Studying in higher education

If you are to study at university, university college, in higher vocational education or studies at folk high school at the post-secondary level in Sweden for a period of time longer than three months, you can apply for a residence permit for higher education. The permit must be issued before you travel to Sweden.

If you are coming to Sweden as a researcher or a doctoral exchange student

A researcher is a person who has attained qualifications for research studies at a university college and has been selected to carry out research in Sweden. If you are employed as a researcher, you must apply for a residence permit as a researcher.

Learn more about how to apply for a residence permit as a researcher

If you are a doctoral student and are going to study in Sweden as part of your education in another country, you cannot get a residence permit for studies if you are not accepted to a Swedish university or university college. You can instead apply for a residence permit to visit.

Learn more about how to apply for a residence permit to visit

If you are going to study courses commissioned by outside bodies in Sweden

Courses commissioned by outside bodies in Sweden at a university or university collage includes in the category other types of study.

Learn more about how to apply for a residence permit to courses commissioned by outside bodies in Sweden

If you as a mobility student are going to carry out part of your studies in Sweden and start it in another EU country

If you are studying in a Union programme or a multilateral programme that includes mobility measures, you do not need to apply for a residence permit in Sweden to study at a Swedish university within the programme if you already have a residence permit for this in another EU country. The same applies if you are studying in a programme covered by an agreement between two or more universities. You must instead notify the Swedish Migration Agency of your planned stay in Sweden. This applies if you are to study at a Swedish university as a part of your educational programme.

Read more about how to make a registration of notification of studies in Sweden

If you as a mobility student are going to carry out part of your education in Sweden and start it in Sweden

If you are to study in a Union programme or a multilateral programme that includes mobility measures and are to begin your studies in the programme in Sweden, you can apply fora residence permit in Sweden for the entire programme. The same applies if you are to study in a programme covered by an agreement between two or more universities. If you are to study in a different EU country as a part of the programme, you should contact the migration authorities in that country to check if you need to hand in a registration to them of your planned stay.

EU citizen or a long-term resident

Special rules apply if you are an EU citizen or a long-term resident.

Learn more about the rules for EU citizens and long-term residents

Visits shorter than three months

For studies lasting less than three months, you should not apply for a residence permit but apply for a visa instead. Citizens of certain countries may remain in Sweden for up to three months without a residence permit or visa. They are allowed to study during this period.

Countries whose citizens require a visa for visits shorter than three monthsexternal link, opens in new window

Learn more about applying for a entry visa

Requirements for obtaining a residence permit

To obtain a residence permit, you must

  • hold a valid passport
  • be accepted on a course of full-time study in higher education
  • be able to support yourself during the period for which you are applying for
  • have, or have applied for, a comprehensive insurance policy.

Before submitting your application

Check that the information given on the documents you enclose is clear. Important details, such as your name, must be given in the documents. The information in the documents should be as recent as possible. The documents should also be translated into Swedish or English by certified translators, if the contents are in another language. Copies of the original document must always be enclosed with translations of documents.

What is higher education?

Undergraduate, graduate and doctoral studies at a university or university college, studies in higher vocational education, or studies at folk high school at the post-secondary level are counted as higher education. There is a list on studyinsweden.se of which seats of learning are counted as universities and university colleges. There is information on higher vocational education programmes at the Swedish National Agency for Higher Vocational Education.

See if your institution counts as a university or a university college on studyinsweden.seexternal link, opens in new window

See higher vocational education programmes at the Swedish National Agency for Higher Vocational Educationexternal link, opens in new window

At www.folkhogskola.nu there is a list of all courses at folk high schools in Sweden. The course descriptions indicate the level of education in question. It should be mentioned that folk high schools also pursue education that is not at the post-secondary level and which is therefore not to be regarded as studies in higher education.

Studies in contract education, the World Maritime University and Folkuniversitet do not count as higher education, but as so-called “other studies”.

Learn more about residence permit for other types of study

If you are going to study at an upper secondary school or a folk high school at the post-secondary level or lower, which are also other studies, other rules apply.

Learn more about the rules for studies at upper secondary school

You must hold a valid passport

Enclose copies of the pages in your passport that show your personal details, photo, signature, passport number, country of issue, period of validity, and whether you have permission to live in countries other than your country of origin. It is important that the whole of the passport page is copied. Numbers and lettering at the very top and bottom of the pages must also be clearly visible. If your passport is about to expire, you should get it renewed as you cannot get a permit for longer than your passport is valid.

You must be accepted on a course of full-time study

You must be accepted for full-time studies on a programme or course that requires your presence in higher education in Sweden. You cannot get a residence permit for distance-learning studies.

You must have received final admission to the studies. If you are obliged to pay a tuition fee, you are not considered to have final admission until you have paid the part of the tuition fee that you must pay in advance. If you are to study at a university or university college, they will notify the Swedish Migration Agency when the payment has been made.

The need to have final acceptance on the study course to be granted a residence permit also applies to doctoral students. Therefore, a certificate stating that you will be accepted as a doctoral student is not sufficient. If you have been accepted as a doctoral student, you must enclose the decision of the place of study to accept you as a doctoral student, with details of the date of acceptance. You also need to enclose a more comprehensive certificate with the details of the doctoral studies, issued by the place of study. You may refer the place of study to the Migration Agency’s checklist for these certificates.

If you are going to study in Sweden as part of your education in another country, you cannot get a residence permit for studies if you are not accepted to an education in Sweden. You can instead apply for a residence permit to visit. If you have attained qualifications for research studies and have been selected to carry out research in Sweden, you may apply for a residence permit as a researcher.

Checklist for a certificate for a first-time permit for doctoral studiesPDF

Read more about residence permits for visits

Read more about residence permits researchers

Doctoral students who will be alternating between Sweden and another country

If you are a doctoral student, and you will be alternating between staying in Sweden and another country during your studies (according to the so-called “sandwich” model), you can receive a residence permit for up to two years at a time. In this case, you must reside in Sweden for at least half the time during the permit period for which you apply.

The longest acceptable continuous residence in a different country is a quarter of the permit period. In the case of a residence permit valid for two years, a continuous residence of up to six months in a different country is acceptable. In the case of a residence permit valid for one year, a continuous stay of up to three months in a different country is acceptable. You must show that there is a clear plan for your studies. Therefore, you must submit a certification issued by your instructor in Sweden, showing how you will divide your time between Sweden and other countries during the permit period for which you apply. If your studies start or end in a country other than Sweden, you will not ge a residence permit for these periods.

You must be able to support yourself

The maintenance requirement for people applying during 2019 is at least SEK 8,370 per month. For applications that are received by the Migration Agency on 1 January 2020 or later the maintenance requirement is at least SEK 8,514 per month.

You must show that you have secured maintenance for the period for which you are applying for a residence permit. This means that you must show that you have money available through bank assets, grant, or similar.

If you will be receiving a grant or similar, you must enclose a recently prepared document in your name with the details of the monthly or total amount. The document must indicate the period you will be receiving money for, and how much of the money will be available for your maintenance.

If you are a doctoral student and will be receiving a study allowance or wage for your employment as a doctoral student, this must be shown on a proof employment or study certificate. The study certificate is drawn up by the place of study (see Checklist for a certificate for a first-time permit for doctoral studies).

Checklist for a certificate for a first-time permit for doctoral studiesPDF

If you can show that you are receiving free accommodation and/or food from the higher education provider or an organisation that works with international exchange, the amount per month may be reduced. For applications that are received by the Migration Agency during 2019 the monthly amount is reduced by SEK 1,627.50 per month for free food and SEK 1,627.50 per month for free accommodation. For applications that are received on 1 January 2020 or later, the monthly amount is reduced by SEK 1,655.50 per month for free food and SEK 1,655.50 per month for free accommodation.

 

Example of the maintenance requirement

Permit validity period

You must have at least

Your husband, wife or cohabiting partner must have at least

Support requirement per child

6 months


SEK 51,084 kronor (6 x SEK 8,514)


SEK 21,000 (6 x SEK 3,500)


SEK 12,600 (6 x SEK 2,100)


12 months

SEK 102,168 (12 x SEK 8,514)

SEK 42,000 (12 x SEK 3,500)

SEK 25,200 (12 x SEK 2,100)

13 months

SEK 110,682 (13 x SEK 8,514)

SEK 45,500 (13 x SEK 3,500)

SEK 27,300 (13 x 2,100)


Information about a pilot project on two-year permits for degree programme students

During the period 16 October 2019 to 16 October 2022 a pilot project in cooperation between the Swedish Migration Agency and five higher education institutions enables students to apply for two-year residence permits for studies.

The higher education institutions taking part in the pilot project are:

  • Jönköping University
  • KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm
  • Linnaeus University
  • Lund University
  • Umeå University.

During this period a student admitted to a multi-year degree programme at any of these higher education institutions will be able to apply for a two-year residence permit for studies in Sweden. This providing that all conditions, including the student’s ability to support, are met for the whole of the permit period applied for.

You must have, or have applied for, a comprehensive healthcare insurance policy

If you are registered with the Civil Registry in Sweden, you are considered to have a comprehensive healthcare insurance policy. If you have been accepted on a course of study of less than one year, you will not be registered with the Civil Registry in Sweden. If you do not have insurance with the higher education provider, you must be insured by having, or having applied for, your own insurance.

The insurance policy must be valid for the whole period of your stay in Sweden and cover the costs of emergency and other medical care, dental care as well as hospitalisation. It must also cover the costs of transport home on medical grounds.

Read more about the Civil Registry in Swedenexternal link, opens in new window

How to be registered in the Swedish Population Registerexternal link, opens in new window

The permit validity period

You can get a residence permit for the period your studies require, but never for longer than your passport is valid. Even if you have been accepted for a study course lasting several years, you can usually get a residence permit for a maximum of one year at a time, or thirteen months for a first-time application.

As a student in a mobility programme within the EU, you can receive a residence permit for the entire programme. As a mobility student, your residence permit card will be marked with the programme’s name to be able to be used for a notification of stay in other EU countries.

As a doctoral student you can get a residence permit for studies for up to two years.

Information about a pilot project on two-year permits for degree programme students

During the period 16 October 2019 to 16 October 2022 a pilot project in cooperation between the Swedish Migration Agency and five higher education institutions enables students to apply for two-year residence permits for studies.

The higher education institutions taking part in the pilot project are:

  • Jönköping University
  • KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm
  • Linnaeus University
  • Lund University
  • Umeå University.

During this period a student admitted to a multi-year degree programme at any of these higher education institutions will be able to apply for a two-year residence permit for studies in Sweden. This providing that all conditions, including the student’s ability to support, are met for the whole of the permit period applied for.

If your family are also applying for residence permits

If your family are applying for residence permits at the same time, you must enclose:

  • copies of the pages in their passport that show their personal details, photo, signature, passport number, country of issue, period of validity, entry stamps, and whether they have permission to live in countries other than their country of origin (if their passports are about to expire, they should get them renewed as they cannot get a permit for longer than their passports are valid)
  • documents, for example bank statements confirming that the family are able to support themselves during their stay in Sweden (see table under the heading You must be able to support yourself)
  • a copy of the marriage certificate, confirmation of marriage or similar (applies to married couples and registered partners)
  • a document showing that you have been living together, for example a Civil Registry certificate, joint rental agreement or document confirming joint purchase of a property (applies to cohabitants)
  • birth certificates for children showing the parents’ names
  • the consent of the other custodian of children under 18, if the other custodian is not accompanying them to Sweden, or proof of sole custody. This can be, for example, a court decision or death certificate if the other parent is deceased. It should be clear from the consent given that the child has permission to remain in Sweden for the time you intend to remain here. In the case of shared custody, a copy of the other custodian’s passport or other identity document must also be enclosed
  • adoption papers if the child is adopted.

Read more about permits for your family

Shorter processing time for complete applications

To enable the Migration Agency to make a decision on your case, all details must be complete and all the necessary documents must be enclosed. This means that the processing time is shorter if everything required is included from the start, rather than having to provide additional information afterwards. Please note that the Migration Agency may in some cases need to investigate your application further, even if all details are complete and all documents are provided.

Time to a decision

To get an idea of how long you will need to wait for a decision, you can visit the page Time to a decision. Please note that the average time shown on the site is calculated on the basis of previous cases in the same category. The time may vary from one application to another.

Time to a decision

Last updated: 2020-01-08

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If you wish to ask the Migration Agency a question you can find our contact details under the heading Contact us.