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Foreign citizen – Student finance for studies outside of Sweden

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

The right to Swedish student finance

Normally, only Swedish citizens are entitled to student finance for studies outside of Sweden, but in some cases foreign citizens can as well. This also applies to language courses. 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 as a foreign citizen, you must also meet the other criteria for receiving study grants. For example, the programme you are attending must meet our standards.

Is working in Sweden and an EU/EEA or Swiss citizen

You may be entitled to Swedish student finance if you are a citizen of an EU/EEA country or Switzerland and 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.

British citizen

If you are a British citizen and you were working in Sweden before 1 January 2021 you can be treated as a Swedish citizen under EU law and be entitled to student finance. You must continue to work during your studies, and you must work a sufficient amount. If you have stopped working, you can still be considered an employee or self-employed person in Sweden if you meet certain conditions.

Has a family member who is working in Sweden

You may have the right to Swedish student finance if you are relative family member of a person who is a citizen of an EU/EEA country or Switzerland and 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 member of an EU/EEA or Swiss citizen

You are considered a family member if you are the partner, child or stepchild under the age of 21, to a citizen of an EU/EEA country or Switzerland. 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 or a Swiss 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 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 student finance. 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.

Family member of a Swedish citizen

If your family member 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 family member must be employed or run a business in Sweden after living abroad. They must also work a sufficient amount during your studies. 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.

Family member of a Swedish citizen who has lived in the UK

If your family member is a Swedish citizen and you had a relationship in the UK, you may be treated as a Swedish citizen under EU law in certain cases. Your family member must have returned to Sweden before 1 January 2021 and also be employed or run a business in Sweden after returning here. They must also 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 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 at least 10 hours a week during your study period. Both of you must have residence permits, and you must have been living together in Sweden.

What 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 count as employment

You or your family member can be considered 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 count 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 also need to have sufficient turnover in the company and a certain level of income or profit.
  • You or they have registered the 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

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

You have a permanent right of residence

You may have a right to Swedish student finance if you have permanent right of residence in Sweden. You can then be treated as a Swedish citizen under EU law. Normally, EU/EEA nationals have permanent right of residence (PUR) if they have lived legally in Sweden for five years without interruption.

EU/EEA citizen

As an, EU/EEA citizen you normally have permanent right of residence when you have lived legally in Sweden for 5 years without interruption.

Family member of an EU/EES citizen

If you are a family member of an EU/EEA citizen and you have lived together in Sweden for at least 5 years without interruption you normally have permanent right of residence.

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

Permanent right of residence for British citizens and their family members

Due to Brexit, there are different rules regarding permanent right of residence for British citizens and their family members depending on when you started living in Sweden.

If you are a British citizen and have been living in Sweden since 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, provided that you were both residents here before 1 Januari 2021.

If you started living in Sweden after 31 December 2020, you cannot have permanent right of residence.

Early permanent right of residence for EU/EEA citizens who are working or have worked in Sweden, and their family members

In some cases, you who are a citizen of an EU/EEA country 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 can no longer 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 family member of someone working in or who has worked in Sweden

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

You may also obtain a permanent right of residence if the EU/EEA citizen 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

If you are a British citizen and have lived in Sweden since before 1 January 2021, in some cases you may be granted early permanent right of residence. This applies if you are or have been employed or self-employed. 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 can no longer 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.

As a family member to a British citizen, you can also 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 above conditions.

You can also have early permanent right of residence if the British citizen you are related to died 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.

Language courses can be exchange studies

Sometimes language courses can be considered exchange studies. There are multiple paths for you to meet these criteria for exchange studies, as your right to Swedish student finance will be tried both with Swedish regulations and EU-law.

Whether the language course can be considered to be exchange studies is something we determine while processing your application.

Right to student finance for exchange studies

Icon for updated Updated: 2021-05-07