Country Report: Naturalisation Last updated: 16/04/24


Swedish Refugee Law Center Visit Website

According to the Act on Swedish Citizenship (2001:82), in order to acquire citizenship in Sweden through application, a person must:

  • Be able to prove their identity;
  • Have reached the age of 18;
  • Have a permanent residence permit, a right of residence or residence card in Sweden;
  • Have fulfilled the requirements for period of residence (lived in Sweden for a specified period, see table above);
  • Have good conduct in Sweden.

To become a Swedish citizen, as a rule a person must have lived in Sweden on a long-term basis for a continuous period of five years. Habitual residence means that the person is a long-term resident and intends to remain in Sweden. Whether it is possible to count all the time spent in Sweden as a period of habitual residence depends on the reason why the person settled and the permit they have had during their time here. The main rule is that time with a residence permit that leads to a permanent residence permit is counted as a period of habitual residence. If the person is stateless or a refugee, they only have to have resided in Sweden for four years.[1]

If a person had a permanent residence permit or a residence permit for settlement when they entered Sweden, they count the duration of stay from the date of arrival. Otherwise, the duration of stay is calculated from the date on which the application for a residence permit was submitted and approved. If the application was initially rejected and the person then submitted a new application, the time is counted from the date on which they received approval.

A child can obtain Swedish citizenship through notification by the parent or guardian, if the child has a permanent residence permit and has been residing in Sweden since three years, or two years if the child is stateless.[2]

If a person is married to a Swedish citizen, or living in a registered partnership with or cohabiting with a Swedish citizen, they can apply for Swedish citizenship after three years. In these cases, the couple must have lived together for the past two years. It is not enough to be married to one another; they must also live together.

If the person’s partner used to have a nationality other than Swedish nationality or was stateless, they must have been a Swedish citizen for at least two years. The applicant must also have adapted well to Swedish society during their time in Sweden. Relevant criteria can include the length of the marriage, knowledge of the Swedish language and ability to support oneself.

If the person has previously been in Sweden under an identity that is not their correct identity or if they have impeded the execution of a refusal-of-entry order by, for example, going into hiding, this may hamper possibilities of obtaining citizenship after three years.

The decision is taken by the Migration Agency and can be appealed to the same instances as in the case of applications for protection status and residence permit. Rejection grounds include proving ones’ identity and meeting the requirements of good conduct in Sweden. Matters that are taken into account include inter alia whether the person has been abiding with the law or not, and whether the person has properly managed bank loans well or other finances (personal and other).

An applicant that cannot prove their identity may obtain Swedish citizenship after eight years of habitual residence. This concerns cases where they are not able to get documents that could prove their identity but the identity could at least be assessed as probable. The Migration Agency does not consider that passports issued by Afghan or Somali authorities may prove the identity of the passport holder as regards applications for Swedish Citizenship.[3]

In 2021, an official report to the Swedish Government proposed the inclusion of new requirements for citizenship as of 1 January 2025. According to this proposal, applicants will need to demonstrate civic education skills, and a good knowledge of Swedish language.[4] According to a political agreement in October 2022 between the new Government political parties and the Sweden Democrats party a new inquiry shall propose additional conditions to qualify for Swedish citizenship, such as longer habitual residence, and sufficient resources to maintain themselves.[5]

In 2022, the Migration Agency registered 82,210 new applications for citizenship. A total of 89,789 first instance decisions were handed down in 2022, out of which 75,338 granted citizenship. The majority of citizenships were granted to applicants from Syria (18,245); Afghanistan 5,272); Iraq (2,901); Eritrea (7,150) and Somalia (5,398).[6] The Migration Agency had 93,767 citizenship requests pending at the end of the year.[7]

The average number of days from application to decision at first instance was 452 days in 2022,[8] compared to 372 in 2021, and 390 days in 2020.




[1] Act on Swedish Citizenship, Section 11.

[2] Act on Swedish Citizenship, Section 7.

[3] SMA, ’The Swedish Migration Agency’s assessment of identity documents’, available at:

[4] Regeringskansliet, ‘Requirements for knowledge of Swedish and social studies for Swedish citizenship’, available at:

[5] Tidöavtalet (The Tidö Agreement), available online at:, 38.

[6] Migration Agency, Inkomna och avgjorda medborgarskapsärenden innevarande år, available in Swedish at:

[7] Migration Agency. Monthly statistical report December 2022,

[8] Ibid.

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX – I Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation