Swedish Citizenship

Swedish citizenship legislation stems from a fundamental idea of citizenship that is based on affinity with Sweden. Jus sanguinis, which means that citizenship is acquired at birth if one of the parents is a Swedish citizen, has a strong influence on the rules. Another fundamental principle is to avoid statelessness. Sweden has accepted dual citizenship since 2001.

A happy lady on a bike Photo: Johnér

Becoming a Swedish citizen

People wishing to apply for Swedish citizenship or wanting to know more about citizenship issues should begin by contacting the Swedish Migration Board.

What does Swedish citizenship entail?

Citizenship is a legal relationship between an individual and the state. Citizenship entail freedoms, rights and obligations, and provides a basis for representative government. The most tangible proof of citizenship is the Swedish passport or the national identification card.

People with permanent residence permits

Foreign nationals who have permanent resident permits (PUTs) and are registered as resident in Sweden largely have the same rights and obligations as Swedish citizens. However, there are some differences. Only Swedish citizens have an absolute right to reside in Sweden, and only Swedish citizens are entitled to vote in Riksdag elections. A foreign citizen cannot be elected to the Riksdag either. There are also a number of posts, such as those of police officers, career officers in the Swedish Armed Forces and some safety service officers, that can only be filled by Swedish citizens.

Dual citizenship

Under the Swedish Citizenship Act, it is possible to hold dual citizenship. A person acquiring Swedish citizenship can retain their previous citizenship if the law in the other country so permits. Similarly, a person who is a Swedish citizen and acquires another citizenship may retain their Swedish citizenship if the other country's legislation does not prevent this.

Changes to the Swedish Citizenship Act entering into force 1 April 2015

Swedish citizenship is the most important legal relationship between the citizen and the state. It is a basis for Swedish democracy and represents a significant link with Sweden. The aim is to use the Swedish citizenship as an incentive to promote integration. The Parliament has decided changes to the Swedish Citizenship Act. The changes enter into force 1 April 2015.

The most important changes are:

  • A preamble is introduced stating that Swedish citizenship stands for affinity with Sweden and links all citizens. Swedish citizenship consists of rights and responsibilities.
  • All municipalities are obliged to hold annual citizenship ceremonies for new citizens in order to celebrate their new citizenship.
  • Rules regarding the automatic acquisition of citizenship at birth changes so that a child always acquires Swedish citizenship at birth if one of the child's parents is a Swedish citizen.
  • Children and young people's opportunities to obtain Swedish citizenship are facilitated through shorter requirements for domicile and permanent residency in Sweden.
  • The time-periods for notification of citizenship for stateless children and young people are extended.
  • The possibility to recover Swedish citizenship for persons, who lost their citizenship in accordance with an earlier law that sought to limit dual citizenship, is introduced without time limitations.

Minister responsible

Ministry responsible