Sweden extends application deadline for post-Brexit residence status

Sweden extends application deadline for post-Brexit residence status
The application window was originally set to close by the end of the month. Photo: Adam Wrafter/SvD/TT
Sweden has extended the deadline for British citizens to apply for their post-Brexit residence status.

British nationals and their family members who lived in Sweden under EU rules before the end of the transition period on December 31st, 2020, may continue to live in Sweden as before – as long as they apply for a new “residence status” (uppehållsstatus).

The Swedish government on Thursday extended the application period from September 30th until December 31st, giving Brits who haven’t yet applied another chance to do so.

The decision comes out of concern that some Brits may risk losing their right to stay in Sweden because they haven’t yet applied. Around 11,000 people have so far applied for the new residence status, out of a pool of an estimated 17,000 living in Sweden at the end of 2020.

There has also been a surge in the number of Brits applying for Swedish citizenship.

“Many British citizens have obtained Swedish citizenship in recent years and secured the right to stay permanently in Sweden through that. According to the Swedish Migration Agency’s calculations, at the beginning of September there were about 1,000 Britons and their family members who have not yet legalised their future stay in Sweden in any way,” said Ylwa Kallenbäck, a project manager at the Migration Agency, in a statement.

British citizens now have another three months during which they have the right to continue living, working and studying in Sweden, even without citizenship or residence status. But after December 31st, they will lose that right unless they apply before that date. Note that if you have applied for citizenship but have not yet received a response by then, you additionally need to apply for the post-Brexit residence status.

“Individuals who neither apply in time nor legalise their stay in Sweden in some other way will – after 31 December 2021 – be staying in Sweden unlawfully. This may have serious consequences for those who neglect to submit their application,” warned a statement by the Justice Ministry.

The Migration Agency recommended Brits to apply well in advance. Once you have submitted your application, you will receive a letter of confirmation, and can use this if you need to prove your right to live in Sweden – for example if returning to the country after travel overseas.

During the time that British applicants are waiting on a decision, they have the same rights as EU citizens and can continue to live and work in Sweden even after the application deadline, as long as they moved to Sweden under EU rules before December 31st, 2020.

Once an application has been approved, it is necessary to visit one of the Migration Agency’s Service Centres to have fingerprints and a photo taken before the residence card can be issued.

OPINION: ‘Sweden must step up its efforts to reach Brits as post-Brexit deadline looms’

Brits with Swedish citizenship or a permanent residence permit do not have to apply for the new residence status, but you can still do so if you wish. This will affect, for example, which family members are allowed to join you in Sweden. The Local is preparing an article which will explain this in more depth.

It is important to note that all Brits who were living in Sweden under EU rules at the end of 2020 and haven’t yet secured their right to stay in one of the above ways must do so before the deadline. This applies regardless of how long you’ve lived in Sweden, and regardless of whether or not you have a permanent residence card or certificate of permanent right of residence (which are not the same as a permanent residence permit – anyone who is unclear about their current status in Sweden is strongly advised to contact the Migration Agency).

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