EXPLAINED: How can Brits apply for residency in Sweden post-Brexit?

Deal or no deal, the transition period following the UK's departure from the European Union will probably come to an end on December 31st. Here's what Brits need to do if they want to stay in Sweden.

EXPLAINED: How can Brits apply for residency in Sweden post-Brexit?
A sign at the offices of Migrationsverket in Solna, Stockholm. Brits can apply online. Photo: Marcus Ericsson/TT

The end of the transition arrangement will mean that British people living in Sweden will have to apply for residency status under the new arrangements. 

For Brits in Sweden, the Swedish government on November 11th passed a bill unilaterally giving British citizens and their families many of the rights that they used to have as citizens of the European Union. 

That includes the right to work and access healthcare, for example, under the same rules as EU citizens.
The government also proposes that the Migration Agency issue documents to cross-border workers (for example, those Brits who are working in southern Sweden but commuting from their home in Denmark). 
Here's what you need to know in order to exercise these rights. 

When can I apply for residency status? 

On Tuesday, December 1st, both online and downloadable forms will be posted to this web page which British citizens can use to apply for residency status. 

What do I need to send with my application? 

You will need to send: 

  • A copy of your passport or national ID card.
  • Documents that show that you had a right of residence before 31 December 2020 and that you still have it thereafter. 

Do I need to be in Sweden to apply? 

No you don't. You only only need to fulfil the criteria. You can apply from the UK, or a third country. 

What documents are sufficient to prove my right of residency? 

If you do not already have permanent residency and a residence card issued by the Swedish Migration Agency, you will need: 

  • a certificate of employment if you are an employee
  • a letter of admission to an educational programme if you are a student
  • a corporate tax certificate and registration certificate for the company if you are a sole proprietor
  • a statement of pension benefits if you are a pensioner
  • a bank statement if you plan on living off your capital

Other possible ways of proving a right of residency will be detailed on the form when it is published. 

File photo: Bench Accounting/Unsplash


What if I already have permanent residency? 

If you have previously applied for and received a document from the Migration Agency confirming that you have permanent residency, then you only need to send in a copy of your passport or national ID card.

This doesn't apply, however, if you have lived for more than five years in Sweden and believe you have the right of permanent residency under the EU law which automatically grants permanent residency to those who have lived in a country for more than five years. 

If you have never confirmed this right with the agency, you need to apply for residency after December 1st like everyone else. 

If you have 'permanent uppehållstillstånd' (i.e. the Swedish national immigration status, independent of EU law) you do not need not apply at all.

How do I apply for my family to stay in Sweden with me?

 Family members of British citizens are also eligible to apply for this status, including for example children and partners. You can apply for them to stay in the same form. You will need:  

  • copies of every family member’s passport or national ID card
  • documents that show the family relationship, for example a marriage certificate if you are spouses or a corresponding document if you are registered partners
  • joint accounts, insurance policies, bills or the like if you are cohabiting without being married or registered partners
  • birth certificates for children
  • adoption documents if the child is adopted
  • documents that show that any children over the age of 21 are dependent on the parent for their means of support
  • other documents that show that you are related to each other if you are not parents and children
  • an authorisation if you are a representative for all family members who are over 18.
Who counts as a family member? 
To count as a family member (and thus get residency because of your relationship to a British citizen, even if you yourself don't fulfil criteria for Swedish residency) you need to be a husband, wife, registered or live-in partner, or an unmarried child who is under the age of 21. 
What happens if my residency isn't processed by December 31st? 
Nothing. As long as you have sent in the application, and have received a certificate saying that you have submitted an application, you will retain the same rights you had as a European Union citizen and can continue to live and work in Sweden until your residency application is accepted or rejected. 
How long will it take for my residency to be processed? 
The processing won't even start until next January, so expect it to take months at the very least. 
When do I lose my right to live in Sweden? 
If you fail to even apply for residency, you will lose your right to live in Sweden on September 30th, 2021. But if you apply before that date, you can stay until your application has been processed and a decision made. 
It might be possible to apply after that date, but you will need to give a good reason why you didn't apply in time. 
If you have permanent residency, you can continue to work in Sweden even after this date. If you have temporary residency, you will need to apply for a work permit. 
Can family members come to Sweden even after the transition period ends? 
Yes. If you are under 21 and have a parent in Sweden, or are over 21 and financially dependent on a family member in Sweden, you can still apply for residency after the end of the transition period. You must apply no later than three months after you arrive in Sweden.
Can babies born or adopted after the transition period also become residents? 
Yes, so long as both parents are British citizens, or one is British and the other is a Swedish citizen. If only one of the parents is a British citizen, they must have sole or joint custody of the child. 
What if I'm a British citizen commuting to work in Sweden? 
From December 1st, there will be an application form here for those needing a card showing their status as a cross-border worker. 
Together with your application, you need to send proof that you: 
  • live in another country, such as a housing contract or equivalent civic registration
  • work or are a sole proprietor in Sweden, which is verified in the same way as in an application for residence status
  • lived in another country and worked in Sweden at the end of the transition period
  • and a copy of your passport or national ID card.
Family members of British citizens are also eligible to apply for this status.



Member comments

  1. Please can someone advise me which annual health insurance is acceptable to the Skatteverket when starting the process of applying for a personnummer? I am a British citizen. Thank you.

  2. If you have an S1 then there is no need to obtain annual health insurance. Otherwise you may need private insurance for SEK10m – and this is difficult – I tried without success. After days of reading web pages and email exchanges with migrationsverket and skatteverket I managed to apply for a PN and residence in the space of a couple of hours today thanks to help from staff in MV and SV.

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For members


IN FIGURES: How many Brits in Sweden have had their post-Brexit residence status rejected?

Following Brexit, many Brits in Sweden had to apply for post-Brexit residence status to stay in Sweden. How many Brits have applied, how many were rejected, and what happened to those who weren't granted residence status?

IN FIGURES: How many Brits in Sweden have had their post-Brexit residence status rejected?

Between November 2020 and December 2022, a total of 12,461 Brits applied for post-Brexit residence status to retain their rights to live in Sweden under EU law. Of these 12,461 applications, 11,495 had been concluded by the end of 2022, with 966 still waiting for a response.

How many applications were approved?

According to Migration Agency figures seen by The Local, a total of 9,340 applications for post-Brexit residence status were approved between December 2020 and December 2022, meaning that more than four in five, 81.25 percent, of applications for residence status processed in this time period were granted.

The number of applications approved per month corresponded almost exactly to the number of applications submitted per month, with the most approvals (3,178) occuring in December 2020. December 2020 also saw the highest number of submissions: 3,529. There was another small peak in December 2021, where 432 of a total of 775 applications were rejected.

These two peaks in application numbers are probably due to the fact that December 2020 was the month when applications opened and December 2021 the last month before they closed.

How many applications were rejected?

A total of 2,155 applications for post-Brexit residence status were rejected between November 2020 and December 2022.

This means that around 18.75 percent of applications for post-Brexit residence status were rejected in this time period.

Again, the highest number of rejections occured in December 2020, with another peak in December 2021, where 223 applications were rejected.


Why were applications rejected?

When The Local contacted the Migration Agency for more information on why applications were rejected, press officer Frederik Abbemo was unable to give us exact information on the number of cases rejected for each possible reason.

However, he was able to give us a rough idea of the most common reasons for rejection.

"The most common reasons applications were rejected were incomplete applications, late applications, applications where the applicant did not fulfil the requirement for residence status, and applications listed as 'reason unknown', where we cannot see in the statistics why the application has been categorised that way," he said.

What about people who appealed their applications?

According to Abbemo, around 450 of the 2,155 rejected applications were appealed to the Migration Court (Migrationsdomstolen). Of these 450 appeals, "around 20" were overturned, with the applicants being granted residence status.

It is not clear how many of those who appealed, if any, are yet to receive a verdict.

What has happened to the Brits who had their applications rejected?

It's difficult to know exactly what has happened in each individual case, but we can draw some conclusions based on other data.

For example, new figures from Eurostat earlier this month showed that Sweden has ordered 1,050 Brits to leave the country following Brexit - more than any other EU country. This number includes Brits refused entry at the Swedish border, Brits found to be illegally present in Sweden, and Brits ordered to leave for other reasons.

The Eurostat figures cover a slightly different time period than the figures from the Migration Agency above, stretching from January 2021 to September 2022.

If we focus on Migration Agency figures for the same period, January 2021 to September 2022, a total of 1,857 people had their applications for residence status rejected in this time period. This suggests that at least 800 Brits who did not receive residence status were able to stay in Sweden in other ways.

One way of staying in Sweden legally despite not being granted residence status could be by holding a valid residence permit (uppehållstillstånd) under different rules (such as due to being in a relationship with a Swede or applying for a work permit), or by holding Swedish citizenship, which also gives you the right to live in Sweden.

Could the EU figures include people who never applied in the first place?

Yes. The Eurostat figures also include Brits living in Sweden illegally who never applied for post-Brexit residence status, who receive an order to leave when detected by the Swedish authorities.

Many are indeed unaware of the fact that they should have applied and that their stay in Sweden is illegal, and have simply not realised that their permanent right of residence under EU law (permanent uppehållsrätt) ceased to be valid when the UK left the EU.

A number of people in this category are detected when they leave the country and re-enter (like what happened to Brit Stuart Philpott in this article), and others only discover they are living here illegally when they receive an order to leave from the Migration Agency.