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If you are an LGBTQ person who is seeking asylum

If you have a well-founded fear of persecution because of your sexual orientation, gender, gender expression, gender identity or membership of a particular social group, you may be a refugee and have the right to receive protection in Sweden. This is stated in the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, Swedish law and the EU’s rules.

Asylum applications and rules

Persecution can consist of threats or violence towards your life or your health. It may also be that laws and regulations or people’s views mean that you are subjected to serious abuse because of your sexual orientation. This can, for example, take the form of punishment or widespread discrimination such as your being unable to attend school, choose a job or access healthcare.

The right to express oneself and engage politically without fear of persecution regardless of ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation are also examples of what may give you the right to stay in Sweden.

It does not matter if the persecution comes from the authorities in your country of origin or if your family or other individuals are threatening you. The Swedish Migration Agency will then investigate what might happen to you if you return to your country of origin in the future, and whether the authorities there are unable or unwilling to protect you against the persecution that you say you risk being subjected to.

The Swedish Migration Agency will register you as an asylum seeker with your name, date of birth and legal gender as stated in your identity documents. Swedish law does not allow us to register you under a different name, but if you prefer a different given name or pronoun, please tell us so that we can make a note of this.

Investigation

When the Swedish Migration Agency has to decide whether you need protection and may therefore be granted a residence permit in Sweden, an investigation is conducted with you in order to understand what your particular life was like and why you in particular are afraid to return to your country of origin. If the reason is your sexual orientation, gender expression or gender identity, it is important that you inform us of this as soon as possible.

Find out more about how to apply for asylum

The Swedish Migration Agency is aware that it can be difficult to talk about such matters to someone you have never met before. It might even be the first time you have spoken to anyone about it, and the limits of what feels personal and private are different for everyone. But it is important that you tell us as much as possible about all your reasons for seeking asylum. The more details you can provide, the better the basis the Swedish Migration Agency will have for its decision. The investigator will also ask questions about your sexual orientation, gender expression or gender identity, any thoughts and feelings you have had about it, and your relationships with family, friends and the community in which you lived. We have an obligation of secrecy and do not discuss what you tell us with anyone who is not working on your case.

If you feel that the case officer conducting your investigation does not understand what you are saying, or if you have information that the case officer is not asking you about, you must tell us this as soon as possible. Do not wait until you have received a decision on your case.

You have the opportunity to make requests about the gender of the interpreter, case officer and representative in order to make you feel secure during the asylum process, and the Swedish Migration Agency will then try to help you with your request. If you are over the age of 18, you will meet your representative and your case officer alone without other co-applicants. You can request a representative with special knowledge of the situation of LGBTQ people if you know, or are being given help to find, such a representative.

If you are under the age of 18

The Swedish Migration Agency must listen to all children who are seeking asylum and find out whether the children need protection here. It is therefore important that you tell the Swedish Migration Agency about your life in your country of origin and what you think would happen to you personally if you went back there. If you are under the age of 18 years of age and have guardians with you in Sweden, the Swedish Migration Agency must ask them whether we can talk to you without them being in the room. If you do not have your parents with you in Sweden, it is your guardian who decides whether we can talk to you alone. If you want to talk to your case officer without your parents or guardian, it is important that you say so.

Interpreter

Words and terms in Swedish and your own language can mean different things. The most important thing is that you describe your own emotions and experiences, and explain how they relate to the reason why you are afraid.

If you do not understand the interpreter or if you think that the interpreter might not be translating everything you say impartially, you must say so. Also bear in mind that the interpreter may not always be familiar with specific words that are used to talk about sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. It can therefore be a good idea to explain to the interpreter what the words you are using mean to you.

Accommodation

In most of the Swedish Migration Agency’s accommodation, two or more people of the same sex share a room. Waiting during the asylum process can cause the living situation to become strained, and conflicts may arise in the accommodation.

It is important that you let us know as soon as possible what you need or if you feel unsafe in your accommodation. If problems arise in the accommodation that you need help to resolve, you must tell us. Talk to case officers at the reception unit or staff at the accommodation where you are registered.

Health

In some cities there are clinics dealing with, for example, sexual health and advice for specific target groups. Examples of target groups can be women, young people or LGBTQ people. Ask your case officer for more information.

Voluntary organisations

You always have the right to contact voluntary organisations during the asylum process for advice and support. The more information you have about your rights and possible options, the better prepared you will be for the different stages of the asylum process. RFSL is one such voluntary organisation that works for the rights of LGBTQ people, providing special support and social meeting places for LGBTQ asylum seekers.

RFSL Newcomersexternal link, opens in new window

Last updated: 13 May 2020

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