Can I apply for a residence permit without leaving Sweden?

A first-time application for a residence permit must be made and granted while you are outside Sweden, otherwise your application may be rejected. In some cases, you may be able to apply for a residence permit while you are in Sweden with another valid Swedish residence permit.

You can apply and get a new residence permit (change status) without leaving Sweden eg

  • From residence permit for researcher to residence permit for studies when a visiting researcher has been admitted to doctoral education;
  • From work permit to residence permit for researcher or doctoral studies
  • From residence permit for studies to work permit when a student who has passed at least 30 credits or a semester's doctoral education receives a work offer
  • From a job seeker's permit to a work permit when a student or researcher looking for a job after completing studies or completed research receives a job offer

Special reasons are required or it is not allowed at all to switch from

  • job seeking permit to residence permit for researcher or studies after entering Sweden
  • family member to residence permit for researcher or studies after entering Sweden

See If you can apply for a resi­dence permit without leaving Sweden? (Guide för statusbyte inifrån Sverige in Swedish) or see under heading If you are already in Sweden

This implies complications for doctoral students and researchers who are third-country nationals, when changing from work permit, job seeking permit or family member to doctoral student/researcher. You can normally submit your application from Sweden and wait until decision making. If the previous residence permit is still valid, you can travel to a neighbouring country during the course of decision making. In case the previous residence permit has expired, you have to travel to your home country and wait for a new decision.
Furthermore, work permit is limited to the specific employer and occupation indicated in the decision, so change of employment is problematic.

Change of status: when you apply for a residence permit for studies when you had work permit before. To apply for extension of your current permit or permanent residence permit is not a status change.
A third country national: citizen of a non-EU country. EU citizens have the right to work, study and live in Sweden without a residence permit.

The main rule

The main rule is that a person who wishes to obtain a resident permit different from the one that the person currently holds needs to have been granted the permit before entering Sweden.

The Migration Agency recommends that you travel to your home country or to a country where you have the right to stay in order to submit your application and await a decision.

If you are given the opportunity to explain why you believe that you should be exempted from the main rule due to extreme circumstances, you can do that. Keep in mind that special reasons are applied restrictively and only in exceptional cases. Important courses or lab work is normally not enough. 

Applicants with a valid residence permit in Sweden

If the Swedish Migration Agency requires proof that you are currently not in Sweden:

  • Plan your trip according to the deadline the Migration Agency has given you or ask for more time. Avoid weekends, since the decision makers normally work Monday to Friday. 
  • Inform your case officer about your travel plans.
  • Travel abroad, for example to a neighbouring country
  • Follow instructions from the Swedish Migration Agency. For example, take a picture of you standing in front of a famous place abroad with a newspaper (where the date is shown). Send the photo and a copy of your tickets to your case officer or the agency's mail box. Or visit the nearest Sweden Embassy where you are in, bring and show your passport to them, ask them to send a message to the Migrationsverket that you have been there. 
  • Wait for a new decision

Applicants whose residence permit in Sweden has expired

If the Swedish Migration Agency requires proof that you are currently not in Sweden:

  • Plan your trip according to the deadline the Migration Agency has given you or ask for more time. Make sure the Swedish Migration Agency has your picture and fingerprints for the residence permit card.
  • Inform your case officer about your travel plans.
  • Leave Sweden for your home country or country where you have a valid residence permit/visa.
  • Follow instruction from the Swedish Migration Agency. For example, send in copies of entry/exit stamps in your passport and boarding card to your case officer or the agency's mail box. Or visit the nearest Sweden Embassy where you are in, bring and show your passport to them, ask them to send a message to the Migrationsverket that you have been there. 
  • Wait for a new decision. Citizens of some countries need a new residence permit card to be able to re-enter Sweden.

If you don't leave Sweden, the Migration Agency may reject your application and decide on expulsion.

Contact

The Swedish Migration Agency Student Unit Örebro: GB-ORB-STUD@migrationsverket.se

The Swedish Migration Agency Unit (researchers) Norrköping: norrkoping-tillstandsenhet2-teaminternationella@migrationsverket.se

International Staff Services KI: Ulla Tunkara phone 08-524 86081