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Foreign citizen - Upper secondary studies in the Nordic countries

If you are a foreign citizen who wants to study at an upper secondary school in Denmark, Finland, Iceland or Norway you may be entitled to Swedish study allowance in various ways. On this page, you can read about what applies to you.

Right to study allowance in the other Nordic countries

Study allowance is a grant that you can receive when studying at upper secondary level, at most up to and including the spring semester the year you turn 20.

To be entitled to study allowance in Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway you must fulfill the conditions for right to Swedish student finance. You can read about these conditions on this page.

You also have to fulfill the other conditions

If CSN decides that you as a foreign citizen are eligible for study allowance, you also have to fulfill the other conditions for study allowance. For example, your study programme must be approved for study allowance and you must study full-time.

Upper secondary studies outside the Nordic countries?

If you are going to attend an upper secondary school outside the Nordic countries there are other conditions that you could fulfil to be entitled to study allowance.

Permanent residence permit

You normally have the right to Swedish study allowance for studies in Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway if the Swedish Migration Agency has granted you a permanent residence permit.

The right to study allowance normally applies from the week the Migration Agency granted you the permit.

Permanent right of residence

You may also be entitled to study allowance for studies in Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway if you have permanent right of residence in Sweden.

You normally have permanent right of residence if you are a citizen of an EU/EEA country (not Switzerland) and have been living legally in Sweden for at least 5 years without interruption.

If you are a citizen of a country outside the EU/EEA but are a family member of an EU/EEA citizen you normally have permanent right of residence if you have lived legally together with your family member in Sweden for at least 5 years without interruption.

This is usually not applicable if your family member is a Swedish or Swiss citizen.

Permanent right of residence for British citizens and their family members

If you are a British citizen and have been living in Sweden before 1 January 2021, you will normally have permanent right of residence after you have been living here without interruption for at least 5 years.

You who are a family member of a British citizen will normally have permanent right of residence after you and your family member have lived together in Sweden for at least 5 years without interruption.

Early permanent right of residence for family members of persons who are working or have worked in Sweden

In the following cases, you who are a family member of a citizen of an EU/EEA country may be granted early permanent right of residence:

  • Your family member has retired after working in Sweden for the past year. He or she has lived here for at least 3 years without interruption.
  • Your family member has worked in Sweden but is no longer able to because he or she has sustained a permanent disability that prevents him or her from working. Your family member has also lived here for at least 2 years without interruption.
  • Your family member has worked in Sweden but can no longer do so due to an occupational injury that entitles compensation.
  • Your family member has lived and worked in Sweden for at least 3 years and still lives here, but he or she is employed in another EU/EEA country.

Family member of someone who died while working in Sweden

You may also obtain early right of residence if you are the relative of an EU/EEA citizen who passed away while working in Sweden. That person must have resided in Sweden for the last 2 years, or died due to an injury or illness caused by their employment.

Early permanent right of residence for British citizens and their family members

As a family member to a British citizen, you can have early permanent right of residence if you have lived together in Sweden since before 1 January 2021 and your family member meets any of the following conditions:

  • Your family member has retired after working in Sweden for the past year. He or she has lived here for at least 3 years without interruption.
  • Your family member has worked in Sweden but is no longer able to because he or she has sustained a permanent disability that prevents him or her from working. Your family member has also lived here for at least 2 years without interruption.
  • Your family member has worked in Sweden but can no longer do so due to an occupational injury that entitles compensation.
  • Your family member has lived and worked in Sweden for at least 3 years and still lives here, but he or she is employed in another EU/EEA country.

You can also have early permanent right of residence if the British citizen you are related to passed away while working in Sweden. He or she must then have lived in Sweden for the past 2 years, or died due to an injury or illness that was due to work.

Residence permit based on family ties

If you have been granted a residence permit by the Swedish Migration Agency based on a family tie to somebody in Sweden, you may in certain cases be entitled to Swedish study allowance.

If you have a time-limited permit as a family member of a person who has a work permit, you are normally not entitled to study allowance. That kind of permit is based on work and not on family ties.

Residence permit under the new upper secondary school law, or the previous temporary law

You may be entitled to Swedish study allowance if you have a residence permit under the new upper secondary school law.

You may also be entitled to study allowance if you have a permit under the previous temporary law.

If your residence permit has expired

If your residence permit has expired, you may still be entitled to study allowance. This applies if you have applied for an extension of your residence permit before your temporary permit expired. Therefore, remember to apply for an extension with the Swedish Migration Agency in time!

  • It is also required that your application for an extension has the same basis as before, or
  • is for a residence permit under the new upper secondary school law.

Your previous residence permit must have been one that could entitle you to study allowance.

Refugee or family member to a refugee

If the Swedish Migration Agency has decided that you are a refugee or a person in need of subsidiary protection, you are normally entitled to Swedish study allowance. You may also be entitled to study allowance if you have been granted a residence permit due to particularly distressing circumstances. If you are a family member of such a person, you may also be entitled to study allowance.

Your residence permit should be valid

Your residence permit should be valid. The right to student finance normally applies from the week the Swedish Migration Agency granted you the permit.

If your residence permit has expired

If your residence permit has expired, you may still be entitled to study allowance. This applies if you have applied for an extension of your residence permit before your temporary permit expired. Therefore, remember to apply for an extension with the Swedish Migration Agency in time!

It is also required that your application for an extension

  • has the same basis as before, or
  • is for a residence permit under the new upper secondary school law.

Your previous residence permit must have been one that could entitle you to study allowance.

Special reasons

There are special reasons that may give you the right to Swedish study allowance.

Residence permits CSN equate with being a refugee

If you do not have a residence permit as a refugee, a person in need of subsidiary protection or due to particularly distressing circumstances, you may still be eligible for study allowance if you got a permit CSN can equate with being a refugee. We will then assess the reason the Swedish Migration Agency has granted your permit.

You are under the age of 20

If you are under the age of 20, you may be entitled to study allowance if you satisfy one of the following conditions:

  • You and your parent have right of residence, residence status or a residence permit based on a family relationship with a person who lives in Sweden.
  • You have a parent who is a Swedish citizen and you have right of residence, residence status or a residence permit based on your familial relationship to this parent.
  • A Swedish authority has placed you in a family care home or institution.
  • You have a custodial guardian decided by a Swedish authority.
Children with a Swedish citizen

If you have children with a Swedish citizen and you live together in Sweden, you may be entitled to Swedish study allowance. You must also have a residence permit, residence status or right of residence in Sweden. If your residence permit is no longer valid, you may still be entitled to study allowance if you have applied for an extended permit before the old one expired.

Right of residence and a lasting connection

Normally, you may be entitled to Swedish study allowance if you have a specific connection to Sweden. We refer to this as a lasting connection. You may have the right to study allowance if you fulfil the following qualifications:

  1. You have right of residence as you are an EU/EEA or Swiss citizen, or a family member of such a person.
  2. You have a lasting connection to Sweden.
  3. You live in Sweden.


What applies for British citizens and their family members?

To be entitled to study allowance through lasting connection as a British citizen after 31 December 2020, you must be a family member of a citizen of an EU/EEA country or Switzerland. It is not enough that the Swedish Migration Agency has granted you residence status. Residence status is not the correct type of right of residence for you to have a lasting connection to Sweden.

What is a lasting connection?

You can have a lasting connection to Sweden in different ways, for example; because you reside and are employed here, are married here, or were under the age of 20 when you moved here.

You were under 20 years of age when you came to Sweden

You were under the age of 20 when you moved to Sweden with your parent and you both have right of residence as EU/EEA citizens or family members to such a person. Your parent resides and is employed here.

You are married or cohabiting with someone

If you are married or cohabiting with someone in Sweden you may have a lasting connection. Contact us for more information.

You have worked in Sweden for at least 2 years

You must have been residing and employed in Sweden for at least 2 years. You must have held at least a half time employment (50 per cent).

There are other types of occupations, besides employment in exchange for salary, that also count as an employment. These also count:

  • periods during which you have been registered as unemployed with a Swedish employment service
  • employment training or other employment policy measure
  • municipal adult education in Swedish for immigrants (sfi)
  • education in Swedish at primary and lower-secondary school level at the highest, at least half time
  • time during which you have been receiving sickness benefit, activity compensation, or similar
  • care of your own children under the age of 10
  • fulltime care of a close relative.

Long-term resident status

You may be entitled to study allowance if the Swedish Migration Agency has granted you a long-term resident status in Sweden. That is also the case if you have a long-term resident status in another EU country, and therefore received a residence permit in Sweden.

Family member of a person working in Sweden (EU law)

You may be entitled to study allowance if you are a family member of a person who is a citizen of an EU/EEA country or Switzerland who is employed or operating a business in Sweden. The reason is that you can then be treated as a Swedish citizen under EU law. Your family member must work for a sufficient amount for this to apply.

You are considered a family member if you are the child or stepchild under the age of 21, to an EU/EEA or Swiss citizen. A partner also counts as a family member. This does not normally apply if your family member is a Swedish citizen.

Family member of a Swedish citizen

This condition usually does not apply to you who are the child of a Swedish citizen. If you are, please contact us fo further information.

Family member of a British citizen

If you are a family member of a British citizen and he or she was working in Sweden before 1 January 2021, you can be treated as a Swedish citizen under EU law and be entitled to study allowance. Your family member must continue to work during your studies, and he or she must work a sufficient amount. If your family member has stopped working, he or she can still be considered an employee or self-employed person in Sweden if he or she meets certain conditions.

Child of a guest researcher

If you are the child of a guest researcher in Sweden, you can be entitled to study allowance for studies in upper secondary school.

Contact us for further information

Child of a Turkish citizen

If you are a Turkish citizen and have a Turkish parent or stepparent who is working in Sweden, you may be entitled to Swedish student finance. This is the case if your parent or stepparent is working or running his or her own company in Sweden. Your parent or stepparent needs to work a sufficient amount during your study period. Both of you must have residence permits, and you must have been living together in Sweden.

Child of a person holding an EU Blue Card

If you are the child of a person holding an EU Blue Card, you can be entitled to study allowance for studies in upper secondary school.

Contact us for further information

Child of a person holding an Intra-Corporate Transfer (ICT) permit

If you are the child of a person holding an ICT permit, you can be entitled to study allowance for studies in upper secondary school.

Contact us for further information

This counts as employment or operating a business

In order for your family member to be considered an employee or self-employed person he or she must fulfil certain conditions.

Employment

Your family member can be considered an employee in Sweden if he or she meets these conditions:

  • He or she is employed by a Swedish company or other Swedish employer.
  • He or she is working to a sufficient extent. This normally means at least 10 hours per week with a minimum employment period of 10 weeks.
  • He or she receives wages or other compensation for their work.
Operating a business (self-employment)

Your family member can be counted as self-employed in Sweden if he or she meets these conditions:

  • He or she is working to a sufficient extent in the company. This normally means at least 10 hours per week with a minimum employment period of 10 weeks. Your family member also needs to have sufficient turnover in the company and a certain level of income or profit.
  • He or she has registered the company for VAT with the Swedish Tax Agency and have an F-tax certificate.

If your family member has stopped working

If your family member has stopped working, he or she can still be considered an employee or self-employed person in Sweden. Your family member must meet one of these conditions:

Your family member is getting further training

Your family member is going to further their education within their professional field and the course content is connected to the previous work in Sweden. The time since they stopped working may not be excessively long.

Further training within a vocation includes, for example

  • a teacher getting further training in pedagogy
  • a musician studying at a music academy
  • an assistant nurse training to be a nurse.
Your family member gets ill or injured

Your family member is temporarily unable to work because of illness or an accident. You need to be able to prove this with a medical certificate or a certificate for sickness allowance from Försäkringskassan.

Your family member has been given notice

Your family member has been dismissed from their employment and registered as a jobseeker with a Swedish employment agency. If they have been employed in Sweden for less than one year, they can normally be considered an employee for six months after leaving the employment.

Updated: 2022-12-06