First Time Work Permit in Sweden Applications

Work Permit is the most common type of permit for individuals planning on working in Sweden and it is used to apply for all job types. If someone is coming to Sweden for work, this is the permit to be applied for. There are other things you should be aware of that isn’t covered by this article.

The permit itself is granted for a maximum period of 2 years. This can later be extended for an additional 2 years, after which permanent residence can be applied for.

Work permit process steps sweden

Below you will find the basic checklist on how to get work permit in Sweden:

  1. Have a valid passport. In order to receive a permit for 2 years, the passport should then be valid for at least 2 years from the intended start date. You can find information about the consequences of having a shorter permit down below.
  2. Have been offered a job in Sweden. The terms of the employment must on par with those set by Swedish Collective Agreements or which are common for the job or industry. This means that the job must follow standard work regulations and the offered salary must not be worse than the average of that job (and cannot be lower than 13,000 SEK per month). As part of the process, your employer will be required to obtain a “union statement”, where a local union comments on and approves the salary level. For more information about union statements, click here.
  3. You must check that the employer covers the following insurances:
    – Health insurance (must cover loss of income, not just cover medical expenses)
    – Life insurance
    – Occupational Injury insurance
    – Pension insurance (only required for people over and the age of 25)

All of this must be in place from day one of the employment, no exceptions. The employee should not begin to work before the checklist is completed. It is also not acceptable for any of these insurances to be negotiated away. Or for them to be covered by the Swedish social security system. These are all private insurances that must be signed for all employees with work permits in Sweden.

Steps to get Work Permit in Sweden

sweden visa business work travel

To begin the process, the below 5 Steps How to get Work Permit in Sweden must be completed in the same order:

  1. Position is advertised on Arbetsförmedlingen’s website (Sweden’s Work Association) for at least for 10 calendar days.
    This is an EU regulation that MUST be done. You need to check with your employer that they have done this BEFORE all else. Read more about possible exemptions to the requirement to advertise the position
  2. Offer of employment is created, union statement is collected, the application form is filled out and submitted. When possible, the application should always be submitted using the Migration Agency’s online portal. Submitting paper applications can cause a delay in the process by up to 2-3 months.
  3. Migration Agency will process the application in about 1-6 months, or 10 days if the application is submitted by a certified company. The time varies quite often, so go check Migrations’ website. During this time the applicant is not allowed to be in Sweden (Read more on this below in “Frequently Asked Questions”)
  4. Once the application has been processed, there are two different processes to be completed. It depends on whether or not the applicant is a visa free national or a non-visa free national
    (Examples of visa free nationals: USA, Australia , Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Taiwan)
    (Examples of non-visa free nationals: India, China, Iraq, Iran, Turkey)
    For a full list of all nationals requiring visas to enter Sweden, please use this. All countries not listed are visa free.

5a) Visa Free nationals

As a visa free national you are allowed to enter Sweden and start working from the first validity date/ first date permit valid. from of your application. Once in Sweden, you can submit your fingerprints and photo taken at a Swedish Migration Agency office to receive your residence permit card. When searching for the nearest office, click “filter by bookable visits” and select “have your fingerprints and photograph taken”

migration office sweden bookable visits

Once you have found the nearest location, the time itself can be booked here. An appointment to “Have your fingerprints and photograph taken” must be booked beforehand.

If you are a visa free national who has spent more than 90 days within the past 180 days in the Schengen region, you will need to follow the steps for the non-visa free nationals

5b) Non-visa free nationals

If you’re a non-visa free national you’ll be required to visit the Swedish embassy in your country of residence/nearest one. You need to submit your fingerprints and photo taken in order to receive your residence permit card. Your residence permit card will be a sort of “visa” and it will allow you to enter Sweden and any other Schengen countries. You’ll also need it every time you need to leave and enter Sweden or the Schengen region during the period that your permit is valid for. additional 3-4 weeks waiting for residence card. Always.

You can find a list of all Swedish embassies here. Each embassy operates in different ways. So contact the embassy for more information about booking an appointment and which documents you will need to bring.

If you’re a non-visa free national who holds a valid Schengen visa, follow the same steps as for visa free nationals.

It is very important that the position has been advertised for at least 10 days (calendar days not business days) on Arbetsförmedlingen’s website before any other part of the process is completed. Only after this step can your application move forward. Next steps: get offer of employment form, statement from the local union, etc. Not having advertised the position is one of the most common reasons for rejection of a work permit in Sweden.

Potential issues if you don’t receive a permit for the full 2 years

residence card sweden living

Additional applications will need to be submitted:

The Migration Agency only grants work permit in Sweden for a period of up to 2 years at a time, and a maximum combined period of 4 years. The reason for this is that permanent residence in Sweden can only be granted once someone has held a work and residence permit for 4 years. This usually only requires 3 applications to get permanent residence. First work permit application, the extension application and application for permanent residence.

However, if a permit is granted for less than 2 years, then an additional extension application will be required. Given that the processing times for applications are between 6-10 months it is best to submit as few as possible.

Not receiving a personal ID number in Sweden:

If you first permit is granted for less than 1 year you will not receive a personal ID number in Sweden. This will be very inconvenient as it is used for almost everything (registering for phone contracts, gym memberships, bank accounts, etc.). Not having one is going to be a huge problem for people who plan on staying in Sweden. It is therefore a good idea to extend your passport to ensure that you will receive a permit for at least 1 year.

If you are a non-EU citizen with EU dependents, please see here for information.



Some frequently asked questions

Q: Can I enter Sweden before my work permit in Sweden is valid?
A: If you are a visa free national or someone who holds a valid Schengen visa, you can enter Sweden before your work permit in Sweden is valid. You will, however, be following the standard Schengen rules during this time. So you’ll not be able to work and you’ll only be able to be in Sweden up the 90 free Schengen days during past 180 days.

Q: Can I enter Sweden while my permit is being processed?
A: The answer to this questions is “maybe”. It will be up to border control to decide whether or not you are allowed to enter Sweden. You are however not permitted to be in Sweden when the case officer will make a decision in your case.

Being in Sweden during the processing of the application is generally not recommended. It can cause long delays as you will later need to prove that you have left the country. As the case officer waits for this proof, your application will be put at the bottom of the pile. It can add several months onto the processing time. can travel to Sweden between submission and decision.

Q: Is there any way to speed up the process?
A: No. After an application has been submitted there is no way to speed up the process. The Migration Agency removed the possibility to request faster processing times due to specific situations.