Thursday, November 20, 2008

Moving to Sweden - Swedish Citizenship Test

I get a lot of questions about moving to Sweden, many focusing on eligibility. Often times I am in absolutely no way qualified to answer these questions. Mostly because I am already a Swedish citizen. The benefits of having been born in this country, giving me Swedish citizenship, to an American mother, giving me American citizenship.

Lucky for me though, Migrationsverket, the Swedish Immigration Board, has come through. They have developed a quick survey to take to help determine whether you are eligible to become a Swedish citizen; here is’s take on it all. Granted, this survey is written in Swedish, and seems to focus on those people who have already moved to Sweden, but still.

So following closely the latest Moving to Sweden post, the library looks as follows:

Moving to Sweden – What to Bring
Moving to Sweden – The Swedish Language
Moving to Sweden – Finding a Place to Live
Moving to Sweden – The Metric System and You
Moving to Sweden – Getting a Cell Phone
Moving to Sweden – Getting from the Airport to Stockholm City
Moving to Sweden – The Weather
Moving to Sweden – Public Holidays
Moving to Sweden – Finding a Job
Moving to Sweden – Culture Shock: It's the Little Things
Moving to Sweden – Making Friends
Moving to Sweden – Cost of Living
Moving to Sweden – The Laundry Room
Moving to Sweden – Marijuana
Moving to Sweden – Most Common Jobs and Salaries

And now, Moving to Sweden – Swedish Citizenship Test.

According to Migrationsverket Medborgarskapsguiden or the Swedish Immigration Boards citizenship guide, the survey is made up of five to ten questions. How many questions you get depends on your answers. More specifically, your age and the number of years you have been in Sweden. The idea is that by answering these questions the survey will spit out a suggestion on the best and least expensive way to become a Swedish citizen.

The website does warn that this is just an automated response to a set of questions and is not a promise of citizenship. It also reminds us that each case is investigated individually.

For those of you interested in checking things out I took the test. Numerous times. First by giving my information from my current move, then, in order to get all of the questions, I took it again. And again. I would like to point out that I stuck with being American. Solely because there are a damn lot of countries to choose from and so an endless number of combinations. And, well, I’d like to think I have better things to do than find out if I can move to Sweden if I hail from Burundi. I’m going to go through and chart what I did, as well as give brief translations. So here it goes, as best I can:

Question #1: Are you under 18? 18-20? Over 20 years old?

I answered over 20. Moving on.

Question #2: What country do you currently claim citizenship from?

I scrolled through my options and answered Amerikas Förenta Stater. The United States of America.

Question #3: Do you have a permanent residence permit, known in Swedish as permanent uppehållstillstånd (PUT) or permanent residence right (permanent uppehållsrätt)? This only needs to be answered by those who are not citizens of any of the Nordic countries.

I said no.

Question #4: How long have you been in Sweden?

This question first gives a bunch of scenarios to assist you in answering the question. So I’m going to go through them briefly.

If you sought asylum in Sweden and received a yes on your first attempt then you can start counting your time in Sweden from the day you arrived. If you received a no but then later a yes you start counting from the day you received your yes.

If you sought permission from your home country to move to Sweden and had a permanent residence permit or permanent residence permit to settle when you arrived you can start counting from the day you arrived in Sweden.

If you had a time bound right to study or work in Sweden, for example a one year student visa, you may NOT count that towards your time in Sweden.

If you worked at another country’s embassy or consulate in Sweden you may NOT count that time towards your time in Sweden.

If you lived under an assumed identity other than your own in Sweden you may NOT count that time towards your time in Sweden.

Finally, your choices are: Less than two years? Two years (more than two but less than three)? Three years? Four years? Five to seven years? Eight or more years?

I answered less than two years.

Question #5: Can you verify your identity?

Choose one of the following:
-I can verify my identity with the help of a passport or a national ID card from my home country.

Some small print follows saying that the identification must be government issued, good quality, easy to read, must have a picture of you, not too simple. Basically, don’t come with some fake nonsense.

-I can verify my identity with the help of other forms of ID.

More small print, basically the same thing except now we learn that a drivers license, birth certificate or marriage license aren’t going to cut it.

-I do not have these documents but someone close to me of Swedish citizenry can vouch for me.

More small print telling us that it needs to be a parent, grown child, sibling, or husband/wife if you have lived together for more than two years before moving to Sweden. The person vouching for you must have the necessary documents to verify his or her own identity.

-I cannot verify my identity through any of these choices.

I answered that I could do it using a passport.

Question #6: Have you been convicted of a crime or do you have any debts?

Yes? If yes crime? Or debt?


I answered no.

The survey then summarizes your answers and gives you a response. A plus sign or a minus sign next to the answers that matter. Do you qualify or not?

Turns out, based on the answers I gave, I do not qualify for Swedish citizenship. My big minus was having lived in Sweden for less than two years and not having a residence permit.


Let’s try again.

Question #1: Age?

I answered under 18.

Question #2: Citizenship?


Question #3: Residence permit?


And that was the end of the test. Apparently Sweden does not look kindly upon you if you are under 18.

One more time.

Question #1: Age.

18-20 years old.

Question #2: Citizenship?


Question #3: Residence permit?


Question #4: How long have you been in Sweden?

Five to seven.

Question #5: When did you turn 13?

Before you moved to Sweden? After you moved to Sweden?


Question #6: Can you verify your identity?

Yes, parent can.

Question #7: Crime or debt?


A little playing with this question also tells me that if I had responded yes to having debt it takes me to another question explaining what constitutes debt and asks me again.

If I respond yes to having committed a crime it does the same thing.

I’ll be honest; there is a lot of stuff there to translate. Just use your best judgment, you know if you have debt that is of importance or if you committed a crime.

Shit yes. I’m going to be a citizen.

Last one, because I’m getting antsy. And I have a feeling most people got that glazed over look in their eyes long ago. I don’t blame you. If you’ve made it this far… well done.

Question #1: Age.

Over 20 years old.

Question #2: Citizenship?


Question #3: Residence permit?


Question #4: How long have you been in Sweden?


Question #5: Do you have a refugee document or travel documents?

Yes or no?


Question #6: Are you married, in a registered partnership, or sambo with a Swedish citizen?

Yes, we live together but have done that for less than two years.

Yes, we live together and have been registered at the same address for more than two years and my partner is a Swedish citizen by birth.

Yes, we live together and have been registered at the same address for more than two years and my partner has been a Swedish citizen for more than two years.

Yes, we live together and have been registered at the same address for more than two years and my partner has been a Swedish citizen for less than two years.


I said no.

Question #7: Verify identity?

Yes. Passport.

Question #8: Crime or debt?


I’m a citizen.

There you go. I never did get it to spit out ten questions at me. But eight isn’t bad. Hopefully that helps a bit.

Welcome to Sweden. Hopefully.

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  1. i've a question. if we've got a study or work visa, how do we obtain a residence permit, if that's one of the more important criteria for citizenship?

  2. an excellent question... and one Im not really sure how to answer. Im pretty sure you need to apply for a permanent residence permit first and then go from there. what the requirements are for permanent residency is, I just don't know. I think it focuses mostly on family ties in this case. Here's the migrationsverket website in english:

    also I would suggest checking with an embassy. either a swedish embassy in the country you are from, or maybe even your home countrys embassy in sweden.

    hope that helps a ltitle bit at least. not really a good answer but I don't really know the exact answer.

  3. Regarding kids, this is my paraphrased (and VERY simplfied) understanding.

    If a child is born to a Swedish parent and an American parent, that child will have dual citizenship.

    If a child is born with two Swedish parents IN the U.S., that child will have dual citizenship.

    BUT, if a child is born with two American parents in Sweden, the child must reside for a minimum of 5 years in Sweden to be eligible for dual citizenship.

    I think the rules are more relaxed for Scandinavian and even European citizens...

  4. I think that is right because when i lived there I had friends who had babies in Sweden who were both American and their kids did not get Swedish citizenship. Mine got dual because they were born in Sweden to American mom and Swedish dad.
    I lived there for almost 8 years, I maybe could have gotten Swedish citizenship but never even looked into it at that time.

  5. @John - I think thats exactly right. simple and to the point. I love it. I must say though, I find it interesting that even being born in Sweden doesn't guarantee citizenship.

    @anonymous - but would you have been able to keep your american passport at the time? because, in the end, I just feel like an American passport is worth a bit more than a Swedish. Or was. I suppose now with Sweden being part of the EU an EU passport is worth quite a bit too.

  6. @John: Children with a Swedish mother will gain Swedish citizenship automatically. Children with a Swedish father will gain citizenship if the father is married to the mother, if not the father has to request citizenship for the child.

    @Hairy Swede: Both Sweden and the United States allows dual citizenship.

  7. I know... I have dual citizenship. Swedish and American.

  8. i think being able to have dual AMerican and Swedish citizenship is fairly recent though. when our children were born there 20 years ago we were told when they turned 18 they would have to choose one or the other. That changed before they reached that age though and they have both.

  9. a good point. I think it changed right around the year 2000. Because I turned 18 in 2002 and didn't have any problems with it.

  10. To the first anonymous poster: If you have a work visa, you can get a permanent residence permit if your employer can (and is willing to) argue, to Migrationsverket, that there is no one in Sweden or the EU who has your combination of skills, which your employer requires. My employer did this for me in 1997. This is pretty hard to do, but it can be done. However, I'd imagine the rules have changed since 1997.

    I don't think there is a way to "convert" a student visa into a permanent residence permit. You have to either get a job and get it as described above, or be in a relationship with a Swede and get it based on that.

    To Anonymous 11/25/2008 6:09 PM: Yes, the new Swedish citizenship law permitting dual citizenship took effect on 1 July 2001.

    Best regards,

  11. oh thats good work. I love it. thanks!

  12. Thank you very much for this post. I have never noticed this test in my visits to their website before. I previously thought it would be 5 years according to the test I could probably get it in 3 years. I would probably missed out on that application opportunity if it hadn't been for your post. Thanks!

    Who knows, maybe luck will swing my way.

  13. good luck! its always nice to get that swedish citizenship. kind of helpful in a lot of things.

  14. I have a quick question. I got a research position offer by a school (PhD) which is, in fact, employment based program by Swedish Research Council (SRC), and they'll pay my salary.
    In that case, what category do I fall into? I honestly have no idea. Does anyone have any idea?

  15. I think it probably depends on what kind of work visa it ends up being.

  16. Det ar val inte konstigt att ett barn som har tva amerikanska foraldrar och fods i Sverige inte far ett medborgarskap. Bland annat eftersom barnet kanske fods pa en semester.

    Och om foraldrarna har tankt att stanna i Sverige sa far ju barnet medborgarskap sa smaningom, och har fortfarande ratt till skola och vard.

    For att fa ett arbete i Sverige behover du inte bli sponsrad av ett foretag langre, sa som det fungerar i USA idag.

    Ett amerikanskt pass ar inte mer vart an ett svenskt pass, speciellt inte eftersom Sverige ar ett fridfullt land och respekteras av manga lander.

  17. I am just used to the American system where if you are born in the country you are given citizenship.

    I definitely understand the Swedish system but find it different than that of Americas.

    In terms of the worth of each passport. You're right. If anything, a Swedish passport is probably worth more just because it allows you to live anywhere in Europe. But having both is most definitely worth more.

  18. Hey, what does it mean by debt? If I am from the US and owe money on a mortgage or credit cards, does this matter?

  19. a good question, and one Im not entirely sure about to be honest. I suppose it probably epends on what youre doing. Work permit or citizenship. How much it is. What kind of debt. If there ar eplans to sell the house and get rid of the mortgage. That sort of thing.

    But, coming back to my standard answer, I always had Swedish citizenship so never had to actually deal with this so can't really give any good answers Im afraid.

    Best I can do is suggest to contact migrationsverket:

  20. Congrats for the blog and keep up the good work! Definitely a "most read" for anyone looking to relocate in Sweden! I'm considering myself moving with my family from Michigan-Detroit (no sorry for the cold weather) to Sweden and I while I'm not a American Citizen (my two children are)I have an EU passport (born Romanian) which- I've read- give me the right to reside in Sweden. One suggestion for your future posts, if I may: buying a house (what to expect) and find a (good)school for kids(you might consider yourself too young for the last one - true, I would keep looking for that Big Tits Swede bird :) - but for old Al Bundy kind-of-man here that would be really helpful). Thanks!

  21. I mean "must read"...

  22. Thanks for reading. I like the buying a house idea. The school for kids might be outside of my realm though. Don't want to be throwing out advice when I dont even have kids myself.

  23. If you are having trouble with immigration issues this site provides you the best usa immigration lawyers to deal with these issues. They are very good in their work.

  24. Im going to leave this just because it seems to be such a bad placement of an obvious advertisement.

    Of course I dont doubt that they have the best usa immigration lawyers, I don't know how much use they will be to you when immigrating to Sweden. Unless those same lawyers are also the best usa emmigration lawyers.

  25. I was born in Venezuela but now live in US as a citizen and my father is Swedish I was reconize to be his son 1992 by Swedish court I'm now 33 can I become A citizen of Sweden

  26. hard to say, I think your best bet is to take a look at migrationsverket:

  27. My father is half Swedish-his father is Swedish. I assume he can apply for a Swedish passport. Can I based on my Grandfather being Swedish?

  28. check out migrationsverket: to be sure.

  29. Thank you, this has all been very helpful. I've been thinking about doing what you did.

  30. Hi,
    I have a question regarding Swedish citizenship:
    Basically I am an Indian citizen and working in Sweden from past 2.5years. I got PUT-Permanent residence permit when I applied for my work permit 2.5 years back. My question how many years I have to stay here to be eligible to apply for Swedish Citizenship? As per my knowledge the Migration board say you have live in Sweden for 5 years with PUT? Is this correct and does they follow it accordingly while taking the decision.

    Thanks for you help.

  31. Hey, just a quick question for you since you seem pretty knowledgeable.

    My mother was born in Sweden and lived there for about 20 years. She now has dual citizenship in the USA and Sweden. I was hoping to also get dual citizenship, just in case America elects someone like Sarah Palin to be the next president.

    Can I make that happen without living in Sweden, or would I have to move over there first?

  32. @anonymous - I believe it is right around five years, the migrationsverket website has a really good section about these kinds of questions. I would suggest checking that out for the most up-to-date information.

    @Joe G. - if it is your mother that is Swedish, then it is usually doable. I believe you can apply for that sort of thing outside of the country, but you might have to go through the embassy in DC to do it.

  33. Hi. Quick question. My mom was born in Sweden but did not become a citizen due to her parent's choice. She gained Barbadian citizenship instead and moved her at 13.
    Would I be able to become a citizen then? With proof of her birth certificate? Or no?

    1. Ooh, good question. I'm not entirely sure. Sweden can be pretty strict with citizenship. I would suggest looking here: