When it comes to planning your international vacation to Sweden, the first thing you'll need to ensure is that you have the right documents to legally enter the country, including passports and tourist visas.
All citizens outside of the European Union are required to have a passport for flying into and out of Sweden. For the most part, though, citizens of countries in Asia, Africa, and South America are required to present a tourist vista when staying less than three months, but those from the United States, Japan, Australia, and Canada do not need a visa for entry.
If you are a family member of a Swedish citizen and planning a stay that's longer than 90 days, you will need to apply for a Schengen visitor's residence permit, which will extend your trip another 90 days to bring your total time allowed in these countries to six months or 180 days.
Visas in the Schengen Countries
The Schengen is a collective of countries who adopted the 2009 EU regulation establishing a "Community Code on Visas (Visa Code)" and whose member states all follow the same standard for processing international guests.
For travelers, this means they no longer have to apply for individual tourist visas for each country and can instead pass through many in one trip. The Schengen member countries are Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
However, some of these Schengen countries have different rules and stipulations in addition to the Visa Code. Sweden's laws on immigration, in particular, have rules that make it challenging to get visas for visits longer than 90 days unless you are a relative of a person with Swedish citizenship, have a job offer from a Swedish company, or are planning to study at a Swedish college or university.
How to Get a Swedish Visa
With the help of Swedish Diplomatic Missions Abroad, travelers hoping to stay longer than 90 days can apply for their visitor's resident permit, student visa, or business visa through offices of VFS Global in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Houston, and Washington, D.C. or at the Embassy of Sweden in Washington, D.C.
However, it's important to note that visitor's resident visas are only available to spouses and children of EU and EEA nationals, who must provide their spouse's or parent's passport and the original marriage or birth certificate when applying for this type of visa.
As of January 2018, no matter which type of visa you are applying for, you will need to submit a set of biometric data (fingerprinting) at one of the five VFS Global offices in the United States in order for Sweden to process your application directly. Once this has been processed, your application will be returned in about 14 days, but you should allow up to two months before your visa expires to allow for error and possible appeal for a rejected application.