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Generally, citizens of non-EU countries must apply for a work permit in order to work in Sweden.

There are a few exceptions to the rule. Citizens of Australia, Canada, New Zealand or South Korea aged 18–30 can also apply for a working holiday visa for up to one year

For employment that lasts less than three months, citizens of certain countries must have both a work permit and a visa. Also note that employees in certain fields may be exempt from work permit regulations.

Requirements for a work permit:

In order to receive a work permit, you must have received an official offer of employment from a Swedish employer.

In order for you to qualify for a work permit, the job must meet the following requirements:
It has been advertised on the EURES portal for a minimum of 10 days.

  • The terms of employment offered are at least on the same level as Swedish collective agreements or customary in the occupation or industry. Your employer can submit your application to a relevant union to verify this as part of the application process.
  • It pays a monthly pre-tax salary at least on the same level as Swedish collective agreements, and minimum SEK 13,000.

You must also hold a valid passport in your home country.

Bringing your family:

The following are counted as family members: wife, husband, cohabiting partner, registered partner and unmarried children under the age of 21. Unmarried children who are 21 years or older can be given a permit in certain cases. The requirement is that they are being supported financially by you or your partner.
If you are eligible to receive a work permit, your spouse/common law spouse/registered partner and children up to age 21, as well as children over 21 who are financially dependent on you, have the right to join you in Sweden. They must also apply for residence permits, either as part of your application or separately.

Application process:
Generally, you will need to apply for your permit before entering Sweden, though in some cases you may be able to apply from within Sweden if you are already legally living in the country.

1. Receive an offer of employment
Once you’ve received your offer of employment, your next step is to ask your employer to complete an official written offer of employment. This is to ensure that you have been offered appropriate terms of employment and a sufficient salary according to the Migration Agency’s requirements.

Your employer is also responsible for sending information about your offer to a relevant trade union for approval. A union representative will return this document to your employer with its approval.

Once your employer has completed these two documents, they must return them to you to be enclosed with your application for a work permit.

2. Compile and submit your application

Once your employer has sent you your official offer of employment, including the statement from a relevant trade union, you can apply for your work permit.

Your completed application consists of the following documents. If you are applying online, you can scan and attach all of your documentation. If you are applying in person, submit paper copies, keeping a copy for your own records.

  • Completed application form, either online or paper.
  • Copies of the pages of your passport that show personal data, period of validity and whether you have permission to live in countries other than your country of origin (e.g. other visas or residence permits).
  • Your offer of employment, the statement from the trade union and any other papers that your employer has sent to you.
  • Copies of the above pages in the passports of members of your familyApplication fee. If you apply for your permit online, you can pay with a credit or debit card at the time of your application. If you apply at an embassy or consulate, you can pay at the time of your visit; contact the relevant embassy or consulate for their terms.

Submit your completed application either online or at an embassy or consulate.

3. The Migration Agency considers your application and informs you of its decision
If you submit your application online, the Migration Agency can begin considering it right away. If you submit it through an embassy or consulate, they will send it to the Migration Agency in Sweden, adding about four weeks to your processing time.

The Migration Agency will only begin to process your application once all required documents have been received. You will receive a decision faster if you send a complete application from the start.

Processing times vary; You will be informed of your decision once it is ready, either by e-mail if you applied online or through contact from the relevant embassy or consulate if you applied in person.

4. Submit data for visa and residence permit card
If you need a visa to enter Sweden, you will need to visit the closest Swedish embassy or consulate to be photographed and leave fingerprints. This data will also be used to produce your residence permit card if you will be staying in Sweden for longer than three months. Information regarding whether you need a visa will be included along with the official decision regarding your application.
If you do not need a visa to travel to Sweden, you can visit the Migration Agency office nearest to you after arriving in Sweden to be photographed and leave fingerprints. Your residence permit card will then be mailed to you at your address in Sweden.


If you plan to work for a period longer than 3 months to start up or run your own business or become a part owner of a company, you must have a residence permit. You cannot enter Sweden until the permit has been granted. As self-employed you are not allowed to take employment with any employer.

Self-employed people who plan to work for a period shorter than 3 months in Sweden do not need a residence permit. For work that is shorter than 3 months, citizens in certain countries must have an entry visa.

Requirements for obtaining a residence permit as a self-employed

In order to obtain a residence permit, you must

  • have a valid passport
  • show that you have significant experience in your field and previous experience of running your own business
  • have documented and relevant knowledge in Swedish and/or English
  • show that you are running the business, that you have the ultimate responsibility for it and that you own at least half of the business
  • show that the business' services or goods are sold and/or produced in Sweden
  • show that you have sufficient funds to support you and, if applicable, your family during the first two years (equivalent to SEK 200,000 for you, SEK 100,000 for your spouse and SEK 50,000 for each accompanying child)
  • show reliable source documentation for your budget
  • show that you have established customer contacts and/or a network in Sweden
  • show that your company, following a 2-year probationary period, will have its finances in balance and you have the ability to support yourself and, if applicable, your family (income support is calculated according to the Swedish national standard for Income support plus housing costs).

The Swedish Migration Agency will assess your business plans from a financial perspective.
documents required for your application:

  • copies of the pages in your passport which show your personal information, photograph, signature, passport number, passport issuing country, the period of the passport's validity, entry and exit stamps and whether you have permission to live in countries other than your country of origin
  • bank statements which shows that you have sufficient funds to support you and your family during the first 2 years (equivalent to SEK 200,000 for you, SEK 100,000 for your spouse and SEK 50,000 for each accompanying child)
  • bank statements which show, if applicable, that you have sufficient funds to buy the business and to cover the estimated costs and investments necessary to run the business
  • contract of sale if you have bought or intend to buy the business or enterprise
  • partnership agreement or stock register
  • bank document which shows that you have paid the purchase sum or your part of the purchase sum, if you have bought the business or enterprise
  • contracts with customers/suppliers and for premises
  • annual accounts/reports for the previous 2 years (if the business has been in operation earlier)
  • balance sheet and income statement (report) for the current financial year, up to and including the previous month
  • course certificate or other evidence that you speak Swedish and/or English
  • certificates to substantiate your educational background
  • certificates from previous employers
  • certificate of registration for companies you own or have own outside of Sweden.

Want to know more?

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