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Sweden & South Africa

Working in Sweden

If you are a citizen of a country outside the EU and wish to work in Sweden, in most cases you need a work permit.

There are different types of work permits in Sweden.

Information on rules and documentation can be read on the Swedish Migration Agency website.

Swedish Migration Agency website

Work permit for employees and citizens of non-EU countries

You must have been offered a job before you can obtain a work permit. You cannot enter Sweden until the permit has been granted. Detailed information regarding rules, regulations and criteria’s to obtain a work permit can be found on the Swedish Migration Agency.  

Swedish Migration Agency

Employment for less than three months

For employment that lasts less than three months, citizens of certain countries must have both a work permit and a visa. Detailed information about visas can be found at the Migration Hub at embassy of Sweden in Nairobi.

South African residents - Sweden Abroad

Residence permits for the self-employed

If you plan to work for a period longer than 3 months to start up or run your own business or become a part owner of a company, you must have a residence permit.  You cannot enter Sweden until the permit has been granted. As self-employed you are not allowed to take employment with any employer. You can find more information on rules and regulations on the Swedish Migration Agency website.

Swedish Migration Agency


The easiest way to apply for a residence permit is to apply online over the internet. An online application goes directly to the Swedish Migration Agency.

Swedish Migration Agency

Applying on a paper form

If you cannot or do not want to apply online you can submit a paper application with supporting documents at the embassy of Sweden in person instead.  The application will be forwarded to the Swedish Migration Agency for processing. 

You need to book an appointment by sending an email to ambassaden.pretoria-migration@gov.se.  If submitting at the embassy the fee is payable at time of submission.  See price list under consular and migration application fees.

New rules for passport check

The Swedish Migration Agency introduces new rules for better passport checks for residence permit applicants. 

From 1 November 2022, applicants for a residence permit must show their passport at an in-person visit before the Swedish Migration Agency can grant a permit. The Migration Agency will contact applicants to schedule an appointment with the Embassy for passport and identity control.

Stricter passport checks

Your residence permit card is manufactured when the decision is made, but no earlier than six weeks before the validity of the residence permit begins.

It is not possible to speed up the manufacturing or delivery of the card.

An automatic email will be sent to the registered email in your dossier once the embassy scans the residence card as received.

Collection of residence permit card Monday to Thursday 09h00-11h00

1)      Collect in person - We need your passport for identification

2)      Courier service or someone else to collect on your behalf. We need.

  • Printed and signed letter of consent specifying case number and what  is to be collected of each applicant
  • Copy passport of each applicant
  • Waybill from a courier service.

Please Note!

The embassy will not print your consent and will not hand out your residence card and decision if the courier service do not present the printed required documentation.

See embassy website for contact details and opening hours / public holidays

Step-by step Guide to working in Sweden

The web portal Workinginsweden.se provides a step-by-step guide to the Swedish migration process. It is aimed mainly at non-EU/EEA citizens interested in working in Sweden for at least one year. The portal also describes some of the advantages of a work life in Sweden.


Apply for a work permit

In order t o work in Sweden, you must have a work permit.

Read more