SHARE
COPY LINK

IMMIGRATION

How waiting times for Swedish citizenship have risen since 2018

Waiting times for Swedish citizenship have increased since a new law intended to speed up the application process was introduced in 2018.

How waiting times for Swedish citizenship have risen since 2018
A law introduced in 2018 has created a Catch-22, says the Migration Agency. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Since 2018, people who have been waiting for a decision on an application for Swedish citizenship, or a work or residence permit, for at least six months have the right to request an immediate decision from the Migration Agency.

But a decision is not guaranteed; the Migration Agency may also conclude it can't immediately make one.

Almost 100,000 requests for a fast decision have been submitted to the Migration Agency since 2018, and the Migration Agency says they have created a Catch-22.

“It's an increased administrative burden on us. It also means that we have to depart from our usual principle to prioritise the oldest cases and the most straightforward cases,” Fredrik Söderberg Bruce, a spokesperson for the agency, told SVT.

Waiting times for citizenship applications have increased from 295 days in 2018 to 458 days this year, writes SVT – these are the average processing times, but individual processing times vary widely. The agency's goal is to cut the queues to six months, a level the agency predicts it will reach only by 2023, according to Söderberg Bruce.

Member comments

  1. The figures in this article are misleading. It says that “Waiting times for citizenship applications have increased from 295 days in 2018 to 458 days this year…” This equals to about 15/ 16 months. According to the immigration website the current waiting time is 38 months which is approximately 1440 days.

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
Paywall free

UKRAINE

EXPLAINED: How can Ukrainians seek asylum in Sweden?

Ukrainians displaced by the Russian invasion are leaving their country and looking for shelter in other countries in Europe. But what are the rules for Ukrainians arriving in Sweden?

EXPLAINED: How can Ukrainians seek asylum in Sweden?

This article will remain completely free for everyone as a service to Sweden’s international community. But our coverage is only possible with our paying members’ support, so if you haven’t yet, please consider joining us to support our independent journalism. Thank you.

There are a number of different options available to Ukrainians arriving in Sweden. These include standard entry under Schengen rules, entry under the EU’s Temporary Protection Directive, and seeking asylum in Sweden.

Entry under Schengen rules

Sweden is in the Schengen area, which means that Ukrainian citizens are able to stay here for 90 days without a permit or an entry visa, so long as they have a valid biometric passport, adequate funds to live on, and adequate funds for their home journey. This rule has been in place since 2017 and has not changed following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

If you are entering Sweden via this route, you do not need to contact the Swedish Migration Agency (Migrationsverket) once you arrive.

Ukrainians entering Sweden via this route will not be seeking asylum status or refugee status in Sweden.

In order to qualify for this rule, you must fulfil the following requirements:

  • a passport that is valid for at least three months after the day you plan to leave Sweden
  • a return ticket for a date within the next 90 days
  • a written invitation from the person that you will be staying with, or a booking confirmation if you are staying at a hotel
  • enough money for living costs and the trip home, or a document from someone else stating that they will cover these costs

According to the Migration Agency, those entering Sweden via this route must have at least 450 kronor per person for each day you plan to stay in Sweden. This amount can be lower for children, or if you have paid for accommodation in advance or are staying with someone else.

Sufficient funds can be documented via a bank account statement or a document from the person you will be staying with, stating that they will cover your costs during your visit.

If you are a Ukrainian citizen without a biometric passport, you can enter Sweden and stay for 90 days, but will need a Schengen visa.

If you already know you want to stay in Sweden for longer than 90 days, you should apply for a visitor’s permit.

If you choose to apply under these rules, you will not be granted the same benefits that you would be granted under the EU’s Temporary Protection Directive, such as the right to medical care, the right to work, and the right to housing.

The EU’s Temporary Protection Directive

A special meeting of European interior ministers on March 3rd agreed to apply a little-used measure known as the Temporary Protection Directive to any Ukrainians who want to come to an EU country.

The activation of the Temporary Protection Directive means that Ukrainian citizens can stay in Sweden for a year without having to apply for a visa or make a claim for asylum.

During that time you will be permitted to work and children can access education.

The status applies immediately and covers both Ukrainians who have already arrived and those who come in the days or weeks to come.

If you choose to apply under these rules, you will qualify for benefits such as help with finding a place to live, the right to work and basic healthcare, the right to education for any children you are applying with, and limited financial support.

The following people can apply under this directive:

  • Ukrainian citizens who were resident in Ukraine prior to February 24th 2022
  • people holding residence permits as refugees in Ukraine, or people with subsidiary protection status in Ukraine
  • family members of the above

You must also have left Ukraine after February 24th, must not have committed criminal acts such as war crimes, and must not otherwise pose a threat to Sweden’s security.

Applicants must also be able to present Ukrainian identity documents – this does not have to be a biometric national passport, although these are accepted. You apply for this status at a National Service Centre. There are ten of these across Sweden. See here for a list (choose “Service Centre” in the menu).

Apply for asylum

If you want to, you can apply for asylum upon arrival in Sweden. You cannot do this before you enter the country. You should tell border police at your point of entry that you wish to apply for asylum, or contact the Migration Agency directly if you are already in the country. You can apply for asylum at a Migration Agency application unit in Stockholm, Malmö or Gothenburg.

In order to apply for asylum, you must:

  • provide identity documents such as a passport to prove your identity
  • be photographed and have your fingerprints taken by the Migration Agency
  • meet with an investigator for an interview into who you are, why you want to apply for asylum, and information on the rights you have while you wait for your application to be considered

If you seek asylum in Sweden, you have a right to accommodation, financial support, health care and education for your children, and are allowed to remain in Sweden while your application for asylum is being considered.

SHOW COMMENTS