Swedish for Refugees

Swedish for refugees

The Swedish language is in many aspects your key to your life in Sweden. We recommend that you start learning Swedish as soon as possible. Swedish for refugees is limited but you have three alternatives to learn Swedish while waiting for a decision from the Swedish Migration Board:

  • learn by yourself
  • visit a Swedish course
  • join a Språkfika

Swedish for refugees – courses

Some educational institutions offer Swedish courses for asylum seekers. Note that most of them will require you to have an LMA-card.


Folkuniversitetet offers Swedish courses for asylum seekers in Sweden. The courses are free of charge and open for refugees who have an LMA-card. Folkuniversitetet have schools all over Sweden. We recommend that you contact them directly or visit their website to find out if they have any Swedish courses in your surrounding. Please note that you cannot take these courses if you have obtained a residence permit, then you should apply for a Swedish course at your local SFI.

Arbetarnas Bildningsförbund, ABF

Arbetarnas Bildningsförbund, ABF offers Swedish courses for asylum seekers in Sweden. The courses are open for:

  • Asylum seekers living in accommodation that the Swedish Migration Board is responsible for.
  • Asylum seekers who have arranged their own accommodation.
  • Asylum seekers that have received a permanent residence permit but are staying at the Migration Board’s facilities.

(Page is in Swedish but click “translate page” for information in English.

Språkfika – practice your Swedish over a cup of coffee

At a Språkfika (sometimes also called Språcafé) you get to meet Swedes and practice your Swedish. The following organisations may arrange Språkfika in your surrounding.

Individuell Människohjälp, IM

Individuell Människohjälp, IM has many different activities (for all ages), all over Sweden that helps refugees find their way into Swedish society and the Swedish language.

The Swedish Red Cross – Röda korset 

The Swedish Red Cross – Röda korset is present on about 80% of all the refugee camps in Sweden. They organize weekly meetings where you can practice your Swedish and get help with your homework. Find your closest Swedish group here (digital map, just zoom in on your location).

Nya Kompisbyrån

Nya Kompisbyrån is an organisation that matches Swedes with newcomers so that they can meet and have a cup of coffee and talk. Visit their website for more information and to apply for a språkfika partner.

Self-studies and useful tools

Learning Swedish on your own has many pros. You can do it from wherever and whenever you want. It won’t cost you much and it will be a good complementary habit once you start taking a Swedish course. Remember that learning a language takes time, so be patient and persistent.

Here you find tips & tricks and great (mostly free) language learning tools that will ease your learning.

Questions and Answers

Q: Am I entitled to study Swedish at Swedish for immigrants, SFI as an asylum seeker?

A: You are unfortunately, as a asylum seeker, not entitled to study Swedish at SFI. However, if you’re granted asylum in Sweden and receive a residence permit you will become entitled to SFI.

Q: Is my asylum-seeking child entitled to study Swedish?

A: All asylum-seeking minors have the right to go to school in Sweden. They generally start at a preparatory class, where the teaching will focus on learning Swedish, and then (mostly after one-two years) move on to a regular Swedish class. Learn more here.

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