Swedish visa renewal and potential problems

American new years eveWe were fortunate enough this year to be able to spend Christmas and New Year’s Eve with my family in Bozeman, Montana.

We of course brought some Swedish Christmas traditions to the holiday festivities, but had a more American New Year’s Eve.

So, what does this have to do about Swedish visas? Well, it seems I could not return home with my expired visa. Here is the full story.

My visa to live/work in Sweden based on being with Johan, my sambo, expired the 25th of November. I applied for an extension in October and wasn’t too worried as it took only 6 days to be approved to live in Sweden after Johan sent in his information.

October and November came and went. We got a message from the migrationverket that they received the application and it was being reviewed.

About mid December there was no word about the Visa. We had our trip planned to visit my family long before all of this. So we decided to call the migrationverket. They found my application in the pile, we told them when our date was to leave for the USA. The agent said no promises, he would try.

Well, soon it was time to go to the USA. So I searched migrationverket about what to do while waiting for my visa. The website, in English, clearly states “We recommend that you stay in Sweden while waiting for a new decision, since it may be difficult to enter Sweden without a valid permit.”

Tickets to the USA are not cheap. We figured I might have trouble getting into Stockholm, and at worse I can hope on a plane to Prague while we figure this all out.

We were wrong.

Turns out I couldn’t even board the plane in Bozeman, Montana! We explained the situation to the nice gentleman at Delta Airlines. He said that without a proper visa, I must have a return flight within 90 days. Because if he lets me on board, and then Sweden does not let me into the country, it would be Delta’s responsibility, they would be fined $10,000 USD and they would have to fly me out of Sweden.

We tried purchasing a ticket back that was cheap, and it didn’t go through. I thought it was a sign from the Gods that I should stay and watch the 49ers play in the playoffs and potentially SuperBowl (American football thing).

ipad in BozemanSo I’m stuck here in Bozeman unless I buy a return flight or somehow get my visa. Johan is on his way home, and when I get more information how to get out of this mess, I’ll update this post!

Oh well, easy come easy go. Sure, we eat a $500 ticket, but I won an iPad while in Las Vegas from Sterkly, the affiliate network & software bundling, so we came out a little ahead 🙂 And Bozeman is pretty nice. Reminds me of Sweden. Less snow. More light. More mountains.

So the moral of the story? Don’t plan a trip around your visa renewal date.

Or if you do, make sure to get a ticket out of the country 90 days or less.



  1. Michelle
    January 19, 2012 at 02:37 — Reply

    Well that just sucks! But in the meantime you can still visit Idaho! Lol.(it was worth a shot!) hope you guys can get things figured out!!!! And if you feel like a road trip just hit me up on Facebook 😉

    • January 19, 2012 at 02:48 — Reply

      Well now you have me thinking! I wonder how far that would be, maybe a good weekend trip!

  2. Michelle
    January 20, 2012 at 04:58 — Reply

    looks like its an 8.5 hour trip from you to me! yikes! lol

  3. January 20, 2012 at 18:11 — Reply

    When I was first moving to Sweden and waiting for my paperwork I was thinking about booking my tickets for when we had planned to go back to sweden together but we weren’t sure. Its so stressful because airline prices fluctuate so much! I know what that feels like to just buy them and hope for the best, sorry it didn’t work out but at least you get to spend some extra time with your family. 🙂 make the best of it and good luck!

    • January 20, 2012 at 19:22 — Reply

      That is exactly it, you just have to look at the bright side and hope it was all meant to be in one way or another 🙂

  4. January 22, 2012 at 11:21 — Reply

    Yikes! Sorry to hear you got stuck. I’ve heard other people get out just fine, so I’m going to blame it on Delta, because they are my most unfavorite airlines 🙂 Sounds like you are at least enjoying your time away – but I hope you get back soon…

    • January 22, 2012 at 20:06 — Reply

      Oh really? Usually I like flying British Airways, they are my fav, but when I can’t get them for a fair price, I just grab anything. The guy at Delta was very nice, but from Bozeman, Montana, they don’t get a lot of international fliers and you could see he just didn’t really know what to do 🙁 I am enjoying myself, I get to watch more FOOTBALL! Woot! I’m a true American in the end 😀

  5. January 22, 2012 at 20:19 — Reply

    Oh no! That’s so terrible. 🙁

    It’s not really 90 days as I’ve bought tickets before for 180 days to travel around and no one complained…maybe they didn’t notice?

    That just sucks though. Really Really sucks.

  6. Frédéric
    January 26, 2012 at 03:55 — Reply

    Thank you for all you’ve shared of your time in Sweden so far, I had a fun most part of an evening reading through it. I hope your visa problem gets settled soon and well. Go Pats!

  7. January 26, 2012 at 09:01 — Reply

    Buy lots of fun stuff while you’re in the US!

  8. February 9, 2012 at 18:08 — Reply

    When I lived in Sweden in 2004, it took 6 months for me to get the Visa. I had already been married to my Swedish wife for 5 years. Still the same, I lived in Sweden as a prisoner in Sweden for 6 months unable to leave, and no health care. All and all it was worth it.

    Role the clock up to 2012. I am getting ready to move back this summer. I just called migrationsverket and found that my permanent resident status is still valid. I just have to go from California to Washington DC to take a picture, and then return a month later to pick it up. 🙂

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The Author



Hilary lived two years in Norrland, Sweden (Northern Sweden) and fell in love with the country. While she now lives in a place that is the complete opposite of Sweden (Arizona), she constantly tries to bring Sweden to the desert.