Changes to the Aliens Act 2021

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 2021 or later are based on the new rules, regardless of when the application was submitted.

Requirements for knowledge of Swedish language and civic knowledge will come, but we do not know when. A special investigator shall submit proposals latest on 22 May 2023. See Swedish language requirement for permanent residency to be investigated

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 standard amount for a single adult. The standard amount for 2023 is SEK 5,717 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 up to four years at a time, multiple times.
  • A temporary work permit can be granted for at most two years at a time, multiple times.

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 (LTR) 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. See Guide för status­byte inifrån Sverige (in Swedish). 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

Foreign researchers whose children are born in Sweden 

According to the Aliens Act, a researcher’s family member must have applied for a residence permit before entering Sweden, which is stated in Chapter 5b, Section 20. Foreign researchers with permits to live and work in Sweden are told that they must travel abroad to be able to apply for a residence permit for their newborn children. 

Universitetsläraren 2022: Researchers forced abroad for newborn children’s residence permits

Centrum för rättvisa 2022-2023: Chaitanya Tellapragadas dotter mot Migrationsverket (in Swedish)

In the media 

University World News 27 March 2023: Fears persist over impact of immigration rules on academia

University World News 03 February 2023: Will a ‘hostile’ immigration climate deter global scholars?

SULF 6 Dec 2022:  Tio punkter för att lösa problemen med migrationslagstiftningen (in Swedish)

University World News 25 October 2022: New migration policies raise concerns over foreign students 

University World News 12 May 2022: Migration law – One of many hurdles to a research career

University World News 09 February 2022: Academics protest against ‘fatal’ changes to Aliens Act 

SUHF: Skrivelse från SUHF rörande nya krav för att få permanent uppehållstillstånd 2021-12-07 med bilagor (in Swedish)

More information

The Swedish Migration Agency Perma­nent resi­dence permits for doctoral students

The Swedish Migration Agency Special requirements for permanent residence permits

The Swedish Migration Agency Request to conclude a case

The Swedish Migration Agency If you want to appeal

SULF: Permanent residence permit

Content reviewer:
Ulla Tunkara