For any person that wants to study in Sweden, it is important to first understand the county’s higher education system and the visa application process. You can not automatically know certain basic information about studying at a Swedish university unless you take your time to inform yourself.
Depending on the degree level you might be interested in, there are different options available. There are exchange programs for those who are taking undergraduate courses. There are also Masters and Doctorate degrees available. The Application procedure for each may differ slightly.
In most cases, a foreign student will take his course in one of the 600 degree programs thought in the English language. That said for those who can speak Swedish fluently, they are free to study in that language if they want to. Whatever the case, you will need to get that visa first.
Do you need a visa or a residence permit?
For any foreign student from a country that is not a member of the EU, it will be required that he presents a document at the moment where he is entering Sweden. That document will either be a visa or a residence permit. The document required will depend on the number of days the students wants to spend in the country. For courses that will take less than 3 months, the visa papers should be enough to enter Sweden. On the other hand, if you intend to study in the country for more than 3 months, you will need a residence permit.
Just to confirm where you really stand, it is always a good idea to get in touch with the Swedish consulate or embassy in your home country. In case you need a permit, it will have to be obtained from the Swedish Migration Board after processing the application papers.
Keep in mind that the only way to be granted a permit is if you have proof that an accredited university in Sweden has admitted you for a full-time course. This implies that you will have to pay for at least the first installment of the tuition fee.
Tips to be granted the residence permit
One key step in the process of applying for a residence permit is to demonstrate to the Swedish Migration Board that you do have the financial resources to be able to deal with the cost involved in living in the country during the entire study. The minimum amount for a student to live a comfortable life in Sweden is evaluated to be around SEK 7,300 a month and most courses spread over 10 month each year.
In the situation where you can prove to the Board that your accommodation has already been taken care of, the sum mentioned above can be reduced accordingly. And of course if you are going to study in the country under a scholarship from a Swedish institute, you will have to provide proof for that too. You need to have a valid passport and the institution you intend to study will should already have sent you the letter of admission before you start the application process.
As a precautionary measure, try to apply for the residence permit 6-8 weeks prior to the day the course starts.
Remember that with a residence permit, you will be allowed to stay in Sweden only for the period of time necessary to finish the course. In case you are taking a course that will take a number of years, the permit will be renewed annually. There is a condition to meet before renewal of the document though. That condition is the student has to get a certain minimum credit points and still have enough financial support to continue the journey.
Cost and Fees involved
There is a fee involved in applying for a university and even if admitted, the foreign student will still have to bear the cost of the tuition. That law does not apply to citizens of an EU country. Also it is only foreign students taking a bachelor’s or master program that are required to pay tuition fees. As for the PhD, it is tuition free. The cost of the tuition varies from institution to institution and it is within the range of SEK 80,000–140,000 per academic year. Highly rated courses like medicine have notably higher fees. Applying for any course in Sweden will usually cost SEK 900 for fee paying students.
In most cases the university will also take care of the health insurance of the fee playing student. But he will have to budget for other expenses like the Student union fee and the cost involved in buying literature and textbooks. Around SEK 750 should be enough to cover that.
The visa application processing
Each year, there is a congestion of students applying for visa to Sweden. So if you intend to travel there, make sure to apply before the autumn semester. That way you will know the decision made by the Swedish Migration Authority long before the course starts.
First you have to get all your personal documents ready. Those documents are:
- 2 recent ID pictures
- 2 copies of a valid passport that should not expire within the following 6 months
- The letter of admission from the host university in Sweden plus another copy
- 2 copies of educational degrees attested by the Foreign Ministry
- A letter from the sponsor confirming his willingness to invest in the study (make another copy of it)
- Health insurance documents for a student who intend to stay more than a year.
- 2 copies of a bank statement
Concerning the bank statement, the amount left inside should be equivalent to what you will need during your stay in Sweden. To know the preferable amount, just multiply SEK 7,300 by the number of months you are going to spend in the country. The currency can be left in the Swedish local currency, US dollars, UK pounds or Euro. That will be up to you.
Aside providing your personal document you will also have to fill the application form that you can get from the website swedenabroad.com. After filling the form, you need to send the whole package to the Swedish Embassy closest to where you live. The application cost of a “residence permit” is SEK 1000.
Benefits of studying in Sweden
The thing about Swedish universities is that they are strongly focused on group work. That is exactly the way people work in the real world and studying in an environment like that will only prepare you to fit in the global job market.
For those who want to further into a Master’s degree, they will be given a chance to turn theory into practice and that has to do with the fact that most of the programs are designed in a way that the students will have to work with the different industries around to get the results wanted.
There are at least 3 universities based in Sweden that are among the top 100 in the world. When taking into account the top 500, that makes 11 Swedish universities.
Sweden is one of the world most modern country and a lot of internationally recognized corporations were born there. The innovative a fully equipped universities in the country have helped in the creation of the computer mouse, and bluetooth. Successful websites like Spotify saw the light there. If you enjoy Skype today is because of the entrepreneur Niklas Zennström who invented it in Sweden.
As you are there you might as well want to visit cities like Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö. You will never forget your experience in Sweden.
Some of the Swedish universities you might want to consider are: