A summary of the requirements candidates from countries that are not a member of the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland must fulfill in order to practice medicine in Sweden is described below.
1. Language requirements
Doctors trained outside the EU/EEA
When working as a doctor it is really important to have good language skills. It is an essential condition in the interplay with your colleagues, patients and staff. Good language skills could also make it easier for the doctor to find the kind of post he/she prefers.
Language skills is something that is possible to acquire in different ways. The sooner you start learning Swedish, the better it is, preferably already when waiting for residence permit.
Certified knowledge of the Swedish, Norwegian or Danish language is a condition for a licence to practise for those who are trained outside of the EU/EEA area.
When later applying for a post as a medical doctor, the employers usually expect a language comprehension level equivalent to level C1 of the CEFR scale
Language courses for doctors
There are a few language courses designed exclusively for healthcare staff. SFA-medicin in Södertälje is one of these courses.
Swedish for immigrants (SFI) is organised by the the municipalities. It is required that you have a residence permit and you have to be registered in the municipality. The municipalities are obliged to offer SFI for new arrivals within three months.
2. License to practice
Doctors educated outside the EU/EEA
For doctors with a medical degree obtained in a country outside the EU/EEA complementary training is required to get a Swedish license to practice and a specialist qualification. The Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) is the competent authority that assesses your academic and clinical background.
The first step in the process is to apply for an assessment of foreign training. When it comes to finding an internship, probationary service or employment, we recommend you to contact the Swedish Employment Office (Arbetsförmedlingen) for assistance.
If you are a specialist doctor with a basic medical training from outside the EU/EES the average time to receive a Swedish licence to practice is about 3 years. If one has a licence to practice but is not a specialist the average time is about 6 years.
In Sweden, doctors of medicine have an exclusive right to practise their profession and the professional title is protected. This means that only a person who holds a licence to practise or a locum appointment is allowed to use the title and exercise the profession.
Application for licence to practise as a doctor of medicine as a trained doctor of medicine in a country outside the EU:
Applies to all
Step 1. Start by applying for an assessment of foreign training
Step 2. Show certified knowledge of the Swedish language
Applies to doctors of medicine without considerable medical experience:
Step 3a. Pass a medical knowledge test
The purpose of the test is to ensure that you have basic medical knowledge equivalent to a person with a Swedish doctor of medicine degree. The test consists of a theoretical and a practical part.
Step 3b. Pass internship
The internship consists of at least 18 months of internship divided between different fields of practice. It concludes with a knowledge test.
Applies to doctors of medicine with considerable medical experience and a certificate of specialist qualification
Step 3. Pass probationary service
The probationary service consists of six consecutive months within the relevant field of practice. The objective is to assess your medical knowledge in relation to the knowledge needed to receive a Swedish licence to practise, your judgement, your way of relating to patients and your general aptitude as a doctor of medicine.
Applies to all
Step 4. Pass a course on Swedish medical legislation
The objective of the course is to make sure that doctors of medicine in Sweden have the necessary basic knowledge of the framework of Swedish society and of current legislation that applies to the profession.
3. Immigration regulations
Citizen from outside the EU/EEA
If you are a citizen of a country outside the EU/EEA and you want to work in Sweden you will need a work and residence permit to practice.
To obtain a work permit you need to have an offer to work in Sweden. Your employer must have advertised the position in Sweden and within EU/EEA and Switzerland for at least ten days before you were employed.
Your employer in Sweden initiates the work permit application by completing an offer of employment. Your employer needs information about your name, date of birth, citizenship, education and your e-mail address.
It is important that you have access to the e-mail address you give your employer until you have received a decision regarding your application. The Swedish Migration Agency will use this e-mail address to communicate with you throughout the application period.
When your employer has complete an offer of employment you will receive an e-mail with information about how to apply for a work permit.
In the application you provide information about yourself. If your family is coming with you to Sweden you apply for permits for them at the same time. You should also check that the information about your employment terms in the offer of employment corresponds with what you and your employer have agreed on.
The following documents are to be scanned or photographed and sent with your application: copies of the pages in your passport which show your personal information, photograph, signature, passport number, passport issuing country, the passport’s period of validity and whether you have permission to live in countries other than your country of origin.
If your family is coming with you and you submit their applications at the same time, besides the above documents for the family members the following also need to be submitted:
- copies of marriage certificates or the equivalent (applies to married couples or registered partners)
- documents showing that you have lived together in your country of origin (applies to common-law spouses)
- birth certificates for children
- consent from the other custodial parent, if they are not also coming to Sweden, stating that the child is allowed to move to Sweden
- documents showing that children above the age of 21 are financially dependent on their parents.
The documents should be translated to Swedish or English by an authorised translator. Copies of original documents should always be included.
In most cases you must pay a fee. You can pay using Visa or MasterCard. When the fee is paid you submit your application. You and your employer will receive an e-mail confirming that your application has been submitted. The Migration Agency will contact you if it needs more information.
For the Swedish Migration Agency to make a decision about your application, all the details need to be filled in and all necessary documents attached. This means that the processing time will be shorter if all the necessary information is included from the start than if information is added afterwards. Note that the Migration Agency may in some cases need to further examine your application even if you have included all the required information and documents.
If you are granted a permit for more than three months you will receive a residence permit card. The card proves that you have permission to reside in Sweden and contains information such as your fingerprints and photograph.
If you need an entry visa for travel to Sweden you should therefore visit the Swedish embassy or consulate-general as soon as possible to be photographed and fingerprinted. You need to do this even if you have previously had a residence permit card, as the information is not saved. If your family is also applying for permits, the family members also need to be photographed and fingerprinted at the embassy or consulate-general. Always contact the embassy or consulate-general prior to your visit.
If you do not need an entry visa for travel to Sweden you can submit information for the residence permit card at the Migration Agency after arriving in Sweden. However, you must request and have your work permit issued before you travel to Sweden.
You will receive an e-mail confirming that a decision has been made. You are given the actual decision by the embassy or consulate-general that you have specified in your application. Your employer will also receive a notification about the decision by mail.
You need to bring your passport when collecting your decision. If you have been granted a work permit you will receive the residence permit card within four weeks of being photographed and fingerprinted at the embassy or consulate-general.
The residence permit card will be produced at the time the decision is made, but no earlier than three months before the residence permit becomes valid.
We cannot speed up the production or delivery of the card.
Residence permit card
If you obtain a permit to work in Sweden for more than three months, you will also be granted a residence permit card. The card proves that you have permission to reside in Sweden and contains information such as your fingerprints and photograph.
Medical School Requirements
SEWN International Specialist Recruiting will only accept and process CVs from candidates that have attended medical universities that are validated by the World Directory.
To help and protect patients and to meet the needs of our clients, we need to know that a doctor has attended a genuine medical school of good standard, and has demonstrated the competence required to become a certified medical doctor. The validated information in the World Directory proves that a medical school exists and is of good quality.
The World Directory defines “medical school” as an educational institution that provides a complete or full program of instruction leading to a basic medical qualification; that is, a qualification that permits the holder to obtain a license to practice as a medical doctor or physician.
* For non-EU candidates the process time is expectably longer and the probability for a successful placements is relatively lower. However education & citizenship within Europe for non EU-Candidates is an advantage.