Changes to the Aliens Act

On July 20, 2021, the Swedish migration legislation was changed. The changes mean, among other things, that there are new requirements for all who apply for a permanent residence permit.

Special requi­re­ments for perma­nent resi­dence permits

The new requirements for obtaining a permanent residence permit mean that you must

  • fulfil the requirements for an extended residence permit
  • have had a temporary residence permit – doctoral students and researchers four years over the past seven years (no change)
  • be able to support yourself financially through income from employment or your own company (if you are 18 or older) - New requirement
  • live an orderly life (if you are 15 or older).

There are no transitional rules, so all decisions made on 20 July or later are based on the new rules, regardless of when the application was submitted.

Requirements for knowledge of Swedish language and social studies will come, but we do not know when.

Maintenance requirement for perma­nent resi­dence permit

The law states that your ability to support yourself financially must be of a certain duration. The Swedish Migration Agency considers you to meet the duration requirement if you have permanent employment, or if you have fixed-term employment lasting at least 18 months from the date on which your application is examined. Please note that in practice the period has to be longer due to the processing time at the Migration Agency.

You may count income from one or more part-time jobs, and parental benefits or sickness benefits, if you have ongoing employment, and your parental leave or sick leave is not assessed to be longer than 18 months.

You may not count income from a family member, wealth or returns from capital, unemployment insurance (unemployment benefits) or various forms of grants or scholarships.

You meet the maintenance requirement if your income per month from your employment or company covers your housing costs and the so-called normal amount for a single adult. The normal amount for 2021 is SEK 5,016 per month for a single adult.

Temporary residence permits, for example for doctoral studies and research, have other maintenance requirements.

If the requirements for a permanent residence permit are not met

If you cannot be granted a permanent residence permit but there is reason to extend a residence permit for doctoral studies, then the Swedish Migration Agency will examine it without the applicant having to request it. If there is nothing that shows that there are other reasons for the permit, the Swedish Migration Agency does not have an obligation to investigate any other reasons.

If you do not meet the requirements for a permanent residence permit, you may still be able to obtain a extended, temporary residence permit, if you meet the requirements.

  • A temporary residence permit for doctoral studies can be extended up to your dissertation (full-time studies), see Checklists and examples of attestation of third-cycle studies (doctoral studies)
  • A temporary residence permit for researchers may be extended according to the hosting agreement, no restrictions on the total permit period.
  • A temporary work permit may not exceed four years. However, if there are special reasons, the total permit period may not exceed six years.

If you do not have a new job immediately after your dissertation or research project, an alternative could be to apply for a residence permit after completing your studies or completed research to stay in Sweden for 12 months to look for work or investigate the conditions for conducting business here. Please note, however, that special requirements apply, for example regarding your ability to support yourself. Furthermore, it is important to point out that with such a permit you can extend your stay in Sweden by getting a job and applying for a work permit from within the country, but if you want to continue your research career, you cannot get a researcher's permit after having a “jobseeker permit after completing research / studies” without leaving the country. A jobseeker's permit cannot be extended.

If you are a citizen of a country outside of the EU and have lived continuously in Sweden for five years, you may be granted long-term resident status in Sweden. A person who has been granted long-term resident status in Sweden receives a permanent residence permit automatically. Please note that if you have had a residence permit in Sweden for studies at the Bachelor's or Master's level, for visits or jobseeking, you may not count that time. Maintenance requirement.

Change of status (permit type)

A first-time application for a residence permit must be made 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 residence permit. Check here under 'If you are already in Sweden' if you can apply for a residence permit without leaving Sweden. Se more information about change of status


Each applicant must meet the requirements to obtain a permanent residence permit. It is no longer possible to obtain a permanent residence permit automatically because a family member receives it. Read more information for employees, self-employed persons or doctoral students with a co-appli­cant family


TT: Tusentals akademiker kan tvingas lämna Sverige

SR: PhD students greatly concerned over new residence permit rules

Universitetsläraren: ”Många av oss doktorander diskuterar att lämna Sverige”

President‘s blog: Utlänningslagen måste justeras annars riskerar Sverige att tappa kompetens och talanger

Dagens Samhälle: KI: Nya lagregler motverkar en expansiv kunskapsutveckling i Sverige

DN Ledare: Sverige förlorar på att forskartalangerna stöts bort

University World News: New migration law will ‘harm Swedish research’ – Unions

Petition started by doctoral students, SULF, ST and SFS-DK: Change the legal grounds of Permanent Residency for doctoral students and other researchers in Sweden

The Doctoral Students' Association at KI: Changes in The Aliens Act – new legislation applies for permanent residency from July 20th

The Local: ‘Reasonable balance’: Swedish government defends new rules for foreign PhD students

SULF:s doktorandförening: ”Migrationslagen skadar svensk forskning”

SULF & SFS: ”Nya migrations­regler kan orsaka forskar­flykt”

Universitetsläraren: Svårare för utländska forskare som vill stanna i Sverige

SULF: Changes to the Aliens Act impact researchers and doctoral candidates

SULF: Frequently asked questions about permanent residence permit

SULF-DCA OPINION: Sweden’s new migration act will damage our research and send international talent elsewhere

The Local: Foreign doctoral students hit out at Sweden’s new and ‘unfair’ permanent residency rules

The Local: 'Brain drain': Survey warns stricter migration law could see international academics leaving Sweden

More information

The Swedish Migration Agency The Swedish Migration Agency is now starting to apply the new rules of the Aliens Act

The Swedish Migration Agency Perma­nent resi­dence permits for doctoral students

The Swedish Migration Agency Special requirements for permanent residence permits

The Swedish Migration Agency If you want to appeal