me, myself & andrei

09 Jul 2010 Admission

The Aftermath

“‘Tagline: Breath in, breath out.. Breath in, breath out..”’


If you got admitted, then the following is what would be of interest to you.

After you get the Letter of Admission, there are several steps you need to take - either before getting to Sweden, or just after getting to Sweden, depending on your citizenship.

These things can be related “‘to a visa, or a residence permit, to your future travel opportunities and rights, to your integration in the Swedish system.”’

Read about these steps carefully in the next sections! I cannot guarantee for some of them, since I haven’t been in the process. They have just informative parts that I gathered for my own use. Once I step in the real situation, I may update them.


Visa and Finances

First of all, you should read [ Do I need a visa?].

In short, “‘if you are not from EU/EEA countries”’, you need a Visa (if you’re going to study for less than 3 months), or a Residence Permit (for studies longer than 3 months). You can get one at a Swedish embassy or consulate near you.

After you apply for one of the above, you will get a case number, and then you can follow the outcome of your application on [ Migrationsverket]’s website.

Application for a Residence Permit

*[ ‘'’Form’’’ 105031 (104031)]
*“‘Fee”’: SEK 1000 (cca. 110€) There are exceptions, so please read [ the whole material on “How much does it cost?”].
*“‘Valid passport”’ *“‘Letter of Admission”’ *“‘Proof of finances”’: minimum SEK 7300 per month, for 10 months a year, for each year of your studies. Additional for spouse or child.
*Proof of SI scholarship, if you got one
*Proof of free-lodging, if you have one

Please read [ this PDF brochure entitled “Residence permit for studies at university/college (including doctoral studies)”]!

The application can take up to 6-8 weeks, so apply as early as possible. And be careful when you book your flight to Sweden, as you may never know when you will get your Residence Permit! If you apply late, then you may get your permit after the date you applied for, which will make your entrance to Sweden impossible. Best way to handle this is to wait to have your permit, or to get a ticket with changeable dates.

The amount of SEK 7300 is thought to be the minimum needed in order for a student to cover his or her [ living expenses].

The residence permit covers your entire period of studies (if it is between 3 and 12 months), or the first 12 months (one year). You will have to renew it yearly, if you need.

Don’t forget to read [ the whole material from Migrationsverket’s website] itself!

“‘If you want”’ to have your visa/residence permit trouble-free and you also want “‘to have some fun-reading”’, download the story of a [ Fun Visa]”‘of Alejandro Valenzuela”’, another 2008 prospective admitted student.

There has been a lot of talking around the subject of finances proof. Voices have been heard that you only need to show proof for one year (10 months) since the residence permit is anyway one year long tops. But there has been an official response to that, thanks to Trevor Schwartz (another 2008 prospective student).

  • E-mail excerpt - April 28, 2008 -
    Dear Sir, There is no exceptions from this requirement. You need to show that you can support yourself for the whole of the planned period of study. Best regards, Charlotte Lindkvist Upplysningen Migrationsverket The Public Contact Section The Swedish Migration Board


[[Image:Schengen_Agreement_map.png right 150px]]You will definitely want to do some traveling in Europe, once you start your studies in Sweden.

But if you’re not an EU/EEA member, are you allowed to travel to other European countries?

“‘The Residence Permit allows you to travel to all [[wikipedia:Schengen_Agreement Schengen]] countries”’ (shown in baby blue on the right-side image) “‘plus [[wikipedia:Switzerland Switzerland]] & [[wikipedia:Faroe_Islands Faroe Islands]]”’. This only if the Residence Permit is for a period of 12 months or more.
It also gives you the right to transit “’[[wikipedia:Cyprus Cyprus]]”’ for up to 5 days.
Thus, the permit doesn’t allow you to travel to all European Union countries. “‘You will not be able to travel to [[wikipedia:United_Kingdom United Kingdom]], [[wikipedia:Ireland Ireland]], [[wikipedia:Cyprus Cyprus]], [[wikipedia:Bulgaria Bulgaria]] or [[wikipedia:Romania Romania]]”’, unless your country has a regulation that allows people to travel to these countries without a visa. If you do need a visa, the process might be troublesome: you will need to find the nearest consulate of the country you want to visit and apply for a visa there.


Visa and Finances

“‘If you are from non-Nordic EU/EEA countries”’, then you need no visa or Residence Permit, but you need to register at the [[wikipedia:Swedish_National_Migration_Board Swedish National Migration Board]] (swe. Migrationsverket) before or within the first 3 months of stay, and you will need to show the same proof of finances.

Application for a Permit

*[ ‘'’Form’’’ 140011]
*“‘Fee”’: none. There is no fee, as you can read on the [ “How much does it costs?”] page.
*“‘Valid ID card / passport”’ *“‘Letter of Admission”’ *“‘Proof of finances”’: minimum SEK 7300 per month, for 10 months a year, for each year of your studies. Additional for spouse or child
*“‘Health Insurance”’

“‘You can register your “right to reside” and get a permit”’:

*“‘by going in person”’ to [ a local Migrationsverket permit unit] close to you
*“‘by mailing”’ the documents to Migrationsverket, 601 70 Norrköping, Sweden
*“‘by Internet”’ using [ E-forms]

“‘Be aware that snail-mail or online registration at [] needs a Swedish address”’. So basically you need a friend in Sweden to receive your certificate from Migrationsverket. You need this friend in Sweden, because your friend needs to sign for the delivery.

“‘Proof of finances can also be”’ one of the following two: letter from your Swedish partner (spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend who has a good bank history) or a letter from your parents. Both need to state that they will have you under care, so they practically vow that is something goes wrong they will manage the situation. The letter from your parents might need a bank statement on them, though.

Please read [ this PDF brochure entitled “Registration for EU/EEA citizens”]!

Don’t forget to read [ the whole material from Migrationsverket’s website] itself!

“‘Nordic countries’ citizens”’ need to do nothing.


# Personnummer

The “‘personnummer”’ (eng. Personal Identification Number) is a ten digit Number given to all Swedish residents so that they can be identified by the system. It is unique to every person and is used in all sorts of systems as a unique key (identifier). Some compare the personnummer to the American social security number.

You can read more on [[wikipedia:Personal_identity_number_(Sweden) Wikipedia]].

“‘Basically, this number will give you a Swedish identity and will open many doors.”’ Therefore, get it as soon as you have settled and have applied for residence. Without it you won’t be able to do much in Sweden. A lot of things, e.g. to open a bank account, to get a Swedish ID, to get insurance requires a personnummer.

“‘It is issued by the Swedish Tax Agency”’ (swe. [ Skatteverket] ), but only after you will get your permit (the Residence Permit for non-(EU/EEA) or the permit stating your “right to reside” for EU/EEA citizens) from Migrationsverket. However, there might be a possibility to apply for both residence and the personnummer at the Swedish embassy before moving to Sweden. Check with the Swedish embassy in your country!

“‘You will need to fill in a form that you get there. They will need to see/make copies of your passport, admission letter and the residence permit from Migrationsverket. You might need a photo passport-sized.”’

“‘It will take about 2 weeks to receive your number and a proof of registration.”’ The tax authorities will send it to you by mail (you will need a personal address, since they will not accept to send it to your office address). As previously mentioned you will not be able to do any of the other bureaucratic things until you have your personnummer.

“‘On registration, you will be entitled to medical benefits through the Swedish National Health Insurance System. “‘You should automatically receive health insurance documents by mail from Försäkringskassa, some days/weeks after you got your personnummer.


# Cards

You will need a couple of cards to get by, after you get your Residence Permit and personnumber.

The ID card

*“‘Fee”’: cca. 250 SEK (cca. 26€)
*“‘A passport-size photo”’ *“‘Papers from Skaterrverket for requesting an ID card”’ (swe. personbevis för ID kort) ((Skatterverket can issue papers for other reasons as well: to get married, to get a bank loan, etc.))
*“‘A Swedish citizen”’ who can identify you, vouch for you and “‘with a good bank history”’

“‘The identification card is issued in Sweden only by banks nowadays.”’ It is not compulsory, but without it you wouldn’t be able to pick something up from the post office, or you wouldn’t be able to buy alcoholic beverages, or you wouldn’t be able to open a bank account. The passport can work out ok, but not as a general rule.

Do not mistaken an ID card with the [[wikipedia:Identity_documents_in_Sweden#National_identity_card National Identity Card]]. That can only be issued for Swedish citizens.

People who don’t have Swedish citizenship, but are Swedish residents, can get a SIS-certified identification card. You need to have a personnummer allocated beforehand. But be aware that usually the ID card is given 6 months after you open a bank account, or earlier if the person who vouches for you has a good history with the bank.

You should also check with your university, if it has a special agreement with one of the Swedish banks. This can ease up the process.

Although it sounds straight-forward and something that is bound to happen in a regular and worry-free manner, getting an ID card can be very troublesome. [ You can read a situation of a Belorussian student at KTH in The Local].

From January 2009, it might be possible that the Swedish Police offices will issue ID cards to non-Swedish citizens, and since they have a higher authority of checking identities, the process might be more transparent and easier to go through. [ Read the article in The Local].

For EU citizens, their Passport or Driving License should act as a valid ID card.

Bank account/card

*“‘Valid Passport”’ *“‘Papers from Skaterrverket for banking”’ (swe. personbevis för bankarenden)
*“‘Letter of Admission”’, although this is not needed, but you may be asked to show it

You should be able to open a bank account with no problem soon after your arrival to Sweden.

After you open the bank account, ask how much time will it have to pass in order before you will be granted an ID card as well.

It’s a good idea to check whether your bank at home has a Swedish banking partner. Some banks may be willing to let you open an account even if you don’t have a personnummer, like Nordea and Föreningssparbanken, but it is not 100% sure. If it’s possible, then you will only need to show a valid passport, a receipt for your Student Union membership and a letter stating that you are an international student.

You should also check with your university, if it has a special agreement with one of the Swedish banks. This can ease up the process.

Student card

“‘This card will allow you to get special student rates.”’ You will need to register at one of the Student Unions and you will get one. By the way, if you are in Lund or Uppsala, you will encounter [[wikipedia:Nations_at_Swedish_universities the Student Nation system]], and you must register with one nation.
You can also get an [[wikipedia:International_Student_Identity_Card international student card]], which will give you even more opportunities for discounts, though not so many.

# Swedish

Before arriving in Sweden

There are currently about 40,000 students studying Swedish [ at some 200 universities in over 40 countries]. They are taught by some 1,000 professors and lecturers in Swedish. You can have your try there.

Otherwise you can try some [ distance learning]. I personally liked watching [ Swedish news with English subtitles] (click textad version). Or once you know a bit of Swedish, you can read [ a newspaper in easy-Swedish].

Some other resources:

*[ Swedish for US diplomats]
*[ Swedish for foreign workers]
*[ Rosetta Stone]
*[ Before you know it - Card learning]
*[ Indo-European Language Tutorials]
*[ Kreative Pedagogik]
*… and others at [ Forum of American expatriates]

While in Sweden

Most universities deliver their own Swedish courses for the students. Check first with them.

“‘Tourist offices”’ may be the second best place to get informed concerning this.

The tourist office in Stockholm (Sweden House on Hamngatan) collects brochures on language training. Some courses are free of charge (e.g. [ SFI]). Otherwise Stockholm University and folkuniversitetet offer Swedish courses at different levels. Classes usually start once a month. The best overview on available classes is given in the brochure “Study in Sweden” by Svenska Institutet. Call them to get the most recent one at: 08 – 789 20 00.

Usually, [ ‘'’study associations’’’ deliver language courses for Swedish] with varying content, length and intensity. The price can vary as well from 1000 SEK to 8500 SEK a month.

“‘Municipalities (swe. komvux)”’, on the other hand, offer [ free Swedish courses], but you are required to have a personnummer.

Also, [ your ‘'’university’’’ might deliver Swedish courses]. Admission to those courses is limited though.

While all of the above provide certificates, those are not [ ‘'’proficiency tests’’’]. That “elite club” is made out of [ TISUS], [ Certificate for Business Swedish] and [ Swedex]. You can also try finding an examination date and sit the exams outside of Sweden.


# Accommodation

What you need to know about housing in Sweden relates to one word - hard.

Some years ago there was a crisis related to that because there were simply not enough places for the number of students in each university area. Because of that crisis, several real-estate developers started to build in that direction, so now, in some areas there are actually more places than needed. Even so, prepare yourself to fight for getting accommodation.

First of all, you must be aware of the fact that “‘universities in general do not offer accommodation”’ and, even if they do, they may not cover every student. So with a few exceptions, “‘getting a place is your responsibility”’, and nobody else’s.

Secondly, “‘universities do not own dorms”’. Different agencies/foundations deal with a number of campuses of dorms in each city in terms of managing them physically and managing the process of finding tenants. In the same dorms you can find people from all the universities of the city. All of them work on “‘a queuing system”’: the longer you are a member of their system, the more credits you have and the more credits you have, the more chances you have to get the place you want. When a place becomes available, it is “auctioned” if you will. Members who want the place put themselves on a waiting list for that place, and the member with the highest number of credits gets the place.

That being said, you should know also learn that prices vary from “‘around 2000SEK to 4500SEK”’, depending on the room’s surface, location of the dorms, facilities included, etc. The place can be a one room flat + bathroom, and with a shared kitchen on the corridor, or a studio (one room flat + bathroom + kitchen), or a two rooms flat, which is usually destined for couples and such. Rooms can be with one, two or three beds.

Most of these agecies allow you to register without a Swedish personnummer, and thus allow you to “‘register and gain credits before you were even admitted”’. If you’re reading this before sending the application or at least before getting admitted, it’s a smart move to do so for the cities hosting the top universities on your priority list. That way, no matter where you get admitted, you will have a head start when it comes to auctions and credits.

Some of them, on the other hand, will tell you that even if you registered beforehand, your credits will be null if, at the moment when you registered, you weren’t admitted. That’s why it is good to check on your own with each agency.

You can search on Google for “ studentbostader" or "bo i " for each city where you have a university. "Bostader" is Swedish for place to live.

Or you can just head to , which hosts a list of all the student housing agencies, by region.

Some websites might have an English version, some don’t. Try to use [ Google Translator] for those who don’t, and be patient and calm when trying to understand translations).

You can also try going to places like or . Both of them are a marketplace for student housing.

If the dorms are not for you, or if you’re having problems finding a place there, you can also try to “‘rent a room in a Swede’s house”’. But be careful! “‘There are plenty of fake ads out there”’. But you can “‘check if a person really exists”’, and lives at the respective address by contacting Swedish “folkbokföringen” (national registration) at Skatterverket (tax authorities). Each region has one, and you can E-mail them by using their [ contact addresses], or call them at their international number at +46 8 764 79 87.

I was also looking into the option of getting a big place and then sub-renting each room/bed. In the end, I personally found it disturbing that you cannot do that - it’s connected to your national registration and other bureaucracy issues.


# Health Insurance

Although you do get benefits from the Swedish Healthcare after registering as a resident in Sweden (getting a personnummer), I’m not 100% certain that you would be ok with just that, since prices are quite high in Sweden anyway.

Therefore a “private” insurance should be in place. You can buy one in Sweden as well, after your arrival, but those will probably be more expensive than one that you buy in your own country.

There are “‘two types of private insurance”’ that you can find - one is “‘a regular medical insurance for traveling”’ which covers among others also medical needs (usually limited), and one that is “‘a medical insurance for people working or studying abroad”’.

I wrote [ a small blog post] with a comparison between the two types at a Romanian insurance company.

“‘For EU citizens only”’: The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)is not going to may or may not cover your stay in Sweden. Why? For one thing, the EHICs (at least the ones issued in Romania) are only valid for 6 months, and secondly, the Romanian authorities request a certificate that you’re a student, or that you are employed. Plus, then there’s a whole discussion around the contribution to the national health insurance system, etc. Basically they will say that I’m not a contributor to the system, therefore the insurance is void. That may very well go for cards valid for a long period. That being said, since I can’t manage all of that while being in Sweden, I bought a regular medical insurance for 100€. A similar one bought in Sweden costs around 300€, so plan ahead! Other EU countries though give EHICs valid for a long time. So far, Migrationsverket didn’t give a positive answer on that, but former EU students said that using EHIC works.


# Miscellaneous

Information taken from [].

“Alcohol”, Systembolaget is the government-owned wine and liqueur store. It is generally open Monday through Friday between 10.00 a.m. and 6.00 p.m and on Saturdays between 10.00 am and 1.00 pm. Some stores stay open longer.

The age limit for buying wine and spirits in Systembolaget is 20. If you are under 25, you will probably have to present some proof of your age when buying. In bars and restaurants the legal drinking age is 18.

“Allemansrätten”, or the right of common access, gives everybody the right to use private as well as public land and waterways for certain activities such as hiking, jogging or boating provided that no damage is caused to the land. You must also show consideration to other people and animals and respect the wishes of private landowners.

This means that you cannot walk or sail too close to houses and private gardens. It is also a good idea to ask the landowner if you plan on pitching a tent for more than a short period of time.

“Dates” are often written in the following order, year, month, day e.g. October 12, 2003 is written 2003-10-12 (or just 031012).

“Driving”. Sweden, like most European countries, has right-hand traffic. The legal driving age is 18 and you are expected to have your driver’s license with you when driving. A foreign driver’s license is valid for a maximum of one year. The laws on drinking and driving are very strict and such behavior is generally not socially accepted.

“Drug laws” are very strict in Sweden. Foreign citizens in possession of any type of illegal drug may be arrested and expelled from the country. What are sometimes referred to as soft drugs, for example marijuana and hashish, are illegal in Sweden.

“Electricity” is standard European 220 volts and 50 cycles (Hz).

“Time zone”. Sweden has Central European Time (CET), GMT +1. Daylight saving time (GMT +2) applies from the last Sunday in March until the last Sunday in October. Clock time is written according to the European system, e.g. 1 p.m. is written 13.00.

“Tipping” (in restaurants and taxis) - Service charge is included in the price. But it is normal practice to leave a small tip if you feel you have been treated well.