If you want to become a Swedish citizen, there are legal requirements you must meet. Sweden will only accept your application if you meet the identity, age, residency and moral character standards. Patience is a virtue once you submit your application for citizenship. Application processing can take up to 15 months.
You must validate your identity by providing a document from a public authority in your country of origin. A passport satisfies this requirement. The Migrationsverket, or Swedish Migration Board, does not accept driver's licenses. Marriage, baptism and birth certificates do not qualify as proof of identity. Testimony from a parent, sibling or child of legal age is acceptable. Your spouse may testify on behalf of the applicant if you and your spouse lived together before entering Sweden. The duration of cohabitation must be to the extent your spouse has no doubt regarding your identity. Contact the Migration Board for a complete list of acceptable proof of identity documents (migrationsverket.se).
Proof of Identity Exceptions
The Migration Board, at its discretion, may validate your identity by reviewing your residency. If you have resided in Sweden for an eight-year period without interruption, the Migration Board may waive the proof of identity standard. The information you provide must be credible, and obtaining the required identity documents must be impossible.
You must attain the age of 18 before submitting an application for citizenship. Parents applying for citizenship may include their minor children on the application. If you have a Swedish parent, your parent must submit the application for citizenship.
Permanent Residence Permit
You must possess a permanent residence permit or right of residence. If you are a citizen or relative of a European Union or European Economic Area citizen, register your permanent right of residence with the Migration Board. This speeds the processing of your citizenship application. European Union states include France, Germany and the United Kingdom. The European Economic Area consists of Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein.
Time in Sweden depends on your current resident status. A foreign citizen must reside in Sweden for five years. Stateless applicants must reside in Sweden for four years. Refugees must reside in Sweden for four years. Living with a Swedish spouse, partner or common law spouse reduces the residency requirement to three years. If the spouse was a resident of another country, the spouse must be a Swedish resident for a minimum of two years.
You must undergo a credit, criminal and security check to obtain citizenship. A criminal history does not prevent citizenship, but your waiting period depends on the penalty. For example, you must wait at least four years from the date your probation began. If you were fined or incarcerated, the waiting period increases.
Complete the application and send by registered mail to Migrationsverket (migrationsverket.se). Include identity documents, residence verification and a civic registration certificate. You can obtain the registration certificate from the Swedish Tax Agency. If providing a passport, you must send the original passport. The Migration Board holds the passport and returns it once the application is processed. Call or email the Migration Board if you need your passport before the application processing is complete. The Migration Board will return the passport, but you must then file it again it to complete processing.
Application Fee and Waiting Period
Include the application fee. As of May 2011, the application fee for Swedish citizenship is 1,500 Swedish krona or $235.39 in American currency. Fees do not apply if you are a stateless or refugee applicant.