I was contacted by a friend who recently flew back to the UK and then returned to Sweden (their current country of residence) to tell me of a very strange experience they had had whilst at Passport Control.
Bearing in mind that my friend has travelled back and forth to the UK from Sweden regularly since moving to Sweden in August 2015. This was the first time they had ever been asked for their Residence Permit Card. Thinking they had cracked the Swedish bureaucratic paper trail and were registered, signed up, sold out residents they felt understandably bemused and embarrassed!
Fortunately, the look on their faces must have said it all and the officer at Passport Control explained to them what it was, why they needed it and to get it before the next time they travelled. The officer also explained that if they had been travelling from another country (other than the country origin of their passports, UK) they could have found themselves in some difficulty trying to prove their right of residency in Sweden without any cards.
So, what is a Residence Permit Card, why do you need them and how do you get them?
In order to live in Sweden you need to be given permission by the Swedish immigration agency, Migrationsverket, regardless of where you have come from. You do this by applying for the right to reside via Migrationsverket website. Once you’ve received permission to live in Sweden via a letter from Migrationsverket you can then apply for proof of your right of residency in the form of your Residence Permit Card. That is simply why you need them, the card acts as proof of your right to residency.
I have to make it clear here, the Residence Permit Card is NOT your ID card. You must also apply for your ID card from Skatteverket.
To apply for your Residence Permit Card you must physically go to Migrationsverket to be photographed and have your fingerprints taken. This personal information will be held on a small chip imbedded into the card. It is important that you have this card with you when you travel, especially if you are travelling internationally.
This was completely new to me and I have never been questioned or asked about my proof of residency. I’m not sure if it is a newly implemented scheme or if it has been around for years and people have simply forgotten about it. However, better to be prepared than preached at.
Since this article was published it has caused a LOT of discussion (which is great!!). It is very confusing as to why people from an EU country are being asked for their proof of right to reside in Sweden but it is happening. Littlebearabroad is trying to clarify with Migrationsverket as to why this is happening and if EU citizens are soon going to be required to apply for Residence Permits. As soon as Littlebearabroad has been given an answer we’ll publish is here.