Country Report: Naturalisation Last updated: 21/04/21


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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 his or her 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 he or she has had during his or her 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, he or she only has to have resided in Sweden for four years.[1]

If a person had a permanent residence permit or a residence permit for settlement when he or she entered Sweden, he or she counts 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 he or she 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, he or she 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, he or she must have been a Swedish citizen for at least two years. The applicant must also have adapted well to Swedish society during his or her 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 his or her correct identity or if he or she 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 application of 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).

In 2020, the Migration Agency registered 83,770 new applications for citizenship. A total of 79,904 first instance decisions were handed down in 2020, out of which 67,878 granted citizenship. The majority of citizenships were granted to applicants from Syria (21,548); Afghanistan (3,854); Iraq (3,442); Stateless (3,241) and Somalia ().[3] The Migration Agency had 105,911 citizenship requests pending at the end of the year.[4]

The average number of days from application to decision at first instance was 390 in 2020,[5] up from 348 days in 2019 and 220 days in 2018.


[1]  Act on Swedish Citizenship, Section 11.

[2]  Act on Swedish Citizenship, Section 7.

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

[4] Migration Agency. Monthly statistical report December 2020, 55

[5]  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