COVID-19 - Impacts on Swedish immigration

As with many other countries, COVID-19 has had a large impact on people’s abilities of traveling to Sweden. Following the EU, Sweden has closed its borders during the pandemic and tourists are no longer allowed entry until the situation has improved. 

While tourists are not permitted, there are some exceptions to the current COVID-19 travel ban. The exemptions that will affect the largest groups are: 

  • EEA citizens and their family 
  • third-country nationals holding a Schengen residence permit or D-visa 

If you do not fall under the above exemptions there are some more that you can read about on the Swedish police’s website here.

Aside from the travel aspect, there have also been many work permit holders who have suffered from compliance issues as a result of the pandemic. One legal requirement that the Migration Agency has is that work permit holders should travel to Sweden and start working within 4 months. As a result of the pandemic, many embassies have stopped issuing residence permit cards meaning that many work permit holders have not been able to enter Sweden during this 4 month period. Not entering within this period unfortunately means that the individual will have their permit withdrawn by the Migration Agency. 

If you are in the situation mentioned above, please see the below complications that can occur and how you may be able to mitigate some of the issues:

  1. If you have not yet traveled to Sweden:
    If your work permit has been valid for more than 4 months and you have not been able to enter Sweden the general recommendation from the Migration Agency is to contact the Migration Agency, withdraw your current permit, and apply again for a new one. While this is very inconvenient it will help avoid issues that can occur in the future. Not withdrawing the permit can mean a rejection of an extension application meaning that you would need to leave Sweden after already being well established here. This can cause a lot of practical issues and complications.  
  2. If you are already in Sweden:
    If you are already in Sweden but you arrived later than 4 months there are unfortunately some complications that you can expect to happen in the future. The Migration Agency does not actively check when an individual entered so the first control will be made at the time that you apply for an extension of your permit. In many cases the Migration Agency will reject the extension as you did not meet this 4 month entry requirement and you will then be required to leave and apply again from abroad. Knowing this in advance can help you better prepare for this likely option and it could be good to warn your employer of this potential outcome. If you are rejected you are still able to apply again for a new permit for an additional 2 years.