoned to a meeting. At the meeting the case officer explains the decision and what will happen after it. The asylum decision is written in Swedish, but a case officer at your reception unit explains what it means with the help of an interpreter.
The case officer who tells you about the decision does not need to be the same one who interviewed you and made the decision. Decision are always made by two people together. This is so that we will be confident that it is the right decision. Case officers at the Swedish Migration Agency are not allowed to decide on the basis of their own opinions but must follow the law.
“Yes” or “no”
If you get a “yes” to your application for asylum, you are given a residence permit and you have the right to stay in Sweden.
If your application is refused this means that the answer to your application for asylum is “no”.
Further on you can read more about what happens if your application for asylum in Sweden has been refused.
Who can get asylum?
Swedish law says who can get asylum in Sweden. The Swedish Migration Agency examines whether the grounds you have described are sufficient to get asylum.
In Sweden, all applications for asylum are examined individually by the Swedish Migration Agency. Sweden has to give you a residence permit if you are a refugee or a person eligible for subsidiary protection or need to stay for other reasons.
Under the UN Refugee Convention and Swedish law, you are a refugee if you have reason to fear persecution on grounds of
– for example, the colour of your skin
– for example, your citizenship, language or ethnic group
– which god you believe in, or if you do not believe in any god at all
- political belief
– for example, your opinions about how your country of origin should be governed
– if you are a boy or girl
- sexual orientation
– for example, if you are a girl who falls in love with girls or a boy who falls in love with boys
- membership of a particular social group
– sometimes children can be regarded as a separate social group.
Sometimes it is the people in power in a country that persecute and threaten people so that they have to flee. But individuals can also apply for asylum if they are being persecuted by individual persons or groups, and the authorities in their country of origin (the police, for instance) are not able or willing to protect and help the individuals subjected to this.
It is not sufficient for you to have experienced that kind of persecution. There must also be a great risk that you will be subjected to it again if you return. This is why the case officer at the Swedish Migration Agency asks what you think will happen if you must go back to your country of origin.
If you are regarded as a refugee, you get a residence permit for three years.
Person in need of subsidiary protection
Under Swedish law a person can sometimes get asylum in Sweden even though they are not regarded as a refugee in the way described in the points set out above, but are still afraid to return to their country of origin.
You are said to be a person in need of subsidiary protection if you risk torture, the death penalty or other inhuman or degrading treatment in your country of origin. You can also get a residence permit as a person in need of subsidiary protection if there is so much war in your country of origin that everyone who remains there risks being killed.
A person regarded in need of subsidiary protection is given a residence permit for 13 months.
Residence permits in other cases
In certain cases an asylum seeker can get a residence permit even though they do not meet the legal requirements to be called a refugee or a person in need of subsidiary protection. 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.
If you get a residence permit
A residence permit means that you have been given a YES to your application for asylum. You are allowed to stay in Sweden.
If you get a residence permit, you and your guardian will be summoned to a meeting at your reception unit. A case officer will tell you about the decision and explain why you are being allowed to stay and what will happen after that.
After the decision
You and your guardian have to visit the Swedish Tax Agency to register you in the population register. One thing this means is that you will be given a personal identity number with the last four digits.
One month after you get your residence permit, you will be discharged from the Swedish Migration Agency. You will no longer get daily allowance and your debit card will stop working. If you need the money on the card, it is important that you take it out before you are discharged from the Swedish Migration Agency. Then your asylum case is closed. From then on, the municipality where you live will have the full responsibility for you. Your social worker will tell you more about what happens after that.
How long is my residence permit valid for?
Most asylum seekers get temporary residence permits. This means that you are allowed to stay in Sweden for a certain amount of time, generally 13 months or three years. When your residence permit expires, you can apply for an extension. If you still need protection, you can get a residence permit for two more years.
Permanent residence permit
When you have held a residence permit for three years, you can apply for a permanent residence permit at the same time as you apply for an extension. If you are aged 15 or over, it is a requirement that you are living an orderly life in order to be granted a permanent residence permit. Your application for a permanent residence permit may be refused if, for example, you have committed a crime. If you are aged 18 or over when you apply for a permanent residence permit, it is also a requirement that you can support yourself financially.
If you do not meet the requirements for a permanent residence permit, you may still be able to receive an extended residence permit if you are still in need of protection.
If the Swedish Migration Agency refuses your application for a permanent residence permit on the grounds that you do not meet the maintenance requirement or orderliness requirement, you can appeal the decision.
If you have been given a residence permit, your parents can, in certain cases, be reunited with you in Sweden. The case officer who tells you that you have been given a residence permit can tell you more about how this is done.
Read more about family reunification on www.migrationsverket.se, under the heading Moving to someone in Sweden.
If your asylum application is refused
A refusal means that you have been given a NO to your application for asylum. If your application has been refused, you have two choices: You can accept the decision and leave Sweden or you can appeal to the migration court.
A refusal of your application means that the Swedish Migration Agency makes the assessment that you do not have sufficient grounds to be given asylum in Sweden. You and your guardian have to come to a meeting where a case officer explains why you have been given a refusal and what happens now.
Accept the decision
If you accept the decision, you have to sign a paper saying that you do not want to appeal. When you have accepted the decision, you can get help from the Swedish Migration Agency to prepare your journey home.
You can appeal the decision if you do not agree with the Swedish Migration Agency’s decision. To appeal, you and your guardian have to write a letter to the Swedish Migration Agency saying why you think the decision is wrong. Your public counsel can help you write an appeal. The decision says how much time you have to appeal.
The Swedish Migration Agency will read your appeal and assess whether its decision should be changed. If the Swedish Migration Agency does not consider there is reason to change the decision, your appeal is forwarded to the migration court. The migration court goes through your appeal. If the migration court agrees with you, the court changes the Swedish Migration Agency’s decision and you are able to stay.
If the migration court refuses your appeal, that means that they agree with the Swedish Migration Agency’s decision. You can appeal to the Migration Court of Appeal, but that court only examines certain special cases where it is not clear how to interpret the law. If the Migration Court of Appeal decides not to examine your case, this means that you cannot appeal any more and that the Swedish Migration Agency’s decision begins to apply (gains legal force).
You can change your mind at any time and withdraw your appeal and decide to go home instead. You can get help from the Swedish Migration Agency to prepare your journey home.
When your application for asylum has been refused, you have to prepare to return to your country of origin. The Swedish Migration Agency helps you to plan your journey home if you cooperate.
The Swedish Migration Agency will summon you to several meetings to talk about what needs to be done to enable you to return. As long as you cooperate, you will get help from the Swedish Migration Agency to prepare your journey back to your country of origin. If you do not cooperate, the Swedish Migration Agency can pass on responsibility for your case to the police.
If you are still under 18 when you leave Sweden, there must be someone who can receive you when you arrive. It can be a parent, a relative or someone working at a public authority who is responsible for children who do not have legal guardians. Staff from the Swedish Migration Agency travel with you and make sure that someone meets you at the airport when you arrive.
If your parents are in safety in a country other than your country of origin, the Swedish Migration Agency can try to help you be reunited with them there instead.
The Swedish Migration Agency helps you
You do not have to like the decision that you have to leave Sweden. But if you accept the decision and agree to return willingly, the Swedish Migration Agency will help you to plan your journey. You can, for example, get help to book your journey, arrange a passport and contact relatives in your country of origin.
In certain cases you can also apply for financial support or other forms of support to make it easier for you to enter society after your return.
You can read more about support with returning on www.migrationsverket.se/asyl.
If you do not follow the decision
The Swedish Migration Agency can only help you to prepare your return if you yourself agree to leave Sweden. If you do not come to the meetings that the Swedish Migration Agency summons you to, if you hide or if you show in some other way that you do not intend to go back, the Swedish Migration Agency can pass your case on to the police. That means that it is the police who are responsible for you following the decision and leaving Sweden. If you have turned 18, you lose the right to financial support if you do not follow the decision.
New events after refusal
Sometimes something can happen after the decision that means you cannot leave Sweden. It may, for example, be that you become too ill to travel or that new grounds for asylum emerge or new evidence for your grounds for asylum comes to light that the Swedish Migration Agency was not aware of when we made our decision. If so, you and your guardian should write to the Swedish Migration Agency to say what has happened. Then the Swedish Migration Agency decides whether the new circumstances are sufficient to stop the expulsion.
Sometimes the expulsion can be stopped temporarily to give the Swedish Migration Agency time to investigate the new information. A temporary stop is called a suspension.
While waiting to travel home
You have the right to attend school, receive healthcare and get help with money and accommodation as long as you are still in Sweden. Your guardian helps you until you leave Sweden or turn 18.
When you turn 18 years
Under Swedish law you become an adult when you turn 18 years. This mean that you do not have the same right to support and assistance as unaccompanied minors have and your application will be examined under the same rules as for adult asylum seekers.
Just before you turn 18, or when the Swedish Migration Agency decides that your age will be changed to over 18, you will be summoned to a meeting where you will be given information about how your rights and obligations change when you turn 18.
One important difference between being an unaccompanied minor and an adult asylum seeker is that, in general, you do not have the right to a guardian when you have turned 18. You guardian’s assignment ends since you are of legal age and no longer need a legal guardian. You have to handle all the contacts with the authorities and sign all documents by yourself.
The Swedish Migration Agency is responsible for arranging temporary accommodation for all adult asylum seekers who need it. The municipality where you live can demand that the Swedish Migration Agency takes over responsibility for arranging temporary accommodation for you as soon as the municipality receives information that you have turned 18 or the Swedish Migration Agency has changed your age to over 18. This can happen even if you appeal the Swedish Migration Agency’s decision to change your age.
If you need the help of the Swedish Migration Agency to arrange temporary accommodation, you cannot choose where you will live. You must move to a place where the Swedish Migration Agency has vacant accommodation. The Swedish Migration Agency tries to arrange accommodation for you near the area where you used to live, but there is no guarantee that it will turn out like that.
You can also choose to arrange accommodation on your own by, for example, living with relatives or friends. If so, you have to pay for the accommodation yourself.
Talk to your reception unit if you need help arranging accommodation.
When you have turned 18, you are responsible for your own finances.
Healthcare and dental care
Child asylum seekers have the right to free dental care and healthcare. But an adult asylum seeker only has the right to acute healthcare and dental care and care that cannot be deferred. It is the staff at the hospital, health centre or dental clinic who assess whether you will be given care.
Adult asylum seekers must pay for doctor’s consultations and medicines. Present your LMA card and you will be able to pay a lower price.
If you are studying at upper secondary school, you have the right to continue attending school while you wait for decision on your application for asylum. Your right to continue your upper secondary level studies applies even if you must move to temporary accommodation provided by the Swedish Migration Agency in another municipality.
If you are not studying at upper secondary school but still want to study while waiting for a decision, you can ask your reception unit about “early action for asylum seekers” (so-called TIA).
If your asylum application is refused
If you have turned 18 it is no longer necessary that a relative or a public authority can receive you when you return.
If you have received a decision to return, you have to leave Sweden within the period stated in the decision, or immediately if no period is stated and the decision can no longer be appealed. If you do not leave Sweden within that period, there is a risk that you will be given a ‘re-entry ban’, i.e. you will not be allowed to enter Sweden again for 1–5 years.
You have the right to accommodation and financial support from the Swedish Migration Agency until your period for voluntary return expires, or when the decision can no longer be appealed if you were not given such a period. If you have children of your own who have also applied for asylum in Sweden, you have the right to extended support from the Swedish Migration Agency.
The Swedish Migration Agency will help you to prepare your journey as long as you cooperate.
Read more about what rights and obligations an adult asylum seeker has on www.migrationsverket.se/asyl.
To anyone who is an important adult for a child who has applied for asylum
Fleeing from their home and seeking asylum in another country can be a frightening experience for anyone at all. For a child, needing to do so without their parents be extremely stressful.
People sometimes say that asylum seekers, and especially unaccompanied minors are strong. That if they are capable of getting to the other side of the earth by themselves, then they can probably cope with anything at all. But even the strongest and toughest children need secure adults around them so that they can just be children. Children who are fleeing are no exception, and when they do not have their parents with them, or if their parents are exhausted, confused and maybe traumatized, other important adults are needed to offer these children some peace and security in an uncertain situation.
All children are different, and every asylum seeker has a unique story to tell. Some asylum-seeking children have lived in flight for a long time and may not have seen their loved ones for several years. Others were recently separated from their parents. Some have contact with their relatives, while others do not know where to start looking. All child asylum seekers are burdened by questions and worry. Some ask questions about their situation and reach out for help. Others keep all their worry bottled up and do not dare to ask questions.
As an adult, you have an important role. You are a person who can guide and support the child asylum seeker in the situation that the child is in. You can read these pages along with the child. Together, you can go through the different stages that a person who is an asylum seeker has to get through.
If you are not able to find answers to the child’s questions in this material, you can read more on www.migrationsverket.se or ask a case officer.
An important adult can be a
- other legal guardian
- school welfare officer
- person from a voluntary organisation
- staff member at the Swedish Migration Agency.
More information and support
Here you will find tips about organisations that can give you support as well as links where you can learn more about Sweden.
All of these links are available at www.migrationsverket.se/barn-info
Children’s Rights in Society (Bris) is an organisation that works for children's rights. You can contact Bris if you need to talk to an adult.
Call the Bris helpline for young people: 116 111.
Save the Children Sweden is an organisation that works for children's rights.
The Swedish Red Cross is an organisation that works to protect and support people in need of this. The Swedish Red Cross can help you find your relatives.
Ombudsman for Children in Sweden (Barnombudsmannen), is an authority that ensures that other Swedish authorities follow the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Here you can learn more about your rights.
Youmo is your youth clinic on the internet. Here you can read about sex, health and relations in several different languages.
RFSL works for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex rights. RFSL Newcomers works with asylum seekers and newly arrived people.
Kärleken är fri (Love is free) is a support chat for young people subjected to honour-related violence and oppression.
Kvinnofridslinjen is a helpline that offers advice and support to women who have been subjected to threats and physical, mental or sexual violence. The information is available in several languages. You can also call 020‑50 50 50. They can arrange an interpreter in a few minutes.
Information for children about child marriage and what applies in Sweden has been produced by the National Board of Health and Welfare.
Links to the information are available at www.migrationsverket.se/barn-info
Min rätt – Din roll (My rights – Your role) is aimed at you as an unaccompanied minor, your guardian and other actors who all have different roles to help you. Here you can get more information about the different roles and what rights you have. You can, for instance, see short films about what a guardian has to help you with.
The films Vad händer nu? (What happens now?) are intended for unaccompanied minors in Sweden who are living in a residential home or a family home. In the films you will find out what will happen during your initial period in Sweden, what people you may meet and how the asylum process works. You can see the films alone or with an adult. The films are available in several languages.
Search for ”socialstyrelsen vad händer nu” on Youtube.
Information Sverige is a portal for new arrivals in Sweden. Here you can get information about how Swedish society works when it comes to housing, education and healthcare, for example.
Learn Swedish is a page from Information Sverige about how to learn Swedish on your own.
In the app “Migrationsverket Stories” you can find information about the asylum process and the rights of asylum seeking children in Sweden. You can listen to the information in Swedish, English, Arabic, Somali, Persian or Albanian. The app is available for both iPhone and Android, and is suitable for children ages seven to eleven.
What do the words mean?
Alternativt skyddsbehövande – Person in need of subsidiary protection is a person who has applied for asylum in Sweden and been given the status of a person in need of subsidiary protection. They generally get a residence permit for 13 months.
Asyl – Asylum means place of refuge. When a person applies for asylum they are seeking protection in a country other than their country of origin.
Asylprocess – The asylum process is the different stages that an asylum seeker goes through – from application to decision.
Asylsökande – An asylum seeker is a person who has made their way to Sweden and applied for asylum, but who has not yet been given a final reply to their application.
Asylutredning – An asylum investigation is an interview in which you have to tell us why you want to have protection in Sweden.
Avslag på asylansökan – A refusal of an asylum application means that a person has been given a “no” to their application for asylum.
Barn – Children means everyone who is under 18 years of age.
Beslut i ett asylärende – A decision in an asylum matter is when the Swedish Migration Agency has decided whether or not an asylum seeker is allowed to stay in Sweden.
Dagersättning – Daily allowance is a grant from the Swedish Migration Agency that an asylum seeker can apply for if they do not have money of their own.
Dom – Judgment. Most of the Swedish Migration Agency’s decisions can be appealed to a court. When a court takes its decision it is called a judgment.
Flykting – A refugee is a person who has applied for asylum and been given refugee status. This means that the person meets the requirements in the UN Convention about the rights of refugees, the Geneva Convention. They generally get a residence permit for 3 years.
God man – A guardian is a person who has to look after the interests of child asylum seekers when their parents are not able to do so. They can be a man or a woman.
Identitet – Identity means who a person is. When the Swedish Migration Agency asks about your identity, what we mean is what your name is, how old you are and where you come from.
Laga kraft – Legal force means that the decision can no longer be appealed.
Migrationsverket – The Swedish Migration Agency is the authority in Sweden that examines applications from persons seeking asylum. The Swedish Migration Agency also examines applications from persons who want to visit or move to Sweden or who want to become Swedish citizens.
Myndigheter – Authorities have to ensure that society functions the way it is supposed to according to the laws decided by the Riksdag (the Swedish Parliament).
Offentligt biträde – A public counsel is someone who knows the Swedish law. Your counsel helps you with your asylum application. A public counsel is often a member of the Swedish Bar Association or other lawyer and does not work for the Swedish Migration Agency.
Socialtjänsten – There are social services in all municipalities. They work according to a law called the Social Services Act. The Social Services Act is about what right everyone in the municipality has to social care in the municipality. It contains rules for how society has to help a person who needs help but cannot get help from anyone else.
Tystnadsplikt – Obligation to observe secrecy means that persons working at, for example, the Swedish Migration Agency are not allowed tell anyone what you have said unless that person has the right to know.
Uppehållstillstånd – Residence permit means that a person has been given a “yes” to their application to live in Sweden.
Överklaga – Appeal means that a person writes to an authority or a court to say that they do not agree with what the authority or court has decided. The person wants the authority or the court to change the decision.