Step one: a work permit
Generally, citizens of non-EU countries must apply for a work permit in order to work in Sweden.
There are a few exceptions to the rule. Citizens of Australia, Canada, New Zealand or South Korea aged 18–30 can also apply for a working holiday visa for up to one year; see the Migration Agency’s website for more information on working holiday visas.
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 order to receive a work permit, you must have received an official offer of employment from a Swedish employer.
In order for you to qualify for a work permit, the job must meet the following requirements:
• It has been advertised on the EURES portal for a minimum of 10 days.
• The terms of employment offered are at least on the same level as Swedish collective agreements or customary in the occupation or industry. Your employer can submit your application to a relevant union to verify this as part of the application process.
• It pays a monthly pre-tax salary at least on the same level as Swedish collective agreements, and minimum SEK 13,000.
You must also hold a valid passport in your home country.
Bringing your family
If you are 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 also apply for residence permits, either as part of your application or separately.
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.
1. Receive an offer of employment
Once you’ve received your offer of employment, your next step is to ask your employer to complete an official written offer of employment. This is to ensure that you have been offered appropriate terms of employment and a sufficient salary according to the Migration Agency’s requirements.
Your employer is also responsible for sending information about your offer to a relevant trade union for approval. A union representative will return this document to your employer with its approval.
Once your employer has completed these two documents, they must return them to you to be enclosed with your application for a work permit.
2. Compile and submit your application
Once your employer has sent you your official offer of employment, including the statement from a relevant trade union, you can apply for your work permit.
You can apply either online or through a paper application submitted to your closest Swedish embassy or consulate. If you apply online, you can apply for residence permits for any family members who will accompany you at the same time. If you send a paper application, each family member must submit a separate application form.
Your completed application consists of the following documents. If you are applying online, you can scan and attach all of your documentation. If you are applying in person, submit paper copies, keeping a copy for your own records.
- Completed application form, either online or paper.
- 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, the statement from the trade union and any other papers that your employer has sent to you.
- Copies of the above pages in the passports of members of your family, as well as the following other documentation, if they are applying online at the same time as you. If they are applying via paper applications, they should include this documentation with their application.
- Application fee. If you apply for your permit online, you can pay with a credit or debit card at the time of your application. If you apply at an embassy or consulate, you can pay at the time of your visit; contact the relevant embassy or consulate for their terms.
Submit your completed application either online or at an embassy or consulate.
3. The Migration Agency considers your application and informs you of its decision
If you submit your application online, the Migration Agency can begin considering it right away. If you submit it through an embassy or consulate, they will send it to the Migration Agency in Sweden, adding about four weeks to your processing time.
The Migration Agency will only begin to process your application once all required documents have been received. You will receive a decision faster if you send a complete application from the start.
Processing times vary; see current waiting times for up-to-date information. You will be informed of your decision once it is ready, either by e-mail if you applied online or through contact from the relevant embassy or consulate if you applied in person.
4. Submit data for visa and residence permit card
If you need a visa to enter Sweden, you will need to visit the closest Swedish embassy or consulate to be photographed and leave fingerprints. This data will also be used to produce your residence permit card if you will be staying in Sweden for longer than three months. Information regarding whether you need a visa will be included along with the official decision regarding your application.
If you do not need a visa to travel to Sweden, you can visit the Migration Agency office nearest to you after arriving in Sweden to be photographed and leave fingerprints. Your residence permit card will then be mailed to you at your address in Sweden.
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.
You can read more about the procedure and regulations on: Swedish Migration Agency – extending a permit
Once you’ve received your decision from the Migration Board, it’s time to start planning your move. Read our step-by-step guide for an overview of all the practicalities to keep in mind when planning a move to Sweden.