Work permits for au pairs

If you are a citizen of a non-EU country and want to be an au pair, you need to obtain a work permit. The purpose of your stay in Sweden must be to obtain international experience and the opportunity to learn Swedish language and culture.

Citizens of certain countries also need a visa to work for less than three months.

Countries whose citizens require a visa for visits shorter than three monthsexternal link, opens in new window

Learn more about applying for a entry visa

Requirements for obtaining a work permit

In order to obtain a work permit, you must

  • have a valid passport
  • be 18–30 years old
  • show that you have a definite interest in or use for Swedish language studies
  • have a certificate of admission to studies in Swedish
  • have a written job offer from a family in Sweden, indicating that you will be doing light housework for no more than 25 hours per week
  • not bring any family members with you

Household and studies combined must not exceed 40 hours per week.

A permit to work as an au pair may be granted for up to one year.

Read more about the requirements to which your host family is subject

A previous period spent as an au pair in another country immediately prior to the planned stay in Sweden could reduce the chances of you being granted a permit in Sweden. The reason is that this could be an indication that it is a question of regular work as a nanny or a similar position and not as an au pair.

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 work permits

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 and whether you have permission to live in countries other than your country of origin. Make sure to extend your passport if it is about to expire – you cannot obtain a work permit for longer than your passport's period of validity
  • a written job offer from the host family specifying the conditions of your employment as an au pair
  • a certificate of admission to Swedish studies specifying the number of hours per week you will be studying.

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 obtain a 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 the embassy or consulate general as soon as possible to have your picture and fingerprints taken. Your photo and fingerprints cannot be saved, so you need to go through the process even if you had a residence permit card before. Contact the embassy or consulate general before your visit.

If you do not need a visa for travel to Sweden, as soon as possible after your arrival in Sweden you should book an appointment to be photographed and fingerprinted.

Learn more about the residence permit card

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

Check if your application has been registered or if a decision has been made in your case

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 obtain a permit for the period during which you have been offered employment but not past the time for which your passport remains valid.

The Swedish embassy or consulate general will hand over or send the residence permit card to you as soon as it is ready. Don't forget that it might take up to four weeks to make and send the card to the embassy or consulate general after you receive your decision. You must show your residence permit card along with a valid passport when entering Sweden.

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.

If your permit is valid for less than three months, you will not receive a residence permit card and will need to show the decision together with your passport.

Check if your application has been registered or if a decision has been made in your case

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

Book an appointment at the Migration Agency in Sweden to be fingerprinted and photographed if you can travel without a visa

Important information about insurance

You need to have an insurance policy that will cover any costs that may arise in connection with illness or injury when you are living in Sweden. If you are registered in the Swedish population register you are covered by the Swedish social insurance system. If you are not registered in the population register it is important that you get your own health insurance policy.

To be registered in the Swedish population register you generally need to have been granted a residence permit in Sweden for at least one year and plan to stay here for a year or longer.

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

Switching host families

Although your permit entitles you to work only as an au pair, you can switch host families without submitting a new application.

Extending your permit

A permit to work as an au pair may be granted for up to one year. You can have your permit extended if you have had it for less than one year and are offered the opportunity to continue working with the same host family or a new one. Make sure to submit your application before your current permit expires. If you have had a work permit for at least six months and you apply before it expires, you have the right to continue working while waiting for the decision. Remember that you cannot obtain a permit for longer than your passport remains valid.

How to apply

You apply online to extend you permit. Apply no earlier than 30 days before your current permit expires.

In most cases you need to pay a fee.

Fees for work permits

What you have to send 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 and whether you have permission to live in countries other than your country of origin
  • a written job offer from the host family specifying the conditions of your employment as an au pair
  • a certificate of admission to Swedish studies specifying the number of hours per week you will be studying.

Learn more about the requirements for an online application

Once we have received your application

If you submit an application for an extension before your previous permit expires, you have the right to remain in Sweden while you are waiting.

If you go abroad when your permit expires, you may have trouble re-entering Sweden until your new permit is granted. In that case, you might have to wait for your new decision outside Sweden.

If you obtain a permit, you will also receive a residence permit card. The card, which is proof that you have a residence permit, contains your photo and fingerprints. Book an appointment as soon as possible to have your picture and fingerprints taken. Your photo and fingerprints cannot be saved, so you need to go through the process even if you had a residence permit card before.

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

Learn more about the residence permit card

After the decision has been made

The decision will be sent to your address in Sweden. Once the residence permit card is ready, it will be sent to you within approximately one week.

If the Migration Agency refuses your application

If the Migration Agency refuses your application, you can appeal against the decision within three weeks from the date you received it. Information on how to do this is found in your decision.

Begin application

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If you do not apply online

If you are not able to apply online, you must fill out the form Application by au pair, number 131011, 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 by au pair, form number 131011 (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.

If you want to extend your permit, fill out the form Application by au pair, number 131011. The application form specifies which documents to enclose.

Send your application to the

Swedish Migration Agency
Box 3100
903 03 Umeå

Application by au pair, form number 131011 (in English)PDF

In most cases you must pay a fee.

Learn more about fees and how to pay

Last updated: 8 December 2015