Questions and answers about the rights of UK nationals in Sweden after the transition period
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What applies to UK nationals who have moved to Sweden before the end of the year and still live in Sweden?
UK nationals living in Sweden at the end of the transition period, that is 31 December, 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 September 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.
Who is entitled to residence status?
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.
Residence status – what does that mean?
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.
What applies to UK nationals who want to move to Sweden after the transition period, i.e. after 31 December 2020?
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.
What applies to UK nationals who work in Sweden but live in another country? Will they be able to keep working in Sweden?
The Withdrawal Agreement protects frontier workers – that it, people who live in one country and regularly work in another – provided they were frontier workers when the transition period ended. UK nationals working in Sweden and living in Denmark, for example, will be able to continue working in Sweden after the end of the transition period. Frontier workers will have the right to receive a document certifying their status as frontier workers. They can apply for this document through the Swedish Migration Agency.
When can UK nationals begin to submit applications for residence status? What documents do they need to submit with their application?
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:
Is there an application fee?
No, applications are free of charge.
Will the Swedish Migration Agency be able to process all applications in time?
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.
How are UK nationals’ possibilities of travelling or moving to Sweden affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
An entry ban for travellers from the UK has been in effect since 21 December. The entry ban applies to all travellers with a few exemptions. The exemptions apply to:
- Swedish citizens
- people who live or work in Sweden
- people in the transport sector and diplomats
- people with imperative family reasons.
UK nationals who had intended to move to Sweden before 1 January 2021 – but are prevented from doing so by the entry ban – will not be 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.
What happens to UK nations who do not meet the conditions or who commit an offence?
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.
Do you have questions?
Information for British citizens in Sweden, on the website of the Swedish Migration Agency.