Practical implications of Sweden’s new immigration law 2021 on permanent residence

As of 20-07-2021 the Migration Agency has implemented new changes that affect how individuals can obtain permanent residence. As of writing this the changes appear to mainly impact asylum seekers and dependents (spouse, partner and children over 18). One of the new requirements is that dependents need to have held a residence permit for at least 3 years in order to be granted permanent residence.

Sweden’s new immigration law is a rather big change as dependents used to be able to apply after only 2 years (if they were eligible). For more information about the new requirements that dependents must meet, please read our article here.

The reason why changing the minimum time from 2 years to 3 years can be considered a big change is due to the practical implications that may follow. As of writing this article, the Migration Agency grants residence permits to dependents 2 years at a time. That means that the initial permit is generally granted for 2 years and the extension is granted for 2 years.

There are some exceptions, such as if the passport is expiring earlier or if the main applicant’s permit is expiring before then. In those cases, the permit will be granted up until the expiry of the passport or the main applicant’s permit.

With the Migration Agency generally granting dependent permits 2 years at a time, even though a dependent might be eligible for permanent residence after 3 years, in practice they need to wait 4 years in order to apply. Having to wait 4 years due to these bureaucratic practices means that, in practice, the time until a dependent could at the earliest be granted permanent residence has now doubled.

new immigration law 2021 sweden Practical implicationson permanent residence

Is there anything that can be done about this?

The answer here is both yes and no. In essence we need to hope that the Migration Agency changes their internal practices so that dependents who are eligible for permanent residence after 3 years do not need to wait for 4 years due the Migration Agency’s less than optimal administration.

Until this is done, there is no guarantee that you will be able to apply for permanent residence after 3 years even if you are eligible. There is, however, one thing you can do if you are applying for an extension. Note that this is generally ONLY for dependents where the main applicant/reference person already has permanent residence in Sweden or is a Swedish/EEA citizen. In these cases, when applying for an extension after holding a permit for 2 years, you can add a comment in the application requesting that the new permit is extended for 1 year only.

It is important when adding this comment that you insert an exact date that the permit should be approved until. The date entered should also be at least 3 years from the date the first permit was valid. There is no guarantee that the case officer will accept this request and it will be handled on a case-by-case basis.