This week has seen a big milestone crossed off. On Monday it was 3 years since we had arrived here in Sweden. 3 years. Doesn't sound like very long in the grand scheme of life. But, when you're in the middle of it all, it seems like a lifetime. Smooth sailing, it hasn't been. Not by a long stretch. But we made it. Somehow. With that being done, I've taken the plunge and applied for Swedish citizenship. Having been married to a Swedish born citizen for 2 years prior to moving to Sweden, I am eligible to apply for citizenship after living in Sweden for 3 years. I had been given permanent residency status in Sweden before we arrived here, but that doesn't feel quite as secure as being a citizen. And being a person of non-EU origins, that sits as a little niggle in the back of my mind. I'm here only for as long as it pleases the Swedish government. I need a bit more control over my destiny than that.
The actual process of applying for citizenship is relatively simple. The key, as I see it, is to read everything thoroughly and give them exactly what they ask for. Not what you think they should have. Anyway, I completed the on-line application form in about 5 minutes and paid my 1500 SEK. I then printed out the completed application form and sent it away as a paper version, together with my passport. No police report, medical report, marriage certificate, or anything like that was needed. Giving up my passport was tough. I know I can get it back in an emergency, but I do feel slightly vunerable without it. That's different to the citizenship process in New Zealand. In NZ you retain your passport and only send it in when they contact you once they are ready to physically process your application. So you're generally only passlös for a couple of weeks at the most. Makes sense to me.
There's lots of horror stories about how long the application process takes. Stories ranging from a few weeks to nearly 2 years. I have my own theory as to why that is, but I think I should probably wait and see how long it takes for me, before I start ranting on that. First step has been completed, however. Now it's up to the Gods.