Getting citizenship in Sweden is actually quite easy compared to in other countries. As of writing this article there is no language requirement or any test that needs to be taken. The requirements of getting citizenship in Sweden will vary depending on your grounds for getting it and the application process will also be slightly different. This article will be focusing on how third-country nationals can obtain citizenship and we will mainly be focusing on two scenarios:
- If you are a dependent to a Swedish citizen
- If you are not a dependent to a Swedish citizen
Dependent to a Swedish citizen
Have you been living with (dependent to) your Swedish (cohabitating partner, spouse, or a registered partner) for at least 2 years in Sweden? Then you will only need to have established residence (proof of living) in Sweden for 3 consecutive years in order to become a Swedish citizen. This is much faster than the 5 years that are generally required.
If you are not a dependent to a Swedish citizen
Are you not a cohabiting partner, spouse, or a registered partner of a Swedish citizen? Then you will need to have established residence (lived) in Sweden for at least 5 consecutive years in order to apply for citizenship.
What permit types count towards my residence in Sweden
Even though you may have been living in Sweden for the required number of years, you may not be able to count all of the time towards your residence. This may sound a bit strange.
The Migration Agency will only take into consideration the years you have spent in Sweden on one single permit. This means that time spent on certain student permits may not be counted. You can find an article about some of the permits that can lead to permanent residence here.
Time spent in Sweden
When the Migration Agency reviews the time you have spent in Sweden, they will also look at the time that you have spent abroad. If you have been abroad for more than 6 weeks in total during a year, it will be considered to be a break from your residence and the time abroad will need to be compensated. This means that if you were absent for 7 weeks during a year, you will need to have lived in Sweden for 5 years and 7 weeks. Or 3 years and 7 weeks if you are a dependent to a Swedish citizen.
A question that people commonly have regarding the absence is what the Migration Agency means when they say “a year”. Do they, for example, look at calendar years or do they start counting the years from the date of arrival? From our experience the case officers count the years from your date of arrival. This is, however, something that could change.
Criminal history, taxes, and debt
In order to obtain citizenship after the time periods mentioned, you should have paid your taxes, no any criminal history, and no debt with the Swedish Enforcement Authority. To be clear, having any of these does not automatically disqualify you from applying for citizenship in Sweden, but you may need to delay the application.
If you have outstanding taxes, you should settle this before submitting your application. If you, however, have had payments/debt sent to the Swedish Enforcement Authority, you will need to wait an additional 2 years to apply after having settled your debt.
As for crimes, the Migration Agency has a table with additional waiting times here.
You can find the application form and some additional information about the application process on the Migration Agency’s website here.