Record number of Swedish citizenship applications concluded

Sweden’s Migration Agency expects to make a decision on a new record number of citizenship applications this year, as an increased focus on reducing long processing times begins to have an effect.

Record number of Swedish citizenship applications concluded
File photo of a Migration Agency office in Sweden. Photo: Adam Wrafter/SvD/TT

The Local has previously written about the long queues for Swedish citizenship, and the waiting times have also been criticised by Sweden’s Parliamentary Ombudsmen.

But things are now moving in the right direction, according to the Migration Agency.

In 2021, it made a decision on around 85,000 citizenship applications, the highest number yet, following efforts to streamline the process.

In October and November last year, around 11,000 citizenship applications were concluded per month, an increase of more than 70 percent compared to the monthly average in the first half of 2021.

“The investment in citizenship has started having an effect in the form of a significant increase in the number of concluded cases in the last quarter of 2021. We also saw that a trend was broken and the number of open citizenship cases began to decrease,” reads a new report by the Migration Agency, which sets out the agency’s forecast for the coming years.

It predicts it will again break the record for concluded cases this year, estimating it will make a decision on around 110,000 citizenship applications in both 2022 and 2023.

However, it warns that waiting times are expected to remain long for now, but that it expects to reach the target at the end of 2023, with no applicant waiting more than six months. At the turn of the year, around 100,000 people were waiting for Swedish citizenship.

Member comments

  1. I am waiting for a decision on citizenship application since September 2020, while I know people who applied last year and got reply in a week. How fair is this? Why not to process historical applications first, in order? I don’t even have a case officer yet, according Migrationsverket website.

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Country by country: Where do Sweden’s newest foreign residents come from?

More people moved to Sweden last year than the year before. But where do they all come from?

Country by country: Where do Sweden's newest foreign residents come from?

Immigration to Sweden increased year-on-year in 2021 for the first time since 2016, when around 163,000 new residents were added to the country’s population register, according to fresh data by national number crunchers Statistics Sweden.

In total, 90,631 people moved to Sweden last year, up 9.8 percent on 2020.

The largest group of immigrants, 11 percent, were Swedes returning to their country of birth.

This was followed by people born in India. A total of 6,017 people born in India moved to Sweden last year, an increase of 48.2 percent on the previous year.

The next largest groups were from Syria (3,538 people born in Syria became registered as residents last year), closely followed by Germany (3,501) and Pakistan (3,240).

Fewer people emigrated from Sweden last year, with 48,284 people moving out – a decrease of 1.3 percent compared to 2020, according to Statistics Sweden’s data.

Again, most of these were native Swedes – 16,975 in total – of whom 10.4 percent moved to the UK, 10 percent moved to Norway and 8.3 percent moved to Denmark.

More than half of all emigrants last year (55.9 percent), at least the ones who were not born in Sweden, returned to their country of birth. This was particularly common among people born in Finland, with 1,609 Finnish-born people returning to Finland from Sweden.

The number of foreign-born residents in Sweden grew to 2,090,503 people last year, an increase of 2.1 percent. Syria, Iraq and Finland make up the top three countries of birth. Sweden’s total population stood at 10,452,326 at the turn of the year.

If you are new to Sweden, welcome! We hope you’ll like it here. The Local has plenty of guides, analysis and features aimed at newcomers and long-term residents, and if there’s a topic you’ve got questions about or think we should cover, you’re always welcome to get in touch. And for anyone wondering how they can stay in Sweden forever, here’s our guide.