How To’s and FAQ – Newcomers Information
How to get a VISA and a ID Card as a non-EU student.
This page should help you to follow the process and ease up any concerns that may arise.
- Apply to LTU
- Receive your letter of Acceptance
- Online application to the Swedish Embassy
- Response from the Embassy/Migrationsverket
- Obtain your Swedish person number/personnummer
- Traveling to Luleå
- Opening a bank account
For this you need to send all the requred documents or anything requested in the PhD call, before the limit time stated, and wait until the end to see if you get accepted or get an interview.
When you are accepted, you should get all the needed information and documents to apply for a visa. As You will be a PhD student this page is the one you will have to go and apply https://www.migrationsverket.se/English/Private-individuals/Studying-in-Sweden/Universities-and-university-college/How-to-apply-for-the-first-time.html
When you got accepted into LTU you should receive by email all the documents needed and since you are a PhD employee don't need to show a bank statement, health insurance, or anyhting else that it says in the masters or lower education. Here https://www.migrationsverket.se/English/Private-individuals/Studying-in-Sweden/Universities-and-university-college/How-to-apply-for-the-first-time.html I chose the online form, because it is faster to proccess and the embassy is not close to my home to go and do it. Please make sure you read everything from migrationsverket page concernig how to apply to have some peace of mind, and be more relaxed.
The response can come anywhere from 2 weeks, as in my case, to 3 months, if they asked you for more information. In my case they did asked me for more information as stated in the page, so I thought the waiting had increased to 3 months. But since I guess Mexico has good relations with Sweden so a more thourough check was not done, or I got lucky, who knows. The decision arrived in 2 weeks, well it did not arrived per se. So migrationsverket did sent me an email saying that a decision has been made for my case, but not what was the decision, that I should call my embassy to know and to get the copy. I did and had no problems they sent me the copy which I could use to get a visa or to travel to sweden and get a a visa once there. Because there are 2 ways of getting the visa with a positive decision: One is go to your country embassy where you show your decision and they generate a visa card for you, or you can travel to sweden with the decision and documents needed and get one once here. I chose the second because I had bought the ticket and was short on time to go to the embassy and wait 3 weeks for the visa. I'm a Mexican citizen so I can be in the EU for 3 months or 90 day without a visa.
If you have chosen the first option you should go to your embassy with all the documents needed, the immigration decision, your passport, your contract, etc. Basically everything that LTU has sent you until this point, as well as, your personal requierements for your country.
As for the second option in my case travel also with all the documents needed to get my finger prints taken and be registered in the office.
At the end of your registration either in the embassy or in Sweden, you will get your personnummer which is the way to handle all of the official business in Sweden. Then you have to also go to Skatterverket, the tax office to register there also.
As I have done the registration already I have some more notes. The process is extremely simple a lot more than I was expecting, so, first I needed to get to Böden, which is the city that has the migrationsverket. For that I really recommend you to go to the Bus station in Luleå, which is very near the stop called Shopping I look at it to be behind Shopping (because I'm coming from LTU). The ticket cost 72 sek to Böden one way, 72 the other. Once arriving to Böden you have to get out at the stop called Campus, you can ask the driver or maybe some people are also going to migrationsverket. The trip takes one hour so plan accordingly, one go one return. Once in migrationsverket if you made an appointment like me just wait until you number shows in the screen and hand your passport and the letter from the embassy, stating your positive decision, take your picture (smile :), and finger prints. and you are all set. The bus arrives on the other side of the Campus stop, the return side.I have to wait one week to have my visa card in my mail box. Will keep you in the loop.
As of this time you have your ticket and are ready to travel, note, if you are traveling in winter or close to it, you need to take warm clothes. At the minimum one jacket that can support you in weather of -30 with more things underneath. For my trip I had two big jacket, one that carry me throught the Helsinki winter for 4 years and one untested but big. Also, I reccomend you traveling directly to Sweden from any place you want. What I mean here is that your first stop inside the EU should be Sweden. This is because I had issues when entering the EU throught Germany since I did not had a visa yet only the immigration letter that said I'm allowed to enter. I had to buy a ticket to get out of the EU with in 90 days, or I could not board the plane.
Once in Sweden you will need a bank account for many things, which you can get with your personnummer, your contract, a skatterverket letter (the bank ask for a A-skatterbrevis, but I couldn't get one due to the personnummer they gave me another which also worked) and go to the bank, get an appointment, go to it and you have your account, the card will be ready in 3-4 days. That account you will have to tell LTU administration to deposit your salary in. If you have my issue you can ask them to pay you by a check and they will do it, so do not worry about this.
That's all for my part you should have a more clear picture of the things that will happend before you start you PhD here. I have not gone to make my visa but I will go soon, as I mentioned I have the letter of migrationsverket and my passport which allows me to stay without visa for 90 days. So that's all, good luck with your jorney. :D
I was asked if I could elaborate more on the housing situation, to find a house there are some options. If you are not used to the queue system in Sweden here is an update, Sweden has queues and number for everything, no, seriously and you need a personnumber to join most of the queues in the student housing sites. So it can take a while, my take on it is that is better to use facebook for the moment, there are a lot of people offering you accomodation, just find someting within your budget and that should be it. I contacted a person in Ge tak åt en student @ LTU (facebook group) and got an offer for a place at 3500 sek, which sounded reasonable, but another Mexican here talked to a person in the international office who got me a place at the exchange students apartments, because one of them had cancelled coming here. So I took it, and my contract is until June. Then the suituation here is not as dire as it may seem there are several options to get a temporal place and once you are settled in you can start look for another thing. The most important is get used to the environment, then look for something else.
PS: I you have any difficulties in your proccess, or you want to add something I did not cover, please send me en email to add your thoughts, at pedro.alonso"at"ltu.se. Happy trails :D