New rules for change of status at the Swedish Migration Agency

Denna sida på svenska

The Swedish Migration Agency has changed its praxis regarding applications for a new residence permit on other grounds than in the previous permit. This means that the applicant is not allowed to be in Sweden when the Migration Agency takes a decision in his/her case. The change took place in May 2017 and applies to all applications. 

The new praxis implies complications for doctoral students who are third-country nationals, when changing for example from R&D trainee or family member to doctoral student. You can submit your application from Sweden and wait until decision making. If the previous residence permit is still valid, you can travel to a neighbouring country during the course of decision making. In case the previous residence permit has expired, you have to travel to your home country and wait for a new decision. 

One way to avoid problems with change of status is that the prospective doctoral student comes to Sweden on visa or visa-free up to three months. If s/he gets admission to doctoral education, then s/he travels back home to apply for a residence permit for studies from the home country. Processing time one to three months.

There are ongoing discussions between KI and the Swedish Migration Agency. 

Change of status: when you apply for a residence permit for studies when you had residence permit for visiting researcher or work permit before. To apply for extension of your current permit or permanent residence permit is not a status change.
A third country national: citizen of a non-EU country. EU citizens have the right to work, study and live in Sweden without a residence permit. 

The main rule

The main rule is that a person who wishes to obtain a resident permit different from the one that the person currently holds need to have been granted the permit before entering Sweden. 

If you are given the opportunity to explain why you believe that you should be exempted from the main rule due to extreme circumstances, you can do that, but please bear in mind that your chance is very slim; participation in research projects and courses is not enough. You cannot expect any feedback from the Agency whether your reasons will be accepted. The Swedish Migration Agency will most probably deem that you have no valid reason to have your application processed while you remain in Sweden, so you MUST leave Sweden, see below.

Applicants with a valid residence permit in Sweden

If the Swedish Migration Agency requires proof that you are currently not in Sweden: 

  • Plan your trip according to the deadline the Migration Agency has given you or ask for more time. Avoid weekends, since the decision makers normally work Monday to Friday. Do not plan any travel if the Migration Agency has not asked you. 
  • Inform your case officer about your travel plans. 
  • Travel abroad, for example to a neighbouring country
  • Follow instructions from the Swedish Migration Agency. For example, take a picture of you standing in front of a famous place abroad with a newspaper (where the date is shown). Send the photo and a copy of your tickets to your case officer or the agency's mail box.
  • Wait for a new decision

Applicants whose residence permit in Sweden has expired

If the Swedish Migration Agency requires proof that you are currently not in Sweden: 

  • Plan your trip according to the deadline the Migration Agency has given you or ask for more time. Make sure the Swedish Migration Agency has your picture and fingerprints for the residence permit card.
  • Inform your case officer about your travel plans.
  • Leave Sweden for your home country or country where you have a valid residence permit/visa.
  • Follow instruction from the Swedish Migration Agency. For example, send in copies of entry/exit stamps in your passport and boarding card to your case officer or the agency's mail box.
  • Wait for a new decision. Citizens of some countries need a new residence permit card to be able to re-enter Sweden. 

If you don't leave Sweden, the Migration Agency may reject your application and decide on expulsion.

Contact

The Swedish Migration Agency Örebro: GB-ORB-STUD@migrationsverket.se

International Staff Services KI: Ulla Tunkara phone 08-524 86081

Links

Doctoral student