Study in Sweden as a foreigner has so many advantages that it is difficult to list them all. From being one of the most just and equitable countries in the world to one of the foremost in human development and environmental conservation, Sweden is an academic dream destination.
This Nordic country with just over 10 million inhabitants tops the list in terms of energy efficiency, education, and satisfaction. In addition, it is also recognized internationally for its equality of wealth, since it has the lowest salary difference between men and women in the world.
And let’s not even talk about its natural beauty because Sweden has some of the most beautiful landscapes in northern Europe. Its Baltic forests, Scandinavian Alps, numerous lakes, and medieval cities attract thousands of tourists every year.
So, if you are thinking of studying in Sweden from Latin America or would like to offer this experience to your child, here are 5 excellent reasons to do so:
- Numerous prestigious Universities and Institutions. Many Swedish Universities are among the best on the planet, such as Stockholm University and Lund University.
- Efficient educational system. From preschool to university, all educational levels in Sweden enjoy an excellent reputation. By studying at a Swedish Higher Education Institution, you will see that everything is focused on learning and not on judging failure.
- A just and inclusive nation. All Swedish couples, both heterosexual and homosexual, have the same rights. In addition, all Swedish citizens have access to public health and education.
- The best indexes of life. In the OECD’s Better Life Index, Sweden scores excellently in almost all categories. Not for nothing is it considered one of the best places to live.
- Fewer people, more opportunities. Despite being the fifth largest nation in Europe, it only has 22 inhabitants per km². In the labor market, the employment rate is 82%.
As a citizen of a Latin American country, you may need to apply for a visa or residence permit to study in Sweden. According to the Swedish Migration Agency, the visas and permits you may need are:
- Residence Permit for Higher Education. Aimed at all foreigners from countries that do not belong to the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area (EEA). If you want to study in Sweden for more than 3 months at a Higher Education Institution, you must have a Residence Permit.
- Visa to enter Sweden (Schengen). Nationals of some countries need a Visa to enter Sweden and stay in the country for up to 90 days.
This means that if you are from a visa waiver country, you can study in Sweden for less than 3 months just by having a passport. Pretty interesting right?
Although Sweden is excellent at speaking English, there are many options available to learn Swedish. There is a whole repertoire of summer, intensive, and online courses to study the most widely spoken Germanic language in the country.
Do you dare to be the next international student in Sweden? So keep reading that this guide is just beginning
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO LIVE AND STUDY IN SWEDEN AS A FOREIGNER?
in the capital
in another city
|2 bedroom apartment|
in the capital
|2 bedroom apartment|
in another city
|Bus or Metro ticket||$3 / $6|
|Ticket to the Cinema||$16|
|A beer in a bar||$8|
|A beer in the supermarket||$2|
|Typical Street Food||$10|
|Meal in a Restaurant||$38|
|1G telephony package||$4|
|Average Life Per Month||$2394|
We kick off this article about study in Sweden as a foreigner by talking about the cost of living in this Scandinavian nation. As you can see in the table above, the estimated cost for a single person is $2,394 per month. Of course, this amount can vary in relation to various factors.
One of them (and perhaps the most decisive) is the location. Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, and Gothenburg are two of the most expensive cities to live in. In addition to the prices, they are also two of the cities that receive the most foreign students, so it can be a bit complicated to find a room.
Renting an apartment or a shared room depends a lot on the area of the city and the type of housing. If you want to save as much as possible and reduce expenses as much as possible, the best option is to live in a student residence. Some universities offer this service, but there are also independent organizations that do it.
In general, living and studying in Sweden is relatively accessible, although it all depends on each person’s resources. What no one can deny is that it is a smart investment that will mark your future and open hundreds of doors for you.
University tuition costs an average of $15,198 per academic year. This does not make it the most expensive destination to study, but it does not make it the cheapest either. To balance the scale a bit, there are programs where you pay only $9,425 per year.
Can you study in Sweden as a foreigner for free?
If your heartbeat quickened when you read the approximate costs of living and studying in Sweden… Don’t worry! Do not be discouraged because there are alternatives to study for free being Latin American. There are plenty of scholarships for international students, sponsored by different institutions and organizations.
Most only cover part or all of the tuition, but some even help students with living expenses.
On the other hand, if you are a national of one of the EU or EEA countries, you are in luck, because like Swedish citizens, you will not have to pay tuition. If this is not your case, later we will show you the best scholarships that you could enjoy.
Studying at the University in Sweden
The experience of studying at the University in Sweden is something different from what we are used to seeing in Latin America or in other academic destinations, and that is precisely why it is so popular. Instead of putting pressure on students to pass, Swedish Universities are true centers of inspiration and motivation.
Focused on learning and awakening the best in each student, Universities in Sweden are recognized worldwide for offering one of the most pleasant environments to study.
To help you understand what your life could be like studying at one of these institutions, we present some of its main characteristics :
- They are based on a semester system, from August to January and from January to June.
- They offer Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral programs in many areas of study. It is estimated that in total there are about 1,000 programs in English to study in Sweden.
- Full-time programs imply studying about 40 hours a week, but they are divided into different activities to make it more dynamic.
- Unlike other countries, Swedish Universities do not mix several subjects or “courses” in the same academic year. You may just stick to the same subject for several weeks, take an exam at the end, and then move on to the next subject.
- Teamwork is important because it prepares you to carry out your career in the labor market.
- Goodbye to formalities, because in these institutions teachers are called by name, all to generate a feeling of equality.
It goes without saying that several universities in Sweden are among the best in the world. International rankings such as the QS Top Universities and the Shanghai, have listed Stockholm University, the Karolinska Institute, and Uppsala University as some of the most prestigious Swedish institutions.
What are universities going to ask you for?
To demonstrate your interest in receiving international students, Swedish Universities are not very demanding with admission requirements. In general, what you need to have to study for a Bachelor’s degree is:
- Have completed your secondary studies. If you finished your secondary studies and have a diploma or degree to prove it… That’s it! You can apply to a Swedish University. Of course, you may have to carry out some procedures so that this document can be valid in Sweden.
- Being able to demonstrate your command of the English language. Demonstrating your proficiency in English is vital to be accepted in a program that is taught in this language. To do this, Swedish Universities accept different types of documents, depending on whether you received complete English training in high school, have previous university studies, or have taken an exam such as IELTS. In general, you need to show that you have a level equivalent to Swedish upper secondary ‘English 6’.
If you want more information about the requirements to study in Sweden according to the level of study and the program, open the following link.
What are they going to ask you for in college?
Among the Institutions of Higher Education in Sweden, there are also Colleges. The vast majority of these institutions are part of a University and share the same admission requirements. Others, such as the Stockholm University College of Music Education, are independent.
Generally, independent Colleges are dedicated to the formation of a particular area, such as Music and Art. For this reason, in addition to having a high school diploma and proving your command of English, you may need to take an admission test such as an audition.
What is the process to be accepted?
Sweden makes things very easy for you so that you can study with them as soon as possible. To streamline the selection process for a program and institution, this country has a platform called University Admissions.
In a few words, it is a database with all the programs available to foreigners, where you can apply for up to 8 different careers or programs. Do you want to do it now? Then watch the step-by-step.
- Create an account on the website UniversityAdmissions.se. Step number 1 is to register on this platform with your email. At the time of registration, you must enter various personal information such as your name, surname, country of residence, and telephone number. Keep in mind that you can only create 1 account with the same information. To do so, click here.
- Log in and start the program search. With your user created, enter the web database and start looking for the program you want to study. Use all the filters that are relevant to find the courses that interest you much faster. To access the course search, open this link.
- Organizes the selected programs according to their priority. For the Bachelor’s level, you can select up to 8 different careers. In Master’s programs, you can only choose a maximum of 4 courses. It is very important that you organize the programs according to their priority, that is, from the one you like the most to the one you like the least. It is also important to take into account that the programs you add cannot add a total of more than 45 credits in the case of Bachelor’s degrees. More information about it here.
- Attach the necessary documents. The next step is to attach all the relevant documents according to the level of study you selected, the type of program, the university, and the country where you studied. You can find more details about these documents on this page.
- Pay the application fee. Using the UniversitiesAdmissions.se website to study in Sweden requires paying a fee. This applies only to international students outside the EU/EEA. The price of this rate in 2021 is $106 dollars.
Important. Most programs in English start in the fall semester (August), so you should start applying in the month of January. On the contrary, if the program starts in the spring semester (January), you must apply in August.
Do you want to study in the First World? Below we will tell you about the types of visas, their requirements, and the process that you must carry out to achieve your dream and develop your academic potential to the fullest.
Residence Permit for Higher Education
Would you like to study for a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or PhD in Sweden? Don’t you have the nationality of an EU/EEA country? Then you need a Residence Permit for Higher Education. This permit is required if you plan to study in Sweden for more than 3 months.
When we say “Residence Permit for Higher Education” we include all kinds of studies at that level, from programs at universities and colleges to professional and post-secondary training.
Nationals of countries that require a visa to enter Sweden must apply for a Schengen Visa in addition to this permit. Later on, we will explain step by step what you will need to obtain this visa.
What I need
- Have a valid Passport or Travel Document. You must present a clear copy of this document where you can see your personal data, the signature, the period of validity, and the visas and/or permits that are in force to live in another country.
- Proof that you have been accepted into a Swedish Higher Education Institution, in a full-time (face-to-face) program. As an acceptance letter signed and stamped by the educational provider where you will study.
- Demonstrate that you can take care of your expenses during your stay in Sweden. To do this, you must provide bank statements or other documents that show that you have enough money for your living expenses in Sweden. In case you have been selected for a scholarship or student loan, you must show a letter in your name explaining the monthly amount you will receive and the validity period. As of January 2021, the support requirement is at least $1,011 per month.
- Have valid Travel Medical Insurance or be able to contract one. One of the requirements to apply for this permit is to have Medical Insurance or demonstrate that you have already applied for a valid all-risk policy in Sweden. If the Higher Education Institution where you are going to study in Sweden offers you health insurance, then a document certifying it will be necessary.
- Have paid a registration fee before starting the application (if applicable). You may need to present a document showing that you have paid the tuition fee for the program you will study in Sweden.
- Have a credit or debit card to pay the application fee. Since the process is done online, you will need a bank card to pay the $177 for the process (equivalent to 1,500 Swedish crowns).
Important. This list of requirements is indicative and there may be changes depending on the country from which you apply or the type of program you are going to study in Sweden.
- Register in the online system of the Swedish Migration Agency ( Migrationsverket ). The easiest way to apply for a Residence Permit for Higher Education in Sweden is through the online platform of the Migrationsverket. To create your account, click here. If you do not want to complete the process online, you must fill out this form and present it at the Swedish Embassy or Consulate in your country.
- Follow the steps and attach the documents. After registering, the Swedish Migration Agency platform will indicate step by step what you must do to request your permission. They will also tell you which documents you must attach and what characteristics the images must-have for the system to accept them.
- Wait for the decision. If you apply online and are not asked to attach additional documents, the decision takes 3-4 months. Please note that this average is calculated based on past resolved requests, but is not entirely accurate.
- Permit approved? Study in Sweden! You are ready to live the most unforgettable experience of your life and start your higher studies in this beautiful and ancient Viking land.
More information about this permission is here.
Can you study and work?
Yes, a Residence Permit for Higher Education also allows you to work in Sweden while this permit is still valid.
Visa to enter Sweden (Schengen)
To enter Sweden, like all the member states of the Schengen Area, some foreigners need to apply for a visa. This visa is commonly known as the Schengen Visa and is valid for up to 90 days. If you want to know if your nationality requires a visa to study in Sweden, go to this link.
Remember that if you are from a nation that requires a Schengen Visa and you are going to study for more than 3 months in Sweden, you need to process the two documents that we mention in this guide: Residence Permit for Higher Education + Visa.
On the other hand, if you checked the list of countries that require a visa and yours does not appear, you can study in Sweden for less than 3 months only by carrying a valid travel document.
What I need
- Valid passport. Your passport must have at least 2 blank pages and must not have been issued more than 10 years ago. Furthermore, it must be valid for your entire stay in Sweden + 3 months.
- A passport-type photo, from the front that is not more than 6 months old.
- Have an invitation to study in Sweden. Since the main reason for your visit is supposed to be to study, you must have some document to certify it, such as an acceptance or invitation letter.
- If you are enrolled in a University in your country, a Certificate of University Studies is issued by the corresponding institution.
- Financial solvency test. The Swedish authorities need to verify that you have enough money to support yourself during your visit in Sweden and that you can return to your country of residence. For this reason, they ask for documents proving the possession of at least $53 dollars for each day you plan to be in the Nordic country.
- Medical insurance with minimum coverage of $35,861 dollars. You must have travel medical insurance that is valid for all member states of the Schengen Area, covering all expenses related to urgent medical care, hospitalization or repatriation.
- Family or work ties that show that you must return to your country. The Swedish authorities may ask you for these types of documents to prove that you have reasons to leave Sweden before your visa expires.
- $96 dollars to pay the consular fee.
- Identify the Consular Representative of Sweden in your country. Not in all Latin American countries there is a Swedish Embassy or Consulate per se. It may happen that this Scandinavian country is represented by another, so to clear up doubts we recommend you open this link.
- Fill out the form and submit your application in person. Unlike the Residence Permit for Higher Education, the Visa to enter Sweden must be processed in person. You can start the process up to 6 months before the date you plan to travel. To view the application form, click here.
- Wait for the authorities to give you an answer. The Swedish authorities usually make a decision on visitor visas within 2 weeks. However, depending on the circumstances of each request, the process may take longer.
- Travel to Sweden. Buy your plane ticket and prepare your bags, because now that your Visa to enter Sweden has been approved, nothing prevents you from taking a short course in the country that lasts less than 3 months.
More information about this visa is here.
Can you study and work?
No, the Schengen Visa does not give you the right to work or look for a job in Sweden or in any other State of the Schengen Area.
In which Universities can I Study in Sweden?
Among the universities where you can study are:
- Stockholm University.
- Lund University.
- Royal Institute of Technology (Stockholm).
- Uppsala University.
- Umea University.
- Karolinska Institute.
- Chalmers University of Technology.
- Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.
- Stockholm Higher School of Economics.
- The Luleå University of Technology.
- Linkoping University.
- Malmo High School.
- Halmstad University.
- University of Gothenburg.
Swedish Study Visa
Do you want to learn Swedish in Sweden? This is great! But, at the moment, there is no specific visa for it. As you know, whether or not you need a visa will depend on your nationality. Also, if you are going to study this language for more than 3 months, you will also need a Residence Permit.
However, the requirements to apply for this permit may be slightly different from those mentioned above, since it would not be a permit for Higher Education.
Where can I Study Swedish in Sweden?
The range of schools, academies, and universities that teach Swedish to foreigners in Sweden is quite extensive. There are courses for all tastes and levels, and you can even start from home if you want to learn the language before traveling. Some of the institutes available are:
- Linkoping University . If you are interested in studying a program at Linköping University, you can access their intensive Swedish course for foreigners. The course lasts 1 year and focuses on learning the language for future university studies.
- Folkuniversitetet. Center with a long history of teaching Swedish to speakers of other languages. The courses have a more practical approach towards specific objectives such as work. You can choose between studying intensely every day or doing it at a leisurely pace so that you can dedicate yourself to other activities.
- Medborgarskolan. Educational Association dedicated to teaching various study programs to adults in Sweden. Among its offer of courses, are those of Swedish for foreigners.
More information about studying Swedish in Sweden is here.
What will language institutes or academies ask of you?
To study this Germanic language in Sweden, the only general requirements are to pay the corresponding fee and apply for a visa/permit if necessary.
If you have never studied Swedish in your life, the most logical thing to do is to enroll at the beginner level. On the other hand, if you have previous knowledge of the language, it is likely that you should take a test to find out what level corresponds to you.
What is the process to be accepted?
As with Institutions of Higher Education, the process to get accepted to a language academy or school in Sweden is quite simple. Start the application on the official website of the institution that interests you, provide the necessary documents, pay the fee, and start the process of your visa/permit (if applicable).
Scholarships and Grants to Study in Sweden
In Sweden, they love international students so much, that they offer hundreds of scholarships for them. Many of the Swedish Universities that you saw in the previous list have scholarships that you can apply to if you meet the requirements. There are also support programs funded by other organizations and Swedish Institutes.
- Chalmers University of Technology Scholarships for Masters Studies. Aimed at future students who apply for admission to a Master’s program from the UniversityAdmissions.se website. The scholarships are valid for 2 years of study, under some conditions.
- Lund University Scholarships and Awards. Different support programs are aimed at international students outside the EU/EEA and Switzerland for different levels of study. The university also offers specific scholarships for Colombia, Chile, and Mexico.
- Halmstad University Scholarships. Scholarships are offered annually by the University of Halmstad for foreign students who must pay tuition. They are valid for Master’s studies and cover 25% or 50% of the tuition of the chosen program.
None of these scholarships suit your profile. Try looking for others here.
Study and Work in Sweden
Your Residence Permit for Higher Education allows you to work in Sweden while you study, as long as the document is valid. The best part is that, unlike in other countries, there are no restrictions on the hours you can work.
That definitely sounds great, but you must not forget that the main purpose of your trip is to study in Sweden. Also, finding a part-time job in this nation is not exactly easy.
If you want to go looking for a part-time job, there is nothing to stop you, but keep in mind that it is very difficult for the salary to be enough to cover all your expenses.
On the other hand, if what you want is to get to know the Swedish work culture, you can always do a Professional Internship. There are organizations such as AIESEC that offer internships to international students in order for them to gain experience and put into practice all the skills acquired in the classroom.
Additionally, most universities also have their own internship programs at each faculty. Whatever the case, it is best to prepare a good resume, update your LinkedIn profile, apply early, and… Be charismatic and confident!
Have you finished your studies and want to stay and work in Sweden?
Congratulations Graduate! If you have already completed your studies in Sweden, surely you were fascinated with the country, its people, its customs, and its quality of life. If we hit the mark, you’ll be pleased to know that there are plenty of options for staying in this Scandinavian nation and finding a job.
The first step would be to apply for a Residence Permit Extension to seek Employment after Graduation. This extension gives you an extra 12 months after completing your studies to find a job in Sweden. You can even start preparations to create your own company if you wish.
If you want to know more about what it’s like to work in Sweden or run a business, we recommend you visit the portal workinginsweden.se.
At EstudiarEn, we strive to write practical and complete guides that clarify all your doubts about studying abroad. If you still have questions or want more information about studying in Sweden or another destination, please fill out the following form and one of our expert advisors will contact you.