Permanent residence permits for doctoral students
If you have lived in Sweden and had a residence permit for doctoral studies for a total of four years over the past seven years, and are in employment or self-employed in Sweden, you may be able to get a permanent residence permit. Studies at a PhD-/doctoral level are studies that will lead to a licentiate degree, licentiate degree in design, doctoral degree or a doctoral degree in design.
You cannot have more than one permit at once during the same time period. Since a permanent residence permit is valid from the date the decision is made, the application for such permit should not be submitted earlier than 14 days before your current permit expires.
Requirements for obtaining a permanent residence permit
To obtain a permanent residence permit, you must
- have lived in Sweden with a residence permit for doctoral studies and/or a work permit as an employee for a total of four years over the past seven years
- be planning to live in Sweden
- be able to support yourself financially via employment or self-employment
- be living an orderly life.
Read more about the requirements to support yourself and live an orderly life:
In order to obtain a permanent residence permit, you must be able to support yourself through income from employment or your own company, or a combination of employment and your own company. You may add together income from one or more part-time jobs, provided that all the employments meet the requirements below.
The livelihood must be sustainable and serious
You must be able to show that you can support yourself for a longer period of time ahead. If you do not have permanent employment, and individual assessment is always made as to whether your income is sustainable. A longer fixed-term employment is usually approved. In some cases, an employment with a probationary period can also be approved.
People who support themselves financially through self-employment must demonstrate that their company has realistic business plans and stable finances, so that you can be expected to be able to support yourself through your profits for a longer period of time.
It is only the income you actually have when we consider your application that counts. You cannot get a permanent residence permit based on your chances of getting another job or higher income sometime in the future.
What income counts?
You may only count taxed income from legal employment. This means that you must have permission to work or be exempt from the work permit requirement. You may not count undeclared income, nor income from a profession that you are not licensed to practise.
You may count parental benefits or sickness benefits, provided that you have ongoing employment and your parental leave or sick leave is not assessed to be longer than 18 months.
To count income from your business, you must show that you own at least half of the company and that you have decisive responsibility for its operations. It is also required that you run the company professionally, independently and for profit.
If you wait too long to apply for an extended residence permit (after your current permit has expired), you will not have the right to work while you wait for a decision and therefore will not meet the maintenance requirement.
Amount of income
Your income after tax must be so large that, after your accommodation costs have been paid each month, you have a certain amount left that should be enough for food, clothing, hygiene, telephone, electricity and insurance for yourself, among other things. For 2024, that amount is SEK 6,090 per month for a single adult. If you have a child with whom you do not live and you pay maintenance to the child’s other parent, your income must also be sufficient to cover the maintenance allowance.
The housing costs that your income must be sufficient to cover each month depend on the type of home in which you live:
- If you live in a rented flat, you must include both the rent and the cost of heating in this calculation, if the latter is not included in the rent.
- If you live in a tenant-owner flat, you must include any fees paid to the tenant-owner association and the interest on any home loans in your calculation. You must also include necessary operating costs (such as water and heating), if these are not included in the monthly fee.
- If you live in a freestanding house, you must include the interest rate for any home loans and necessary operating costs (such as water and heating) in your calculation.
Amortisation of home loans is not included in the cost of accommodation.
You only need to be able to support yourself, not your family members. If you live alone or with underage children, you must include your entire actual accommodation cost in your calculation. However, if you live with one or more other adults, you should divide the actual accommodation cost by the number of adults in the household and only include your share in the calculation, no matter how much each person actually pays for the accommodation.
What income does not count?
You may not count income from
- a family member
- wealth or returns from capital
- unemployment insurance or activity compensation
- various forms of grants or scholarships
- subsidised employment (for example, when the Swedish Social Insurance Agency or the Swedish Public Employment Service pays all or part of the wages).
Pensions do not count as income either, but people who receive a pension may be exempt from the requirement that they must be able support themselves financially.
Exemptions from the maintenance requirement
Exemptions from the maintenance requirement can be made if
- you are under the age of 18 when the Swedish Migration Agency makes a decision
- you are entitled to a pension
- you are unable to support yourself financially on other special grounds.
If you can submit a decision from the Swedish Pensions Agency that shows that you are entitled to an income-based retirement pension, a guarantee pension or financial support for the elderly, then you are exempt from the requirement to be able to support yourself financially. It is the right to a pension that is crucial, not whether you actually take out a pension or the size of your pension. Both guarantee pensions and financial support for the elderly can be paid out no sooner than the month you turn 66. Income-based old-age pensions can be paid out no sooner than the month you turn 63. If you have reached the age of 63 but not 66, you must show that you have retired and started to take out your income-based old-age pension. It is your age on the date of the decision that matters.
Exemptions from the maintenance requirement may also be made if other special grounds exist which are not temporary. For example, you may be unable to meet the maintenance requirement on the grounds of permanently impaired working capacity due to illness or disability. This can also apply if you are unemployed and so close to retirement age that it is difficult to get a new job. Exemptions can also be granted if it is not reasonable to request that you be able to support yourself financially. For example, such exemptions are granted for monks and nuns.
If you believe that you have special grounds for exemption from the maintenance requirement, please attach documents showing that you have, for example, a permanently impaired ability to work. Such proof may take the form of an investigation by the Swedish Public Employment Service, a decision on entitlement to sickness benefits, sickness benefits or activity compensation from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency, or a medical certificate.
In order to be granted a permanent residence permit in Sweden, it is important that you cannot be assumed to commit a crime in the future. Therefore, it is required that those who apply for a permanent residence permit will live a well-behaved life. To be able to assess this, the Swedish Migration Agency needs to look at how you have lived so far, for example if you have been convicted or suspected of any crime in Sweden or abroad.
There are no detailed rules on the types of crimes or the length of the penalty that may prevent a person from obtaining a permanent residence permit. It is not only about serious crimes, even less serious crime can be an obstacle if you have misbehaved in other ways at the same time.
If there is reason to suspect that you will not live in a well-behaved manner in the future, the Swedish Migration Agency will weigh these suspicions against your reasons for being granted a permanent residence permit. We take into account how you have misbehaved and how long ago the events took place.
Exemptions to the requirement that applicants live a law-abiding life are made only for children under the age of 15.
Requirements to use the e-service
In order to use the e-service, you need
- copies of the pages in your passport that show your personal information, photograph, signature, passport number, passport-issuing country, the validity period of the passport, entry stamps and whether you have permission to live in countries other than your country of origin
- a copy of your place of study’s earlier decision showing that you have been accepted for doctoral studies in Sweden
- a certificate from your supervisor that you have studied or are still studying at doctoral level and giving the start and finish dates of your studies
- documents showing that you can support yourself financially. If you are an employee, you must submit a copy of your certificate of employment and your most recent payslip (if you have started your employment). If you are self-employed, you must submit a copy of the registration certificate from the Swedish Companies Registration Office and a copy of your F-tax card. If you are supporting yourself financially in some other way, enclose documents in support of this
- be able to pay a possible fee for the application with a credit card or charge card (fees for residence permits for studies).
Check that the information on the documents you send is clearly visible. On passport copies, the figures and characters at the top and bottom of the passport pages must also be clearly visible and legible. The documents should be translated into Swedish or English by an authorised translator. You must always send us a copy of the original document.
Your family members may apply for a permanent residence permit at the same time as you do, but only after three years. They cannot be granted a permanent residence permit before you. They must meet the requirements for a permanent residence permit themselves, and will not automatically be granted one just because you have.
The Swedish Migration Agency will first examine your application for a permanent residence permit. The family’s application will then be examined. Your family must then first meet the requirements for being granted a permanent residence permit as a close relative of a person with a permanent residence permit.
This means that you, as a close relative, must in most cases meet a maintenance requirement.
The family’s application for a permanent residence permit will not be examined until the requirements for an extended residence permit have been met for the family. They must meet the following requirements:
- they must have held a residence permit for at least three years
- family members who are aged 18 or over must be able to support themselves financially
- family members who are aged 15 or over must be living an orderly life.
If members of your family are living with you in Sweden, apply together online. If you have already got a permanent residence permit, your family must make a separate application at a later date.
If you and your family are applying at the same time, you must also enclose
- documents showing that your income is sufficient to support the whole family financially and that you have a home of sufficient size and standard for all of you to live in
- copies of the pages in your family members' passports that show their personal information, photograph, signature, passport number, passport-issuing country, the validity period of the passport, entry stamps, and whether they have permission to live in countries other than their country of origin
- copies of marriage certificates or the equivalent (applies to married couples or registered partners)
- documents that show that you have lived together, such as a population registry certificate, joint rental contract or proof of joint purchase of your home if you have lived together outside Sweden
- the forms Assurance of cohabitation, 243011B, and Family details, 239011, which you should complete together
- a birth certificate or other proof of birth for any children, showing the names of the parents
- consent from the other guardian, if they are not also coming to Sweden, or proof that a family member is the sole guardian. This could be a court order, or a death certificate if the other parent has died. If there is joint guardianship, a copy of the other guardian’s passport or another form of identification must also be provided. This applies to children under 18
- adoption papers if the child is adopted
- power of attorney if you are representing all co-applicant family members who are over the age of 18.
The family members who are aged 18 or over must be able to support themselves financially in order to be granted a permanent residence permit. You must therefore also enclose:
- If the family member is an employee: a copy of the certificate of employment and the most recent payslip (if the employment has started).
- If the family member is self-employed: a copy of the registration certificate from the Swedish Companies Registration Office and a copy of the F-tax card.
- If the family member is entitled to a pension: a decision from the Swedish Pensions Agency stating that he or she is entitled to income-based retirement pension, guarantee pension or financial support for the elderly.
- If the family member is unable to support himself/herself financially but has special grounds, e.g. permanent impairment of working capacity: documents showing this, e.g. an investigation by the Swedish Public Employment Service, a decision on entitlement to sickness benefit or activity compensation from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency, or a medical certificate.
The documents should be translated into Swedish or English by an authorised translator. You must always submit both a copy of the original document and a copy of the translated document.
In order for the Swedish Migration Agency to be able to make a decision in your case, all information must be completed and all necessary documents must be included. This means that the processing time is shorter if everything needed is included from the beginning than if the application needs to be supplemented afterwards.
If you are not able to apply online, you must fill out the form Application for permanent residence permit for doctoral studies, 117011, and Family details – Appendix to your application, 239011. The application form specifies which documents to enclose.
Send your application to the Swedish Migration Agency, Box 3100, 903 03 Umeå.
In most cases you must pay a fee.
After you have sent the application
If you are in Sweden and have submitted an application for a permanent residence permit, you have the right to remain in Sweden until the Migration Agency has made a decision. If you are outside Sweden, the residence permit must have been issued before you travel to Sweden.
If you receive a permit you will also receive a residence permit card. The card proves that you have permission to be in Sweden and contains information such as your fingerprints and photograph. You must therefore book an appointment at the Migration Agency to be photographed and provide your fingerprinted as soon as possible. This needs to be done even if you previously have had a residence permit card since your photo and fingerprints are not saved.
Time to a decision
In order to obtain an impression how long you need to wait for your decision, you can visit the page Time to a decision. Note that the average time that is shown on the page is calculated based on previously decided cases in the same category. The time can vary from application to application.
Travelling abroad during the processing time
If you are travelling abroad as your permit expires, you may have trouble re-entering Sweden before your new permit is approved. You may need to await your new permit outside of Sweden. If you urgently need to return to Sweden before this, it is possible to apply for an entry visa. This visa allows you to travel back to Sweden and wait for the decision about your extension. Apply for a visa at a Swedish embassy or consulate-general in the country where you are now.
Working while studying
You may continue to work while you are waiting for the decision if you have had a residence permit for higher education and if you send us your application for a permanent residence permit before your current residence permit expires.
If you get a permanent residence permit, you will not need a work permit and you may continue to work.
The decision will be sent to your address in Sweden. If you have been photographed and have provided your fingerprints for the residence permit card at the Swedish Migration Agency, your card will be sent to your address in Sweden within one week.
If you do not live in Sweden, you will be given the decision by the Embassy or consulate-general that you have specified in your application.