Residency permits For Members

TEST: Is your Swedish good enough for permanent residency?

Shandana Mufti
Shandana Mufti - [email protected]
TEST: Is your Swedish good enough for permanent residency?
Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT/Scanpix

To become a permanent resident of Sweden, you may soon need to prove your language skills. Are yours up to the task?


The Swedish government's proposal that applicants for permanent residency have to pass a language test is almost certain to get through parliament. it has a big majority). 

So it might be time to sign up for SFI (Swedish for Immigrants) classes – that is, if you haven't already. 


READ ALSO: What do we know about Swedish language tests for residence permits 

What level of Swedish will you need for permanent residency? 

The government is proposing that applicants prove they have Swedish up to the equivalent of level C, the third of the four levels of SFI. 

This is a fairly advanced level of Swedish, well beyond the simple nej, tack, ("no, thanks") you might need when asked if you want a receipt at the supermarket, or the en kardemummabulle och en latte ("a cardamom bun and a latte") you might need when ordering a fika.

It is unclear when this requirement will come into force, but the proposal is still in its inquiry, or utredning, stage, which will end in May 2023, so you have some time to brush up on your skills. 

What is SFI level C?

To pass level C, SFI students are tested on their reading, writing, speaking, and listening abilities in Swedish.

In the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale, SFI level C is equivalent to level A2. This means people who have attained this level can understand the basics of the language, and have a good grasp of the vocabulary and grammar that helps them navigate everyday life, including communicating biographical information and carrying out simple tasks like going shopping or explaining what a day at work looks like.

The test itself

SFI national tests – or nationella prov - are administered by the adult education centres that offer SFI courses. At level C, the test can be administered in one go or over several days, at the discretion of the teacher.

In the listening section, you will listen to and answer questions about five different pieces of audio.

In the reading section, you will read and answer questions about a text that is provided to you. At level C, this will include a longer article.

In the writing section, you will write a simple text – like a letter to a friend – to demonstrate that you can tailor your writing to the occasion.

In the two-part speaking section, you will have a solo oral examination, and be asked to have a conversation with a fellow student.

The questions in the following sections are from test samples provided by Skolverket.


The audio clip on which these questions are based can be found here, and is about information provided by the answering machine at a hostel.

Listen to the clip. If you can't make out much of it, you probably need to do some more study if you're going to be able to pass the language test for permanent residency when it eventually comes into force. 

Here is the explanation of the task: 

Du får höra en telefonsvarare på ett vandrarhem. Den informerar om priser och om när det finns lediga rum. Lyssna på telefonsvararen och svara på frågorna.

Läs först igenom uppgiften.

A. På vilken knapp ska man trycka om man vill veta vad det kostar att bo på vandrarhemmet?

Did you understand that? If so, then try choosing which is the right answer below. 

□ 3 
□ 4
□ 5
□ 9

B. Hur mycket kostar det för en vuxen att bo en natt i dubbelrum?
□ 125
□ 175
□ 280



In this excerpt, test-takers are asked to interpret the following table about which subjects high school students think are fun and which are important, and answer the questions below.

I en undersökning har gymnasieelever fått svara på frågor om vilka ämnen de tycker är roliga och vilka de tycker är viktiga. Resultatet av undersökningen redovisas i ett diagram.

Svara på frågorna med hjälp av diagrammet.

A. Vilket ämne tycker eleverna är roligast?
B. Vilket ämne tycker de är minst viktigt?
C. Vilka två ämnen tycker de är precis lika roliga?

Did that make any sense? If so look at the chart below to find the answers. 

A screenshot from the sample test on the website of the Swedish National Agency for Education. Photo: Swedish National Agency for Education


In this prompt, you are asked to write a letter to a friend about a recent trip. It suggests telling them about where you stayed, what you did, and what you liked and disliked about the trip. You are asked to pay attention to how you start and end the letter.

Skriv ett brev till en vän och berätta om en resa du har gjort.

Du kan till exempel
• berätta om vart du reste.
• berätta om vad du gjorde.
• berätta om vad du tyckte var bra och vad du inte tyckte var bra med resan.

Tänk på hur du börjar och slutar brevet.

Can you understand the instructions at least? Now you need to show off your letter-writing skills. 



In the solo portion of this section, you are asked to talk about an everyday topic based on something you have experienced – like a recent trip, or a party you attended. You are asked to speak for 5-7 minutes, and you may take some time to plan out your thoughts before starting.

The teacher holding the exam will say to you: 

Du ska få berätta om en något du varit med om.
Du ska prata i 5-7 minuter.
Om du vill kan du ta en liten stund och planera vad du ska säga innan du börjar prata.

In the paired portion of this section, you are given a topic – like what is most important in school – and asked to have a 10-minute conversation about the topic. It should be a discussion, with both participants speaking for an equal period of time, and you will have access to some prompts in a "prompt card" to keep the conversation going.


The teacher leading the test will say to you something like: 

Ni ska prata med varandra om vad ni tycker är viktigt.
Ni ska prata i cirka 10 minuter.
Det är viktigt att ni lyssnar på varandra, ställer frågor till varandra och frågar varandra om ni inte förstår.
Tänk på att ni båda talar ungefär lika mycket.
Jag kommer inte att vara med och prata utan bara lyssna, det är ni som ska diskutera med varandra.

Till hjälp får ni den här tankekartan (lägg den på bordet) på den finns några punkter som ni kan diskutera, ni måste inte prata om alla men ni kan använda dem som stöd under diskussionen (gå igenom tankakartan snabbt).
Frågetecknet betyder att det också kan finnas många andra saker som är viktiga, som inte finns med på tankekartan.
Okej, då kan ni börja prata med varandra!

If you want to do a more thorough assessment of whether your Swedish is good enough for permanent residency, you can do one of the free level tests provided by the Folkuniversitetet adult education school. You need to do the test for Swedish level A2. 




Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

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klc 2022/11/06 10:45
SFI level C is pretty easy to achieve. It took me two months of SFI to pass C with ease. As long as people are prepared to dedicate a little time to it then it shouldn’t be a problem.

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