Studying as an exchange pupil at an upper secondary school level

If you are planning to study as an exchange pupil at an upper secondary school in Sweden for longer than three months, you require a residence permit. You cannot enter Sweden until the permit has been granted.

If you are to support yourself with your own funds, you must submit your application no later than three months before the date you are applying for a residence permit from. This is because you will be able to show that you can support yourself close to the beginning of the study time and that your actions will not get too old. This does not apply if you will receive a scholarship to cover your means of support, studies at upper secondary school or as an exchange pupil.

For studies that are shorter than three months, citizens in certain countries must have an entry visa.

If you are a citizen of an EU country, special rules apply.

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

Learn more about the rules for EU citizens

Requirements for obtaining a residence permit

In order to obtain a residence permit, you must

  • have a valid passport
  • be admitted to full-time studies in an organised exchange programme at an upper secondary school for maximum one year
  • have an comprehensive health insurance that is valid in Sweden
  • have consent from your custodians if you are under 18. If so you must also enclose a certificate showing who is or are your parents/custodians and how you are related
  • have pocket-money for the time you will be in Sweden.

You may not work without a work permit during your study period.

Learn more about applying for a work permit

Examples of approved organisations in Sweden

  • AFS Intercultural studies
  • Aspect
  • EF Education
  • Rotary
  • Youth for Understanding (YFU)
  • Scandinavian Seminar
  • Student Travel Schools (STS)
  • Explorius

You can in certain cases also be granted a residence permit if another organisation or a host family has arranged the exchange. You must then prove that you are admitted to full-time studies and have received an invitation from a host family in Sweden.

How to apply

You can apply for a residence permit online. You cannot enter Sweden until the permit has been granted. If you are under 18 your custodian must apply on your behalf.

You will probably be required to pay an application fee.

Fees for residence permits

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 to enclose with your application

You must enclose

  • copies of the pages in your passport which show your personal information, photograph, signature, passport number, passport issuing country, the period of the passport's validity and whether you have permission to live in countries other than your country of origin. If your passport is about to expire, you should renew it as you cannot be granted a residence permit for a period longer than the validity of your passport
  • a certificate from the exchange organisation in Sweden stating that you have been admitted to full-time study. This certificate is also proof that you will receive pocket-money
  • a copy of a document showing that you are covered by fully-comprehensive health insurance that is valid in Sweden. 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
  • a certificate showing that you will receive pocket-money for the period of your stay in Sweden, if you will study through a privately arranged exchange
  • an invitation from a host family in Sweden, if you will study through a privately arranged exchange
  • a written consent from your parents/custodians that you are allowed to study in Sweden if you are under 18 years of age, and a certificate showing who is or are your parents/custodians and how you are related
  • a completed questionnaire (form number 105031W_A) if you apply online
  • a completed application form (form number 113011) if you submit a paper application.

Learn more about the requirements for an online application

Appendix for application for residence permit for students and doctoral students. Questionnaire A – first-time application, form number 105031W_APDF

Read more about what documents you should attach if you submit a paper application

Check the requirements of Swedish embassy or consulate-general

Note that the embassy or consulate-general where you submit your application may require additional documents. Contact the embassy or consulate-general for further information.

Find your closest embassy at Swedenabroad.comexternal link, opens in new window

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 site 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.

​Once we have received your application

If you obtain a permit for more than three months, you will also receive a residence permit card. The card, which is proof that you have the right to be in Sweden, contains your fingerprints and photo.

If you need a visa for travel to Sweden, you should therefore go to the embassy or consulate-general as soon as possible to have your picture and fingerprints taken. Not all embassies or consulates-general have the possibility to take your picture and your fingerprints. Contact the embassy or consulate-general before your visit for more information.

If you do not need a visa for travel to Sweden, as soon as possible after your arrival in Sweden you should visit the Migration Agency to be fingerprinted and photographed. However, your permit must be granted before you travel to Sweden.

Learn more about residence permit cards

Find your closest embassy at Swedenabroad.comexternal link, opens in new window

Check if your application has been registered or if a decision has been made in your case

After the decision has been made

The decision will be sent to the embassy or consulate-general you selected in your online application. Take your passport along when picking up your decision.

The Swedish embassy or consulate-general will hand over or send you the residence permit card as soon as it is ready. Don't forget that it might take up to four weeks to make and send the card to the embassy or consulate-general after you receive your decision. When you enter Sweden, you must show your residence permit card along with a valid passport. 

If you do not need a visa for travel to Sweden, you should be able to show a copy of the decision when you arrive. As soon as possible after you have arrived in Sweden, you should book an appointment to be fingerprinted and photographed. When your residence permit card is ready, it will be sent to your address in Sweden.

The permit validity period

You can be granted a residence permit for the time required for your studies but never for longer than the validity of your passport. You can be granted a residence permit as an exchange pupil for maximum one year.

General permit validity periods

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

The periods presented in the table are general. The validity period for your residence permit will be stated in the decision from the Migration Agency.

If the Migration Agency refuses your application

If the Migration Agency refuses your application, you can appeal the decision within three weeks from the date when you were informed of the decision. Your decision contains information about how to do so.

If you do not apply online

If you are not able to apply online, you must fill out the form First-time application for a residence permit for students and doctoral students, number 113011.

Submit your application to a Swedish embassy or consulate-general in your country of residence. The application form specifies which documents to enclose. Contact the embassy or consulate-general before you submit your application.

First-time application for a residence permit for students and doctoral students, form number 113011 (in English)PDF

Find your closest embassy at swedenabroad.comexternal link, opens in new window

If there is no possibility to submit an application in your country, you must apply at the embassy or consulate-general closest to your country of residence. Contact the embassy or consulate-general before you submit your application for further information.

If you are applying at an embassy or consulate-general, you pay the fee when you hand in your application. For more information about the fee, contact the embassy or consulate-general where you are applying, as they do not have the same fees and terms of payment as the Migration Agency.

Last updated: 2018-04-12

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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.