Studying at universities or university colleges

If you are going to study at a university or university college in Sweden for longer than three months, you must have a residence permit. The permit must be in place before you travel to Sweden.

If you are going to work as a visiting researcher

A visiting 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 visiting researcher, you must apply for a residence permit as a visiting researcher.

Learn more about how to apply for a residence permit as a visiting 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 apply instead for a residence permit to visit.

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

There are special rules if you are an EU citizen.

Learn more about the rules for EU citizens

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 at a university or university college
  • be able to support yourself during the period for which you are applying for
  • have 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.

Is your place of study a university or a university college?

At studyinsweden.se there is a list of which places of study are considered universities and university colleges.

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

The World Maritime University and the Folkuniversitet are not considered universities or university colleges. Religious studies, contract teaching or studies at a vocational college are not considered university or university college studies either, but just other studies.

Learn more about residence permit for studies at World Maritime University or Folkuniversitetet

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

Learn more about the rules for studies at upper secondary school and folk high 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 at a Swedish university or university college. You cannot get a residence permit for distance-learning studies. Full-time study means 30 higher education´points per term.

You cannot get a residence permit if you do not have final acceptance for the studies. If you are liable to pay a study fee, you are not considered having final acceptance before the part of the study fee due to the university or university college in advance is paid. The university or university college informs the Migration Agency when the payment is 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 a Swedish university or university college. You can apply instead 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 visiting 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 for visiting 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.

You must be able to support yourself

The maintenance requirement for people applying before 1 January 2017 is at least SEK 7,974 per month. For applications that are received by the Migration Agency on 1 January 2017 or later the maintenance requirement is at least SEK 8,064 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 in your own bank assets, grant or similar, for example a study grant from your country of origin.

If you are going to study for one year or longer, you must show that your maintenance is secured for ten months of the year. See example in the fact box below.

Own bank assets means you have money on an account that belongs to you and from which only you and your husband or wife, if you have one, can withdraw money. If you share the account with, for example, your parents or a relative, the bank assets will not be regarded as your own. Nor does the Migration Agency approve the sponsoring of your support by anyone else (for example, a relative or a company) during your stay in Sweden, if there is no money on your account. Credit, funds or shares are not counted as your own bank assets.

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 amount. The document must indicate the period you will be receiving the grant 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 a university, university college or an organisation that works with international exchange, the amount per month may be reduced. For applications that are received by the Migration Agency before 1 January 2017 the monthly amount is reduced by SEK 1,550.50 per month for free food and SEK 1,550.50 per month for free accommodation. For applications that are received on 1 January 2017 or later, the monthly amount is reduced by SEK 1,568 per month for free food and SEK 1,568.00 per month for free accommodation.

 

Example of the maintenance requirement

Study period

You must have at least

Your husband, wife or cohabiting partner must have at least

Support requirement per child

6 months


SEK 48,384 kronor (6 x SEK 8,064)


SEK 21,000 (6 x SEK 3,500)


SEK 12,600 (6 x SEK 2,100)


12 months

SEK 80,640 (10 x SEK 8,064)

SEK 42,000 (12 x SEK 3,500)

SEK 25,200 (12 x SEK 2,100)

13 months

SEK 88,704 (11 x SEK 8,064)

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

SEK 27,300 (13 x 2,100)

You must have a comprehensive healthcare insurance policy that is valid in Sweden.

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 onto 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 university or university college, you must be insured by your country of origin or have 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, 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

Read more on how to apply for a residence permit to study at a university or university college

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

The length of the residence permit granted can also be affected if:

  • you do not have money for the whole of the permit period sought
  • the validity period of your healthcare insurance does not cover the entire permit period sought
  • the actual study period is shorter than the permit period sought.

General permit periods

The Migration Agency has standard permit periods which can be applied as far as this is possible.

The periods shown in the table below are general. The period of validity for a residence permit is specified in the decision from the Migration Agency.

Study period

Permit validity period

One autumn term

1 August–31 January the following year

One spring term

1 January–30 June

Two terms, starting in the autumn term

1 August–30 June the following year

Two terms, starting in the spring term

1 January–31 January the following year

Longer period than two terms, starting in the autumn term

1 August–1 September the following year

Longer period than two terms, starting in the spring term

1 January–31 January the following year

 

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: 2017-09-28

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