I want my ship to fly the Swedish flag

Here you can find information about applicable requirements, and start the process of registration.

An outline of the process

Strictly speaking, the processes of registration and certification of a ship run parallel with each other, but in practice some activities usually happen in chronological order as follows:

  1. By filling in and submitting this form (Swedish language only), you notify us that you intend to change to the Swedish flag.
  2. In some cases, we will then carry out a special inspection of ships about to change to the Swedish flag, to check to what extent they correspond to their certificates. 
  3. We arrange a meeting where we take up any deficiencies and exemptions, and also inform you about the responsibility of the Swedish Transport Agency or the recognized organization, and about manning and registration.
  4. Using this form (Swedish language only), you notify us that you wish to register your ship.
  5. The ship is registered.
  6. In some cases, we will carry out a seaworthiness survey to examine systems and operation. Please note that the ship has to be registered before any certificates can be issued.
  7. The ship is provided with certificates and may be used for merchant shipping – on condition that it is also safely manned (see below).

Can I register my ship in Sweden?

When a ship is considered for registration in Sweden, the Swedish Transport Agency first of all needs to make sure that the owner and the ship meet the existing requirements. You can read more about these requirements in the checklist for registration below.

Checklist for registration

Certificate of deregistration

For a ship to be registered in the Swedish Register of Ships, we need to track its ownership to the person most recently registered as owner in a country’s official register of ships. This means you will have to submit to the Swedish Transport Agency a certificate of deregistration in the original from the ship’s previous flag State.

Certificate of non-registration

If the ship has never been registered, a certificate of non-registration from the ship’s previous country is required. The certificate of non-registration has to be submitted in the original. If the ship has had owners in different countries, a certificate of non-registration, in the original, is required from each and every one of these countries. These has to be originals.

Builder’s Certificate

If the ship has never been registered before you will also have to submit a Builder’s Certificate, since it must be possible to track the ownership to the shipyard where the ship was built.  In addition, you must submit the bill of sale for each owner, and a certificate of the authorization to sign for the company. Authorization to sign for a company can be demonstrated by an excerpt from the national companies register, signed by an authorized representative of this office.

If there is no national companies registration office

Is there no companies registration office in the country the ship comes from? In that case, the bill of sale must be provided with a Certification by Notary Public (notarisation). The purpose of this certification is to show that the person signing the bill of sale is authorized to represent the selling company. The Certification by Notary Public, in turn, is to be provided with an apostille, showing the Notary Public’s authorization to issue such certification.

The excerpt from the companies registration office as well as the bill of sale, the Certification by Notary Public and the apostille must be submitted in the original. They must be written in English, or translated into Swedish by an authorized translator who has received his or her authorization in Sweden.  


In accordance with Swedish legislation, almost all merchant ships must undergo inspections and be issued with certain certificates and other permits. The nature of the inspections depends on the sort of operations the ship will be involved in. For example if the ship is to be engaged in domestic trade only or international trade, how many passengers it will carry etc.

This means that ships that are to be registered as Swedish have to undergo different surveys and controls before they may be used for shipping, for example the seaworthiness survey. However, depending on the future use of the ship, additional surveys may be required. In most cases, the ship must also undergo a special inspection for ships about to change to the Swedish flag. This survey will take place before all other inspections.

The Swedish Transport Agency is responsible for the inspection of ships in Sweden. Sometimes, especially when it comes to ships used for international shipping, we engage other organisations to carry out inspections. These organisations are recognised organisations which have entered into contract with the Swedish Transport Agency.

You are welcome to contact the maritime customer service directly if you need assistance in ship-technical matters, or if you have questions about inspections. Send an e-mail to sjofartstillsyn@transportstyrelsen.se

The easiest way to book an appointment for the special inspection for ships changing to the Swedish flag, for a survey or any other inspection, is to e-mail our central booking office at fartygsbesiktning@transportstyrelsen.se


Manning and safe manning document

Before they are allowed to sail, ships for which safe manning is required must have a safe manning document, whereas ships for which safe manning is not required must comply with the requirements in the Swedish Transport Agency’s regulations on manning.

What is required to obtain a safe manning document?

The application for a safe manning document shall contain ship data (such as gross tonnage, machine power output, ship type, call sign) intended sea area etc.

If the ship is not Swedish registered, the Swedish Transport Agency may still issue an advance notification of a safe manning document. To do so, we need to receive information about the ship’s gross tonnage and machine power output, and also about the sea area the ship is intended for.

For the safe manning document to be issued, the ship must be registered under the Swedish flag and provided with a Swedish call sign.

Further information about safe manning, and access to application forms (Swedish language only).


The Swedish Transport Agency charges certain fees for the registration of a ship and for keeping it registered in Sweden:

  • Fee for the keeping of registers
  • Fees for the periodic inspections of ships
  • Fee for shipping companies.

Other authorities to contact

The Swedish Tax Agency – seafarers income

The Swedish Tax Agency decides each year which Swedish registered ships entitle employees working on those ships to seafarers’ income. Employees with seafarers’ income are eligible for seafarers’ income deduction and tax relief on taxation of income. The deduction is made on the taxable income, in addition to the basic allowance.

As part of this process, the Swedish Tax Agency will also decide which sea area is applicable for the ships (either near coastal trade or wider than near coastal trade). The decisions are published in the Swedish Tax Agency’s statute book.

Read more on seafarers’ income on the Swedish Tax Agency’s website (Swedish language only).

Swedish Transport Administration – shipping subsidy

The Swedish shipping subsidy is a crew subsidy for shipping companies whose ships fly the Swedish flag. The subsidy is granted to employers to cover tax on seafarers’ income and payroll tax according to the Swedish Ordinance (2001:770) on Shipping Subsidy. All matters concerning the shipping subsidy are decided by the Swedish delegation for shipping subsidy (Delegationen för sjöfartsstöd), which is an independent committee within the Swedish Transport Administration.

Read more about the shipping subsidy on the Swedish Transport Administration’s website (Swedish language only).

Guide to certificates(Swedish language only)