Residence permits for the self-employed

If you plan to work for a period longer than three months to start up or run your own business or become a part owner of a company, you must have a residence permit. You cannot enter Sweden until the permit has been granted. As self-employed you are not allowed to take employment with any employer.

If you have applied for asylum, have received a temporary residence permit, and are self-employed

If you have applied for asylum, have received a temporary residence permit, and are able to support yourself, then you can receive a permanent residence permit in some cases. Other rules apply to you, than for those who are self-employed and do not have a temporary residence permit based on need for protection. In order to receive a permanent residence permit as a self-employed person you must demonstrate that you can support yourself now, and that you have sufficient capital available for you to run your business and support yourself for at least two years.

Read more about the requirements for you who have applied for asylum, have received a temporary residence permit, and are self-employed, and how to apply for a permanent residence permit

Self-employed people who plan to work for a period shorter than three months in Sweden do not need a residence permit. For work that is shorter than three months, citizens in certain countries must have an entry visa.

Countries whose citizens require a visaexternal link, opens in new window

Learn more about visa to work for a period shorter than three months

Requirements for obtaining a residence permit as a self-employed

In order to obtain a residence permit, you must

  • have a valid passport
  • show that you have significant experience in your field and previous experience of running your own business
  • have documented and relevant knowledge in Swedish and/or English
  • show that you are running the business, that you have the ultimate responsibility for it and that you own at least half of the business
  • show that the business' services or goods are sold and/or produced in Sweden
  • show that you have sufficient funds to support you and, if applicable, your family during the first two years (equivalent to SEK 200,000 for you, SEK 100,000 for your spouse and SEK 50,000 for each accompanying child)
  • show reliable source documentation for your budget
  • show that you have established customer contacts and/or a network in Sweden
  • show that your company, following a 2-year probationary period, will have its finances in balance and you have the ability to support yourself and, if applicable, your family (income support is calculated according to the Swedish national standard for income support plus housing costs).

The Swedish Migration Agency will assess your business plans from a financial perspective.

Other rules apply for you who will extend your permit

How to apply

You can apply online in the country you are living in.

You will probably be required to pay an application fee.

Fees for residence permit 

Enclose the following documents with your application

  • Copies of the pages in your passport which show your personal information, photograph, signature, passport number, passport issuing country, the period of the passport's validity, entry and exit stamps and whether you have permission to live in countries other than your country of origin
  • bank statements which shows that you have sufficient funds to support you and your family during the first two years (equivalent to SEK 200,000 for you, SEK 100,000 for your spouse and SEK 50,000 for each accompanying child)
  • bank statements which show, if applicable, that you have sufficient funds to buy the business and to cover the estimated costs and investments necessary to run the business
  • contract of sale if you have bought or intend to buy the business or enterprise
  • partnership agreement or stock register
  • bank document which shows that you have paid the purchase sum or your part of the purchase sum, if you have bought the business or enterprise
  • contracts with customers/suppliers and for premises
  • annual accounts/reports for the previous two years (if the business has been in operation earlier)
  • balance sheet and income statement (report) for the current financial year, up to and including the previous month
  • course certificate or other evidence that you speak Swedish and/or English
  • certificates to substantiate your educational background
  • certificates from previous employers
  • certificate of registration for companies you own or have own outside of Sweden.

Make sure to extend your passport if it is about to expire. You cannot get a permit for longer than your passport's period of validity. You must have a permit that is valid for at least one year and stay in Sweden for at least one year if you want to be registered in the Swedish population register.

The documents should be translated to Swedish or English by an authorised translator. Copies of original documents should always be included.

Learn more about the requirements for an online application

If you have been studying in Sweden

If you have residence permit for studies in Sweden and want to apply for a residence permit as a self-employed while you remain in Sweden, you need to apply before your current permit expires. You need to enclose a certificate of studies in Sweden showing that you have completed at least 30 higher education credits or has completed a term of postgraduate education.

Shorter processing times for complete applications

For the Swedish Migration Agency to make a decision about your application, all the details need to be filled in and all necessary documents attached. This means that the processing time will be shorter if all the necessary information is included from the start than if information is added afterwards.

Note that the Migration Agency may in some cases need to further examine your application even if you have included all the required information and documents.

Once we have received your application

If you get a residence permit for more than three months, you will also receive a residence permit card. The card, which is proof that you have the right to be in Sweden, contains your photo and fingerprints.

If you need a visa for travel to Sweden, you should go to the embassy or consulate-general as soon as possible to have your picture and fingerprints taken. Before your visit you should contact the embassy or consulate-general. Contact them primarily through email.

If you do not need a visa for travel to Sweden, you should visit the Migration Agency as soon as possible after your arrival in Sweden to be photographed and fingerprinted.

Find your closest embassy at Swedenabroad.comexternal link, opens in new window

Learn more about residence permit cards

After the decision has been made

The decision will be sent to the embassy or consulate general you selected in your online application. Take your passport along when picking up your decision. You can get a permit for two years but not past the time for which your passport remains valid. If you plan to continue living in Sweden, apply to extend your permit. When you have had a residence permit for two years you may be granted a permanent residence permit, provided that you are able to support yourself using the income from your business, that you adhere to generally accepted accounting principles and that you hold the permits required for the business. You must also have been a resident in Sweden for more than six months of each year.

The Swedish embassy or consulate-general will hand over or send you the residence permit card as soon as it is ready. It might take up to four weeks to make and send the card to the embassy or consulate-general after you receive your decision. When you enter Sweden, you must show your residence permit card along with a valid passport.

The residence permit card will be produced at the time the decision is made, but no earlier than three months before the residence permit becomes valid.

We cannot speed up the production or delivery of the card.

If you do not need a visa for travel to Sweden, you should be able to show a copy of the decision when you arrive. As soon as possible after you have arrived in Sweden, you should book an appointment to be fingerprinted and photographed. When your residence permit card is ready, it will be sent to your address in Sweden.

Holding a residence permit as a self-employed you only have the right to run your own business and you do not have the right to be employed elsewhere.

Book an appointment at the Migration Agency to be fingerprinted and photographed

The Swedish Institute's website Working in Swedenexternal link, opens in new window

Useful links if you have recently moved to Sweden and have a residence permit

Learn more about how to extend your permit

Important information about insurance

If you need to seek medical care in Sweden, you may need to pay for the care yourself if you are not registered in Sweden in the Population Register, and do not have a Swedish Personal Identity Number. If you register in the Swedish Population Register, you can also be registered with the Swedish Social Insurance Agency, and covered by the country’s social insurance.

To be registered in the Swedish Population Register and receive a Swedish Personal Identity Number, you generally need to have been granted at least a one-year residence permit in Sweden, and you generally need to be planning to live here for one year or longer. Therefore, you should register in the Population Register as soon as possible after moving to Sweden.

Read more about registration in the Swedish population register at the Swedish Tax Agency’s websiteexternal link, opens in new window

Permits for family members

Members of your family can obtain permits for the same period of time as yours. If you receive a permit for at least six months, members of your family can obtain work permits. You must be able to show that they will be supported by you. Family members include

  • your partner (spouse, cohabiting partner, or registered partner)
  • unmarried children of you or your partner who are under 18.

How your family is to apply

If your family plans to accompany you to Sweden, you can include them in your online application.

If they do not apply at the same time as you, they can do their own online application.

Learn more about how family members can do their own online application

The Migration Agency may withdraw a permit

Your permit may be withdrawn if, in your application, you provided incorrect information or did not mention something that was significant in regards to your residence permit.

 The permit may also be withdrawn if the requirements for the permit are no longer met – for example, if you are no longer working, or if the terms of employment are no longer met.

If the Swedish Migration Agency refuses your application

If the Migration Agency refuses your application, you can appeal the decision within three weeks from the date when you were informed of the decision. Information on how to lodge an appeal can be found in your decision. In order for your employer to be notified of the decision, they need to have power of attorney to represent you in your case.

Read more about what happens if you are in Sweden and the Swedish Migration Agency rejects your application

If you do not apply online

If you are not able to apply online, you must fill out the form Application for a Swedish residence permit for self-employed persons, number 125011, and submit it to a Swedish embassy or consulate-general in your country of residence. The application form specifies which documents to enclose. Contact the embassy or consulate-general before you submit your application.

Application for a Swedish residence permit for self-employed persons, form number 125011 (in English)PDF

Application for permit for family members of employees, visiting researchers, athletes and self-employed persons, form number 133011 (in English)PDF

Find your closest embassy at Swedenabroad.comexternal link, opens in new window

If there is no possibility to submit an application in your country, you must apply at the embassy or consulate-general closest to your country of residence. Contact the embassy or consulate-general before you submit your application for further information.

If you are applying at an embassy or consulate-general, you pay the fee when you hand in your application. For more information about the fee, contact the embassy or consulate-general where you are applying, as they do not have the same fees and terms of payment as the Migration Agency.

Last updated: 2018-07-09

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If you wish to ask the Migration Agency a question you can find our contact details under the heading Contact us.