Immigration alert - New, stricter requirements for identity control
Effective 1st of November 2022, the Migration Agency will increase the controls of passports that are presented when applying for temporary residence permits. The changes will apply to all residence permit applications where there is a passport requirement, with the intention to increase security and reduce the risk of irregularities.
Individuals will be asked to visit the embassy/consulate or one of the Swedish Migration Agency’s service offices to present their passport in person before a decision can be issued in their case.
The Swedish National Audit Office conducted an audit focusing on family reunification applications and the Swedish Migration Agency and missions abroad (Swedish embassies and consulates) are operating in a way that ensures that the handling of these applications maintains high legal standards.
The conclusion of the audit showed that the Migration Agency and the missions collectively were not operating in a way that ensured these applications were being handled with a high legal standard. Particularly, the control function to establish an applicant’s identity was determined to be inadequate and in need of improvements. Deficiencies in the processes for establishing an applicant’s identity can, according to the audit, lead to situations where applicants who are entitled to a residence permit will have their applications rejected, and conversely applicants who do not qualify will nevertheless be given a residence permit.
The task of confirming an applicant’s identity has, to a great extent, been carried out by the missions abroad on behalf of the Migration Agency. Applications for family reunifications should be submitted from outside of Sweden, hence it's only the missions abroad who have the opportunity to review documents in their original form. Although the missions have been responsible for reviewing these, they have so far not been responsible for checking their authenticity, only to make sure that these documents are consistent with the normal appearance of documents in the country or region in question. The responsibility to determine the documents’ authenticity has been with the Migration Agency, who only has access to digital copies of the documents. The audit found that the control function of an applicant’s original documents carried out by the missions has been inadequate and that the case officers at the Migration Agency in Sweden usually had been under the assumption that the missions abroad had completed checks sufficient to establish the applicant’s identity. In conclusion, a risk was uncovered that the task of establishing the identity of an applicant had not been sufficiently carried out by any of the actors.
As a result of the audit findings, the Migration Agency has, as one of several actions taken following recommendations made by the Swedish National Audit Office, established a new control process for confirming the authenticity of passports.
In practice, this means that individuals who have applied for a residence permit in Sweden where there is a passport requirement, will have to personally visit an embassy/consulate abroad (when applying from abroad) or one of the Swedish Migration Agency’s service offices (when applying from Sweden) to present their passport.
The requirement affects both individuals who are applying for the first time as well as those who are applying to extend their residence permit in Sweden. However, the requirement to show your passport when extending a permit only applies when using a passport that you have not already presented to the authorities. Thus, if you have presented your passport in a previous application, you do not need to present it again.
Individuals who need a residence permit card to enter Sweden will be able to submit biometrics for this purpose when they visit the embassy/consulate to present their passport. The Swedish Migration Agency will contact the individuals whose passports they wish to see, with information on how to book an appointment.
Co-applicant family members will also be covered by this requirement, with the exception of children under 5 years of age. If a child needs a residence permit card, he/she must still visit the embassy/consulate to be photographed.
The new requirements to present a passport in person before a decision is issued will have a negative impact on the processing time of permit applications – especially for individuals who are visa free and previously had been able to travel directly to Sweden when a decision in their case had been issued. After our discussions with the Migration Agency, Deloitte has learned that all embassies who previously haven’t allowed applicants to visit them to submit their biometrics prior to a decision being made in their respective cases, will now be instructed to allow this. This is to avoid applicants needing to visit the authorities twice, i.e., first to present their passport in original and, once a decision has been made, again to submit their biometrics. Individuals who based on their nationality are considered visa free will just as before be able to complete the biometric process from within Sweden after a positive decision has been made in their cases; they are however not exempted from the requirement of presenting their passports to the embassy prior to being granted a permit.
Further, it has been confirmed that applicants won’t be able to proactively visit the embassies/consulates or the Migration Agency in Sweden to present their passports in original. Instead, the Migration Agency will let the applicant know when the original passport needs to be reviewed. Deloitte is of the opinion that this requirement can be handled in a more effective way than the Migration Agency asking to see the passport in each specific case. To not be able to proactively show your passport to the authorities will result in added tasks for the Migration Agency case officers, leading to longer processing times and added costs.
It is clear that these new requirements have been based on issues found related to family reunification cases. However, changes to general immigration requirements are normally not only introduced for some permit types but are applied to all. In this case, the new requirements that are being introduced with the aim to reduce the problems with irregularities in family reunification cases (such as sham marriages and human trafficking), will also affect residence and work permit applications for serious employers and employees.
Since there are still several aspects of the passport checking process that remain uncertain, Deloitte will continue to monitor the developments and continue discussions with the Migration Agency regarding the added requirements and update this page accordingly.
If you have questions, you are welcome to contact us:
Martina Ogenhammar Conti
Head of Immigration, Director - Global Employer Services
+46 70 080 21 60
Manager, Immigration - Global Employer Services
+46 70 080 35 48
Immigration specialist - Global Employer Services
+46 70 080 25 66
+46 75 246 26 00