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Foreign citizen – Exchange studies outside of Sweden

Are you a foreign citizen that wishes to study abroad on an exchange programme? Here you will find information on the conditions you could qualify for in order to have the right to student finance from CSN.

Right to student finance for exchange studies

Normally, only Swedish citizens can receive student finance for studies outside of Sweden, but in some cases foreign citizens can as well. First, you must satisfy the conditions necessary to be entitled to Swedish student finance. Read more about them here on the page.

You must also meet the other conditions

If CSN decides that you have a right to Swedish student finance for exchange studies, you must also meet the other criteria for receiving student finance. For example, the programme you are attending must meet our standards.

Permanent residence permit (PUT)

You normally have the right to Swedish student finance for exchange studies if the Swedish Migration Board has granted you a permanent residence permit.

Permanent right of residence (PUR)

You may also have a right to Swedish student finance if you have permanent right of residence in Sweden. The reason is that you can be treated as a Swedish citizen under EU law.

When do you have PUR?

Normally, EU/EEA nationals have permanent right of residence (PUR) if they have lived legally in Sweden for five years without interruption.

Early permanent right of residence for persons working or who have worked in Sweden, and their relatives

In some cases, you may be granted early permanent right of residence if you are or have been employed or self-employed. In this case, one of the following must also apply to you:

  • You have retired after working in Sweden for the past year. You have lived here for at least an additional 3 years without interruption.
  • You have worked in Sweden but are no longer able to because you have sustained a permanent disability that prevents you from working. You have lived here for at least an additional 2 years without interruption.
  • You have worked in Sweden but is no longer able to do so due to an occupational injury that entitles compensation.
  • You have lived and worked in Sweden for at least 3 years and still live here currently, but you are employed in another EU/EEA country.

Being a relative of someone working in or who has worked in Sweden

You may also obtain an early permanent right of residence if you are the relative of a person who meets one of the aforementioned requirements. You may also obtain a 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.

Special reasons – you have a familial connection or are under the age of 20

There are special reasons that may give you the right to Swedish student finance.

Children with Swedish citizens

If you have a child/children with a Swedish citizen and you live together in Sweden, you may have a right to Swedish student finance. You must also have right of residence or a valid residence permit based on a familial relationship with the person you have a child/children with.

If you are under the age of 20

If you are under the age of 20, you may be entitled to financial aid for studies if you satisfy one of the following conditions:

  • You and your parent have a valid 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 a residence permit or right of residence based on your familial relationship to this parent.
  • You have been placed in a family care home or institution by a Swedish authority.
  • You have a custodial guardian decided by a Swedish authority.

Right of residence and permanent affiliations

Normally, you may have the right to Swedish student finance if you fulfil the following qualifications:

  1. You have right of residence as you are an EU/EEA citizen.
  2. You have a permanent affiliation to Sweden.
  3. You live in Sweden.

Permanent affiliation to Sweden

You can have a permanent affiliation 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 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 work besides work in exchange for salary that counts as an employment. These also count:

  • period 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)
  • an 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.
An EU/EEA citizen that is married or cohabiting in Sweden

If you are an EU/EEA citizen and married or cohabiting in Sweden, you may be entitled to student finance. You may if you fulfil one of the following requirements:

  • You are married or cohabiting with a Swedish citizen and you have lived together in Sweden for at least two years.
  • You are married to or cohabiting with a Swedish citizen and you have lived together for at least four years, of which at least one year was in Sweden.
  • You are married to or cohabiting with a Swedish citizen with whom you have children and you have lived together in Sweden for at least one year.
  • You are married to or cohabiting with another foreign citizen and you have lived together in Sweden for at least two years. Your partner must also satisfy the conditions in order to be entitled to student finance. They must either possess a permanent residence permit or fulfil the permanent affiliation or special reasons conditions. Such a reason could be, for example; that the person is a refugee.

What counts as a cohabiting partner?

A cohabiting partner is someone you live with in marital relationships. If it is two friends living together, that is not considered cohabiting.

Married or cohabiting with an EU/EEA citizen in Sweden

You are married to or cohabiting with an EU/EEA citizen and you have lived together in Sweden for at least 2 years.

Your partner must also satisfy the conditions in order to be entitled to student finance. They must either possess a permanent residence permit or fulfil the permanent affiliation or special reasons conditions.

What counts as a cohabiting partner?

A cohabiting partner is someone you live with in marital relationships. If it is two friends living together, that is not considered cohabiting.

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 family members to an EU/EEA citizen. Your parent resides and is employed here.

You are employed in Sweden or have a family member who is employed in Sweden

You may be entitled to student finance if you or a family member is employed in Sweden. The conditions that must be fulfilled depend on the country that you or your family member are citizens of, amongst other things.

Is employed in Sweden and an EU/EEA citizen

You may be entitled to Swedish student finance if you work or have your own company in Sweden and continue working during your studies. In order for this to qualify, you must work a sufficient amount. You can then be treated as a Swedish citizen under EU law.

Has a relative employed in Sweden

You may have the right to Swedish student finance if you are the relative of a person who is employed or operating a business in Sweden. In order for this to qualify, your family member needs to work a sufficient amount. You can then be treated as a Swedish citizen under EU law.

Family of a EU/EES citizen

You are considered a family member if you are the partner, child or stepchild under the age of 21, to an EU/EEA citizen. In some cases, you may also be considered a child even if you are older than 21 if you can prove that you are financially dependent on your parent. This does not normally apply if your family member is a Swedish citizen.

You can also be counted as a family member if you are the parent of an EU/EEA citizen who is employed or operating a business in Sweden. In that case, you need to be able to prove that you are financially dependent on your child.

Family member of a Swedish citizen

If your partner or parent is a Swedish citizen and you have also had a relationship in another EU/EEA country, you may in some cases be treated as a Swedish citizen under EU law after moving to Sweden.

Your partner or parent must be employed or run a business in Sweden after living abroad. They must also have worked a sufficient amount.

This counts as employment or operating a business

In order to be considered an employee or self-employed, you or your family member must meet these criteria.

This counts as employment

You or your family member can be considered as an employee in Sweden if you meet these conditions:

  • You or they are working to a sufficient extent. This normally means at least 10 hours per week with a minimum employment period of 10 weeks.
  • You or they receive wages or other compensation for their work.
This counts as self-employment

You or your family member can be counted as self-employed in Sweden if you meet these conditions:

  • You or they are working to a sufficient extent for their company. This normally means at least 10 hours per week with a minimum employment period of 10 weeks. You or they also need to have sufficient turnover in the company and a certain level of income or profit.
  • You or they have registered their company with the Swedish Tax Agency and have an F-tax certificate.

If you or your family member have stopped working

If you have stopped working, you can still be considered an employee or self-employed person in Sweden. This also applies to your family member. You or they must meet one of these conditions:

You or your family member are getting further training

You are going to further educate yourself within your professional field and the course content is connected to your work in Sweden. An excessively long period of time may not have passed since you stopped working. The same conditions apply to your family member.

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.
You or your family member gets ill or injured

You are 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.

You or your family member have been given notice

You or your relative have been dismissed from your employment and registered as a jobseeker with a Swedish employment agency. If you or they have been employed in Sweden for less than one year, you can be considered an employee for six months after leaving the employment.

Icon for updated Updated: 2020-12-07
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