The Swedish Upper Secondary School Act

If you have a residence permit for studies at upper secondary level, you can apply for an extended residence permit if you need more time to complete your studies, or because you wish to look for work upon completion of your studies. If you have a job, you can apply for a permanent residence permit.

The so-called temporary law expired on 20 July 2021, and the rules on residence permits for studies at upper secondary level were then transferred to a new law, known as the Swedish Upper Secondary School Act.

The rules in the Upper Secondary School Act apply to you if you have or have had one of the following residence permits under the temporary law:

  • residence permit for studies at upper secondary level
  • residence permit with refugee or subsidiary protection status, with a longer permit period because you studied at upper secondary level
  • residence permit with refugee or subsidiary protection status, or due to impediments to enforcement or particularly or exceptionally distressing circumstances, and have studied as part of an introductory programme at some time during the temporary law’s period of validity
  • residence permit to look for work upon completion of studies.

You are also subject to the rules in the Upper Secondary School Act if you are granted an extended residence permit under the Upper Secondary School Act in order to complete your studies or to look for work upon completion of studies.

The rules on an extended residence permit for studies at upper secondary level or a permanent residence permit upon completion of studies have not changed compared with the temporary law, but the rules will gradually expire between 2023 and 2025.

Under the Upper Secondary School Act, you who have a residence permit for studies at upper secondary level can apply for

  • an extended residence permit if you need more time to complete your studies
  • an extended residence permit to look for work upon completion of studies at upper secondary level
  • a permanent residence permit because you can financially support yourself after studies at upper secondary level.

You must use the e-service for an extension to apply for an extended or a permanent residence permit. In your application, you can provide several grounds for an extended residence permit at the same time. It is important that you apply for an extended or a permanent residence permit before your current permit expires, although no earlier than two months beforehand.

How to apply for an extended and permanent residence permit

Exten­ding a resi­dence permit for studies at upper secon­dary level

If you need more time than planned in order to complete your study programme, you can apply for an extended residence permit for studies at upper secondary level. This possibility only applies to those who have not reached the age of 25, and it will cease to apply on 20 December 2023.

When you apply for an extended residence permit for studies, you must submit a new study plan or equivalent planning document. The Swedish Migration Agency needs to know when you are expected to complete your study programme. If this is not stated in the study plan or planning document, you must submit other certification in which this is stated.

You also need to explain why you did not have time to complete your programme as expected. This can, for instance, be because you have been ill or because you did not pass all your courses despite full-time studies and you therefore need to have more time.

You must also attach documents showing that you have actively participated in your studies, as well as documents or certificates explaining why you need more time to complete your studies.

If you are studying on an introduction programme and have a 13-month-long residence permit, you can only get a 13-month-long residence permit for studies on an introduction programme one more time. After that you must move on to another programme to be able to extend your residence permit again.

How to apply for an extended and permanent residence permit

Frequently asked questions about extending temporary residence permits

Frequently asked questions about the Upper Secondary School Act

Full- and part-time studies

To be able to get a residence permit for studies at upper secondary level, you are required, in most cases, to study full-time at upper secondary level.

In certain cases you can get a residence permit even though you are studying part-time. If so, you need to submit documents that explain why you are not studying full-time. This applies, for instance, if you have an illness or disability of if you only need to supplement a foreign education with freestanding courses.

The Swedish Migration Agency can also make an exception from the full-time rule if you are studying most of your programme at upper secondary level but are taking one or a few freestanding courses at basic level. Part-time studies can also be accepted if you are studying on a vocational training programme in municipal adult education (Komvux) or special needs municipal adult education (Särvux) part-time and are working at the same time. In such cases certain special requirements also apply to the employment.

Active parti­ci­pa­tion

If you get a residence permit that is valid for more than 13 months, you have to make a report each year that you have participated actively in your studies. The Migration Agency will contact you when it is time to make your report.

If you study at an upper secondary school or special needs upper secondary school, municipal adult education (Komvux) or special needs municipal adult education (Särvux), you must submit your individual study plan and an excerpt from the grade catalogue. If you are studying at folk high school, you must submit the corresponding planning documents and you must also submit your study evaluation and certificate of basic eligibility, if you have received these documents.

If you have not received a passing grade in one or more courses, or if the grades have not been set yet, you must submit other documents that show that you have actively participated in your studies. If you do not submit any documentation, or if you have not actively participated in your studies, the Migration Agency can reconsider the time of your residence permit or revoke the residence permit.

Exten­ding a resi­dence permit to look for work upon comple­tion of studies at upper secon­dary level

When you are finished with your studies, you may have the right to stay in Sweden for up to six months to seek employment.

If you have a 13-month residence permit for studies in an introductory programme, you cannot be granted an extended residence permit to look for work, as an introductory programme does not count as completion of studies.

If for some reason you have less than six months left on your residence permit when you finish your studies, you can apply for an extended residence permit to seek employment. You can then receive an extended residence permit so that the combined permit period is six months from the date that you finished your studies. When you apply for a residence permit, you must send in your diploma or a certificate that shows what date you completed your studies.

If you have such little time left on your current residence permit that you must apply for an extended residence permit before you receive your diploma, or equivalent certificate, you can instead send in a certificate that shows that you will soon finish your studies. When you have finished your studies, you must supplement your application by sending in a new certificate showing the date that you finished.

How to apply for an extended and permanent residence permit

Read more about permanent residence permits in accordance with the Swedish Upper Secondary School Act

If you begin to work

In most cases, if you are studying at an upper secondary level, you receive a residence and work permit that means that you have the right to work alongside your studies. After your studies, you may have a right to a permanent residence permit if you have a job or have started a business that you can support yourself on.

If you are under 25, you must show that you have completed your upper secondary level education to be able to apply for a permanent residence permit. You must also fulfil a number of other requirements to be granted a permanent residence permit as an employee or a self-employed person.

Read more about permanent residence permits in accordance with the Swedish Upper Secondary School Act

After the deci­sion

The Swedish Migration Agency often sends its decision by what is called simplified notification. Sometimes you get a letter with a summons to a meeting where a case officer explains the decision to you.

Simplified notification means that the Swedish Migration Agency will send the decision via regular mail to the address you have given us. The next day we send another letter to the same address informing you that we have mailed a decision. We do this in order to minimize the risk of an error. In this way the Migration Agency considers that you have been informed of the decision (were notified) two weeks after we sent it to you. After that you have three weeks to appeal the decision.

If the address you gave us cannot be used and you are registered with the Swedish population register, the decision and the control letter will be sent to the address listed as your home address in the population register.

Also remember to check your mail on a regular basis.

If you are granted a resi­dence permit

If you get a residence permit, you will be given a residence permit card as proof that you have a permit to be in Sweden. Even if you have had a residence permit card before, you must come to the Swedish Migration Agency to be photographed and fingerprinted again to be able to get a new residence permit card.

Read more about residence permit cards

Permits of diffe­rent lengths

How long your residence permit is valid for depends in part on whether you are studying on a national programme or an introduction programme, how long your programme is and how far you have come in your studies.

If you are studying on an introduction programme at upper secondary school, you can get a residence permit that is valid for 13 months. You can only get a 13-month-long residence permit for studies on an introduction programme twice. Then you must move on to another programme to be able to get an extended residence permit again.

If you are studying on a national programme at upper secondary school or special needs upper secondary school, full-time at upper secondary level in municipal adult education (Komvux) or special needs municipal adult education (Särvux) or at a folk high school, or a “vocational package”, you get a residence permit that is valid for the planned length of the programme plus a further six months. This is why the Swedish Migration Agency needs to have a planned final date for your studies to use when we decide how long your residence permit will be valid for. So depending on how much time you have left on your programme, the length of your permit period will vary.

If your appli­ca­tion is refused

If your application for a residence permit for studies at upper secondary level is refused, and you do not meet the requirements for a residence permit on any other grounds either, you must leave the country.

If you already have an expulsion order, the previous expulsion order normally applies if your application for an extension is refused, and this generally means that you have to leave Sweden. A case officer will explain to you what applies in your case.

Last updated: 2021-07-28