Sweden’s accession record to relevant human rights treaties is generally good except that it has not acceded to the Council of Europe Convention on the Avoidance of Statelessness in relation to State succession nor the Convention on the Rights of all Migrant Workers and their Families. Some data about the stateless population is collected in the census and by government agencies, but there are overlapping categories.

Sweden lacks a definition of a stateless person as well as a statelessness determination procedure in domestic law, although there are some procedures through which statelessness can be identified and legal guidance published by the Migration Agency in 2023 provides some guidance on assessing statelessness as part of a person’s identity. None of these procedures lead to lawful residence status nor rights solely on grounds of statelessness, and there are gaps in procedural safeguards and protection. There are also gaps in the legal framework to prevent the arbitrary detention of stateless people, including a lack of consideration of statelessness in the decision to detain, and limited procedural safeguards to prevent re-detention.

On the prevention and reduction of statelessness, Swedish law incudes relatively good safeguards. However, the provisions to protect the right to a nationality of children born stateless in Sweden are not in line with the 1961 Convention and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Stateless people may face delays to qualify for naturalisation due to stringent requirements and in September 2023, the government instructed an inquiry to suggest recommendations to further restrict naturalisation conditions. There is no specific procedure in Swedish law to determine the nationality of children at birth. Deprivation of nationality on national security grounds is not currently possible in Sweden, although there is an ongoing inquiry investigating whether this possibility should be introduced for dual nationals. When deprivation of nationality is applied there are safeguards to prevent statelessness including in cases of derivative loss of nationality.

Përditësimi i fundit: 
Jan 2024
Ekspert/ë i/të Shtetit: 

Burime shtesë






Instrumentet Ndërkombëtare dhe Rajonale

Assesses whether countries are State Party to the relevant international and regional instruments, including whether reservations have an impact on statelessness, and whether instruments are incorporated into domestic law. The four core statelessness treaties (1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons; 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness; European Convention on Nationality; Council of Europe Convention on the Avoidance of Statelessness in Relation to State Succession) carry more weight than other relevant human rights instruments in the assessment.

Sweden is State Party to the 1954 and 1961 statelessness conventions but retains reservations and has not transposed them fully into Swedish law. Sweden is party to most other relevant legal instruments, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which it has fully transposed into domestic law. It is not State Party to the Council of Europe Convention on the Avoidance of Statelessness in relation to State succession nor the Convention on the Rights of all Migrant Workers and their Families.

  • Sweden is State Party to the 1954 Convention, but it retains some reservations. Its reservations to Articles 8 and 24(1)(b) were withdrawn in 2019.
  • Conventions do not have direct effect in Sweden and the 1954 Convention has not been fully transposed into Swedish law.
  • Sweden is State Party to the 1961 Convention with no relevant reservations.
  • Conventions do not have direct effect in Sweden. Some provisions of the 1961 Convention have been transposed into Swedish law, but not all.
  • Sweden is State Party to the European Convention on Nationality but not to the Council of Europe Convention on the Avoidance of Statelessness in relation to State Succession.
  • Sweden is party to the European Convention on Human Rights with no relevant reservations.
  • Sweden is bound by the EU Return Directive.
  • Sweden is State Party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and has incorporated this convention into Swedish law.
  • Sweden is State Party to all other relevant international treaties with no reservations that significantly impact on stateless people, except for the Convention on the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families to which it is not party.

Të Dhënat e Popullsisë për Pashtetësinë

Examines the availability and sources of disaggregated population data on statelessness. Provides recent figures and assesses reliability of measures countries have in place to count stateless persons, including in the census, population registries, and migration databases. Notes whether statelessness has been mapped in the country and whether there are sufficient measures in place to count stateless persons in detention.

There are several sources of disaggregated data on the stateless population in Sweden, for example, the population and housing censuses include the categories ‘stateless, ‘under investigation’, and ‘nationality unknown’, and data is collected on stateless people granted asylum or nationality in Sweden. UNHCR conducted a mapping study of statelessness in Sweden in 2016. Some data is collected on stateless people in immigration detention, but this is only shared upon request with some NGOs. Without a statelessness determination procedure nor a definition of a stateless person in domestic law, it is very likely that statelessness in Sweden is underreported.

  • Some data collection systems in Sweden have a ‘stateless’ category, including the population and housing censuses. Data is disaggregated by age, sex, and country of nationality, including ‘stateless persons’, ‘under investigation’, and ‘nationality unknown’.
  • The total number of stateless people recorded in 2022 was 9,986 (4,165 women and 5,821 men). The total number of people recorded as 'nationality unknown' in 2022 was 11,051 (4,997 women and 6,054 men).
  • Data categories that may overlap with stateless people include ‘unknown nationality’ and ‘under investigation’.
  • In its most recent Global Trends report, UNHCR reports a total of 21,037 people under its statelessness mandate in Sweden at the end of 2022. UNHCR published a mapping study of statelessness in Sweden in 2016.
  • Data is also available for the number of stateless people granted Swedish nationality (2,338 in 2022); the number of new asylum applications recorded as lodged by stateless people (335 in 2022); the asylum outcome of people registered as stateless (40% grant rate in 2022); the number of unaccompanied minor stateless asylum seekers (5 in 2022); the number and type of permits renewed for stateless people; data on returns of stateless people; and data on family reunification requests by stateless people.
  • Despite the scope of available data, the lack of a statelessness determination procedure or definition of a stateless person in Swedish law means that the numbers are unreliable as some stateless people may not be registered as such by the competent authorities. It is therefore likely that statelessness is underreported in Sweden.
  • The Swedish Migration Agency records and reports monthly data on people held in immigration detention to the Ministry of Justice. This is not published, but it is made available to certain NGOs and can be acquired on request.
  • In 2022, out of a total of 3,029 people placed in detention, 18 were recorded as stateless. Other nationality categories reported in 2022 included ‘Unknown’ (38). The most common ground for issuing a detention order to people recorded as stateless was due to impending removal.

Statusi dhe Përcaktimi i Pashtetësisë

Identifies whether countries have a definition of a stateless person in national law that aligns with the 1954 Convention, and whether they have a dedicated statelessness determination procedure (SDP) leading to a dedicated stateless status. If an SDP is not place, it assesses whether there are other procedures in which statelessness can be identified or other routes through which stateless people could regularise their stay or access their rights. Countries are subdivided in three groups to enable comparison between those with an SDP leading to protection, those with other procedures, and those with a statelessness status but no clear mechanism to access protection. The existing procedures and rights granted to stateless persons are examined and assessed against international norms and good practice. Assesses whether stateless people fleeing war have access to temporary protection.

There is no definition of a stateless person in Swedish law. Statelessness can be identified when applying for asylum, an immigration permit, naturalisation, or when registering children born in Sweden, but there is no dedicated statelessness determination procedure leading to a dedicated statelessness status. There is no obligation on the authorities to consider statelessness in any procedure and the burden of proof varies between available procedures in law and practice. Legal guidance published by the Migration Agency in 2023 on assessing statelessness as part of a person’s identity has some information on evidentiary requirements and conducting individual statelessness assessments in the asylum procedure and in applications for nationality. Procedural safeguards such as legal aid and interpretation are generally available in the asylum procedure. Most rights granted to stateless people in Sweden are not based on their statelessness but on the immigration or residence status granted through other procedures.

  • There is no definition of a stateless person in Swedish law, although the term 'stateless' is mentioned in the law several times.
  • Legal guidance published by the Migration Agency in 2023 provides that, in the absence of a definition in national law, the Agency shall use the definition of the 1954 Convention.
  • No training for public authorities is provided by public authorities in Sweden on statelessness. UNHCR recommended that specialised training on statelessness be provided to competent authorities in Sweden in its mapping study of 2016. Civil society and UNHCR occasionally organise capacity-building events.
  • According to information provided by the National Courts Authority responsible for the training of judges and other lawyers working within the courts, they do not have any trainings focusing only on statelessness but their two basic trainings on immigration law contain some information on statelessness.
  • There is no dedicated SDP leading to a dedicated statelessness status in Sweden, but there are other procedures in which statelessness can be identified.
  • A person can be identified as stateless in Sweden when applying for asylum, an immigration permit, naturalisation, or when registering children born in Sweden.
  • It is possible for an asylum applicant’s statelessness to be identified during the asylum procedure, but the process is ad hoc and often depends on the knowledge of the individual case officer.
  • Statelessness can also be identified during registration in the Swedish Population Register by the Tax Agency (e.g., when a person receives an immigration residence permit, or when a new-born baby is registered in the Population Register).
  • When an application for naturalisation is made, the Citizenship Unit of the Swedish Migration Agency can also make an assessment of statelessness.
  • Statelessness determination is not the explicit objective of any of these procedures.
  • There are no obligations in law on the Swedish authorities to consider a claim of statelessness within a relevant procedure.
  • There is little information on what statelessness is and how to claim one’s rights as a stateless person in Sweden under the 1954 Convention. The Migration Agency published legal guidance in 2023, which provides that the assessment of statelessness is relevant when assessing a person’s identity in the asylum procedure or in the application for Swedish nationality. There is some cooperation between competent authorities but there are differences of approach. For example, if the Swedish Migration Agency knows someone is stateless, they may inform the Tax Agency. However, there is no standard protocol as to how and when this is to be done. The assessment of nationality carried out by the Migration Agency is different from that carried out by the Tax Agency, which can lead to differing decisions about the same individual.
  • The burden of proof applied when identifying statelessness varies in law and practice. In the asylum procedure, by law, the burden of proof is shared between the applicant and the authorities when determining an applicant’s identity, and the applicant bears the burden of proof to make their identity probable (i.e., likely to be correct). In applications for naturalisation, the burden of proof is mainly on the applicant and the competent authority is not bound by previous assessments of nationality undertaken by other agencies. The Tax Agency and Migration Agency do not have common guidelines on how to assess nationality. Legal guidance published by the Migration Agency in 2023 notes that the Agency has a partial responsibility to collect relevant information by guiding the applicant on the documents to submit or researching relevant country of origin information, and should assess all evidence in the case. However, in practice the burden to prove statelessness often falls on the applicant. If the applicant fails to provide documentation to prove their statelessness, they are often registered as ‘nationality unknown’.
  • The standard of proof applied depends on the procedure and agency. There is no common guidance on the standard of proof that should be applied when evidencing statelessness. For the Tax Agency, a passport and civil status documents are needed, which often cannot be provided by a stateless person. So, although the Tax Agency has a webpage referencing stateless people, in practice, it is often impossible to be registered as a stateless person by the Agency. For the Migration Agency, an ID document or other evidence stating that the person has no nationality is usually required. In an application for Swedish nationality, the law requires that the applicant ‘has proven’ their identity, which is a high standard of proof. Stateless people can be registered as stateless with one agency and as having a nationality with another.
  • There are limited procedural guidelines for decision-makers on how to identify or determine statelessness. The legal guidance provides some instructions on how to conduct individual statelessness assessments. Country of origin information (COI), including information on statelessness, varies depending on the country it refers to.
  • Free legal assistance is generally provided to asylum seekers throughout the regular procedure and at all appeal levels, and is funded by the State budget. Public legal counsel can be denied if early in the process the case is assessed as having a high likelihood of being granted. It can also be denied in cases of manifestly unfounded claims and in Dublin claims with a right on appeal to request free legal aid. There are some barriers to accessing specialist legal assistance in practice.
  • Free interpretation is available in the asylum procedure. However, there are cases in practice where the interpreter provided is not a professional, the language asked for has not been available, or statelessness-related terminology has been incorrectly interpreted. Generally, at court level, interpretation is of a higher standard mainly using authorised interpreters.
  • In the asylum procedure, interviews are conducted by the authority responsible for taking the decision, and applicants can request that the interviewer and interpreter be of a specific gender. Decisions are handed down in writing with reasons and applicants are also informed orally. There is a time-limit (usually within three weeks) for submitting an appeal and the Migration Agency carries out internal audits in decision-making.
  • Most rights granted to stateless people in Sweden are not based on their statelessness but on the protection status and/or residence permit granted through other procedures.
  • Statelessness is not a ground for residence in Sweden. Significant numbers of stateless people are unable to obtain any residence permit and are subject to return procedures. Stateless people who cannot be returned may acquire a 12-month (temporary barrier to removal) or 13-month (recognised practical barriers to removal) temporary residence permit if removal does not take place, but the process is lengthy, and residence permits are rarely granted in practice.
  • Since July 2021, stateless refugees face a longer path to Swedish nationality, as the first permit granted to refugees is now temporary (rather than permanent), and additional requirements must be met on housing, employment, and the absence of a criminal record. This time requirement does not apply to resettled refugees, who are granted permanent residence permits upon resettlement.
  • Stateless people have the right to a travel document if they are granted a residence permit in Sweden.  However, if a person is recorded as having ‘unknown nationality’, they may be denied a travel document even if they have been granted a residence permit.
  • There are no specific provisions for stateless people with regard to the right to work. Asylum seekers are permitted to work in Sweden, but there are practical barriers. To be able to work, asylum seekers must be able to prove their identity or show they have done all they can to do so but have been unsuccessful.
  • Access to emergency healthcare is guaranteed for asylum seekers until the person is granted residence or leaves Sweden, but there are practical barriers and less urgent health issues are not covered for adults. Children have access to full healthcare on the same terms as children residing in Sweden.
  • Asylum seekers have access to housing and a small monthly allowance for food. This allowance has not been increased since 1994 and large families are discriminated as the allowance is reduced from the third child onwards.
  • All children under 18 have the right to education. However, there is no right to free higher (university) education for any asylum seekers.
  • People with international protection or a humanitarian residence permit in Sweden have the right to apply for family reunification, but there are practical barriers.
  • Only Swedish nationals have the right to vote in general elections to the Swedish Riksdag (Parliament).
  • People who have resided and been registered in a Swedish municipality with a residence permit for three years prior to a regional or municipal election may vote in these elections.
  • Sweden grants temporary protection only to stateless people who enjoyed international protection or equivalent national protection in Ukraine before 24 February 2022.
  • Barriers to accessing protection include difficulties in proving statelessness and enjoyment of international protection in Ukraine.
  • Stateless people and those at risk of statelessness may face barriers in entering Sweden, as in March 2022 an obligatory control of identity was introduced that requires passengers travelling on long-voyage ships to present a valid photo ID, which was prolonged until 31 December 2023.


Analyses law, policy and practice relating to immigration detention generally, but focusing on protections in place to prevent the arbitrary detention of stateless people during removal and deportation procedures. Subthemes examine areas such as the identification of statelessness and assessment of whether there is a reasonable prospect of removal, procedural safeguards such as time limits, judicial oversight, and effective remedies, as well as the rights granted to stateless people upon release from detention and protection against re-detention.

There are some gaps in protection to prevent the arbitrary detention of stateless people in Swedish law and practice, leading to a risk of stateless people being detained. Statelessness is not juridically relevant in the decision to detain and although vulnerability assessments should be carried out prior to detention, statelessness is not considered a factor increasing vulnerability and assessments are not always thorough. Procedural safeguards in detention are relatively good although no information is provided concerning how to make an application for determination of statelessness. There is limited protection on release and a person may be released into destitution if they are not asylum seekers and did not hold a residence permit prior to detention.

  • Immigration detention in Sweden is regulated by law and decisions to detain may be taken by the Migration Agency, Migration Courts, or the Police.
  • An adult may be detained if their identity is unclear or to determine their right to stay if it is likely they will be refused entry or expelled and there is a risk of criminal activity or absconding.
  • 3,029 people were detained in Sweden in 2022.
  • Alternatives to detention exist in law and are used in practice.
  • An expulsion decision must indicate the country or countries to which the person is to be returned. It is reported that in some instances the Migration Agency contacted neighbouring countries of the applicant’s previous country of residence, even where there was no connection. Asylum seekers whose nationality must be determined may be detained in Sweden according to the EU Reception Conditions Directive, in which case the proposed country of removal must be identified.
  • There is a clear obligation on authorities to release a person when there is no reasonable prospect of removal, but, in practice, there are cases of people remaining in detention when it was clear that return could not be implemented, and of stateless people being considered not to be cooperating due to their inability to prove their identity.
  • Statelessness is not juridically relevant in decisions to detain in Sweden. If there is a country willing to accept the stateless person, this can be indicated on the expulsion order without taking statelessness into account. The applicant can then be detained if there is a risk they would not leave voluntarily.
  • Vulnerability is not explicitly defined in the law, but case law, policy, and guidance provide for vulnerability screening in the asylum procedure and special procedural guarantees for certain groups. Statelessness is not considered a vulnerability factor. 
  • In practice, thorough individual vulnerability assessments are not consistently carried out. Detention screening is usually carried out based on a tick-box form with limited space for explanation, and people are rarely released on vulnerability grounds.
  • Stateless people are detained in practice.
  • There is a maximum time limit on detention in Sweden of 12 months and detainees appear to be released at the end of this maximum period of detention. People issued with an expulsion or refusal of entry order may be detained for up to two months, with the possibility of an extension if there are exceptional grounds. Even if there are exceptional circumstances, the person shall not be detained longer than three months or 12 months if it is likely that removal will take longer because of a lack of cooperation, or it takes time to acquire the necessary documents. These time limits do not apply in the case of people detained following a criminal conviction. The average period of detention was 57 days in 2021.
  • There are automatic periodic reviews of the lawfulness of detention (within two weeks on grounds of unclear identity, for a removal decision within two months, and supervision within six months). Each review must be preceded by an oral hearing.
  • There is a right to free legal assistance on detention matters only after three days in detention. However, there are reports that information is inadequate, provided in a quick video meeting between the individual, lawyer and the Police, and discrepancies in the quality of advice provided.
  • There is a possibility to appeal the detention decision before the Migration Court and the Migration Court of Appeal (in certain circumstances), but the rate of overturned decisions is very low.
  • Decisions are given in writing, but often through a standardised tick-box form with limited reasoning.
  • Detainees are provided with information on their rights and contact details of legal advice providers. However, no information or guidance is provided on how to make a claim of statelessness. NGOs and UNHCR visit detention centres regularly and are permitted to have information available about their services. Detainees have free access to the internet and can contact organisations directly.
  • The Migration Agency and the Police have sections specialising on facilitating removals. Handbooks exist but are generally not publicly available. They include information on re-documentation and other aspects, but the focus is on whether for a stateless person the country of removal can be proven to be their country of habitual residence rather than establishing entitlement to nationality.
  • Asylum-seekers are issued with a document by the Migration Agency with information about their identity and status as asylum seekers, but this is not considered official ID. If released from detention, an individual will only have access to this document if it is valid or possibly a copy if it has expired.
  • If a person is released from detention, they go back to the same residence status and rights that they had previously (which could be a limbo situation, awaiting a new decision from the Migration Agency, or awaiting removal from Sweden).
  • Stateless people who have exhausted their right to remain legally in Sweden can be left in a situation of destitution on being released from detention.
  • Re-detention is possible if there are grounds for further detention, usually refusal to cooperate, suspected risk of absconding, or if there are concrete removal directions in place.
  • Sweden has bilateral agreements with 19 countries and is party to all EU readmission agreements. In the EU agreements, stateless people may be returned to countries willing to accept them and where they have previously had their habitual residence. Statelessness is not specifically considered.
  • Cases have been reported of Palestinians being returned to Jordan, for example, as Jordan was willing to accept them.

Parandalimi dhe Reduktimi

Assesses the adequacy of safeguards in nationality laws to prevent and reduce statelessness, including facilitated routes to naturalisation for stateless people, and protections for otherwise stateless children born on the territory or to nationals abroad, foundlings and adopted children. Examines law, policy, and practice on birth registration, including access to late birth registration, and reduction measures taken by States to prevent and reduce in situ statelessness. Analyses provisions on deprivation of nationality and whether there are safeguards related to renunciation and deprivation of nationality to prevent statelessness from occurring.

There are several gaps in Swedish law, policy and practice for the prevention and reduction of statelessness. Stateless people may face longer periods before they are allowed to apply for naturalisation if they lack documentation to prove their identity and in September 2023, the government instructed an inquiry to suggest recommendations to restrict naturalisation conditions. Children born stateless in Sweden must meet requirements that go beyond the 1961 Convention (such as permanent and habitual residence) to acquire Swedish nationality. Safeguards for foundlings and those born to Swedish parents are good, while for adopted children they are relatively good. Births in Sweden must be registered with the Tax Agency promptly and the Migration Agency is notified if parents are not Swedish. Birth certificates are not universally issued, and no procedure exists to determine the nationality of a new-born child. If a nationality or statelessness cannot be proven, children may be registered as having ‘unknown nationality’. In August 2023, the government instructed an inquiry to suggest recommendations to increase information-sharing between public authorities to facilitate deportation. Deprivation of nationality is not currently permitted on national security grounds, although there is an ongoing inquiry investigating whether this possibility should be introduced for dual nationals. When deprivation is applied, there are safeguards to prevent statelessness including in cases of derivative loss of nationality.

  • Stateless people may apply to naturalise if they have permanent residence and four years of habitual residence (in line with refugees and reduced from the standard five years) if they can meet other criteria, including to prove their identity.
  • If a stateless person is unable to prove their identity, they must have been a habitual resident for eight years and be able to prove that their stated identity is ‘probable'.
  • Stateless children (under 18) may register through notification if they have permanent residence and two years of habitual residence (reduced from three years). Stateless young people aged 18-20 may apply through notification if they are permanent residents and have been habitually resident since the age of 15.
  • In 2023, the Migration Agency published legal guidance to support the assessment of a person’s statelessness in their application for Swedish nationality or for asylum.
    It should be noted that since July 2021, it is more difficult to acquire permanent residence in Sweden. A person must have held temporary residence for at least three years, each family member must meet the criteria, and, if over 18, they must be able to provide for themselves, lead 'an honourable life', and have no criminal record if over 15. This time requirement does not apply to resettled refugees, who are granted permanent residence permits upon resettlement. In September 2023, the government instructed an inquiry to suggest recommendations within one year to restrict conditions to acquire Swedish nationality, including by requiring a longer habitual residence and strengthening good character requirements.
    Applicants are required to have and be expected to lead ‘an honourable life’, There are ongoing discussions since 2021 to make it a requirement for an applicant for naturalisation not to be suspected of a serious crime, perceived to be a threat to national security or be active in or have influence over a terrorist organisation, but no draft law proposal has been presented to Parliament yet.
  • There are no exemptions for stateless people from the general eligibility requirements for naturalisation. However, stateless people who have been granted refugee status or refugee travel documents are exempt from paying the fee for naturalisation. The fee to apply for naturalisation for adults is 1500 SEK (145 EUR). Children under 18 covered by an adult’s application do not pay a fee. The fee is non-refundable if a mistake is made during the application. A government inquiry has proposed the introduction of requirements of knowledge in the Swedish language and society from 1 January 2025. No law proposal has been put forward to the Swedish Parliament yet but will likely be.
  • There is a safeguard in Swedish nationality law for children born in the country who would otherwise be stateless. However, the child must have a permanent residence permit and habitual residence (‘hemvist’) in Sweden, or at least five, or a total of ten cumulative, years of habitual residence, and have been granted temporary residence under specific chapters of the ‘Aliens' Act. A stateless person who has reached 18 but not yet 21 years-old, who meets the above criteria but does not have permanent residence, may register for Swedish nationality if they have been habitually resident since they were 15 years-old.
  • Since July 2021, it has become more difficult to acquire permanent residence in Sweden, which creates barriers to stateless children acquiring Swedish nationality as soon as possible after birth.
  • The safeguard is non-automatic through notification after fulfilling certain requirements set out in law.
  • It is not a requirement that parents are also stateless for otherwise stateless children to acquire Swedish nationality, but, in practice, if one parent has a nationality, the child will generally be recorded by the authorities as holding that nationality.
  • For a child born stateless in Sweden to acquire nationality through notification, the Citizenship Unit of the Migration Agency assesses the child’s statelessness independently from any previous assessments undertaken by other authorities. The standard of proof is high as it must be clear that the child is stateless, otherwise the nationality of the child will be considered ‘unknown’ and the child will not be able to acquire Swedish nationality. The burden of proof is on the child especially in cases where they are registered by the Migration Agency as having a nationality or ‘nationality unknown’ or where one of the child’s parents holds a nationality.
  • Applications are only free of charge if the child is stateless and has been granted refugee status or refugee travel documents from the Migration Agency.
  • Some information is provided about nationality and children born in Sweden on the Tax Agency website in English, Arabic, Tigrinya, and Swedish.
  • There are no specific safeguards to protect the right to a nationality of children born to refugees in Sweden.
  • Foundlings are considered Swedish nationals by law.
  • There is no specific age-limit in the law, and the provision refers to a 'child'.
  • Foundlings are no longer considered Swedish nationals if they are found to have another nationality.
  • It is possible that a child national adopted by foreign parents could be exposed to a temporary risk of statelessness during a procedure to renounce Swedish nationality if they do not already hold another nationality, as the condition for renunciation is that the person acquires another nationality within a certain period.
  • A child under 12 adopted by a Swedish national becomes Swedish at the time of adoption if adopted in a Nordic country or pursuant to a Hague Convention decision. If the child is over the age of 12, they must consent to acquiring Swedish nationality. If the child does not agree to becoming a Swedish national and they no longer hold another nationality, this could lead to a risk of statelessness.
  • All children born to Swedish nationals acquire Swedish nationality at birth and there are no discriminatory conditions in law or practice.
  • All births in Sweden must be reported to the Tax Agency as soon as possible by the midwife where the baby was born, or within a month by the child’s guardian if no midwife was present at a home birth. If no application is submitted in time, the Tax Agency may order the child's guardian to submit a notification of birth with the required information. If the guardian does not comply, the injunction can be combined with a fine.
  • A child's birth is registered in the Population Register if the mother is registered or if the other parent who did not give birth (regardless of their gender) is registered and is the legal guardian of the child. If the mother giving birth is married or in registered partnership, the other spouse/partner is presumed to be the parent of the child. Otherwise, the parenthood of the other parent must be confirmed, which can be done digitally. If the parents are not registered, the birth is still notified to the Tax Agency, but the child will only be registered in the Tax Agency Register if parents complete a supplementary form.
  • Information about a child born in Sweden who does not have Swedish nationality is usually sent to the Migration Agency, then the parents must apply for a residence permit and present a valid passport or travel document. There are legal exceptions to the protection of personal data, which include obligations to disclose information about a foreigner’s personal circumstances to specific authorities for the purposes of deciding on a residence permit or enforcing removal. The fear of being deported could potentially hinder undocumented families from registering a baby. In August 2023, the government instructed an inquiry to suggest recommendations to increase information-sharing between public authorities to facilitate deportation.
  • Sweden does not issue international birth certificates. Instead, a ‘personbevis’ (population registration certificate) may be issued on request, which is an extract from the Population Register and contains information on the individual held in the Register managed by the Tax Agency.
  • New parents must complete a Tax Agency form with information about the new-born child, which includes a field to indicate the nationality of the baby. The Migration Agency will investigate the parents’ nationality and may then register the child as having the nationality of a parent. The authorities use country information, caselaw and legal reports to inform their determination of nationality. The Tax Agency sometimes does its own determination of a child’s nationality. It can happen that the Tax and Migration Agencies register a baby as having different nationalities, as their systems are not linked.
  • If it can neither be established that the person has a nationality nor that the person is stateless, the Tax Agency must register that the person as ‘nationality unknown’. However, there is no common framework for the competent authorities to guide the assessment of whether a child is ‘stateless’, has ‘unknown nationality’, or ‘under investigation’, and the burden and standard of proof to apply. There is also no guidance on taking the best interests of the child into consideration.
  • There are credible reports to suggest that some children, such as the children of undocumented or unregistered parents, are prevented from registering the births of their children. The Family Law and Parental Support Authority has knowledge support for surrogate arrangements abroad, which includes information on issues such as establishing and registering of parenthood and nationality.
  • Information about birth registration is available on the Tax Agency website in English, Swedish, Arabic and Tigrinya. If the baby is born in hospital, staff informs parents or provide the form to facilitate registration. However, it is reported that in practice this may not happen due to language barriers and understaffed hospitals.
  • Sweden pledged in 2019 to conduct a government-led inquiry on nationality, and to continue to address statelessness in line with the challenges noted in the UNHCR mapping study in 2016. This includes initiating a dialogue with the responsible national agencies to discuss registration of statelessness, nationality and ‘unknown nationality’, and limit inconsistencies in registration. In July 2021, a government inquiry presented its final report. Some of these measures have been introduced by the Government, others are in progress.
  • Forthcoming amendments to the Swedish nationality law create uncertainty and may exacerbate statelessness rather than reduce it.
  • There is a safeguard in Swedish nationality law that prohibits deprivation of nationality where it would lead to statelessness.
  • The Migration Agency is the competent authority for deprivation of nationality. Swedish nationality may only be lost by a national who turns 22 and is not residing in Sweden and does not have ties to Sweden. The person can apply to the Migration Agency to keep their nationality, should they fulfil the requirements. A decision by the Migration Agency on deprivation of nationality may be appealed to the courts.
  • A person who wishes to renounce their Swedish nationality may do so only if they do not have habitual residence in Sweden (except in exceptional circumstances). If the applicant is not already a national of another country, renunciation is conditional on the person acquiring the nationality of another country within a certain period of time.
  • There are currently no provisions for deprivation of Swedish nationality on national security grounds, but in June 2023, a parliamentary committee inquiry was instructed to investigate by the end of 2024 if deprivation of nationality should be introduced for people with dual nationalities who have committed ‘system-threatening crimes’, crimes against humanity or other very serious crimes, or fraud.
  • There are no discriminatory provisions on deprivation of Swedish nationality.
  • Derivative loss of Swedish nationality does occur, but not if it would render the person stateless.


Library of resources, legal instruments, publications and training materials on statelessness, specifically relevant to this country. More regional and international materials, as well as resources from other countries, are available on the Resources library. Domestic case law can be consulted in the Statelessness Case Law Database (with summaries available in English).

Please note that we are in the process of adding new resources, so check back soon.

Latest news on Sweden

Image for the WEBINAR: 2024 State of Play Assessment on Statelessness in Europe

WEBINAR: 2024 State of Play Assessment on Statelessness in Europe

In conversation with experts working in different countries, we presented our annual state of play assessment of key trends on statelessness in...
22 Mar 2024 / Albania / Austria / Belgium / Bosnia-Herzegovina / Bulgaria / Council of Europe / Croatia / Cyprus / Czechia / Detention / European Union / France / Georgia / Germany / Global / Greece / Hungary / International and Regional Instruments / Ireland / Italy / Kosovo / Latvia / Malta / Moldova / Montenegro / Netherlands / North Macedonia / Norway / Poland / Portugal / Prevention and reduction / Romania / Serbia / Slovenia / Spain / Statelessness determination and status / Statelessness population data / Sweden / Switzerland / Türkiye / Ukraine / United Kingdom

WEBINAR: 2023 State of Play Assessment on Statelessness in Europe

Join us for the online launch of our annual StatelessnessINDEX state of play assessment and hear about key trends from several experts working on the...
23 Mar 2023 / Albania / Austria / Belgium / Bulgaria / Council of Europe / Croatia / Cyprus / Czechia / European Union / France / Germany / Global / Greece / Hungary / International and Regional Instruments / Ireland / Italy / Latvia / Malta / Moldova / Montenegro / Netherlands / North Macedonia / Norway / Poland / Portugal / Romania / Serbia / Slovenia / Spain / Sweden / Switzerland / Ukraine / United Kingdom

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