Obtaining a work permit

The rules for obtaining a work permit in Sweden depend on your citizenship. Check what applies to you.

Citizens of EU countries

Passport/ID is required

Sweden is a member of the European Union, the EU. 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, such as Sweden.

Right of residence and residence permit in Sweden – a film from the Swedish Public Employment Service

Citizens of non-EU countries

Step one: a work permit in Sweden

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. Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea aged 18–30 can also apply for a working holiday visa for up to one year. (Please check the link for short-notice amendments to this list of countries.)

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 in Sweden

To qualify for a work permit in Sweden, you must have an employment contract signed by both parties. The other requirements to obtain a work permit are:

  • You must have a valid passport.
  • Your employment must offer terms of employment and a salary that match those set by Swedish collective agreements or those that are customary within the occupation or industry.
  • Your salary must amount to at least 80 per cent of the Swedish median salary. The Swedish Migration Agency has more on the so-called maintenance requirement.
  • Your employer must provide insurance covering health, life, employment and pension.

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 under the age of 21 (as well as children aged 21 or older 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 and have been granted a permit before entering Sweden. Normally, the application is done online, and this is the process, in brief:

  • First, you must have obtained an employment contract. Your employer must have advertised the job in Sweden and the EU/EEA and Switzerland for at least ten days before the employment contract was entered into.
  • Second, your employer in Sweden initiates the work permit application by providing information about the employment.
  • Third, the employer lets the trade union concerned have an opinion on the employment and then passes on the application to the employee.
  • Your completed application must include:
    – your employment contract
    – copies of the pages of your passport that show personal information, photograph, signature, passport number, passport issuing country, the passport's period of validity, bar code on the identification page and whether you have permission to live in countries other than your country of origin
    – a power of attorney if you are representing the applicant.

The applicant must also pay an application fee.

The Migration Agency considers your application and informs you of its decision, see current waiting times.

Extending a work permit in Sweden

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 (pdf) 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.