Getting a Swedish Residence Permit as an Indonesian student

Is it hard to obtain a Swedish residence permit? Personally, I don’t think so. It varies depending on the situation, but I think it’s pretty simple. For my case, all I needed was just a little patience, since it was quite a waiting game.

So, hi! My name is Nana and I come from Indonesia. Last year, I got admitted for a Master’s Degree in Sweden in January 2023. As a non-European citizen, I understood that securing a residence permit had to be my top priority, as the procedure might be lengthy. So I applied straight away after receiving my Letter of Acceptance (LoA), and it took around 5 months until I received my UT card in June (note: but rest assured, most of my friends got the card on average between 1-3 months). Here, I will tell you my journey~

Unsure if you need a permit or visa? Check all the info here.
Check out the the full step by step process here.

💾 The documents I prepared 💾
After a wild celebration of “MOM, I AM GOING TO SWEDEN, MOM!”, I had to return to reality and get my priority straight to collect all of the documents needed for the application. Everything that I needed to do was clearly stated on the Migrationsverket website, I just clicked on the ‘Residence Permit for studies in higher education’ link.

So, for the documents, I needed to upload them to the website, and these are the list:
1. Copies of passport that show personal data, signature, period of validity.
2. Letter of Acceptance from university.
3. Documents proving that I have sufficient means of financial support. I submitted a reference letter from my Indonesian bank (Bank BCA) which was stamped and signed. I also had another digital bank, and I screenshot the E-statement of the last 3 months from the mobile app.
4. A copy of a health insurance policy that is valid in Sweden. In my case, I got an insurance cover from my university because I am a tuition fee payer (a non-EU student)
5. Show the payment proof of the tuition fee for the first semester.

Credits: Catch Me If You Can Attorney GIF

🚀 The process 🚀
The first step, of course, was to register myself on the Migrationsverket website. I directly got an email after I signed up with my email and phone number. (nice little note #1: You need to submit the application within 14 days after you open an application, or else it will be removed.) 

Secondly, upload all of the documents on January 26th, 2023. Then I waited~~~ waiting for an email to come. (nice little note #2: You will always get an email whenever there is any update, from the time you open an application, when they need additional information from you, until the decision.) While waiting, I checked the Migrationsverket website regularly, because you can track the process without logging in, just put the case number or control number that you got. 

After a while, on a fine day (I remember it was Thursday, April 13th, 2023), I finally got an email from Migrationsverket!! They asked me to come to visit the Swedish embassy in my country to present my passport. I immediately searched where is the nearest embassy, and checked their email adress. In Indonesia there is just one Swedish Embassy in Jakarta, and a consulate branch in Bali. I live in Jakarta, so I was quite lucky that I didn’t have to travel far. I emailed the embassy right away to book an appointment.

A man staring at a touchscreen tablet while sitting on a couch in an apartment.
Credits: Simon Paulin/

I went to the embassy a total of 2 times. On the first visit, I showed my passport (ID), got my photo and biometrics taken, and had a little chit chat with Mr. Edwin, an Indonesian staff for the Swedish embassy who welcomed me as his twin (because my first name is Edwina haha!). It was not intimidating like a usual ‘embassy interview’, it was really fun. He asked me about my uni, my study, and he also told me things about the culture in Sweden that it is so casual and that Swedish people don’t like hierarchies. After the visit, I got the email within the same day that my application was granted. YEAY!

Second time I went to the embassy, it was just to collect the card. But this time it took me more than a month since my first visit, even though in the email it said it usually takes 2 weeks. I think it’s because it was during a really busy period when they got a lot of applications from admitted students. But I was so happy finally I got the card in my hands!!!!

Credit: Excited Power Rangers GIF

🇮🇩 Other Indonesian friends’ experience 🇮🇩
Ina: 1 month process
“I submitted the application in May, got the invitation for interview, passport review, and biometrics in June. But I lived in Bali, so I had to travel to Jakarta to do that. Then they sent the card to their consulate branch in Bali. It was fast but the interview was kind of intimidating because he asked specific things like a literature list for my study. It was fine, but I just didn’t expect that.”

Dio: 1 month process
“It’s pretty fast, I just waited for around one month. They also directly offered me if I wanted the permit to be one year or two years.” (context: Dio is in a two-year Master’s programme) 

Aling: 2 months process
“From the time that I submitted the documents to invitation for biometrics it took around 1 month. Then I waited another month to get the card. For me there was no interview, it was just smooth. I also brought my old passport with all the stamps, I think that helped the process to be faster.”

Yahya: 1 month process
“It was very fast and easy for me. One month from May to June, everything was done, from start to finish.”

A group of international students from Indonesia posing on a snowy hill while on a hike in Jönköping, Sweden.
Me and my Indonesian friends here who live in Jönköping. /Photo: Yahya Malada

So, that’s my (and my friends’) experience of getting a Swedish residence permit in Indonesia. Hang in there if you’re currently waiting for the permit, keep on believing that everything will be just fine! 🙂


Written by Nana

05 Mar 2024