At Statistics Sweden we use cookies so that our website will function well for you. By continuing your surfing on our website you agree to the use of cookies. What is a cookie?

Published: 2015-09-17
Nr 2015:


Statistics Sweden,
Unit for Population Statistics


Since 2001 it has been possible for Swedish citizens to have double citizenship, on the condition that the other country's legal system allows for this. The Swedish Migration Board handles the applications for citizenship in Sweden, except in the case of Nordic citizens. Nordic citizens contact the County Administrative Board.

When a person with double citizenship changes to Swedish citizenship, two changes are reported in the register. The number of changes of citizenship is thus slightly more than the number of persons who change citizenship. In 2014, 590 individuals were affected.

To receive Swedish citizenship as a foreign citizen, one must be at least age 18, have a permanent residence permit and have lived in Sweden five years in a row. The rules can vary: Nordic citizens do not need a residence permit, and only need to have lived in Sweden for two years. Stateless persons and refugees can become Swedish citizens after four years in Sweden. As a rule, children under the age of 18 become citizens at the same time as their parents.

Children become Swedish citizens at birth if the mother or the father is a Swedish citizen, or if the father is a Swedish citizen and the child is born in Sweden. Children under age 12 who are adopted by Swedish citizens become Swedish citizens when they are adopted. The rules on how a child receives Swedish citizenship were changed on 1 April 2015 for the sake of gender equality. This means that a child always becomes a Swedish citizen if one of the parents has Swedish citizenship.

Stateless persons are those who are not recognised as citizens in any country.

Citizenship 2014

One country – 200 citizenships

In 2014, 43 500 foreign citizens received Swedish citizenship. This is a decrease of 13 percent compared to the previous year. However, the number of foreign citizens in Sweden increased during the year, and on New Year's Eve 740 000 persons from nearly 200 countries were in Sweden.


The number of foreign citizens is affected by the size of immigration in recent years, as well as how many persons receive Swedish citizenship. In 2014, 740 000 persons with foreign citizenship were in Sweden, which corresponds to nearly 8 percent of the total population. Of these, 47 percent were women and 53 percent were men. Nearly 10 percent of the foreign citizens were born in Sweden.

The share of foreign citizens in the registered population has been around 5-6 percent since 1980. In line with the relatively high immigration recently, the share has now surpassed 7 percent.

Share of the population with foreign citizenship 1980–2014

Chart: Share of the population with foreign citizenship 1980–2014

Among the foreign citizens, one in five had Nordic citizenship and about 40 percent of these were Finnish citizens. Last year the number of Syrian citizens more than doubled and accounted for 42 000 of the foreign citizens.

Foreign citizens broken down by the ten largest countries of
citizenship, 2014

Total349 436389 999739 435
Finland34 50925 16959 678
Poland23 28324 94448 227
Somalia23 63323 42347 056
Syria16 68025 50642 186
Denmark16 43021 97638 406
Norway17 66516 81734 482
Germany13 77514 39728 172
Iraq11 89214 03825 930
Afghanistan9 00514 56123 566
Great Britain and
Northern Ireland
5 75413 59619 350

Fewer new citizens after five years of increasing numbers

The number of persons who have received Swedish citizenship has varied over time. During the 1960s about 10 000 people switched citizenships. During the 1980s the number of changes was about 20 000 per year. This figure continued to increase during the 1990s. The number reached a peak during 1998 when 46 500 persons switched citizenships, largely due to the high number of persons from ex-Yugoslavia who switched to Swedish citizenship. During the 2000s the number of persons who received Swedish citizenship has varied from year to year, with a peak notation in 2006 when about 51 000 persons received Swedish citizenship.

In 2014 the number of new Swedish citizens was 43 500, a decrease of 13 percent compared to 2013 when about 50 200 persons became Swedish citizens. Of these new citizens, two out of five had immigrated during 2008 and 2009.

Number of citizenship changes from foreign to Swedish citizenship

Chart: Number of citizenship changes from foreign to Swedish citizenship 1940–2014

Of those who received Swedish citizenship, nearly 37 percent had previously been citizens in an Asian country. 16 percent were EU citizens and nearly as many were previously citizens of an African country. The most common previous citizenship was Iraqi among the new Swedish citizens.

Citizenship changes by country of citizenship at time of application,
the ten largest in 2014

Previous country
of citizenship

Total23 90719 60343 510
Iraq4 1783 1157 293
Finland2 0589753 033
Somalia1 4291 5062 935
Poland1 3201 1052 425
Thailand1 7273542 081
Stateless7969151 711
Iran5675671 134
Turkey4525831 035
Eritrea5454551 000

Nordic residents wait the longest to change citizenship

Persons born in a Nordic country belong to the group who wait the longest to apply for Swedish citizenship. Of those who received Swedish citizenship in 2014, they had lived in Sweden 26 years on average. Finnish persons were above the average and had lived in Sweden slightly more than 29 years. Polish persons were the largest group measured in numbers from the EU outside of the Nordic countries who changed to Swedish citizenship. They had waited for an average of nine years. Iraqis comprised the largest group and changed to Swedish citizenship after six years.

Citizenship changes from foreign to Swedish during 2014,
by region of birth and time in Sweden since immigration

Region of birthYears in
Nordic countries other than Sweden26
Soviet Union11
EU28 excluding Nordic countries10
South America9
North America9
Europe, excluding EU28 and Nordic countries7

The table above does not include persons who were born in Sweden or persons who had an unknown date of immigration.

Significant regional differences

The share of foreign citizens in Sweden's municipalities varied at the end of 2014, from less than two percent in Öckerö to 27 percent in Haparanda. Those in Haparanda were mainly Finnish citizens.

The metropolitan areas of Stockholm and Malmö had a relatively large share of persons with foreign citizenship. These persons comprised 10 percent of the population in Greater Stockholm and Greater Malmö, while the corresponding figure was 7 percent in Greater Gothenburg. Foreign citizens comprised 6 percent of the population in the rest of the country.

Foreign citizens in Swedish municipalities 2014

Map: Foreign citizens in Swedish municipalities 2014<

Sweden | Box 24300, SE 104 51 Stockholm | SE 701 89 Örebro | +46 10 479 40 00