Duration of detention


Country Report: Duration of detention Last updated: 21/04/21


Swedish Refugee Law Center Visit Website

The duration of detention of adults is governed by Chapter 10, Section 4 of the Aliens Act. Generally, detention may not exceed 2 weeks, unless there are exceptional grounds for longer detention.[1] Persons who are issued with an expulsion or refusal of entry order may be detained for up to 2 months, with a possibility of extension if there are exceptional grounds.[2] Even if there are such exceptional circumstances, the alien is not detained longer than 3 months or, if it is likely that the execution will take longer because of the lack of cooperation by the alien or it takes time to acquire the necessary documents, more than 12 months. The time limits of 3 and 12 months do not apply if the alien is expelled by ordinary courts because of crimes.

The 2-month time limit therefore does not apply to asylum seekers throughout the examination of their claim, unless a deportation order has already been issued against them. Asylum seekers are in principle detained for up to 2 weeks. Moreover, detention for the purposes of investigating the alien’s right to remain in Sweden under Ch. 10, Section 1(2)(1) cannot exceed 48 hours.[3]

The average period of detention in 2019 was 27.8 days, down from 29.1 days in 2018. The average length of detention for men was 28.3 days and 21.4 days for women.[4]


[1] Ch. 10, Section 4(2) Aliens Act.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ch. 10, Section 4(1) Aliens Act.

[4] Migration Agency, Annual Report 2019, p. 77, available in Swedish at: http://bit.ly/382Zbh6.


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