Navigating the Swedish University Housing Maze: A Guide to the Application Process

Discover student housing in Sweden with our guide. From application tips to understanding leases, we cover key steps for international students. Embrace this journey towards a unique educational and cultural experience in one of the world's most student-friendly countries.

Navigating the Swedish University Housing Maze: A Guide to the Application Process
Photo from the Globe and Mail

Welcome to the exciting journey of studying in Sweden! Embarking on an educational journey in Sweden is more than just an academic pursuit; it’s a plunge into a unique cultural and social experience. Sweden, renowned for its innovative research and creative educational techniques, is a magnet for over 30,000 international students each year. As you prepare to join this diverse and vibrant community, one of the first and most crucial steps is securing your student housing. This process can seem daunting, especially when navigating through a new country's systems and protocols.

Sweden's reputation for quality education is matched by its stunning landscapes and a society that values sustainability, equality, and work-life balance. These qualities are reflected in the university campuses and housing facilities, offering international students a glimpse into the Swedish way of life. However, the demand for student housing is high, and the competition can be intense, particularly in popular cities like Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Lund.

Whether it’s the cozy corridors of a dormitory or the independence of an apartment, finding the right housing will enrich your study abroad experience and provide a supportive base for your academic and cultural adventures in Sweden. In this guide, we will walk you through each step of the housing application process.

Step One: Admission

Before housing comes the university admission. This usually involves submitting academic transcripts, language proficiency test scores (if applicable), and other relevant documents to prove your qualifications, and get accepted to the program of your choice.

With a diverse range of courses offered in English, Sweden has become a hotspot for international education, attracting students from over 160 countries. As you start to applying for housing, ensure you have your acceptance letter in hand, as this is your golden ticket to applying for housing.

Step Two: Understanding Housing Options

Swedish universities often provide a range of housing options for international students, including dormitories, shared apartments, and sometimes individual apartments. Once admitted, students should research the housing options available through the specific university they've been accepted to, and check whether they fit the eligibility criteria.

Swedish universities offer a kaleidoscope of housing options. In 2022, 75% of international students opted for university dormitories, while 20% chose shared apartments. The remaining 5% found solace in individual apartments. Each option offers a unique living experience, from the communal vibe of dormitories to the independence of a personal apartment.

Step Three: Application Process

Typically, housing applications open right after admission decisions are announced. Students must make sure to fill in any applications forms and submit all required documents in a timely manner so they can best qualify for the housing offered by the university.

Most Swedish universities have their own housing offices or collaborate with local student housing companies. These offices provide dedicated portals where students can apply for accommodation. Some universities might also have agreements with private housing providers, offering a diverse range of options to suit different preferences and budgets.

Typically, priority is given to international students, especially those from non-EU/EEA countries, as they might not have the same network or knowledge to find housing on their own. However, it is still crucial that students submit their housing application as early as possible, due to the skyrocketing demand for student housing in big cities such as Stockholm and Gothenburg, with over 60% of students placed on waiting lists. In 2023, students in Stockholm waited an average of four months for housing allocation.

In some cities, such as Uppsala, joining the housing queue early makes a huge difference in the amount of options a student will have for their housing. Even if your university offers guaranteed housing, it is best to apply early to accumulate the most points.

Given the competitive nature of housing in Sweden, it's wise to have a backup plan. Research other housing options like private rentals, listings on Hemavi, off-campus housing, or temporary lodgings if needed.

Step Four: Making it Official

Once your housing application is processed, and if you are successful, you will receive an offer from the university's housing service or a partnered housing provider. This offer typically comes via email and includes details about the housing unit assigned to you, such as the location, type (dormitory, shared apartment, etc.), room size, and rental cost.

Upon receiving a housing offer, you'll typically have a week to respond. This is to ensure that housing can be allocated efficiently to other students if declined. Accepting an offer often involves a lease agreement and a deposit, which may be equivalent to a month's rent and is refundable at the end of your tenancy, provided there are no damages to the property.. The lease will outline the length of your tenancy, rules regarding subletting, termination policies, and your responsibilities as a tenant.

Step Five: The Big Move

Once housing is secured, it's time to pack your bags. Almost all Swedish universities provide comprehensive guides on moving in, including essential items to bring and how to reach your new home. In 2023, 85% of international students reported a smooth move-in experience, thanks to detailed pre-arrival information provided by their universities, so make sure you read your student guides!


Finding student housing in Sweden might seem daunting, but with the right information and timing, it can be a smooth process. Securing student housing in Sweden is more than just a logistical step in your study abroad journey; it’s the gateway to an enriching and memorable experience in one of the world’s most student-friendly countries. Sweden's commitment to quality education, sustainability, and innovation is not just evident in its academic institutions but also in the living spaces provided to its students. Whether you prefer the bustling streets of Stockholm or the quaint charm of Lund, there's a place for every international student in Sweden’s vibrant university towns. Welcome to your new adventure!

If you're moving to Sweden and looking for accommodation suitable for international students, check out our listings on Hemavi!