New law on upper secondary education

The Parliament of Sweden has made a decision regarding new provisions in the so-called law on upper secondary education (gymnasielagen). The new provisions make it possible for people who have had their applications for asylum rejected to receive a residence permit to undertake studies at upper secondary level. In order to be covered by the new provisions, you need to meet certain requirements. The last day to apply for residence permit for upper secondary school studies under the new law was 30 September 2018.

Statistics on applications and decisions

Between 1 July and 30 September 2018, it was possible to apply for a residence permit  according to the new law on upper secondary education. The Swedish Migration Agency and the migration courts are now processing all received applications. The statistics show decisions made by the Swedish Migration Agency and the courts. The statistics are updated weekly.

Total numer of applications received: 11 737

Granted: 5 096

Rejected: 2 405

The statistics were last updated 26 December

In order to receive a residence permit under the new law on upper secondary education, the following conditions must be met:

  • You first applied for asylum on 24 November 2015 or earlier. Alternatively, you came to Sweden before 24 November 2015 and notified the municipality in which you first arrived that you wanted to apply for asylum, but your asylum application was registered with the Swedish Migration Agency after 24 November 2015.
    Read the news article More youths may be covered by the new law on upper secondary education
  • You were registered as an unaccompanied minor when you applied for asylum and you were referred to a municipality for housing.
  • You were 18 years of age or older when you received a decision on expulsion or deportation.
  • You had to wait for more than 15 months to receive a decision.
  • You received the decision on expulsion or deportation on or after 20 July 2016.
  • You are studying, or have previously studied, and intend to study at upper secondary level in Sweden.
  • You must be in Sweden when you apply.

The Swedish Migration Agency will also check whether you have committed any crimes or if there is anything which suggests you may constitute a security risk.

If you are still waiting for a decision on your asylum application, you may also be covered if your application is rejected and you meet all of the conditions.

Waiting for a decision on a residence permit according to the new law on secondary education

To enable the Swedish Migration Agency to make a decision in your case, all information must be given and all necessary documentation must be attached to your application. This means the handling time will be shorter if you include everything that is required from the start, rather than having to provide additional information at a later stage.

Please note that the Swedish Migration Agency may in some cases need to investigate your application further, even if all information is given and all documentation has been attached.

If the Swedish Migration Agency needs more information from you

The Swedish Migration Agency will contact you if we need further information or documentation from you. You do not need to contact the Swedish Migration Agency.

Accommodation and financial support while you are waiting for a decision

The picture explains about accommodation and financial support if you are waiting for a decision on your residence permit. Click on the picture to enlarge it. The picture can also be downloaded as a PDF.

This applies to entitlement to accommodation and financial support while you are waiting

Click on the picture to enlarge it

After the decision has been made

If you are granted a residence permit for upper secondary school studies, it is valid for thirteen months. You have the same entitlement to care as a person with a permanent residence permit.

You will need to visit the Swedish Migration Agency to leave your fingerprints and be photographed as proof of your residence permit, so that a residence permit card can be produced for you. When you receive your decision on the residence permit, you will also be given information about how to contact the Swedish Migration Agency in order to have your photograph taken and leave your fingerprints.

The card is not an identity document or a travel document. You may travel in and out of the country, but you must have a valid passport to leave Sweden, and your residence permit card to return.

Read more about ordering a residence permit card under Questions and answers.

Read more about the residence permit card

When you have received a temporary residence permit, you should register in the Swedish Population Register through the Swedish Tax Agency as soon as possible. Registration in the Population Register is required in order for you to be able to take advantage of the Swedish social insurance system. Once you are registered, you can also obtain a Swedish identity document, which is required for opening a bank account, for example.

To register in the population register, you should contact the Swedish Tax Agency.

Information from the Swedish Tax Agency on population registrationexternal link, opens in new window

If your application for a residence permit is refused

If the Swedish Migration Agency refuses your application for a residence permit for upper secondary education (with application period from 1 July to 30 September 2018), this means that you are not entitled to a residence permit in Sweden. You can choose to accept or appeal the decision.

If you have a decision on expulsion that has entered legal force, you have to leave the country even if you choose to appeal.

If you have a decision on expulsion that has not yet entered legal force, you may stay in Sweden while your appeal is being examined.

Your entitlement to accommodation and financial support if you are granted a residence permit

Your case with the Swedish Migration Agency will be closed one month after you have received a residence permit if you live in your own accommodation. You will then no longer receive your daily allowance and your bank card will stop working. If you need any money that is on the card, it is important you withdraw it before the Swedish Migration Agency closes your case. Your asylum case is then concluded. The municipality in which you live will then have full responsibility for you.

If you are studying at secondary school level, you are entitled to study assistance.

Read more about how to apply for the study assistance on CSN’s website
external link, opens in new window

However, if you are living in accommodation provided by the Swedish Migration Agency when you receive your decision on a residence permit, you have the right to continue living in the accommodation. You will also receive a daily allowance from the Swedish Migration Agency, and your entitlement to other benefits will be more limited than if you move into your own accommodation. Read more under questions and answers on accommodation and financial assistance.

The picture explains about accommodation and financial support if you are granted a residence permit for secondary school studies. Click on the picture to enlarge it. The picture can also be downloaded as a PDF.

This applies to accommodation and financial support if you recieve a residence permit

Click on the picture to enlarge it

After your studies

After your upper secondary school studies have been completed, you can apply for an extension of your residence permit. If you have completed your studies, you may apply for a six-month residence permit, which gives you time to find work in Sweden. When you have found a job, you can apply for a permanent residence permit if you can demonstrate that you are able to support yourself through income from employment or self-employment.

Read more about permanent residence permits for employees or the self-employed

If you are unable to complete your studies in the time for which you received a residence permit, you can, under certain conditions, obtain an extended residence permit for the completion of your studies. If you are studying in a national programme, you must demonstrate that you have been actively participating in your studies.

Questions and answers on the new law on upper secondary education – in general
  • What is required for me to obtain a residence permit under the new law on upper secondary education?

    In order to receive a residence permit under the new law on upper secondary education, the following conditions must be met:

    • You first applied for asylum on 24 November 2015 or earlier. Alternatively, you came to Sweden before 24 November 2015 and notified the municipality in which you first arrived that you wanted to apply for asylum but your asylum application was registered with the Swedish Migration Agency after 24 November 2015.
      Read the news article More youths may be covered by the new law on upper secondary education
    • You were registered as an unaccompanied minor when you applied for asylum and you were referred to a municipality for housing.
    • You were 18 years of age or older when you received a decision on expulsion or deportation.
    • You had to wait for more than 15 months to receive a decision.
    • You received the decision on expulsion or deportation on or after 20 July 2016.
    • You are studying, or have studied, and intend to study full-time at an upper secondary school or a special needs upper secondary school or to undertake an equivalent full-time course of education or to undertake coherent vocational training within an adult education centre (Komvux) or undertaking special needs education for adults (Särvux)
    • You must be in Sweden when you apply.

    The Swedish Migration Agency will also check whether you have committed any crimes or if there is anything which suggests you may constitute a security risk.

  • I don’t know when I received my decision from the Swedish Migration Agency and I can’t remember exactly when I applied for asylum. How do I find this out?

    If you no longer have a copy of the decision you received before or if you are unsure as to what date you received your decision and what it said, then you can come down to one of our receptions and request a new copy of the decision.

    If there was an official note at the Swedish Migration Agency or any other authority such as the municipality in which you first arrived, mentioning your intent to apply for asylum before 24 November 2015, we can use this date.

    In order to be able to use this date as a starting point, you must have confirmed that you want to apply for asylum in your communication with the Swedish Migration Agency, and you must have done so shortly after notifying the municipality thereof.

  • I wanted to apply for asylum as soon as I came to Sweden before 24 November 2015 but I did not have enough time. My asylum application was registered with the Swedish Migration Agency after 24 November 2015. May I still get a residence permit?

    Yes, if there is an official note at the Swedish Migration Agency or any other authority such as the municipality in which you first arrived, mentioning your intent to apply for asylum before 24 November 2015, we can use this date.

    In order to be able to use this date as a starting point, you must have confirmed that you want to apply for asylum in your communication with the Swedish Migration Agency, and you must have done so shortly after notifying the municipality thereof.

    You must also meet the other conditions in order to be covered by the new law on upper secondary education. For example, your asylum application must have been rejected and you must have waited more than 15 months for the decision.

  • How long will it take for me to receive a decision?

    The Swedish Migration Agency estimates that those who have applied for a residence permit for upper secondary school studies will receive a decision before the end of 2018. This applies to those whose application is being processed by the Swedish Migration Agency. If your application is being processed by the court you have to turn to respective court to get an estimate of time.

  • If I am granted a residence permit, will I also have the right to work?

    Yes, when you are granted a residence permit you are granted a work permit for the same period.

  • If I have received a decision in my asylum case that has taken legal effect (i.e., the decision can no longer be appealed), and I apply for a residence permit for upper secondary school studies, is there a risk that I may need to return to my country of origin while I’m waiting for a decision?

    Starting on 1 July, the Swedish Migration Agency has the ability to impose a suspension (i.e., the postponing of the enforcement of a decision) for those who have received an enforceable expulsion decision and are applying for a residence permit for upper secondary school studies. An individual assessment will be made to determine whether the Swedish Migration Agency will postpone the enforcement of the decision.

  • If I receive a residence permit for upper secondary school studies, can I then extend my residence permit?

    The first time you apply, you have the ability to receive a residence permit for 13 months. You can then apply to receive an extended residence permit, and the length of the permit will depend on how long your course of study lasts.

    For example: If you are studying in the introductory programme, you will later have the ability to receive an additional 13 months of time on your residence permit. If you are studying in a national programme, you can receive a residence permit lasting as long as your course of study, plus six months.

  • What is required in order to receive an extended residence permit?

    After 13 months, we will check whether the applicant has been actively participating in his/her studies. In 2018, we will produce formal rules to specify exactly what “actively participating” means.

  • Will I be able to get a work permit later, instead of a residence permit for upper secondary school studies?

    To be able to receive a work permit after having received a residence permit for upper secondary school studies, you need to have completed an upper secondary education. This applies regardless of what type of upper secondary education you have had.

  • A requirement in the new law on upper secondary education is that I must have waited for decision on asylum for at least 15 months. How do I calculate my waiting time?

    Your waiting time is calculated from the date when your application for asylum is registered with the Swedish Migration Agency to the date when a decision to reject your asylum case is made.

    If there was an official note at the Swedish Migration Agency or any other authority, such as the municipality in which you first arrived, mentioning your intent to apply for asylum before 24 November 2015, we can use this date, in which case your waiting time is calculated from that date. In order to be able to use this date as a starting point, you must have confirmed that you want to apply for asylum in your communication with the Swedish Migration Agency, and you must have done so shortly after notifying the municipality thereof.

  • Do I have to provide proof of my identity to be able to get a residence permit according to the new law on secondary education?

    The Swedish Migration Agency will have already investigated your identity when we examined your case. We will only investigate your identity further in exceptional cases, for example, if new information is submitted. If your case is with the Migration Court, you will need to contact them about this matter.

  • If I have applied for a residence permit for upper secondary school studies, do I have the right to medical care and/or an Asylum Seeker card?

    As long as you are registered in the reception system, and have a valid Asylum Seeker card, you have the right to medical care as an asylum seeker, and thus will get an Asylum Seeker card showing that you are entitled to certain benefits as an asylum seeker.

    However, if you have been unregistered from the reception system, and a decision on a residence permit (for upper secondary school studies) has not yet been made, you still have the right to medical care as a permit applicant. This means that you will receive care under the same terms as third country nationals who are in Sweden as tourists: the County Council in which they are staying must provide them with non-subsidised, immediate (urgent) care. In that case, you cannot receive an Asylum Seeker card.

Questions and answers about the studies
  • What courses and educational programmes are counted?

    All courses at upper secondary level are counted. Introduction programmes, national programmes, adult education programmes, special needs adult education programmes and the so-called vocational package (yrkespaketen). You can find examples of different upper secondary courses on the website of the Swedish National Agency for Education, gymnasieinfo.se.external link, opens in new window

  • Where can I find the courses?

    You can find examples of different upper secondary courses on the website of the Swedish National Agency for Education, gymnasieinfo.se.external link, opens in new window You will find information there in other languages besides Swedish. You can also visit your municipality’s website and search for what courses are offered in the municipality that applies to you.

  • What is a vocational package?

    A vocational education programme aimed at facilitating establishment in the labour market, which is
    provided in the framework of an introduction programme at upper secondary school or as a full-time course on a comprehensive vocational education programme at Komvux or Särvux.

  • Do I have to study full-time?

    Yes, in most cases you have to study full-time. You will only be granted a residence permit for part-time studies in certain exceptional cases; for example, in the case of illness or disability.

  • Will it make a difference if I have never studied before?

    It is a requirement for the applicant to either have studied in the past, or be studying currently. If you have never studied in Sweden before, the regulations do not apply to you.

  • By when must you start studying after you have obtained a residence permit for upper secondary studies?

    If you have been granted a residence permit to study under the new Secondary School Act, or if
    you intend to start studying at upper secondary level, the Migration Agency will not verify whether or what you are studying during the first permit period. However, when the residence permit expires, you must have started your studies on an introduction programme or upper secondary education in order to be able to obtain an extended residence permit.

  • Some municipalities have programmes that will only start next autumn. What do I do if I have to wait until the autumn term 2019 to start studying?

    The Migration Agency will not verify whether or what you are studying during the first permit period. However, when the residence permit expires, you must have started your studies on an introduction programme or upper secondary education in order to be able to obtain an extended residence permit.

  • Is it possible to change course during the permit period? Can this affect the ability to extend the residence permit?

    It depends which course you are studying. If you are studying a vocational package, you cannot change your course while retaining your residence permit. If you are studying a different course, you can change your course, as long as you continue to actively study.

  • When are you considered to have completed your studies if you are not studying a national programme?

    If you study a national programme at upper secondary school, special upper secondary school or upper secondary education at Komvux or Särvux, you will have completed your education once you have a diploma or study certificate with at least 2,500 points.

    If you study the general course at a community college, you have completed your education if you have received a certificate of basic education requirements equivalent to three years at an upper secondary school.

Questions and answers about the application
  • If my application is refused according to the new law on secondary education, can I appeal?

    Yes, you can appeal against your decision. Information about how to appeal is stated in the decision. If you have a decision on expulsion that has entered legal force, you have to leave the country even if you choose to appeal. If you have a decision on expulsion that has not yet entered legal force, you may stay in Sweden while your appeal is being examinated.

Questions and answers about accommodation and financial assistance
  • Where will I live while I am waiting for a decision on my residence permit, according to the new law on secondary education?

    If you have applied for a residence permit in accordance with the new law on secondary education and are also waiting for a decision in your asylum case from the Swedish Migration Agency or from a court, you have the right to live in accommodation provided by the Swedish Migration Agency.

    If you have had your asylum case rejected and this can no longer be appealed (if the decision to reject is final) and you are only seeking a residence permit for your secondary school studies, you must make your own arrangements for accommodation.

  • What accommodation am I entitled to if I am granted a residence permit for secondary school studies?

    You must make your own arrangements for your accommodation.

    An exception can be made if you are living in accommodation provided by the Swedish Migration Agency when you receive the decision on your residence permit. You may then continue to live in this accommodation for as long as the residence permit is valid. You can also choose to make your own arrangements for your accommodation.

  • What financial support (money) can I get while I am waiting for a decision on my residence permit?

    If you have applied for a residence permit in accordance with the new law on secondary education and are also waiting for a decision in your asylum case or if this is to be considered by a court, you are entitled to a daily allowance. This is paid by the Swedish Migration Agency.

    Read more about the daily allowance

    If you have had your asylum case rejected and this can no longer be appealed (if the decision to reject is final) and you are only seeking a residence permit for your secondary school studies, you are entitled to a daily allowance from the municipality in which you live.

    If you have had your asylum case rejected and have applied for an impediment to enforcement and for a residence permit for upper secondary studies, you will not be entitled to a daily allowance, either from the Swedish Migration Agency or the municipality.

    In some cases the Swedish Migration Agency will make a decision on suspension when an application for a residence permit for upper secondary studies is received. This decision enables you to apply for a daily allowance from your municipality.

    If the Swedish Migration Agency or a court decides that your asylum case should be considered anew, you will be entitled to a daily allowance and accommodation from the Swedish Migration Agency.

  • What financial support (money) can I get when I have been granted a residence permit for secondary school studies?

    If you have made your own arrangements for accommodation, you may apply for study assistance from the CSN. If you are having difficulties supporting yourself, then it is ultimately the municipality (social services) where you live that is responsible for assessing whether you are entitled to any maintenance support.

    If you are living in accommodation provided by the Swedish Migration Agency, you are entitled to a daily allowance, which is paid by the Swedish Migration Agency. You may apply for study assistance from the CSN instead of the daily allowance. Please note that you cannot receive both the daily allowance and the study assistance at the same time.

Questions and answers about extending residence permits for upper secondary education
  • When do I need to apply to extend my residence permit for upper secondary school studies?

    You need to apply for an extension before the residence permit you have expires. You do this towards the end of the permit period. A form can be found on the Swedish Migration Agency’s website.

  • What should be included in my application for extending my residence permit?

    You will need to show that you are actually studying on a course that is covered by the law on upper secondary education. You can do this by showing an individual study plan, or similar planning document from the school.

  • Which conditions have to be met in order for me to obtain an extended residence permit?

    When the residence permit expires, you must have started your studies on an introduction programme
    or upper secondary education in order to be able to obtain an extended residence permit. You must have begun your studies on a course that is covered by the new Secondary School Act. The basis for this is that you must study full-time.

    After 13 months, we will verify whether you have been actively participating in your studies. In early 2019 we will set out the rules for precisely what will be considered to be active participation.

  • What is meant by "active participation" in the studies and how can I show the Swedish Migration Agency that this is what I have been doing?

    If you have been granted a residence permit for upper secondary studies that is longer than thirteen months, the Swedish Migration Agency will check that you are actively participating in your studies.

    There are various ways of showing active participation, depending on your course of study. For example, you can show excerpts from a directory of certificates, a document showing your study results, a certificate of attendance, or a document to confirm that you are following your individual study plan. If you do not show that you are actively participating in your studies, the Swedish Migration Agency may withdraw your residence permit, or revise the length of the period of residence.

    You also need to show active participation when applying for an extension of your residence permit for upper secondary studies, to enable the Swedish Migration Agency to take a view on your application.

  • Do I need to prove my identity in order to get a permanent residence permit?

    The Migration Agency's policy is that the same requirement of proof that applied when you received
    your previous residence permit will apply to the application for extension. Therefore, if you have been granted a residence permit for upper secondary education, it will not be necessary to prove your identity in order to obtain a permanent residence permit in accordance with Section 17 of the Act.

  • I will finish my upper secondary education before my residence permit expires. Will I still get a residence permit for six months to search for a job and establish myself in the labour market?

    Once you have completed your upper secondary education, you can get a residence permit to establish yourself in the labour market. The residence permit will be granted for six months from the date of issue of your diploma or equivalent certificate.

  • If I receive an extended residence permit, can I then obtain a permanent residence permit?

    You can get a permanent residence permit after you have completed a course, and have an employment position or a company of your own that meets the requirements for a permanent residence permit.

Questions and answers about the residence permit card
  • Who needs to apply for a residence permit card (Ut-kort)?

    Anyone who has been granted a permit in accordance with the law on upper secondary education needs to order a residence permit card.

  • Where can I order my card?

    When you receive your decision on the residence permit, you will also be given information on how to order a residence permit card.

  • How long is the waiting time for ordering a residence permit card?

    This depends on where in the country you are living. The Swedish Migration Agency’s aim is for you to be able to order your residence permit card within two weeks of receiving your residence permit.

  • How can I make an appointment to order a residence permit card?

    When you receive your decision, you will be given information on what you need to do to leave biometrics for your residence permit card. Biometrics means having your photograph taken and leaving your fingerprints. Is some cases, you will be given an appointment to attend one of the Swedish Migration Agency’s offices. In other cases, we would ask you to make an appointment yourself on the Swedish Migration Agency’s website. Which of these alternatives it will be depends on where you live.

  • In my region there are no vacant times that can be booked, what should I do?

    If there are no vacant times that can be booked on the Swedish Migration Agency’s website, you will be given an appointment to visit the Swedish Migration Agency in connection with your decision.

  • How long will it be before I receive my residence permit card?

    When you have your photograph taken and leave your fingerprints, the Swedish Migration Agency issues an order to a company that produces the cards. It takes about two week for you to have your card delivered to the address you have given.

  • I don’t have a fixed address, where will my card be sent?

    The residence permit card will be sent to the address that has been registered with the Swedish Migration Agency. It is important that you state which address you want to have the card sent to when you leave your biometrics. Your name must be shown on the door or letterbox. If the Swedish Migration Agency does not have a Swedish address for you, your residence permit card will be sent to one of the Swedish Migration Agency’s offices. You will then need to collect your card from that office.

  • My Asylum Seeker card is with the Swedish Migration Agency, how should I identify myself when I collect the card?

    Take your decision on the residence permit with you and show it to reception.

  • I work for an organisation/am a volunteer that wants to help a person who has been granted a residence permit but does not know how to order their residence permit card. What can I do?

    The decision should make it clear how the person will be able to order their residence permit card. If this information is missing, you may call the Swedish Migration Agency for advice. Since this information is personal, the person in question must speak with the Swedish Migration Agency themselves.