Obtaining a work visa in Sweden is necessary for all employees who are not citizens of a neighboring Nordic country. Even European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) citizens will face a few requirements regarding work permits. If you’re not familiar with how to get a work visa in Sweden, this step could potentially delay your plans for operating or cause issues with compliance.
Types of Work Visas in Sweden
All non-EU and EEA residents must first get a job offer and obtain a work permit before entering Sweden. Without a valid working visa in Sweden, an employee cannot live or work in the country. Depending on your employee’s occupation or home country, they may be eligible for an EU Blue Card or Intra Corporate Transfer (ICT) Permit.
An EU Blue Card is a combined work and residence permit meant for highly skilled workers. Applicants must have jobs in certain professions, a university degree, or five years of professional work experience. Expats who work for a company outside the EU and are transferring to the Swedish branch of the company should apply for an ICT permit. However, this avenue only applies to employees in managerial or specialist positions.
In April 2022, Sweden announced an upcoming new residence permit for highly qualified jobseekers, start-ups, and those looking to start a business in Sweden. Information on eligibility criteria and requirements is not yet available.
Requirements to Obtain Work Visas in Sweden
Both employees and employers must meet certain requirements to get a work visa in Sweden. The requirements for employees include:
- A valid passport
- Job offer with terms equal to Swedish collective agreements or the occupation’s standard
- A monthly salary of at least 13,000 SEK before taxes or a salary on par with the position
- Employment offer with health insurance, life insurance, and social security
- Proof of accommodation
- Intention to leave the country once the employment contract ends
As of June 1, 2022, an employment contract will be required for the issuing of a work permit.
All employers also have to meet requirements to hire a foreign national for jobs in Sweden. For example, the position must have been advertised in the EU/EEA for at least 10 days. It also needs to include terms that are similar to other Swedish jobs in the same industry.
As of November 1, 2022, residence permit applicants in Sweden are required to present their original passport in person within 30 days of the consulate requesting them before their application can be approved. Previously, visa-exempt foreign nationals could submit their biometrics once their application was granted.
While the steps to get a work visa in Sweden can change depending on the type of visa, the general application process includes:
- A job offer: Submit a written job offer to an employee after you obtain approval from the right trade union regarding the job and salary. Make sure the offer includes a specific length of employment, as this will determine how long the visa will last.
- Starting the application: Employers must start the online visa application with the Swedish Migration Agency. You will need the employee’s date of birth, citizenship information, education, and email.
- Receiving an email: After starting the application with the Swedish Migration Agency, the applicant will receive an email to start their side of the process. They will need to indicate whether they are moving alone or with family.
- Submitting all relevant documents: Employees must submit a copy of their passport, an employment offer, and a statement from the trade union.
- Paying the fee: Most work permits cost around 2,000 SEK or about $200.
- Waiting for the permit to get issued: Most expats working for a Swedish company need to wait one to three months to get their work permit. However, the wait time can vary based on the industry they are working in, whether someone submitted their application online or in-person, and whether they are self-employed or work for a company.
Other Important Considerations
Keep in mind that a work permit is not the same as a residence permit. EU citizens automatically have a right of residence, but they need to register with the Swedish Tax Agency. Anyone from a non-EU/EEA country needs to get a temporary or permanent residence permit depending on how long they want to stay.
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