Engineer in the Gothenburg region
Ulf Lundin/

Residence and work permits

Sweden has a range of permit options and the process varies depending on where you are from and the purpose of your stay. 

EU citizens

As an EU citizen you have the right to work, study or live in Sweden without a residence permit. You also have the right to start and operate a private business. The right of EU citizens to stay in Sweden without a residence permit is called the right of residence. If you are employed, self-employed, a student or can support yourself financially, you have right of residence and don’t need to contact the Swedish Migration Agency. You can read more on: Swedish Migration Agency – Work, study or live in Sweden for EU citizens.

This illustration gives a general overview for an EU citizen of the administrative process of moving to Sweden. It highlights the required steps depending on if you are an employee, an accompanying spouse or a student. The illustration clearly shows the necessary requirements for registration with the different local Swedish authorities and the order in which each step must be taken. Following the correct order and timing of these steps is crucial to achieving as smooth and efficient a process as possible so please take careful note of the requirements for your particular circumstances.


Non-EU citizens

In general, non-EU citizens must apply for a work permit in order to work in Sweden; although some special rules apply for certain occupations (e.g. visiting researchers) and citizens of certain countries.

To obtain a work permit, you must be offered a job from a Swedish employer, and the job has to meet certain requirements. For example, it must be advertised in Sweden and in the EU/EEA and Switzerland, usually via the EURES portal, for at least 10 days; it must have a monthly salary of at least SEK 13,000; and the terms must be on a par with Swedish collective agreements or occupation and industry standards. You also need a valid passport.

Your employer initiates the application by submitting an offer of employment to the Swedish Migration Agency. In most cases, the application fee is SEK 2,000.

Unless you are offered a job in a profession on Sweden’s labour shortage list (only in Swedish), you should apply for and be granted a work permit before entering Sweden. You can find out more about the requirements, how to apply and processing times on: Swedish Migration Agency – Working in Sweden.


Good to know

Your work permit is for a specific employer and occupation. You may need to apply for a new one if you change jobs.


Bringing family members

If you are eligible for a work permit, your spouse/cohabiting partner and children up to the age of 21, as well as children over 21 who are financially dependent on you, can also join you for the duration of your stay. If your work permit is for more than six months, your family members can also obtain work permits. You can read more about how to apply on: Swedish Migration – Permits for family members


Are you self-employed?

If you are self-employed and plan on working in Sweden for more than three months, you must apply for a residence permit - and you cannot enter Sweden until the permit has been granted. As a self-employed person you are not allowed to take on employment from any employer. You can read more on: Swedish Migration Agency – Self employment.   


Moving to someone in Sweden

If your spouse or registered partner is a Swedish citizen or a permanent resident, you will need to obtain a residence permit in order to join them in Sweden. You can read more on: Swedish Migration Agency – Moving to someone in Sweden.


International & doctoral students

You must have a residence permit in order to study or work as a doctoral student at a university or college in Sweden. You can read more about how to apply on: Swedish Migration Agency - studying in Sweden.

Working during your studies
If you are studying at a Swedish university or college, you can work alongside your studies, providing you have a valid residence permit for studies. There are no restrictions on the number of hours you are allowed to work.

Working after your studies
If you’re a citizen of a non-EU country, you can apply to extend your residence permit for up to six months so that you can look for work or start your own business. You can read more about the requirements and how to apply on: Swedish Migration Agency – After your studies.  

Family members
Your family members are eligible for residence permits for the same period of time as your residence permit. If this is longer than six months, they can also obtain a work permit.


More information

For more information on all of the above topics, visit the Sweden Abroad and the Swedish Migration Agency websites. You can also contact your local Swedish embassy or consulate general.

Want to know more about extending your stay or becoming a citizen? You can find more information here.