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Sweden Citizenship by Descent

Sweden Citizenship by Descent

Foreign citizens from all over the world can move to Sweden by applying for various types of visas that can be transformed into residence permits and later into Swedish passports. In order to obtain citizenship in Sweden, a person must live here for a specific period of time which often depends on his/her current nationality. Apart from migrants, there is also the category of persons who can obtain the status of citizen directly. Known as Sweden citizenship by descent, this option is available for people with Swedish origins, provided that they can prove their ties to the country.

Below, our immigration lawyers in Sweden explain how you can obtain citizenship by descent. We are at your service for support in preparing for immigration.

The main ways of obtaining citizenship in Sweden

There are several ways through which foreign citizens can acquire Swedish citizenship. Moreover, the country has a special naturalization scheme for citizens of neighboring Northern countries who can obtain citizenship here by filing a notification with the Swedish Migration Agency.

 Quick Facts 
Means to acquire citizenship in Sweden  You can obtain Swedish citizenship through birth, descent, adoption, marriage to a Swedish citizen, long-term residence, or naturalization, etc.

 Special requirement to get Swedish citizenship by descent

If one or both of your parents are Swedish citizens when you are born, you can obtain Swedish citizenship by descent. 

Access to citizenship based on the relation with Swedish parents (YES/NO) 

Yes, you can access citizenship by descent in Sweden if one or both of your parents are Swedish citizens.  

Access to citizenship based on the relation with Swedish grandparents (YES/NO) No, you are limited to applying for Swedish citizenship by descent within one generation of your immediate ancestors. 
 Access to citizenship based on a relation with other relatives (YES/NO)

No, Swedish citizenship by descent is primarily based on parentage only. 

Duration to process the documents (approx.) 

As per the Migration Agency, the average processing time for applicants to obtain Swedish citizenship after submitting their application is 39 months. 

Authorities in charge of the issuance of Swedish documents 

The Swedish Migration Agency (Migrationsverket) is responsible for processing applications and issuing Swedish citizenship documents. 

 Special procedure to complete to gain citizenship by ancestry

Though there isn’t a specific process for obtaining citizenship based on ancestry in Sweden, you may be required to present evidence of your familial ties and meet the standard naturalization criteria. 

 Degree of difficulty in obtaining citizenship

 Applying for citizenship by descent in Sweden is not complicated if you meet the requirements. 

 Option to apply for citizenship by other means (YES/NO)Yes, you can apply for Swedish citizenship through other means, such as marriage to a Swedish citizen or long-term residence. 
Renaturalization option (YES/NO) 

Yes, if you were previously a Swedish citizen and lost your citizenship, you may have the option to reapply for it. 

 Option to search for Swedish ancestors

 Swedish National Archives 

Possibility to obtain citizenship as a spouse of a Swedish descendant  

Certainly, it is possible to acquire Swedish citizenship by being married to a Swedish citizen. 

Support in applying for citizenship by descent (YES/NO) 

Yes, our immigration lawyers in Sweden provide support and guidance for citizenship applications based on descent. 

Other immigration services (YES/NO)  Yes, our law firm in Sweden offers various immigration services, including visas, work permits, and residency options for different purposes.

For other persons, the following options are available:

  1. Citizenship by birth or descent is the first and foremost way of obtaining Swedish citizenship;
  2. Citizenship by adoption enables the adopted children of Swedish citizens to become themselves citizens of this country;
  3. Citizenship by naturalization or application which is the main pathway through which foreign citizens can acquire Swedish passports through residency;
  4. Citizenship by legitimization which is an option for foreign citizens marrying Swedish ones;
  5. Citizenship by descent in Sweden is the simplest way of acquiring a passport, as it only implies proving the ties a person has with citizens in this country.

If you are interested in moving to Sweden, our lawyers are at your disposal with information on the immigration legislation of this country, including how to get a permanent residence visa.

Before getting a permanent residence permit, you must hold a temporary residence permit for 3 years. Self-employed individuals and refugees with valid residency permits are excluded from this rule. If you intend to move and apply for residency in Sweden, you can rely on our tailored immigration services.

Our immigration lawyers also have a good understanding of the Employment Law, as it helps us assist our clients better. We can advise on labor contracts between local companies and foreign workers, as well as how such an agreement can help you acquire a Swedish residence permit. Contact us if you need tailored relocation support.

Who is eligible for Sweden citizenship by descent?

According to the Citizenship Act, not all persons automatically qualify for citizenship by descent in Sweden. So, here are those who do:

  • a person whose mother is a Swedish citizen;
  • a person who is born in Sweden and whose father is a Swedish citizen;
  • a person whose father is a Swedish citizen and is married to his/her mother (who can be a foreigner);
  • a person who was born in Sweden and whose father is dead but was a Swedish citizen at that time;
  • a person whose father is dead, but was a Swedish citizen and married to his/her mother at the respective time.

Swedish citizenship is primarily determined by jus sanguinis, meaning it’s acquired if you are born to a Swedish parent. You must know that having a Swedish grandparent or great-grandparent will not make you a citizen. You can only trace your Swedish citizenship back to one generation.

What should be noted is that Sweden citizenship by descent can be passed on by mothers starting with July 1979. If you need assistance in applying for citizenship by birth in Sweden, our law firm can help you trace your roots and file your request with the Migration Agency.

Swedish citizenship comes with various advantages for foreign citizens who meet the requirements to obtain a passport. Among these, voting rights and the possibility to travel to many countries without a visa. The Swedish passport ranks 4 in the most recent statistics in terms of visa-free travel, so here is a major benefit of becoming a citizen of this country.

Obtaining citizenship by descent in Sweden automatically

Over time, the legislation has suffered various changes, and according to the latest, children born after April 1st, 2015, will automatically be granted Sweden citizenship by descent no matter his or her place of birth provided that any of the parents is a Swedish citizen.

There is also an exception to this rule: a child born abroad before this date and who has a Swedish father and foreign mother who are not married to each other will not automatically be recognized as a Swedish citizen. Persons found in this situation, however, can obtain citizenship by notification, to be more specific, if the father files a notification for Swedish citizenship. The main condition to acquire Sweden citizenship by descent this way is for the child to not have turned 18 of age.

Our immigration lawyers in Sweden are at your service with detailed information on how to apply for citizenship by birth under the conditions presented above.

Documents to file for obtaining citizenship by birth in Sweden

The following documents must be filed when seeking to obtain Sweden citizenship by descent:

  • the notification form issued by the Swedish Migration Agency;
  • a certificate of paternity (if the request is filed by the father);
  • proof of the parent being a Swedish citizen;
  • the child’s birth certificate.

Other documents can be requested, which is why we recommend you discuss them with our Swedish immigration lawyers. According to a report submitted to the Swedish government, new citizenship requirements would take effect on January 1, 2025. The report states that candidates must exhibit civic education abilities as well as strong Swedish language proficiency. So, if you are planning to apply for citizenship in Sweden, you can rely on our specialists to speed up the process.

Benefits and responsibilities of Swedish citizenship

Swedish citizenship comes with certain rights and responsibilities. These include exclusive privileges like voting and running for the Swedish Parliament (Riksdagen), conscription into the National Service, obtaining a Swedish passport, and receiving consular assistance abroad. Being a Swedish citizen is also a requirement to represent the country in sports and is essential for specific public sector jobs, including positions in the Police Service and the Swedish Armed Forces. However, many other rights and obligations, such as social insurance, compulsory education, and taxation, are generally determined by your place of residence and employment.

It’s important to highlight that while meeting the eligibility criteria for citizenship is straightforward, the process of becoming a Swedish citizen is not. As per the Migration Agency, regardless of the citizenship route chosen, applicants can expect an average waiting period of 39 months from the time of application completion to Swedish citizenship approval. So, if you are interested in applying for Sweden citizenship by descent, please get in touch with our lawyers. They can help you to be prepared early with the required documentation to immigrate to Sweden.

Does Sweden allow dual citizenship?

Yes, Sweden allows dual citizenship. Swedish citizens are permitted to hold dual citizenship, which means that they can be citizens of both Sweden and another country simultaneously without losing their Swedish citizenship. However, if you are born outside Sweden and hold another country’s citizenship, you could lose your Swedish citizenship at age 22, unless special permission is granted to keep it.

It’s important for individuals considering dual citizenship to be aware of the specific regulations and requirements related to their other country of citizenship, as these rules can vary from one nation to another. If you are embarking on the journey of acquiring citizenship by descent in Sweden, it is recommended to get legal help. The services of our immigration lawyers in Sweden are at your disposal. They can help you comply with the regulations of relocation. 

Do I need to take a citizenship test? 

There is no formal citizenship test for granting citizenship by descent in Sweden. However, Sweden intends to implement a societal knowledge test in the year 2025. Besides this, the process of obtaining Swedish citizenship by any other way typically involves meeting certain residency requirements, demonstrating a basic proficiency in the Swedish language, and showing good conduct. Additionally, applicants are often required to have a stable source of income, and they should have the right to reside in Sweden indefinitely. 

Please note that immigration and citizenship laws and policies can change over time. So it’s advisable to check with our immigration lawyers for the most up-to-date information and requirements for moving to Sweden

Swedish citizenship application fee 

When it comes to citizenship application fees, Sweden offers a relatively low rate compared to many other countries. Typically, the Swedish citizenship by descent application fee amounts to €150.

If you are interested in learning about any other related costs associated with the whole procedure, please get in touch with our lawyers. They guide you in detail about the requirements of acquiring citizenship in Sweden

How can our lawyers assist you?

Our legal team specializes in assisting individuals through the process of obtaining Swedish citizenship. Whether you are considering Swedish citizenship by descent, or naturalization, need guidance on eligibility criteria, or require assistance with the application process, our lawyers are well-equipped to offer comprehensive support. From evaluating your qualifications to ensuring all required documentation is in order, we are committed to helping you navigate the path to Swedish citizenship successfully. With our legal expertise, you can increase your chances of immigration to Sweden.

Migration statistics in Sweden

According to the latest statistics, the migration flow in Sweden in the past few years was on an ascending trend in terms of immigration, as can be seen below:

  • The highest number of foreign citizens entering Sweden was registered in 2016 when around 163,000 persons migrated here;
  • In 2019, the number of foreign citizens entering the country was 115,805;
  • In 2020, more than 82,500 moved to Sweden.

For guidance in obtaining Sweden citizenship by descent, please contact our lawyers.

Are you considering making Sweden your new home? Discover the possibilities of securing Swedish residency, where a high quality of life, and a rich cultural heritage await. Whether you are drawn to the vibrant cities or the tranquil countryside, Sweden has a lot to offer. Find out the various paths to residency in Sweden. If you are seeking assistance to apply for residency, our lawyers can offer you practical assistance.