Brexit has inevitably affected people’s study abroad experiences, making them much more… interesting.
I was delighted when I found out that I would be studying at the oldest university in Scandinavia – Uppsala University in Sweden, a developed and prosperous nation that never went into a lockdown during the first phases of the COVID-19 pandemic. Of course, Sweden has been in the EU since 1995; therefore, despite the fact that COVID-19 was less of a problem, Brexit posed a new set of hoops to jump through.
Firstly, in order to be granted access to the country, I had to successfully attain a residence permit/visa. This process took a while to get started as it wasn’t immediately clear as to what I needed to apply for. Naturally, there are different types of permits based on a variety of factors such as the reason for travel or length of stay. Luckily, they have a handy section on their website specific for British people, so this made the search a lot easier.
Filling out an official, governmental application like this residence permit was a daunting task, as this was one of the first interactions I had at this level. Gathering together all of the necessary forms such as bank statements, insurance forms and confirmation of accommodation, and then double and triple-checking them. I even had to write a small piece stating why I decided to pursue my studies in Sweden. If this was to check that Sweden only accepted truly motivated students I have no objections to this.
So with everything filled out to the best of my knowledge, I paid 1500 SEK (around £130) and sent it off to the Migration Office – waiting time one to three months. Admittedly, this would cut it a bit fine. My flight to Stockholm Arlanda airport being about a week after the estimated return time!
“The whole trip was nearly called off as we were fast approaching the remission date”
In anticipation of it being approved, there was one more unexpected step involved in the process that I found out about after a conversation with others also going to Sweden. It was now a requirement for all applicants to get their fingerprints and photograph taken so they could be printed onto the residence permit card. In order to do this, it was mandatory to go to the Swedish Embassy in London. It took several over and underground trains, but the procedure was very straightforward when I got there.
After some more waiting, I finally got the email back: “More information required”. A small setback, as I had two whole weeks to resubmit the form. It turned out that there had been a typo on one of my forms which meant my dates of study looked a little suspicious as they didn’t line up with the expected finish date of Swedish Universities. Unfortunately, the only person who could fix this issue was on holiday at the time. The whole trip was nearly called off as we were fast approaching the obligatory resubmission date. However, after a few emergency phone calls, I managed to get the corrected form. Panic over. I got the positive decision from the embassy and was allowed to enter Sweden.
Editor: Ryan Gerrett