It’s a pity we are not birds. That we cannot fly is one thing. But, more importantly we cannot cross borders like them without going through tedious procedures, culminating into silly documents.
My whining apart, most of the newly admitted students have accepted your offers and are gearing up to study at Chalmers, to experience Sweden and explore Europe. I will not sound silly by pretending to inform you that you need VISA that allows you to reside in Sweden, but will get to some extra information that might not be documented on the official websites.
Firstly, you will not be getting a VISA stamp on your passport, but will get a Residence Permit(RP) card with validity of usually one year for Masters students, which has your finger print information and picture. Without this card you shall be denied entry into Sweden, or any entry port to Sweden throughout Europe. As a necessity you will have to make arrangements to get hold of this card well before you are intending to travel to Sweden.
Now, the Swedish residence permit cards are handled, as expected by the Migration Board. Of all the nice things I have been telling about Sweden, if there’s one aspect that makes me feel a bit sour, it has to be the Migration Board. That’s the nature of all big bureaucratic institutions. They are strictly the rules only factory, and function only from Sweden. Your RP application will be submitted in your country, through one of the Swedish embassies, but all the processing happens here in Sweden.
That brings us to the point about latency in processing. You can check the waiting time for applications on the Migration Board website here. It is not exaggeration when they say it would take 3 months. In most cases, it would take around that time. Do it earlier to avoid late rush and longer delays. Also, in the unlikely case of errors in application you might have a chance to update documents and still get your RP in time.
Talking about errors in application – simply do not make any. Inquire, verify and make sure your application is complete and fulfills all criteria – the funds, your passport validity, admission letter, any other detail that is mentioned on the requirements page. Get it done.
There is no VISA interview, if you are accustomed to hearing the US VISA sagas. Swedish RP is issued based on how well you fulfill all criteria on papers.
And like I mentioned before, your RP will bear your photograph and finger prints. To make this possible, you will have to visit the main Swedish Embassy in person (after you have an appointment, of course) and hand in your data. In India, it was until last year possible only in the Delhi embassy. If you are down South, make your plans to go to the embassy – it is a task of only 15 minutes. Rest of the trip plan a nice visit to the Qutub Minar. For other countries, check up with your embassies.
One anecdotal point that is important to mention here is that when you are producing your financial support document, for the expected 7300 SEK per month for the tenure of your application. Just ensure you are slightly above the prescribed mark. In case you are submitting your application with a bank statement for a certain amount in your native currency, and due to market variations the money during evaluation does not match up to be the amount in SEK, there are chances your application could be rejected. It has happened, causing enormous troubles to a friend of mine.
Summing up, read all the documents carefully. Apply ASAP.
Don’t be nervous, but don’t take it lightly either.
See you soon.