Obtaining a work permit

The rules for moving to Sweden for work vary depending on your country of citizenship, see below. Common to all workers staying longer than six months is that you can bring your family.

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Photo: Simon Paulin/imagebank.sweden.se

Obtaining a work permit

The rules for moving to Sweden for work vary depending on your country of citizenship, see below. Common to all workers staying longer than six months is that you can bring your family.

Citizens of EU countries

Passport/ID is required

As an EU citizen, you are entitled to work in Sweden without a permit. You also have the right to come to Sweden to look for a job. Your family has the right to join you in Sweden as long as you have right of residence in Sweden.

When entering Sweden, you and any accompanying family members must have a valid passport or national ID card showing your citizenship.

Family from outside the EU?

If your spouse/common law spouse/registered partner/dependent children/dependent parents are not EU citizens, they will need to apply for residence cards, but this can also be done after moving to Sweden, at the same time as you register your right of residence.

Long-term EU resident?

If you have lived in another EU country with a residence permit for at least five years, you qualify as a long-term resident and can apply, in that country, for a special EU residence permit. This makes it easier to move to another EU country.

Citizens of non-EU countries

Step one: a work permit

Generally, citizens from countries outside the EU must apply for a work permit to work in Sweden.

There are a few exceptions to the rule. Citizens of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Korea aged 18–30 can also apply for a working holiday visa for up to one year.

For employment that lasts less than three months, citizens of certain countries must have both a work permit and a visa. Also note that employees in certain fields may be exempt from work permit regulations.

Requirements for a work permit

To qualify for a work permit, you must have received an official offer of employment from a Swedish employer. The job must also:

  • have been advertised in the EU/EEA for at least ten days
  • offer terms of employment that match those set by Swedish collective agreements or those that are customary within the occupation or industry
  • pay a minimum monthly salary of SEK 13,000 before taxes.

You must also hold a valid passport in your home country.

Permits for family members

If you are a non-EU citizen eligible to receive a work permit, your spouse/common law spouse/registered partner and children up to age 21 (as well as children over 21 who are financially dependent on you) have the right to join you in Sweden. They must apply for residence permits, either as part of your application or separately.

The application process

Generally, you will need to apply for your permit before entering Sweden, though in some cases you may be able to apply from within Sweden if you are already legally living in the country.

  • Receive an offer of employment – which must have been approved by a relevant trade union.
  • Compile and submit your application – either online or through a paper application submitted to your closest Swedish embassy or consulate. Your completed application must include:
    – a completed application form
    – copies of the pages of your passport that show personal data, period of validity and whether you have permission to live in countries other than your country of origin (e.g. other visas or residence permits)
    – your offer of employment and the statement from the trade union
    – an application fee.
  • The Migration Agency considers your application and informs you of its decision, see current waiting times.
  • Submit data for visa and residence permit card.

Extending a work permit

If you want to keep working after your current permit has expired, you need to apply for an extension. If you apply before your current permit expires, you are entitled to keep working while waiting for a decision.

Citizens of Nordic countries

Citizens of a Nordic country have the right to freely live and work in Sweden without registering with the Migration Agency. However, you should register with the Swedish Tax Agency to gain a Swedish personal identity number.

Citizens of Switzerland

Swiss citizens need a residence permit to work in Sweden for longer than three months. You apply for your residence permit after entering Sweden and can start working as soon as you enter the country. When entering Sweden, you must have a valid passport. Your family may join you.

International students

International students with a residence permit in Sweden are allowed to work alongside their studies. If they want to stay and work in Sweden after completing their studies, they need a work permit.

Last updated: 18 April 2016