SWEDEN - Biometric Residence Permit Information Released
The Swedish Migration Board has released information regarding the application and delivery of new biometric residence permit cards (UT cards), which will be issued from 20 May 2011. The cards replace the current stickers, which were placed directly in the passport. It is estimated that applications will be delayed by approximately three weeks, due to the time it will take to produce the new cards.
Why is Sweden Introducing Biometric Residence Permits?
The move to introduce residence permits with a biometric component (in this case, a biometric photograph and a chip containing fingerprint details) is the result of a European Union (EU) regulation. All European Union member states were required to implement biometric residence permits by 1 May 2011 and most are on the way to doing this; however, many have experienced delays. The biometric residence permits are supposed to be more secure than previous documents, plus must be issued in a uniform format across the EU.
How Will Employees Obtain the New Biometric Residence Permits?
- Applying In Sweden
For those applying from within Sweden (e.g. renewal applications, or certain change of status applications), the biometric data (photograph and fingerprints) will be submitted at the time of application. No additional appointment should be necessary. It should also be possible to submit the biometric data after the application has been made, and after the residence permit decision has been made, but prior to collection of the residence permit ("UT card").
For those applying electronically, once the application has been registered with the Migration Board, a personal appearance must be made to submit the biometric data.
Once the residence permit has been approved, and the biometric data submitted, the UT card will be delivered directly to the applicant's home address.
- Applying Outside Sweden
When a person applies for a residence permit abroad, a photo and fingerprints are normally taken when the application is submitted or, if an interview is conducted, at that stage. Photos and finger prints can also be submitted after a decision on a residence permit has been made. At certain Swedish missions abroad it is possible to submit an electronic application first and then visit the mission to have the photo and finger prints taken. Click here for information on opening hours and any opportunities for applying electronically and scheduling a visit.
The UT cards are produced in Sweden, which means it can take up to three weeks to produce them and send them to the Swedish missions abroad. The mission issues, or in certain cases sends, the finished card directly to the applicant.
- Note: Technically, it is possible for visa waiver nationals who have submitted applications for residence permits from outside Sweden to travel to Sweden prior to submitting the biometric data. However, it should be noted that, at the discretion of the immigration officers at the port of entry, permission to enter Sweden or the wider Schengen area may be denied if the applicant does not hold a valid passport and UT card. Therefore, it is strongly recommended, in these situations, that the UT card should be obtained in advance of travel.
Two groups are exempt from the requirement for submitting fingerprints:
- children under the age of 6
- persons who cannot submit fingerprints for physical reasons.
These persons must, however, still be photographed, and submit a signature in some cases.
It is important that personal data on the UT card is consistent with the personal data in the passport. If the personal data on the UT card is incorrect, the applicant must contact the Swedish Migration Board.
Persons renewing their residence status and who have changed their name since arrival in Sweden must first go to the Swedish Tax Board, which is responsible for national registration, to have their new name registered. They should then visit the nearest Permit Unit of the Swedish Migration Board in order to obtain a residence permit.
Do Current Residence Permits Need to Be Amended?
No action is required until assignees/employees need to have their current residence permits renewed, at which time, the new UT cards will be issued. Valid residence permit stickers will remain valid until the expiration date or 20 May 2015, whichever is sooner.
- Note that the requirement to obtain the new biometric residence permit cards ("UT cards") will add to processing time - we estimate at least three additional weeks will be required.
- Additional lead time should be factored in for both first time cases and renewals.
- Assignees or family members who have changed name since arriving in Sweden should register these changes as soon as possible, to avoid unnecessary delays with renewals.