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The new rules for UK nationals living and working in Sweden after Brexit

Written by
Elmzell Advokatbyrå, one of the leading labour and employment law practices in Sweden, guaranteeing comprehensive and high quality assistance for all of our clients.
New immigration and mobility rules apply to UK nationals working and living in or travelling to Sweden from 1 January 2021.


1.1 Has any guidance been issued on how UK nationals can obtain settled residence status and permission to work from 1 January 2021 and what proof of residence is needed for current residents to maintain their status?

The Swedish Parliament has adopted a complementary regulation, effective from 11 November 2020, for UK nationals in Sweden regarding the right for UK nationals to reside, work and travel to Sweden. The regulation has created a new right to reside in Sweden for UK nationals and their families, called ‘residence status’ (Uppehållsstatus) and will be valid for an unlimited time, but the permissions will be renewed every fifth year.

In order to receive this residence status the UK national must have resided in Sweden in line with the EU regulations before 31 December 2020, when the transition period ends. The application process is open from 1 December 2020, and is done online via this link.

The application process is only available for UK nationals residing in Sweden. More information regarding the process is available at the Swedish Migration Agency’s website,


2.1 Do UK employees need a business visa from 1 January 2021?


Regulation (EU) 2019/592 of 10 April 2019 exempts UK citizens from the requirement for a Schengen visa. It applies from the day the UK is no longer subject to EU law. UK citizens can enter and stay in the Schengen area for a maximum of 90 days in any rolling 180-day period.

The Schengen exemption applies from 1 January 2021.

Third-country nationals coming to stay and work in Sweden for more than 90 days require a work permit or a residence permit.

2.2 What documents are needed on arrival for business travel from 1 January 2021?

Travel documents (a valid passport) with a validity of no more than ten years that is valid for at least three months after departure from Sweden. British citizens exempted from the obligations of residence and work permit as set out in section 1 may receive a stamp in their passport confirming that exemption. To receive this stamp, an application must be submitted to the Migration Board.

Proof of duration and purpose of stay, as border control may ask additional questions concerning duration and purpose of stay.

2.3 Do UK nationals need additional permission to work for business travel from 1 January 2021 in the event of no deal?



3.1 Do UK nationals need permission to work and stay in Sweden from 1 January 2021? 

Yes, unless they can rely on an exemption such as:

  • Business meetings in ‘closed circle’ (maximum 20 subsequent calendar days per meeting and 60 days per year in total). Examples of meetings in ‘closed circle’ include negotiations with customers, evaluations with staff and company strategy meetings.
  • Family members of an EU national or a non-EU national who has authorisation to work (subject to conditions).
  • Holders of a permanent Swedish residence permit.


3.2 If permission to work is needed after 1 January 2021, do any quotas apply to the employment of third-country nationals? 


3.3 If permission to work is needed from 1 January 2021, what categories of permission are commonly granted?         

Most likely the following:

  • highly skilled employees (Bachelor’s degree);
  • trainees (subject to conditions).


3.4 If permission to work or stay is needed from 1 January 2021, how long does the procedure take?    

The procedure can take approximately six months. It is recommended, especially regarding work permits, to apply through a company certified by the Migration Board. This can shorten the process significantly.

3.5 If permission to work and stay is needed from 1 January 2021, what Government fees are payable?

Administrative fees of approximately SEK 2000.


4.1 What formalities pply to UK frontier workers working in Sweden but living in another country from 1 January 2021?

A frontier worker cannot receive residence status since s/he does not live in Sweden. However, s/he has the right to apply to get a certificate confirming that s/he is a frontier worker according to the WA. In contrast to UK citizens who live in Sweden, there is no time limit for when a frontier worker must turn in his or her application for this certificate. The process is open from 1 December 2020.

The application process is run by the Swedish Migration Agency. Together with an application, a frontier worker must send in a verification that s/he:

  • lives in another country, such as a housing contract or equivalent civic registration;
  • works or is a sole proprietor in Sweden, which is verified in the same way as in an application for residence status;
  • lived in another country and worked in Sweden at the end of the transition period.


The worker must also provide a copy of his or her passport or national ID card.

The frontier worker will receive a card as evidence that s/he is a frontier worker. The card is valid for five years and can be extended.


5.1 From what date are third-country nationals entitled to apply for permanent residence?    

There are different grounds to obtain permanent residence but in general, five years of legal stay in Sweden (subject to conditions) are required.


6.1 What steps could UK nationals take currently to secure their residence and work status?      

In order for UK nationals to be able to stay in Sweden, they must meet certain requirements and apply for residence status before the end of the application period.

The application period for residence status began on 1 December 2020 and continues to 30 September 2021. The processing of applications will begin in January 2021.

In order for a UK national to be able to continue living in Sweden, s/he must:

  • be a UK national, current family member of a UK national, or former family member of a UK national;
  • have been in Sweden in accordance with EU regulations before the end of the transition period (31 December 2020);
  • continue to live in Sweden after the end of the transition period and also continue to meet the requirements for the right of residence, meaning they must be an employee, sole proprietor, student, person with adequate funds or family member of a person who meets these conditions;
  • apply for residence status or permanent residence status before the end of the application period on 30 September 2021.


Petter Wenehult
Partner - Sweden
Elmzell Advokatbyrå
Knut Elmstedt
Elmzell Advokatbyrå