Residence permit


Country Report: Residence permit Last updated: 30/04/24


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Up until 20 July 2016 the vast majority of residence permits granted to persons in need of international protection or with humanitarian grounds were all permanent. They could, in principle, only be withdrawn if a person spent a major part of their time in another country or if a person was charged with a serious crime that involved deportation. Occasionally temporary permits were granted, mainly for medical reasons or for temporary hindrances to expulsion.

A new system was introduced in July 2016[1] initially with the adoption of a temporary law.[2]  The government expressed that the law was proposed in order to deter asylum seekers from coming to Sweden.[3] After a Cross-party Committee of Inquiry, on 22 June 2021 the Swedish Parliament voted in favour of introducing the proposed changes to the Aliens Act. They came into force on 20 July 2021. According to the changes introduced, temporary residence permits are the general rule for beneficiaries of international protection; while resettled refugees are granted permanent permits. Residence permits should remain limited to three years for refugees and 13 months for subsidiary protection status holders, in both cases extendable by two years subject to a new assessment. Beneficiaries of international protection can get permanent residence permits after having temporary permit for at least three years, but need to demonstrate their ability to provide for themselves and, already as of the age of 15, so-called ‘good conduct’, i.e. can be expected to have an honest, non-criminal, lifestyle (vandelskrav).[4] The condition to provide for oneself does not apply to children, persons who are eligible for retirement pensions, or if there are other particular reasons.

On 5 October 2023, The Swedish Government instructed an official report of the Government to present an overview of the national legal framework on asylum and how it can be adjusted to the minimum EU-level. The official report shall examine the possibility to discard permanent residence permit for certain migrants, as well as the possibility to withdraw permanent residence permit. The report shall present its findings in January and October 2025.[5]

On 21 November 2023, the Swedish Government instructed an official report of the Government to present an overview of the legal possibilities to deny and withdraw residence permits due to” vandel / dishonourable conduct or other reasons. The report shall present its findings in January 2025.[6]

If a person is considered to be a refugee, they will receive a refugee status declaration. If they are considered to be a person in need of subsidiary protection, they will receive a subsidiary protection status declaration.

Convention refugees are granted a three-year temporary permit with the right to Family reunification. Beneficiaries of subsidiary protection are granted an initial period of 13 months temporary residence permit. A condition for  family reunification is that the sponsor should have “well-founded” prospects of being granted a residence permit “for a longer time”. The residence permit can be extended another two years if protection grounds persist. The temporary residence permit gives holders the right to live and work in Sweden for the duration of the permit. During that period the person has the same right to medical care as a person with a permanent residence permit.

A temporary residence permit may be granted when the circumstances in the case are particularly (for children) or exceptionally (for adults) distressing. A child who had already lived in Sweden with a temporary residence permit and had acquired a particular affiliation with Sweden needed to show particularly, and not exceptionally, distressing circumstances. On 1 December 2023, changes in the legislation were introduced, entailing that circumstances for both adults and children must be exceptionally distressing.[7]The circumstances regarding the applicant’s health condition, their private life in Sweden, and the situation in their country of origin should be taken into account when assessing this ground for a residence permit. The initial temporary permit is granted for thirteen months and could be prolonged for two years if the grounds persist.

1,047 first time applicants were granted permits for these reasons in 2023.[8] Temporary residence permits give the person the right to live and work in Sweden for thirteen months. During that time, they have the same right to medical care as a person with a permanent residence permit. The person’s family is eligible for residence permits to join the sponsor in Sweden only in exceptional cases.

In 2023, the SMA granted residence permits in 4,197 first time asylum applications, in comparison to 3,742 in 2022, and 3,310 in 2021.[9]

The vast majority of beneficiaries of international protection applying for a renewal of their temporary residence permits have had it granted. In 2023, the Migration Agency received 66,623 applications and took decisions in 67,377 cases. However, this statistic includes 32,784 decisions to renew temporary protection permits. The acceptance rates in cases examined on the merits was 98 %. Besides Ukrainians, who were granted temporary protection, the majority of decisions concerned Syrians (10,173 decisions, of which 9,689 were granted, or 98% of those tried on the merits), Afghans (6,115 decisions, of which 5,489 were granted, or 94% of those tried on the merits), Eritreans (3,813 decisions, of which 3,593 were granted, or 98% of those tried on the merits), Stateless persons (2,901 decisions, of which 2,768 were granted, or 98% of those tried on the merits), Iraqi (2,244 decisions, of which 2,123 were granted, or 98% of those tried on the merits). The average processing time for applications to extend residence permits based on protection status was 199 days in 2023.[10]




[1] For further details see AIDA, Country Report Sweden, 2021 Update, May 2022, available at:, 101.

[2] Lag om tillfälliga begränsningar av möjligheten att få uppehållstillstånd i Sverige, 2016:752, available at: :

[3] Government of Sweden, Temporary restrictions regarding the possibility of being granted a residence permit in Sweden, 22 June 2016, available in Swedish at:

[4] SOU 2020:54, En långsiktigt hållbar migrationspolitik, available in Swedish at:, 25-28.

[5] Government, ’Anpassning av det svenska regelverket för beviljande av asyl och asylförfarandet till miniminivån enligt EU-rätten’, 5 October 2023, available in Swedish at:  

[6] Government, ’Skärpta krav på hederligt levnadssätt och ökade möjligheter till återkallelse av uppehållstillstånd’, 21 November 2023, available in Swedish at:

[7] Aliens Act Chapter 5, Section 6.

[8] Migration Agency, Monthly statistical report December 2023.

[9] SMA Monthly statistical report, December 2023.

[10] SMA Monthly report 2023.

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