Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson announced Monday that Sweden will join Finland in seeking NATO membership in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
She said that the accession to full membership of NATO should not take more than a year.
"The government has decided to inform NATO that Sweden wants to become a member of the alliance," Andersson told reporters a day after neighbouring Finland made a similar announcement.
"We are leaving one era and beginning another," she said, adding that Sweden's NATO ambassador would "shortly" inform NATO.
Sweden and Finland have both expressed a desire to act in lockstep on NATO membership and submit their applications jointly.
"We expect it shouldn't take more than a year" for the alliance's 30 members to unanimously ratify Sweden's membership application, Andersson said.
The announcement was expected after her Social Democratic party on Sunday backed membership, in a dramatic turnaround after having opposed the idea since the birth of the Western military alliance.
A broad majority in Sweden's parliament is in favour of membership.
The historic shift, which comes after more than 200 years of military nonalignment in the Nordic country, is likely to upset the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin.