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Sweden Proposes Language Requirement for Would-Be Citizens

According to a new inquiry, people applying for Swedish citizenship should be required to show proof of Swedish language skills and understanding of the Swedish society.

Justice and Migration Minister Morgan Johansson presented details of an inquiry into the proposals on Wednesday morning.

"Language is the key to work, but also the key to society," said Johansson as he outlined why the government thought it needed to find "a better balance between rights and responsibilities" for would-be citizens.

Foreign nationals applying to become Swedish would need proof of Swedish skills at A2 level for speaking and writing, the second-lowest out of six levels on the Common European Framework of Reference, and B1 for reading and listening.

To take the test, it would cost 500 kronor ($60) for the section relating to civil society and 2,000 kronor for the language component.

Citizenship applicants could alternatively provide proof of passing Grade 9 in a Swedish high school, or a course at upper secondary school, or the highest level of the Swedish For Immigrants (SFI) course.

The language requirements would apply to people aged between 16 and 66 who apply for Swedish citizenship. Still, certain exceptions are proposed, including for people with certain disabilities or those from a vulnerable background – for example, being stateless or illiterate – who can prove they have tried to reach the required knowledge level.

Sweden Proposes Language Requirement

Do You Know?

  • Sweden passport grants its holder visa-free access to 124 countries in the world. And at arrival, he can obtain a visa to another 33 countries.

Citizens of other Nordic countries who live in Sweden would also be exempted. They are subject to a different process and are only required to notify authorities, rather than apply, to receive