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.

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

The regulations apply to the international courses run at an upper secondary school or a folk high school. They also apply to those students who will be studying and staying in a national Swedish boarding school for higher or upper school education at Grenna, Lundsberg or Sigtuna.

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 upper secondary school level for maximum one year
  • have an comprehensive health insurance that is valid in Sweden
  • have consent from your custodians if you are under 18
  • show that you have pocket money for the time you will be in Sweden.

You cannot be granted a residence permit for studies that

  • are directed towards further studies or activities in Sweden
  • require you to take up permanent residence in Sweden.

In order for you to get a decision in time to start your course, it is essential that you apply for a residence permit immediately following your letter of admission.

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 also be granted a residence permit if another organisation or a host family has arranged the exchange. You must 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

Enclose the following documents with your application

  • 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 obtain a permit for 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
  • copy of the document that proves that you have comprehensive health insurance that is valid in Sweden. The insurance must be valid for the whole period that you will stay in Sweden, and must cover the costs for emergency and other medical care, dental care and hospitalization. The insurance must also cover the cost of a possible return journey home because of medical reasons
  • a certificate that proves that you have pocket money for the time you will be in Sweden
  • a written consent from your custodians in which they confirm that you are allowed to study in Sweden, if you are under 18.

You do not need to enclose any school reports or grades.   

Learn more about the requirements for an online 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

Shorter processing times for complete applications

For the Swedish Migration Agency to make a decision about your application, all the details need to be filled in and all necessary documents attached. This means that the processing time will be shorter if all the necessary information is included from the start than if information is added afterwards.

Note that the Migration Agency may in some cases need to further examine your application even if you have included all the required information and documents.

Current processing time

​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 photo and fingerprints. Contact the embassy or consulate-general before your visit. Contact them primarily through email.

If you need a visa for travel to Sweden, you should 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 photographed and fingerprinted. However, your permit must be granted before you travel to Sweden.

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

Learn more about residence permit cards

Check if your application has been registered or if a decision has been made in your caseopens in new window

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 residence permit card will be produced at the time the decision is made, but no earlier than three months before the residence permit becomes valid. We cannot speed up the production or delivery of the card.

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

Book an appointment at the Migration Agency in Sweden to be fingerprinted and photographed if you can travel without a visa

Useful links if you have recently moved to Sweden and have a residence permit

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 December
Longer period than two terms, starting in the autumn term 1 August–31 July the following year
Longer period than two terms, starting in the spring term 1 January–31 December

The periods presented in the table are general. The validity period for your residence permit will be stated in your 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 Application for residence permit for students and doctoral students, number 105031, and submit it 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.

Application for residence permit for students and doctoral students, form number 105031 (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: 1 November 2016