Obtaining permanent residence in Sweden is relatively easy compared to many other countries. There are, however, only certain permit types that can transition over to permanent residence. We have listed the main permit types here that people generally obtain permanent residence through:
- Standard work permit
- Guest researcher
- Doctoral student
- EU blue card
- ICT permits
Student permits are unfortunately not one of the permits that can be used as a basis for permanent residence. Student permits are seen by the Migration Agency as a temporary permit and therefore should not lead to permanent residence. As you can see in the above list, there is one exception to this. If you have a permit as a doctoral student, the Migration Agency will be able to grant you permanent residence once you meet the requirements.
We would also like to mention that any accompanying dependents to someone holding these permit types will also generally be eligible for permanent residence once the main applicant has obtained it. Dependents who have been living in Sweden for at least 2 years together with the main applicant on a dependent permit can be granted permanent residence at the same time that the main applicant is.
Obtaining permanent residence in Sweden: Standard work permit, EU blue card, guest researcher, and doctoral students
The process for obtaining permanent residence in Sweden as someone holding a standard work permit, EU blue card, guest researcher, and doctoral student are relatively similar. In order to obtain permanent residence, the core requirement is to have held a permit for a combined period of 4 years in Sweden (excluding time spent on student permits) during the past 7 years. Once you have held one of these permits in Sweden for 4 years, the Migration Agency will assess your permanent residence situation together with your extension application after 4 years.
We have outlined some of the basic requirements for each permit below:
Work permits and EU blue cards
In order to obtain permanent residence through these permits, you will need to have held a permit for 4 years. You will also need to have:
- Received a salary that is in line with the collective agreement/practice within the industry
- Been covered by the mandatory insurances (health insurance, occupational injury insurance, life insurance, and pension insurance)
- Worked in Sweden for at least 44 out of the 48 months your permit will have been valid for
If you meet the above requirements, it is likely that you will obtain permanent residence.
Guest researcher permits
More commonly referred to simply as “researcher permits”, they are one of the easiest permits to obtain permanent residence on. The reason for this is that researcher permits are generally granted for 4 years immediately. Other permit types, such as work permits or student permits, can only be granted for 2 years at a time.
After the initial 4 year permit, you will be able to apply for obtaining permanent residence in Sweden. Together with the application you will need to submit, and a certificate from your employer confirming all of the periods that you have been absent from work. “Absence” in this regard refers to missing work due to other reasons than standard paid vacation, sick leave, or parental leave.
If you have been conducting research abroad for significant periods (several months at a time), the Migration Agency may be unable to grant you permanent residence as you may not meet the physical requirement in Sweden. Generally the Migration Agency will grant permanent residence if the individual has been working in Sweden for at least 44 out of the 48 months.
For researchers the Migration Agency can, however, be more lenient and we have seen cases where people who have only worked in Sweden for 24 out of the 48 months have been granted permanent residence. This is based on a case-by-case assessment, so they may not be as lenient in your case.
Doctoral student permits
If you hold a permit as a doctoral student, you may be able to receive permanent residence once you have been in Sweden for at least 4 years on this permit. As doctoral programs tend to go on for at least 4-5 years, many people are obtaining permanent residence in Sweden during their studies.
Once you have held a permit for 4 years and are applying for an extension, you will need to submit a letter from the university/college confirming that you have made appropriate progress in your studies. It will also need to state when you intend on concluding your studies. If you have this letter, it is generally possible for the Migration Agency to grant you permanent residence.
An ICT permit is issued for intra-corporate transfers, where the individual is coming to Sweden on an assignment and intends on returning back to their home-country employer at some point. ICT permits are issued for up to a combined period of 3 years. This means that the initial permit is granted for 2 years and the extension after that is valid for only 1 year.
It is, however, possible to be granted permanent residence in Sweden based on an ICT permit. The Migration Agency is able to look back during the past 7 years when reviewing one’s eligibility for permanent residence. This means that once you have concluded your initial 3 year stay, you can leave Sweden and apply again for another permit. There is currently no specified period that you need to be abroad before applying so you can do this immediately.
Once you have obtained your next permit you can request that it should only be granted for 1 year. This means that you will in total have held a permit for 4 years during the past 7 years and can therefore request to be granted permanent residence.