Sweden has one of the strictest immigration policies among European nations. Sweden offers relaxed immigration requirements, however, for children under 18, adults from 18 to 20 and citizens of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and the rest of the European Union (EU). Immigration to Sweden requires you to have consistent employment for two years before you can receive a permanent residence permit. You must then live and work in Sweden for two to five years to be eligible to apply for citizenship. Citizens of countries in the EU are not required to have a work permit, but must report to the Migration Board if staying longer than three months.
Obtain a Work Permit
In order to travel to Sweden with intent to stay and become a citizen, you must have gainful employment with a Swedish firm or a business that has the right to operate in Sweden and hire foreign employees. Apply for a work permit on the Swedish Migration Board website. You will need a valid passport, proof of employment and proof that you earn at least 13,000 SEK per month. Your employer must have posted the job opening in Sweden and the EU for a minimum of ten days, offer wages and terms equal to those offered to Swedish citizens in the same profession and allow union organizations to express their opinion on the terms of employment. Submit copies of your passport, two recent passport photos, a copy of your job offer and a receipt for your paid application fee with your work permit application. Work permit application fees are 2000 SEK for up to two years plus 1000 SEK for a two-year renewal, as of July 2010. Your family is also eligible to apply for residence permits while you are employed and working in Sweden. The application decision takes from three weeks to three months depending on when you apply.
Obtain a permanent residence permit
After working for four years under temporary work and residence permits, you are eligible to apply for a permanent residence permit. Apply for the permit through the Swedish Board of Migration. You will need to show proof of continued employment in the same profession, proof of identity, and pay any applicable application fees. Once you have obtained a permanent residence permit, you are allowed to change employers within your profession without applying for a new permit.
Apply for Swedish Citizenship
After working for another year under your permanent residence permit, you are eligible to apply for Swedish citizenship, which allows you to be issued a Swedish passport and have full rights as a foreign citizen. You must prove your identity with a passport and other government-issued identification, be 18 years old or older, have a permanent residence permit, have lived in Sweden for five years and have conducted yourself in a professional manner, have no unpaid debts, and committed no crimes while living in Sweden. Swedish citizenship is considered permanent even if you move to another country. The waiting time for a decision on your citizenship application is about three months as of July 2010.