Article from Ministry of Justice

Questions and answers about the rights of UK nationals in Sweden after the transition period

Published Updated

UK nationals living in Sweden at the end of the transition period, that is 31 December 2020, need to apply for new ‘residence status’, in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement, to be able to continue living and working in Sweden. Anyone who is granted residence status will have the right to live and work in Sweden on broadly the same basis as an EU citizen. Residence status is permanent provided the conditions of the Withdrawal Agreement are met.

Applications must be submitted to the Swedish Migration Agency by the end of December 2021 at the latest.

Only UK nationals living in Sweden under EU free movement rules need apply. UK nationals who have a Swedish residence permit have the right to live in Sweden regardless of the Withdrawal Agreement and therefore do not need to apply for residence status. However, they can apply if they want to.

Residence status will be granted to UK nationals and their family members who, at the end of the transition period, are living in Sweden in accordance with the free movement rules that apply within the EU and who will continue to live in Sweden. Certain family members will be able to join a UK national in Sweden and obtain residence status even if they were not living in Sweden by the end of the transition period. Certain family members are entitled to residence status under the Withdrawal Agreement.

Anyone who is granted residence status will have the right to live and work in Sweden on essentially the same basis as an EU citizen. In brief, this means that UK nationals must meet one of the following conditions:

  • are workers or self-employed;
  • have sufficient resources and comprehensive sickness insurance
  • are close family members of another person who meets these conditions;
  • have already acquired the right of permanent residence (in other words, have been lawfully living in Sweden for more than five years and have therefore fulfilled all the conditions).

The conditions that apply to UK nationals are the same as those that apply to EU citizens. A person who is covered by the Withdrawal Agreement and has been lawfully living in Sweden for five years will have the right of permanent residence, just like an EU citizen (that is, the right to reside permanently without having to fulfil the general conditions for the right of permanent residence). A person who has received the right of permanent residence under the Withdrawal Agreement can only lose that right if they are absent from Sweden for more than five years.

The new EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement enters into application on 1 January 2021. The Agreement means that, among other things, free movement between the EU and the UK ends. However, the Agreement contains certain provisions to facilitate trade in services and movement in connection with business travel and intra-corporate transfers, for example. UK nationals will be exempt from a visa requirement for short-term visits that do not exceed 90 days within any 180-day period. After 31 December 2020, UK nationals who want to come to Sweden for long-term stays or residency will have to apply for a residence permit in Sweden in the same way and on the same terms as other people who are not EU citizens. As a general rule, such a permit must have been applied for and granted before entry into Sweden. The possibilities of receiving a permit to come to Sweden to work, conduct research or study, for example, are good. 

The Swedish Migration Agency has been accepting applications for residence status since 1 December 2020.

Read about how to apply and what needs to be submitted with the application here: 
How to apply for resi­dence status on the Swedish Migration Agency's website

No, applications are free of charge.

The Swedish Migration Agency anticipates that it will be able to process the applications within a reasonable period of time. However, no individual is at risk of losing their rights if there is a delay in the processing of their application. Under the Withdrawal Agreement, individuals are covered by the rights set out in the Withdrawal Agreement both during the application period and, provided that they have submitted their application in time, until a final decision has been issued.

An entry ban for travellers from the UK has been in effect since 21 December 2020. The entry ban applies to all travellers with a few exemptions. Since 31 March 2021 the regulations that apply to other countries outside the EU/EEA, third countries, also apply to travel from the United Kingdom. In practice, this means that an entry ban and the requirement of a negative COVID-19 test result for people arriving from the UK remain in effect, with certain exemptions. 

For more information about the entry ban, see
Questions and answers about the entry ban to Sweden

UK nationals who had intended to move to Sweden before 1 January 2021 – but are prevented from doing so by the entry ban – are not covered by the rights in the Withdrawal Agreement and will therefore not be granted residence status. They must instead apply for a residence permit. As a general rule, a residence permit must have been applied for and granted before entry into Sweden.

UK nationals may be expelled from Sweden under the same provisions that apply to EU citizens. This means they that they may be expelled if they do not meet the conditions for staying here or on grounds of public order and security. They may also be expelled if they commit offences, in the same way that EU citizens may be expelled in such situations.