Basic facts

If you want to visit Sweden and you are not a citizen of the EU/EEA, you may need a visa. A visa gives you permission to enter and stay in Sweden for a short period. It is valid throughout the Schengen area, but you apply to the country that is the main destination for the journey.

Visas can be granted for such purposes as:

  • Business visits
  • Participation in cultural or sporting events
  • Visits to relatives and friends
  • Tourism

You can submit your application at the earliest three months before your planned visit. Apply as far in advance as possible, especially during the peak season (May-September). Usually, you get a decision within two weeks.

A Schengen visa can be granted for between 1 and 90 days. You have to make use of these days within a given time frame (period of validity).

How many days you are allowed to stay in the Schengen area, and during which period, is stated on the permit sticker attached to your travel document. Please note that the embassy adds 15 days of validity to your visa to make your time more flexible, in case you have to postpone your trip. However, you are still only allowed to stay in the Schengen area for the amount of days stated on your sticker.

If you need to travel to Sweden often, you can ask to be given several entries. Such visas are valid for five years at the most. If the visa is valid for more than six months, you can stay in the Schengen area for a maximum of 90 days per six-month period.

A visa does not automatically mean you can enter the Schengen area. Entry checks are always made at external border points. So it is a good idea to bring along copies of the documents you submitted when applying for a visa. Border controls may result in your being denied entry.

It is the embassy or consulate that decides whether you are to be granted a visa. In certain cases, the matter is referred to the Swedish Migration Agency for a decision.

All visa applicants are required to provide their biometric data (fingerprints and a digital photograph) when applying for a Schengen visa. It is a simple procedure that only takes a few minutes.

When applying for the first time, all applicants will have to appear in person at a consulate or an external service provider. Biometric data, along with the data provided in the Schengen visa application form, will be recorded in the VIS (Visa Information System) database and stored for five years. Frequent travellers will only have to complete the procedure once within this period, as the fingerprints will be copied from the previous application file in the VIS.

The VIS will contain all Schengen visa applications and the decisions taken by any Schengen State's consulate. This will facilitate visa application procedures and checks at the external borders of the European Union, as well as enhance security.

Read more about visa applications in the menu on the left and on the Swedish Migration Agency website.

Swedish Migration Agency website

Visits longer than 90 days

If you know when applying that you will need to stay in Sweden for longer than three months, you should apply not for a Schengen visa but for a Visitor's Permit (a residence permit for visiting family or friends). Such permits are decided in accordance with national Swedish rules. This means, for instance, that visa facilitation agreements do not apply and that visa decisions are not subject to appeal.

An application for a residence permit for a visit is always sent to the Migration Agency in Sweden, where the decision is taken. Consequently, the application period is longer than for a Schengen visa. If the application is granted, residence permits are usually issued for between three and twelve months.

If you have special grounds that are approved, you can obtain a national visa (D-visa) for longer than 90 days, but for a year at the most. Special grounds may for instance be that you already have a granted residence permit to Sweden, but you have not received your permit card and need to travel to Sweden urgently. A national visa gives you freedom of movement throughout the Schengen area, in the same way as a residence permit. You yourself decide how many times you want to enter the Schengen area during the visa’s period of validity.

If you are to be granted a residence permit for a visit or a national visa, the purpose of the trip must be to visit Sweden, not to settle there. You must have the means to support yourself throughout your stay, and you must possess either a return ticket or enough money for your return journey. Medical travel insurance is not compulsory, but it is advisable, since medical costs in Sweden can be high.

Please find more information about visits longer than 90 days in the menu to the left.

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