For members


Reader question: How do you meet the requirements for a sambo visa?

In Sweden, a sambo is domestic partner – someone you’re in a relationship with and live with, but to whom you aren’t married. If you, as a non-EU citizen, are in a sambo relationship with a Swedish citizen, you can apply for a residence permit on the basis of that relationship. But meeting the requirements of that permit is not always straightforward.

Reader question: How do you meet the requirements for a sambo visa?
It's not completely clear from the Migration Agency's website what criteria you need to fulfil to qualify for a sambo visa in Sweden. Photo: Lieselotte van der Meijs/imagebank Sweden

An American reader, whose son lives with his Swedish partner, wrote to The Local with questions about the maintenance requirement her son and his partner must meet in order to qualify for a sambo resident permit.

“Their specific issue is that they meet the requirements for a stable relationship and stable housing, but have been told that qualifying for a sambo visa based on savings is unlikely,” she wrote, asking for suggestions on how to approach this issue. Her son’s partner is a student with no income, but whose savings meet maintenance requirements. But, they have been told by lawyers that Migrationsverket will likely deny the application based on the absence of the Swedish partner’s income.

How do relationships qualify for sambo status?

In order to apply for a residence permit on the basis of a sambo relationship, you and your partner must either be living together, or plan to live together as soon as the non-Swedish partner can come to Sweden. Because this reader’s son is already in Sweden as a graduate student, he can apply for a sambo permit without having to leave the country, provided that his student permit is still valid at the time the new application is submitted.

The Migration Agency notes that “you can not receive a residence permit for the reason that you want to live with a family member in Sweden before your current permit expires”. So once your valid permit is close to expiration, you can apply for a new sambo permit.

What are the maintenance requirements for a sambo permit?

The maintenance requirements for someone applying for a sambo permit fall on the Swedish partner, who must prove that they are able to support both themselves and their partner for the duration of the permit. This includes both housing and financial requirements.

In terms of residential standards that applicants must meet, they must show that they live in a home of adequate size – for two adult applicants without children, that means at least one room with a kitchen. If rented, the lease must be for at least one year.

The financial requirements are more complicated. The Swedish partner must be able to document a stable income that can support the applicant and themselves – for a sambo couple, the 2022 standard is an income of 8,520 kronor per month. This burden falls on the Swedish partner.

While the Migration Agency’s website does say that you may “fulfil the maintenance requirement (be considered able to support yourself) if you have enough money/taxable assets to support yourself, other persons in your household and the family members who are applying for a residence permit for at least two years”, it is unclear how proof of this would be documented. On a separate page detailing the various documents that can be used to prove that maintenance requirements are met, there is nothing about how to document savings that will be used to support the couple.

Can you apply on the basis of savings instead of income?

Well, this is unclear. The Migration Agency’s website does suggest that having enough money saved up to support both members of the sambo relationship is an option, but it gives no details on how to document this. It is also unclear whether applying on the basis of savings will disadvantage applicants, with preference given to applicants who can show proof of income from work.

The Local has reached out to an immigration lawyer to answer this question. 

Member comments

  1. Does anyone know if its different if you’re married. My husband is English and me and our children are swedish. We really want to move to sweden but it seems complicated now when brexit has happened.

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For members


EXPLAINED: How to apply for an after studies residence permit in Sweden

Ankita Sharma, a recent graduate with a Masters in Visual Culture from Lund University, explains how to get a permit to stay in Sweden and look for a job after graduation.

EXPLAINED: How to apply for an after studies residence permit in Sweden

If you, like me, came to Sweden for higher studies and are planning to stay for work, the chances are you have heard of the job-seeking permit, which is formerly known as the Swedish After Studies permit. 

The permit is meant to be the next step after a residence permit for students, and acts as a raft for those seeking employment after graduating. Here’s a look into the process of getting it, and what happens next.

Are you eligible for an After Studies permit?

The After Studies residence permit is granted by the Migrations Agency for up to a year from the point a student finishes their degree if they plan to stay in Sweden to find a job or start their own business.

There is a list of specific criteria that must be met by the applicant to be eligible: 

General requirements

According to the Migrations Agency’s website, only a person who has previously held a residence permit for higher studies in Sweden, or a residence permit for ‘mobility studies’ issued in another EU country is eligible to apply for the After Studies permit.

You must hold a passport that is valid throughout the period that you are applying for and apply before the expiration date of
your current permit.

The copies of your passport must clearly show your personal information, photograph, signature, passport number, issuing country, period of validity, entry/exit stamp, and the permission you have live outside your home country.

You must also state clearly in the application form whether you intend to look for a job or start your own business.

Study credits needed

In order to secure this particular permit, you must apply before the expiry of your current permit and after you have completed a higher education program that was at least two semesters long and based in Sweden. You must have completed and passed sufficient courses to gain at least 30 credits, which is equivalent to about two semesters. 

You must prove this by sending a copy of your diploma, excerpts from the Ladok register, or certificates from authorised staff at your university, stating that you have completed all the courses in your program successfully.

This means applicants have a very short window of time between being awarded their credits or diploma and making their application, something which is crucial to be aware of and a source of a lot of confusion for applicants.

Funds and Health Insurance

As with a normal residence permit, you as an applicant need to prove that you can support yourself through the entire duration of the permit, so proof of funds (such as bank statements and other documents) is mandatory.

The sum required for applications in 2022 is 8,694 kronor per month, and the documents provided must show the bank account holder’s name, and the current account balance. 

If you have continuous income from work, you must supply a copy of your employment contract and specifics of your salary. 

Comprehensive healthcare insurance is also a compulsory criterion for eligibility for this permit.

If you are registered as a citizen at Skatteverkat, the Swedish Tax Agency, and have a personal number, you only need to enclose a copy of your Swedish ID card, otherwise you need to include details of your insurance provider in the application form.

Extra criteria for those with spouses or dependents 

Candidates who are in Sweden with their spouse or families have extra criteria to fulfill

You must ensure that all the members of your family have valid passports, and documents verifying your relationship.

You must also show you are able to financially support them, by proving that, on top of the basic sum mentioned above that you have an additional 3622.5 kronor for your spouse and  2173.50 kronor for each child.

Here’s where it gets tricky

One of the most common mistakes made by applicants is not getting the calculation of funds right. Currency conversion rates are constantly changing; so for those of us using account statements from banks in our home countries, it is imperative to have a little more than the required amount stated by the Migration Agency.

My advisor at Lund University recommended having an extra month’s worth of funds in the account to ensure it holds up in the eyes of the Agency.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the balance amount is calculated from the date mentioned in your statement, so it is a good idea to attach a statement dated as near to the date of application as possible.

It is also acceptable to produce a combination of balance statements from your home country bank and your Swedish bank as long as they add up to more than the required amount.

The other tricky aspect of this application is the timing. The Agency specifically asks that we apply before the expiry date of the current permit, and after we have completed all our courses.

The catch of this situation is that a standard higher studies residence permit expires two weeks after university courses normally end, but results are only published 4-6 weeks after, and diplomas are issued only after a month.

The two criteria cannot simultaneously be fulfilled, so it is recommended that you submit the application before your previous permit expires, with a letter from your university Programme Coordinator stating that you have completed all your courses.

Then the Agency allows you four weeks to submit your diploma in addition to your application.

What happens after I’ve applied? 

Once the application is submitted, you are allowed to remain in Sweden until you receive a decision, but should you choose to leave the country, you may not be allowed to enter again.

This rule, along with the long queue times at the Migration Agency and no fixed time frame for a decision, means that applicants like me get stuck in Sweden with no permission to travel anywhere (within or outside the EU), and with no foreseeable hope of being able to travel to our home countries.

Waiting periods are close to six months as advertised on the website, and there is no clear way to get more information unless a case officer is assigned to you.

If you land a job while waiting for the decision on this permit, you can request to end your application and apply for a work permit, but that, as readers of The Local will know, comes with its own set of hurdles.