Information on visas

The purpose of Swedish and EU visa policy is to have as free an exchange of visits as possible, within the framework of regulated immigration. The citizens of some countries need to have visas to visit Sweden.

Visas are issued for short-term visits. A visa is a permit that must be applied for before entering the Schengen area (including Sweden) for a short period. The aim of the visit may be to visit relatives or friends, a tourist visit, a business visit, to participate in a conference or just to travel through (transit). The decision whether to grant a visa is made in advance of the visit.

The Schengen Agreement

Sweden has been party to the Schengen Agreement since 2001. Under the Agreement, the Schengen countries have common visa rules. This means that these countries decide together which countries' citizens must have visas to travel into the Schengen area. There are also common instructions for all the parties to the Agreement which are to ensure that procedures in connection with visa applications are as similar as possible.

Visas issued for the Schengen countries apply to the entire Schengen area. With a Schengen visa, a third country citizen can enter a Schengen country and then travel freely throughout the entire Schengen area, since border checks of persons travelling across the national borders of these countries have been eliminated. The Schengen Agreement therefore makes it easier for many travellers who no longer need to apply for visas at several embassies when they plan to visit several Schengen countries on the same journey.

How to apply for a visa

Applications for visas to Sweden are made at a Swedish embassy. Relevant addresses can be found under 'Embassies and consulates' under 'Related information'. In places where Sweden does not have an embassy, another Schengen country can represent Sweden, process an application and issue visas on Sweden's behalf. In some places Sweden is represented by another Schengen country even though there is a local Swedish Embassy.

Who makes decisions on visas?

Swedish embassies and consulates-general are independent decision-making agencies for visas, sometimes after specific checks have been made with other Schengen countries. Normally, the embassy makes a decision within a month, but processing times at embassies and consulates-general vary. You can appeal against the rejection of a visa application. Any appeal must be submitted to the embassy which made the decision.

Where does the visa apply and for how long a period?

A Schengen visa is valid for a maximum of three months in a six-month period. The number of days depends on the duration of and reason for the stay in Sweden and the Schengen area. A visa is usually valid for entry into all the Schengen countries. In exceptional cases, it may only apply for a stay in the country that issued it.

Read more about visas and application procedures

Detailed information on visas and application forms can be found on the Swedish embassy websites. The Swedish Migration Board website also contains detailed information on visas, work and residence permits and other matters. The website also contains application forms and information in different languages. Links to the Swedish embassy websites and the Swedish Migration Board website can be found under 'External links'.

The members of Schengen

The Schengen countries are Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.