Bottom of the form Before taking up work in the city of posting, accompanying partners should consider how the fact that they are working and have an income of their own affects their diplomatic immunity, the terms and conditions for foreign postings, social security coverage and tax liability.
As an accompanying partner, the embassy will notify the host country’s foreign ministry of your arrival at the same time as they provide notification of the posted official’s arrival. You will be issued an ID card that gives you the same diplomatic immunity in the country of posting as your partner. Should an accompanying partner begin working in the country of posting, the civil and administrative immunity does not apply to ‘an action relating to any professional or commercial activity’ (Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, Article 31[c]). You do, however, retain immunity from criminal jurisdiction. That cannot be renounced personally. This power rests with Sweden as a country, and can only be renounced by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
In some countries (primarily in the EU area), the host country’s foreign ministry requests the return of the partner’s ID card – which they issued when the embassy provided notification – when the partner begins working.
Terms and conditions for foreign postings
Partners who work will continue to be considered as accompanying partners under the UVA agreement and have the right to the insurance coverage of the UVA and the UVA Plus insurance policies provided by the Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency. The posted official will also receive travel compensation for the accompanying partner even if they are working.
As regards both the allowance for accompanying partners and the supplemental allowance for additional costs, reduction regulations are in place for when the accompanying partner has their own income or is absent from the city of posting for an extended period, besides holidays with the posted official. The official must inform the employer that the accompanying partner has their own income by filling in and submitting the form Försäkran om uppgifter för beräkning av ersättning enligt UVA (Affirmation of information for calculating compensation under UVA [in Swedish], available on Klaranätet).
Swedish social insurance
Accompanying partners who do not work are normally covered by the residence-based part of the Swedish social security system during their stay abroad.
According to the regulations, accompanying partners who stay in an EU/EEA country or Switzerland and who begin working must belong to the social security system of the country in which they are working. The same applies to unemployment insurance funds.
Accompanying partners who reside in countries outside the EU/EEA/Switzerland and who begin working can and should remain affiliated with the residence-based part of Swedish social insurance. Income from work in the city of posting will not qualify you for the work-based part of the Swedish social insurance. This means that your sickness benefit qualifying income at the Swedish Social Insurance Agency is SEK 0.
Since tax regulations are complex and a number of different individual factors are relevant to the Swedish Tax Agency’s assessment, it is difficult to provide general information on this matter.
Since as an accompanying partner you are normally registered as resident in Sweden during your stay abroad, you also normally remain liable to pay tax in Sweden. The Swedish Tax Agency’s brochure Ska du betala skatt i Sverige när du arbetar utomlands (SKV339) (Should you pay tax in Sweden when you work abroad? [in Swedish]) contains information about the six-month rule and the one-year rule.
Additional information is available on the Swedish Tax Agency website under the heading Internationellt (International, in Swedish). There the Swedish Tax Agency makes clear that tax law and population registration follow two completely different sets of regulations, each with its own concept of residence. You may need to file an income tax return in Sweden even if you no longer live or reside in the country.
The Swedish Tax Agency assesses the concept of residence under tax law, in which they consider all known circumstances. It is up to you to show that you no longer have significant ties to Sweden. It could be a good idea to contact a case officer at the Swedish Tax Agency for correct information about your specific situation.