Jobs: How to get a work permit for Sweden?

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If you are looking for a job, and more particularly for a job in Sweden, you might find this post useful..

Looking for job in Sweden: Obtaining a Work permit

So, what is required to work in Sweden? Do you need a special work permit depending on what type of job you have? Do you need a different work permit depending on where you are from?`Some of these questions, and more, about work permits in Sweden will be answered here.

First of all, a small disclaimer: I will not necessarily keep this post up to date, so in case procedures and application processes change, this post might not be accurate. This text is only to be used as a tip and general overview of how this works, and is not to be considered professional advice. Please refer to the links section below where up to date information will hopefully always be available (i.e. Swedish Migration Board etc.).

Step 1: Find a job in Sweden

It might be a good idea to try to find a job in Sweden before you actually go to Sweden. With the internet, it makes applying for jobs in a different country much easier than it used to. Please note, you cannot get a work permit unless you have a job offer! You can find more information about how to find a job in Sweden in this post: XXX.

Step 2: Obtain a work permit for Sweden

The following steps need to be completed before you can obtain a work permit in Sweden:

1. Receive a written offer of a job

2. The would be employer must send the job offer to any concerned trade unions to obtain their approval of working and payment conditions. (This part of the process is likely to reduce problems with foreigners being employed at lower than minimum wage or otherwise being used by their employer.) Once the job offer has been approved by any involved unions, it is returned, with approval, to the would be employer.

3. At this point, the would be employer sends the job offer, with the union approval, to you, so you can use it in the application process for getting a work permit in Sweden.

4. Fill in and submit a work permit application with the Swedish Migration Board.

5. If necessary, depending on your personal circumstances, also submit for family work visas and/or residence permits. This is also done through the Swedish Migration Board.

6. If your application is approved, you will receive your work permit at a Swedish embassy/consulate and after that you can travel to Sweden.

That was the short, brief overview of how to obtain a Swedish work permit. For some additional information, continue reading, as we will drill further down into a few of the above steps of the work permit process.

Obtaining a work permit in Sweden: the job offer

The written job offer from the would be employer in Sweden is absolutely crucial. Without that written offer, you will not be able to get a Swedish work permit, in fact, you cannot even apply for a work permit without it.

The written job offer must contain specific information concerning terms and conditions of the future employment, including benefits, working hours, salary, time of employement and all the other good stuff. The form that the employer needs to fill in can be accessed through one of the links in the bottom of this post.

Obtaining a work permit in Sweden: the actual work permit application

With the written offer form out of the way, the actual application process can begin and you can apply for the Swedish work permit. Please note that the rules are quite different depending on whether you are a citizen of an EU country/Switzerland or if you are a citizen of a country outside of that sphere. If you come from outside of the EU and are not Swiss, you must have a work permit to legally work in Sweden. So, do not run off and get an airplane ticket to go to Sweden and start your job just yet!

You can start your application the old traditional way, i.e. visit a Swedish embassy or consulate somewhere in the world, or you go modern and use the internet to fill in an application online! As far as I have heard, the online application method can save several weeks off of the wait for the work permit. To start the online application, just go to the Swedish Migration Board online application system for work permits, a link is available further down in this post. Despite the method you chose to apply with, obtaining the work permit can take 4-6 months.

The actual work permit application: what documents do I need?

So, as usual, you will probably have to submit a big pile of paper work to get your work permit, right?

Well, it isn’t really that bad. You need the basics, such as:

- A copy of the written job offer mentioned over and over again above.. Don’t miss this part! Make sure it’s signed too..

- Passport information copies, the basic data in your passport

- Some extra passport type photos that are reasonably new (less than six months old)

- Receipt of the fee for the work permit application

If any family member is going with you, that of course creates more paper work. Please refer to the links below for additional information on that subject. Same thing if you plan on applying for your work permit in person at an embassy/consulate, refer to the links, the target pages are in English and will be able to resolve your information needs on the work permit subject.

So, if all goes well, you will receive your work permit in 4-6 months, right? Yep, when and if you are “awarded”  a Swedish work permit, you will be notified by the Swedish Migration Board. I guess that’s easier for them than having you calling to check every other day, right? :) You will need to go to a Swedish embassy or consulate in person to pick up the work permit, that does not work through cyber space, at least not yet. Make sure you bring your passport to identify yourself and also because they will insert documentation into it.

As mentioned above in this post, do not rely only on this post for your information on this subject. This is a walk through, and a year from now the process might have changed. That’s why I included the links to the Swedish Migration Board below, there you will always get updated and accurate information.

Don’t forget to comment with any advice or experience you might have concerning work permits in Sweden!


Get a work permit for Sweden: Links

Some useful links are shown below:

The appendix “Offer of Employement” which needs to be filled out by the would be employer can be found here: Swedish Migration Board - Offer of Employment annex

The acutal application for a work- and residence permit can be found at the following link: Swedish Migration board – applications and forms – work permits.

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