Regulations and Information for Asylum in Sweden
What is an asylum seeker?
An asylum seeker is a person who makes their way to Sweden and applies for protection (asylum) in Sweden, but whose application is not yet decided.
Reasons to grant asylum seekers residence permits
Sweden has signed the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. This entails, among other things, that Sweden shall examine each asylum application individually. The individual examination includes taking the applicant's gender and sexual orientation into account; e.g., whether the applicant is homosexual, bisexual or transgender.
Sweden shall grant a residence permit to a person who is a refugee in accordance with the UN Convention but also to persons in need of "subsidiary protection" in accordance with joint EU regulations as well as other persons in need of protection in accordance with the national Aliens Act.
Advisory Pre-Application for Asylum
All those making an application for asylum are strongly advised first to apply for an advisory pre-application decision through this website. An advisory pre-application decision is a pre-application service which allows us to take in to account your individual circumstances and provide specific advice on the next steps for gaining your permanent residence in Sweden.
Determining refugee status
In accordance with the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, Swedish legislation and EU regulations, a person is classed a refugee when they have well-founded reasons to fear persecution due to:
- religious or political beliefs
- sexual orientation
- affiliation to a particular social group
The persecution may originate from the authorities of the native country. It may also be the case that the authorities are unable or unwilling to offer protection against persecution from individuals or groups.
A person who is granted a residence permit as a refugee can request to receive a refugee status declaration; internationally acknowledged status based on both the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and EU regulations.
A person who is not a refugee in accordance with the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees may also be eligible for a residence permit as a person in need of protection. There are two categories of protection in the Aliens Act:
- subsidiary protection (in accordance with EU regulations)
- other protection (in accordance with Swedish legislation)
A person deemed in need of subsidiary protection is one who:
- is at risk of being sentenced to death
- is at risk of being subjected to corporal punishment, torture or other inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment or
- as a civilian at serious risk of injury due to armed conflict
A person granted a residence permit as a person in need of subsidiary protection may receive subsidiary refugee status declaration based on EU regulation.
Other protection is a category that only exists in the Swedish Aliens Act; it has no equivalent in international conventions and in EU legislation.
An asylum seeker may be assessed as a person in need of other protection if he or she
- cannot return to their native country due to armed conflict or due to serious opposition in the native country
- feels a well-founded fear of being subjected to serious violation or
- cannot return to their native country due to an environmental disaster
Persons in need of other protection may receive refugee status declaration but this is only applicable in Sweden.
Particularly distressing circumstances in exceptional cases
Asylum seekers may, in exceptional cases, be granted a residence permit, even if they do not need protection from persecution. This relates to particularly distressing circumstances directly linked to their personal circumstances, such as a particularly serious health issue, adaptation in Sweden and the situation in their native country. A collected assessment of such circumstances may result in a residence permit.
In these instances as it is not a matter of offering protection, refugee status declaration is not applicable.