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EACEA National Policies Platform


2. Voluntary Activities

2.5 Cross-border mobility programmes

Last update: 20 June 2024
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  1. EU programmes
  2. Other Programmes
  3. Legal framework applying to foreign volunteers

EU programmes

When it comes to programmes for young people who wish to participate in volunteering in a foreign country, the main option in Sweden is the European Solidarity Corps. The authority in charge of organizing and monitoring the programme at the national level is the Swedish Agency for Youth and Civil Society (MUCF). The agency monitors young people’s participation in the European Solidarity Corps in accordance with the Commission’s guidelines.

The European Solidarity Corps programme was launched in Sweden in September 2018, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and some forty actors already running voluntary projects granted under the Erasmus+ Youth in Action programmes. By December 2018, about 900 young adults between the ages of 17 and 30 had reported interest in participating in the European Solidarity Corps in Sweden. In 2023, 40 project applications were received, of which 38 received a grant, according to the Annual Report of the agency. After the Covid-19 pandemic that prevented the implementation of international exchanges, the interest among organizations and municipalities to implement volunteer projects is reawakened. Further efforts however are needed to increase interest in solidarity projects and projects within the Solidarity Corps.


Other Programmes

There are no other cross-border mobility programmes for volunteering that are funded by the government.


Legal framework applying to foreign volunteers

Volunteers coming to Sweden on a full-time basis are subject to the general Aliens Act. A distinction is made between volunteers coming from Scandinavian countries, EU countries and third countries.

Being an EU citizen allows the volunteers to stay three months in Sweden without residence permit. After that period a volunteer must apply for right of residence at the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket) or a residence permit at the Swedish Migration Agency (Migrationsverket). If the volunteer is a national of any of the other Nordic countries (Finland, Denmark, Norway or Iceland) residence permits are not necessary for any period of time.

Volunteer nationals of a third country may settle three months with no permit. If they want to remain longer, it is necessary to submit either an application for a visa extension or an application for a visitors’ residence permit.

The Swedish Government demands nationals of several countries to obtain a visa in order to enter Sweden. There is no specific visa for volunteers. This means that every case is treated according to the circumstances of the volunteer and the volunteer project in which he or she is involved. In effect, volunteers often receive a tourist or a student visa.