To those seeking asylum in Sweden
Your application for asylum will be considered by the Swedish Migration Agency. The rules for who can be given asylum in Sweden are contained in the UN Refugee Convention, the EU’s general regulations and Swedish law.
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This information sheet gives you summarised information about how your application for asylum is handled by the Migration Agency and about the rights and responsibilities you have as an asylum seeker in Sweden. You will be given more information later on, and will also have the opportunity to ask questions.
In Sweden all applications for asylum are considered individually by the Swedish Migration Agency. Sweden will grant you a residence permit if you are a refugee or in need of protection for other reasons.
According to the UN Refugee Convention and Swedish law, you are a refugee if you are experiencing a well-founded fear of persecution on grounds of
- religious or political belief
- sexual orientation
- belonging to a certain social group.
The persecution can come from the authorities of your country of origin. It can also be the case that the authorities are unable or unwilling to provide protection against persecution from individual persons or groups.
If you have refugee status, you are normally granted a residence permit for three years.
Person in need of subsidiary protection
According to Swedish law, you are in need of subsidiary protection if you
- risk facing the death penalty
- risk being subjected to corporal punishment, torture or other inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment
- are at risk of serious injury as a civilian for reasons of armed conflict.
Persons who have a status as being in need of subsidiary protection are normally granted a residence permit for 13 months.
Applying for asylum
To apply for asylum in Sweden, you must come to the Migration Agency in person. The Application Unit will receive and register your application for asylum.
You will be photographed and asked to leave your fingerprints. Your fingerprints are used, amongst other things, to see whether you have applied for asylum in another country in Europe.
You will meet a case officer who will ask you questions, through an interpreter, about who you are, why you have left your country of origin and how you travelled to Sweden. You will also be asked questions about your family circumstances and your health. We do this in order to prepare for investigating your application. You will need to answer more questions about your reasons for asylum at the investigation.
If you have any special needs, for example a disability, that is, if you have a diminished capacity to function physically, mentally or intellectually, you should inform the Migration Agency of this. If your disability makes it difficult for you to communicate with the Migration Agency when applying for asylum, you are entitled to help.
At the application unit you can also get information about how the asylum process works and you will be given the chance to ask questions. When your application is registered, you will be given a temporary receipt for your application for asylum. Keep this receipt until you get an LMA card, which identifies you as an asylum seeker.
Tell us who you are
To enable the Migration Agency to determine whether you have the right to asylum, you will need to prove who you are and where you come from. The best way of proving this is to submit your passport or identification card when applying for asylum. An identity document must be issued by the authorities in your country of origin and contain a photograph of you. It must show your name, your citizenship and when you were born.
It is your responsibility to obtain documents proving your identity. If you do not have any identity documents with you when you come to the Migration Agency to apply for asylum, the case officer will ask you to submit identity documents as soon as possible.
If you are finding it difficult to find identity documents, you must show the Migration Agency that you are trying. If you have other documents that show your identity, for example a driving licence, birth certificate, proof of citizenship or military records, you should submit these. Such documents cannot individually prove who you are, but several of them can, along with your account of your background and country of origin, help to make your identity seem likely.
If you have made every attempt to prove who you are, you may be entitled to work while waiting for a decision.
You cannot choose which country should consider your application for asylum (the Dublin Regulation)
When you have submitted your application for asylum, the Migration Agency will investigate whether your application should be considered in Sweden or in another EU country. If you have been given a visa for, have had certain types of residence permits in, or have applied for asylum in another EU country on your way to Sweden, you may have to return to that country. These rules are contained in the Dublin Regulation. You can read more about this in the information sheet "I have applied for asylum within the EU – which country will process my application?". (This brochure is not available in all languages.)
While you wait
If your application for asylum is to be decided in Sweden, you may remain here while you wait for a decision. During this time you will be in contact with one of the Migration Agency’s reception units. Staff at the reception unit do not decide whether you will be given asylum or not. The reception unit helps you with practical matters, such as finances and accommodation. The reception unit will also contact you when you have received a decision, so that you can get information about what the decision means for you and what you will have to do.
The reception unit will invite you to a group information meeting. At the meeting you will be given useful information for asylum seekers. This can be information about accommodation, for example, or finances or health and medical care. You will be given information about laws, other authorities and about organisations that work to help asylum seekers, for example. This is very important information which you will you find useful while waiting for a decision.
You will be given a lot of information, at the application unit as well as the reception unit. You may feel as though you are getting too much information all at once. Save the papers you are given so that you can read the information again when you need to, and ask questions the next time you see a case officer.
If you are living in accommodation provided by the Migration Agency, you will sometimes see staff from the Migration Agency who are working there or visiting. The staff are unable to answer questions about your application for asylum, but they can help you to find the information you are looking for.
Waiting for an asylum investigation
It may take a long time before you can come to an asylum investigation. Waiting times can also vary from person to person.
At the asylum investigation you will be able to tell us more about why you are seeking asylum in Sweden, what has happened to you and what you think may happen if you have to return to your country of origin.
You may be called to several meetings before you get a decision. Come at the times the Migration Agency has booked for you. It is difficult to make new appointments and you may have to wait longer for a decision if we have to rearrange times.
Notify us of your address
If you move while waiting for a decision, you must notify the Migration Agency of your new address, so that we can reach you when the time comes for your investigation or other meetings. Check your mail regularly so that you do not miss information from the Migration Agency.
When you apply for asylum in Sweden, you will be given a receipt for your application. There is a number on the receipt which you can give when contacting the Migration Agency. This will make it easier for the case officer to find your details. Approximately one week after submitting your application, you may collect a card from your reception unit. The card is called an LMA card and replaces the receipt.
You should keep your LMA card with you at all times as proof that you are an asylum seeker and have the right to remain in Sweden during the time you are waiting for a decision. You will need to have your card with you at all times when receiving healthcare so that you are given the care you are entitled to, at a lower charge.
You may either arrange your own accommodation or live in accommodation the Migration Agency provides for you. If you have your own money, you must pay for the accommodation the Migration Agency provides for you. If you have made your own arrangements for your accommodation, you must pay the rent yourself.
If you live in accommodation provided by the Migration Agency, you cannot choose where to live and you may have to move during the waiting time. Remember to notify the Migration Agency of your address if you arrange your accommodation yourself.
You are entitled to specially adapted accommodation if you have special needs. This may apply to you if, for example, you have a disability, suffer from physical or mental illness, are a LGBT person, pregnant or elderly. Tell the Migration Agency about your needs as soon as possible, and we’ll do our best to find the right kind of accommodation for you.
It is important that everyone in the home respects each other and shows each other consideration, regardless of their religion, culture or sexual orientation, for example. Let the Migration Agency know if you feel you are not safe in the home.
Health and medical care
As an asylum seeker, you are entitled to emergency healthcare, emergency dental care and urgent medical care. The healthcare service will decide what kind of care you can get. If you show your LMA card, you pay lower charges for healthcare and some medicines. Children and young people under 18 seeking asylum are entitled to the same free healthcare as young people resident in Sweden.
All asylum seekers are invited to a free health check at a health centre. The health check will not affect your application for asylum. It is there for you and to enable you to get prompt assistance if you need care. At the health check you will be given advice about health matters, the option of having tests done, and information about the health and medical care service in Sweden. Let the healthcare staff know if you have any disabilities, illnesses or other complaints for which you need special care.
The healthcare staff do not work for the Migration Agency and are bound by a duty of confidentiality.
As an asylum seeker, you may work in Sweden without a work permit if
- your application is to be considered in Sweden
- you have made attempts to clarify your identity
- your application is not assessed as clearly unfounded.
If you meet these requirements, you are entitled to work.
If you have been working and have had your application for asylum refused, you may continue to work until you leave the country, or for as long as you make preparations to leave the country. If you are granted a residence permit, this means you may continue to work.
You can contact the Swedish Employment Service (www.arbetsformedlingen.se External link, opens in new window.) to look for work.
If you are unable to work, or do not have your own money, you may apply for a daily allowance. The money you get from the Migration Agency should be sufficient for food, clothing and personal expenses. If you receive an allowance from the Migration Agency, it is important that you let the Migration Agency know if your finances change, for example, if you find work, or if you change your address. A change of address may result in a change in the amount of the daily allowance. Providing false information or failing to provide information may be considered a crime and the Migration Agency may report this to the police.
All children and young people seeking asylum are entitled to go to school and pre-school. The municipality in which you live is responsible for providing access for children and young people seeking asylum to school and pre-school on the same conditions as for others living in the municipality. To make it easier for the municipality to offer your child a place at school, you must give your consent for the Migration Agency to provide the municipality with details of your child’s name, date of birth, language, country of origin and case number. You may also contact the municipality yourself and tell them you would like your children to go to school or pre-school.
As an adult, you may start learning Swedish for Immigrants (SFI) when you are given a residence permit for Sweden. But if you want to learn Swedish while you wait for a decision, there are lots of voluntary organisations and adult education associations arranging study groups in Swedish. Ask your reception unit what opportunities there are to study Swedish where you live.
In a lot of places activities for asylum seekers are arranged by, for example, voluntary organisations, adult education associations and churches. Staff at the Migration Agency can give you information on what organisations there are where you live. Not all organisations can be found in small towns. Ask your reception unit if you would like to get in touch with an organisation with a particular focus.
At the asylum investigation you will be able to tell us, through an interpreter, more about your reasons for seeking asylum, that is, why you are seeking protection in Sweden. You are the one who knows best why you have left your country of origin. It is important, therefore, that you tell us everything that has happened to you in your country and what you think may happen if you are forced to return. You must tell us what has happened precisely to you, not just about the situation in your country of origin.
The Migration Agency can only make a correct assessment of your reasons if you tell us everything that is important for your decision to leave your country of origin. The case officer will help you by asking you questions in order to find out what is important for your application.
If you have any documents or anything else that supports your statement, you should bring these along to the asylum investigation. If necessary, the Migration Agency will have the material translated.
Things that are hard to talk about
Some things are hard to talk about, but then they can be all the more important to tell us about. The case officer is bound by a duty of confidentiality and may only pass on what you have said to others who are also working on your application. The interpreter is bound by the same duty of confidentiality as the case officer. If you need to, you can ask for a break in the investigation.
If you would prefer a female or a male case officer, you should let us know in good time before the investigation.
Most people seeking asylum are entitled to a public legal advisor. If you are entitled to a public legal advisor, the Migration Agency will appoint a trained lawyer who will look after your interests and provide legal assistance during the period the Migration Agency considers your application.
The Migration Agency appoints and pays for the legal advisor, but the legal advisor works independently of the Migration Agency and other authorities. You may propose a person, or request to have a male or female legal advisor. Let us know in good time before the investigation. Even if you are not entitled to a legal advisor paid for by the Migration Agency, you may choose to hire a legal advisor you pay for yourself.
The work and role of the interpreter
An interpreter participates in a lot of meetings with the Migration Agency and interprets what is said. Sometimes the interpreter is present and at other times the interpreter participates via phone or screen. Consider making breaks while talking, to enable the interpreter to relay what you have said. Wait while he or she interprets before you start speaking again.
Interpreters have to abide by certain rules. Before interpreting, interpreters must inform both parties of their role, their duty of confidentiality and their obligation to interpret everything that is said in the room. Interpreters interpret everything that is said, without adding or detracting anything. Interpreters must be neutral, which means they must not express their views on politics, religion or anything else. Interpreters must be impartial. This means that the interpreter must not get involved, or try to help anyone, or show that he or she is on anyone’s side during the conversation.
It is very important that you let us know if you do not understand the interpreter, or do not feel comfortable with him or her for other reasons. You may interrupt the meeting and ask for another interpreter. Let us know in good time beforehand if you would like a male or a female interpreter.
If you are granted a residence permit
If you are granted a residence permit, you may live and work in Sweden. Once you have been given your residence permit, you should go to the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket), where you will be entered in the Civil Registry and given a personal identity number. As proof of your residence permit, you will get a residence permit card from the Migration Agency. The card is sent to your reception unit.
The most common residence permit for people who have applied for asylum in Sweden is a temporary permit, which is valid for one or three years.
Extending the permit
When your temporary residence permit expires, you may apply for an extension. It is important to apply for an extension before your temporary residence permit expires, but not earlier than three months before.
You can receive an extended residence permit if you are still in need of protection.
If your application is refused
A refusal means the Migration Agency has determined that you do not have sufficient grounds to remain in Sweden. If your application is refused, you have two options: you can either accept the decision and return to your country of origin, or appeal.
If your application for asylum is refused, you will receive a decision on expulsion or deportation. This is normally valid for four years from the date on which the decision takes effect. If you return to Sweden during that time, you may be expelled or deported again. In such case, you will not be entitled to have your case considered again or to support from the Migration Agency.
Entitlement to accommodation and financial support ceases
If your application for asylum has been refused, you are no longer entitled to financial assistance. This applies to adults not living with children under 18 years of age for whom they are guardians. Financial support refers, for example, to a daily allowance and accommodation provided by the Migration Agency. Your entitlement ceases when the decision on expulsion or deportation enters into force and you may no longer appeal, or when the deadline for you to leave voluntarily expires. You must then leave Sweden.
Families with children may continue living in the temporary accommodations provided by the Swedish Migration Agency and keep the right to financial support until they leave Sweden or for some other reason are deregistered from the reception unit. If you apply for a work permit after your refusal decision has become effective, you will be deregistered from your reception unit and no longer have a right to financial support or help with accommodations. The same applies to your family members who are applying for residence permits together with you.
If you want to appeal
If you choose to appeal, this means you are asking a court to consider the decision. You should send your appeal to the Migration Agency. It must be received by the Agency before the decision comes into effect, which is three weeks from the date you were made aware of the decision. If you have a legal advisor, he or she may be able to help you.
The Migration Agency will examine your appeal first, to see whether the decision should be changed. If the Migration Agency does not consider that the decision needs to be changed, it will forward your appeal to a migration court, which will consider your case. If you do not agree with the migration court’s ruling, you can ask the Migration Court of Appeal(Migrationsöverdomstolen) to consider your case.
The Migration Court of Appeal will only consider certain cases that are important in principle for providing guidance for future decisions. If you are advised that the Migration Court of Appeal will not be considering your appeal, the decision takes effect immediately.
If you change your mind and want to withdraw your appeal, you may inform the Migration Agency that you accept the decision on refusal. The court will then cancel your appeal and it will not be considered.
You have some time to leave the country of your own accord from the date on which the decision to refuse your application takes effect. The decision tells you how much time you have to leave the country and it is your responsibility to leave the country on time. You may get support from the Migration Agency to return to your country of origin or to another country where you have the right to live. The Migration Agency may help you, for example, with contacts in your country of origin or to book your journey.
Some people may also receive financial support to help them get started in their country of origin and a certain number may get help with reintegration support, such as legal assistance, or help to get onto the labour market in their country of origin. Ask the case officer about so-called re-establishment support if you would like to know more.
If you do not leave the country within the time stated in your decision, you may get a re-entry ban. You will then not be allowed to re-enter the Schengen Area, Bulgaria or Romania for a period of one year. It is important that you are aware of when you must leave the country.
You can also get a re-entry ban if the Migration Agency believes that you will not leave voluntarily.
If you receive an order for refusal of entry with immediate effect, you will always get a re-entry ban.
If you do not cooperate
If the Migration Agency believes that you are not cooperating to return to your country of origin, you may lose your daily allowance. The Migration Agency may also keep you under supervision or take you into detention. Supervision means you must report regularly at certain times and places. You may also be forced to hand over your passport or other identity document. To be detained means you must live in a locked facility that you may not leave.
If the Migration Agency considers that it is not possible to enforce the expulsion or deportation on the grounds that you are not cooperating, the police may assume responsibility for ensuring you leave the country. The police have the right to summon and search for you, and may use force to get you to leave the country.
If new information is presented after you have received a final refusal, the Migration Agency may consider whether the new information means you cannot be expelled. It could be, for example, that the situation in your country of origin has deteriorated or that you have become extremely ill. The Migration Agency can consider this on its own initiative or after you have requested the Migration Agency to do so.
If you want to know more
You will be invited to several meetings where you will be given information about what it is important to know while you wait.
The case officer at the application unit will tell you what support you can get with regard to, for example, your accommodation, finances, healthcare and schooling for your children.
After the application unit has registered your application for asylum, you will be assigned to a reception unit. The reception unit will invite you to a group information meeting and you will be given local information about the place where you are living.
The reception unit will also invite you to meetings when there is something new to tell you about your case. When you get a decision, a case officer will explain what the decision means for you and what you will need to do.
If you have any questions, you can ask your reception unit or call the customer service number 0771-235 235. The customer service telephone hours are Monday to Friday, 08.00–16.00.
You can also read more at www.migrationsverket.se/asylum.
At www.informationsverige.se/en External link, opens in new window. you can read more about how Swedish society functions.
If you have an urgent need to reach the police, ambulance or fire service, you should call 112.
If you would like to speak to the police on a matter that is not urgent, you should call 114 14.
If you have questions about your health or healthcare, you can call 1177.