Apply for approval to receive visiting researchers

The Swedish Research Council is the public authority that by law shall approve research principals who wish to invite and receive visiting researchers. The Swedish law is based on the EU’s Visiting Researcher Directive. Applications for approval as research principal at the Swedish Research Council are made using a form.

The legislation governing approval for research principals to receive visiting researchers (SFS 2008:290) is based on the European Council’s “Visiting Researcher Directive” (2005/71/EC). The purpose of the Directive is to make it easier for researchers from countries outside the EU, EEA or Switzerland to enter, stay and move around the EU, and for the EU in this way to attract more researchers from the rest of the world.

The legislation states that the public agency, physical person or legal entity that conducts research activities and plans to receive a researcher from a third country for more than three months must get approval to do so. The Swedish Research Council is the public agency that tries issues relating to approval according to the ordinance governing approval for research principals to receive visiting researchers (SFS 2008:353).

Act (2008:290) on Approval of Research Principals to Receive Visiting Researchers (in Swedish) External link.

Ordinance (2008:353) on Approval of Research Principals to Receive Visiting Researchers (in Swedish) External link.

The law entails a three-stage procedure

  1. To receive a visiting researcher, the research principal has to be approved by the Swedish Research Council.
  2. The research principal (a higher education institution or research institute, for example) and the visiting researcher shall enter into a reception contract that specifies the research project and certain other issues relating to the visiting researcher’s employment and other areas. As from 1 January 2020, the Swedish Migration Agency is responsible for regulations governing visiting researchers’ ability to support themselves during stays in Sweden.
  3. The reception contract forms the basis for the visiting researcher’s application for a residence permit to the Swedish Migration Agency.

Forms for reception contracts and applications for residence permit can be downloaded from the Swedish Migration Agency’s website.

How to apply to the Swedish Research Council

The application shall be made using a form to be sent to the Swedish Research Council. The application shall include information showing that the research principal is conducting research. Different types of documentation showing this exist:

  • One document can be an assignment according to legislation, ordinance or statutory purposes, from a foundation, company or not-for-profit association for example, where the purpose of the organisation is described. This can be shown using excerpts from the Business Register, Foundation Register or the Swedish Tax Agency.
  • Other examples of documentation are publication lists, annual reports, excerpts from the Swedish Patent and Registration Office/corresponding for patents, or documentation showing secured funding (such as a certificate showing research funding awarded).

Please note that there is also other documentation that can show that the operation is conducting or will conduct research.

Send the application via email to:, or by standard post to:

Box 1035
101 38 Stockholm

What happens next?

Once we have received the application, we will assess it. If any information is lacking so that we cannot made a decision, we will contact the applicant and ask for supplementary information.

We usually send out the decision via post within one week. If the applicant has stated an email address in the application, then we send the decision by email.

Once an application has been approved, we will update our list of approved research principals with the name of the new research principal, see the heading below.

If an application is rejected, we will inform the Swedish Migration Agency.

The approval’s period of validity

The practice is that an approval as a research principal is valid for 5 years at a time for minor research actors. Higher education institutions (HEIs) have permanent approvals. If the application for approval covers a period of less than 5 years, then the validity of the decision will be limited to the period applied for.

To extend an approval, a new application has to be submitted with updated information showing that the organisation conducts research.



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