I’m sure there are many different types of permits a person may obtain to live and work in a different country, but a Residency Permit is the one I was granted and the only one I am familiar with, so allow me to elaborate.
A Residency Permit allows one to live, work, and enjoy most of the benefits Swedish society has to offer. The permit is based on a personal relationship, whether it is by blood or romance. This first step in this process is to go to the Swedish embassy website and fill out an application. The application may be done by mail or online. I suggest doing it online because it takes far less time because they are trying to eventually phase out mail applications altogether. At the time I applied I was not aware of this and had my application processed
through the mail which actually took substantially less time than I was quoted.
Being based on personal relationships this type of application may ask more personal questions than a standard one would, but nothing irrelevant or too invasive. Some basic questions are; how do you know each other, where did you met, what amount of time have you spent together, what are your plans for the future, what do you intend to do if you move, can you provide proof of your relationship such as plane tickets, photographs, etc. After submitting your application you will be contacted for an interview. The interviews must be done in person and take place at a Swedish embassy or consulate. The interview is quick and painless and simply reviews the details of your application. Next your partner will be contacted and requested to fill out a form with similar
information to that of your application. Lastly, you will be contacted by mail or e-mail with a decision. I can’t imagine an application being denied unless it is obvious your relationship has been falsified or there is not enough information proving its validity.
If you are applying for any such permit and your passport is expiring soon I highly recommend getting a
new passport before beginning the application process. I learned this the hard way. To explain in short, residency permits are usually valid for two years. When your permit is close to expiring, you simply apply for an extension. When I applied for my permit, my passport was expiring in less than a year, therefore the permit I was granted was valid for less than a year. I asked if this would be a problem and was told it would not be. When I arrived in Sweden and needed to get a person number (social security number) I was told I could
not receive one because the permit must be valid for longer than a year. Without a person number I would not be able to open a bank account, get Swedish health care (at a citizen’s rate), enroll in free language courses, or have government assistance in finding employment. Luckily I had a new passport valid for 10 years and we were able to extend my permit by contacting many different people and finally mailing a request. Although everything worked out, the process of getting this fixed was quite worrisome.
This picture is from 09/19/2010,
the day my Swedish life began.