Swedish nationality law

Swedish citizenship ceremony inside Stockholm City Hall on 6 June 2011.

Swedish nationality law determines entitlement to Swedish citizenship. Citizenship of Sweden is based primarily on the principle of jus sanguinis. In other words, citizenship is conferred primarily by birth to a Swedish parent, irrespective of place of birth.

In general, children born in Sweden to foreign parents do not acquire Swedish citizenship at birth, although if they remain resident in Sweden they may become Swedish later on.

Swedish law was significantly amended with effect from 1 July 2001 and from that date, dual citizenship is permitted without restriction.


A child born after 1 April 2015 acquires Swedish citizenship automatically if:

A child born before 1 April 2015 acquires Swedish citizenship at birth if:

For example, a child born to a Swedish father and a non-Swedish mother will not be Swedish if either: its parents are not married to each other or if they were not married when it was conceived and it was born outside of Sweden, unless the father sends notification to an embassy or consulate with the child's passport, birth certificate, proof of his own citizenship at the time of the birth, and a certificate of paternity. A child who is born abroad and whose father is a Swedish citizen (not married to the child's mother, and the mother is not Swedish) will acquire Swedish citizenship when the parents get married, provided the child is aged under 18.


A child who is aged under 12 and who has been adopted by a Swedish citizen automatically receives Swedish citizenship upon adoption if

The adoption must have been officially decided or approved after 30 June 1992.

A child aged 12 or more at the time of adoption may acquire Swedish citizenship by application.

Naturalization as a Swedish citizen

Swedish citizenship can be acquired by naturalization, also known as citizenship by application.

A foreigner may be granted Swedish citizenship upon meeting certain requirements, including:

A number of exemptions apply to the residence period:

For those married to, living in a registered partnership with or cohabiting with a Swedish citizen, he/she can apply for Swedish citizenship after three years. In these cases, he/she must have been living together for the past two years. It is not enough to be married to one another, he/she must also live together.[1]

Citizenship by notification

Notification is a simpler method of acquiring Swedish citizenship (i.e. simplified naturalisation). Those not eligible for notification may still be eligible for naturalisation by application.

Categories of persons eligible for citizenship by notification include:

Stateless persons

A stateless person may acquire Swedish citizenship by notification if that person has a permanent resident permit and falls into one of the following categories:

Young persons resident in Sweden

Swedish citizenship may be acquired by notification by young persons who hold a permanent resident permit in the following cases:

Former Swedish citizens

Former Swedish citizens who hold permanent resident permits may acquire Swedish citizenship by notification if the following conditions are fulfilled:

Those former Swedish citizens who are citizens of other Nordic countries may acquire Swedish citizenship by notification immediately upon resuming residence in Sweden.

Citizens of Nordic countries

Citizens of other Nordic Council countries (Denmark, Norway, Iceland and Finland) may be eligible for Swedish citizenship by notification in the following cases:

Visa free travel

Visa requirements for Swedish citizens are administrative entry restrictions by the authorities of other states placed on citizens of Sweden. In 2014, Swedish citizens had visa-free or visa on arrival access to 174 countries and territories, ranking the Swedish passport second in the world according to the Visa Restrictions Index.

Dual citizenship

With effect from 1 July 2001, a Swedish citizen acquiring a foreign citizenship does not lose Swedish citizenship.

Former Swedish citizens who lost Swedish citizenship prior to this date (upon naturalisation in another country) were given a two-year period to re-acquire Swedish citizenship by declaration. Children of former Swedish citizens were also eligible to acquire Swedish citizenship by declaration. The deadline for submission of applications was 30 June 2003.

The changes to the law also mean that foreigners seeking naturalisation as a Swedish citizen do not need to renounce their former citizenship. They may retain it if the law of the other country permits them to do so. Swedish citizens who nonetheless hold Japanese citizenship must normally, under the East Asian country's nationality law, notify the East Asian country's Ministry of Justice, before turning 22, whether to keep their Swedish or Japanese citizenship.

Prior to 1 July 2001, Swedish citizens were still able to legally hold dual citizenship in certain circumstances, for example, if the other citizenship was acquired automatically at birth.

Citizenship of the European Union

Swedish citizens are also citizens of the European Union and thus enjoy rights of free movement and have the right to vote in elections for the European Parliament.

Loss of Swedish citizenship

Although dual citizenship is permitted, a Swedish citizen who was born outside Sweden and is a citizen of another country will lose Swedish citizenship at age 22 unless he or she is granted approval to retain Swedish citizenship. However, approval is not required if:

In such cases the Swedish citizenship is retained by default.


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