Veterinary surgeon

To practice veterinary medicine in Sweden, you need either a Swedish veterinary licence or a so-called special permit. A temporary provision of veterinary services can be supplied if you are legally established to work as a veterinary surgeon in an EU/EEA-country or Switzerland. The Board of Agriculture issues Swedish veterinary licences and grants special permits.

Belonging to the Animal health staff

As a veterinary surgeon you belong to the Animal health staff, meaning that

  • the public is aware of your specific qualifications
  • you must practice your profession in accordance to science and proven experience
  • you take full personal responsibility of the treatments you carry out
  • you must follow the requirements regarding your profession, such as keeping journals, issue certificates, confidentiality and duty of notification
  • you are under government supervision and you may be reported to the Veterinary Disciplinary Board for Animal Health Staff (Ansvarsnämnden för djurens hälso- och sjukvård).

As a principle, you as a licensed veterinary surgeon have the formal qualification to perform all examinations and treatments within the Animal health profession. However, you must only perform the examinations and treatments where you have the required skill and experience. It is your responsibility that treatments are per­formed and that they are in accor­dance with the legislation.

How you apply for a veterinary license

In order to become a licensed veterinarian in Sweden you need to have a degree in veterinary medicine. In addition to this degree, you also need the to have satisfying knowledge of the Swedish language, indicating that you are able to communicate with animal owners, keep veterinary medical journals in Swedish and understand the legislation related to your profession. Danish and Norwegian are considered equated to the Swedish language.

The application for a veterinary license is made electronically by using our e-service. You will need to upload digital copies of your diplomas and other certificates. You may choose whether you want to scan your documents or submit photos of them. We must be able to read all the documents in the application in order to make our assessment. It is therefore important that the digital copies are clear and legible. If we consider the quality insufficient, you will need to resubmit the documents and then the processing time will be longer. The application fee is currently SEK 1,660, and you pay at the end of the application process by using either Visa or MasterCard.

Depending on where you studied veterinary medicine or what country issued your authorisation, the required documents for your application might differ. Follow the correct link below to find out what documents are required for your application.

Veterinary education in Sweden

The veterinary program is given by the Swedish University of Agriculture Sciences, SLU. The education lasts 5.5 years and provides broad skills in veterinary medicine and biology, as well as the ability to apply this knowledge in various forms of veterinary activities.

Veterinary education from abroad

Veterinary education in EU countries is regulated by an EU Directive. This Directive lays down guidelines for the education and also recognizes equivalent titles from other EU countries and from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. The EU countries together with these three countries form the EEA. This ensures that the various countries offer education of similar quality and content which allows free movement of veterinarians within the EEA countries.

Veterinary authorisation in Norway, Denmark, Iceland or Finland

If you are an licensed veterinary surgeon in Norway, Denmark, Iceland or Finland and a citizen in any of these countries, you have to submit the following documents during the application process:

  • A copy of your veterinary License.
  • A ”letter of good standing”, an original certificate from a competent authority showing that you have no disciplinary sanctions in your profession as a veterinary surgeon. The certificate should not be older than three months. If your authorisation was issued more recent than three months ago, the letter of good standing is not necessary.
  • A copy of your passport in case you are not a Swedish citizen.
  • A proof that you have satisfying knowledge of the Swedish language. Danish and Norwegian are considered equated to the Swedish language.

You apply by using our internet service.

Please note that information you fill in is not saved in the form. This means that if you do not complete the application process during one session you will have to re-enter all the data and upload the required documents again.

Proof that you have satisfying knowledge of the Swedish language could be:

  • A copy of a certificate from SFI or similar education.
  • A copy of a certificate confirming that you have studied in Swedish. The education should cover at least one year. There is no requirement what subject was studied as long as the course language was Swedish.
  • A copy of a certificate confirming that you have satisfying knowledge in the Swedish language, such as a university degree or a test taken in Swedish for university studies (Tisus).
  • Proof of at least one year of professional experience in Sweden where the working language is Swedish this means that work experience outside of animal health care is also taken into account.” 

If you consider that you have specific reasons why you do not need sufficient knowledge of the Swedish language, you can apply for an exemption from that requirement while applying for a license. There is no form for this, but you have the opportunity to describe your special reasons when applying through the e-form. You can upload a document with this information instead of uploading a certificate of your knowledge of the Swedish language. Your application for exemption should consist of:

  • A description of the special reasons you consider having for not being able to communicate with animal owners in Swedish, reading and writing your veterinary medical journals in Swedish and reading and understanding the Swedish regulations concerning animal health professionals.
  • A description of how you and your employer will jointly solve communication with animal owners, how your journals will be kept in Swedish and how you will learn about the Swedish animal health care regulations. Your employer will have to certify that this will happen as described.

In most cases, you can also apply for a license in accordance with requirements for applicants with a Degree in Veterinary Medicine from a university in an EU/EEA-country or Switzerland.

Temporary and occasional provision of services in Sweden

If you are a citizen in an EU/EEA-country or Switzerland and are entitled to work as a veterinary surgeon there, you have the possibility to work temporarily in Sweden without applying for a Swedish veterinary license. Please find more information on our web page for applicants with a Degree in Veterinary Medicine from a university in an EU/EEA-country or Switzerland.

Degree in Veterinary Medicine from a university in an EU/EEA-country or Switzerland

If you have a Degree in Veterinary Medicine from a university in an EU/EEA-country or Switzerland, you have to submit the following documents during the application process:

  • A copy of your evidence of formal qualifications of veterinary surgeons (diploma). The evidence of formal qualifications should correspond to the list of approved evidence of formal qualifications of veterinary surgeons (see below).
  • If a member state issue an additional certificate complementing the diploma according to the list, you are required to submit this as well.
  • A ”letter of good standing”, a certificate from a competent authority showing that you have no disciplinary sanctions in your profession as a veterinary surgeon. This should not be older than three months. If your veterinary surgeons diploma was issued more recent than three months ago, the letter of good standing is not necessary.
  • A copy of your passport in case you are not registered citizen in Sweden.
  • A proof that you have satisfying knowledge of the Swedish language. Danish and Norwegian are considered equated to the Swedish language.

You apply by using our internet service.

Please note that information you fill in is not saved in the form. This means that if you do not complete the application process during one session you will have to re-enter all the data and upload the required documents again.

The evidence of formal qualifications (diploma) should have the same name as in the Professional Qualifications Directive (2005/36/EC). You can find the latest consolidated version of the Annex V via the link to the right. Search for ”Evidence of formal qualifications of veterinary surgeons” to find the right chapter.

Certificates for Swedish language

There are no specific requirements what a proof of satisfying knowledge of the Swedish language must be, this it is assessed in each individual case. Below are examples of what such proof can be:

  • A copy of a certificate from SFI or similar education.
  • A copy of a certificate confirming that you have studied in Swedish. The education should cover at least one year. There is no requirement what subject was studied as long as the classes were given in Swedish.
  • Grades in Swedish from a Swedish upper secondary school education.
  • Proof of at least one year of professional experience in Sweden where the working language is Swedish. This means that work experience outside of animal health care is also taken into account.

If you have a Swedish upper secondary education but your veterinary degree is from another country than Sweden you must still prove your Swedish knowledge according to the above.

Exemptions from Swedish language

If you consider that you have specific reasons why you do not need sufficient knowledge of the Swedish language, you can apply for an exemption from that requirement while applying for a license.

There is no specific form to fill out when applying for an exemption. You can write an application that you upload instead of the certificate of knowledge in Swedish. We will then consider if your special reasons are sufficient to give you an exemption. Your application for exemption from the requirement for the necessary knowledge in Swedish must include:

  • A description of your special reasons for not being able to communicate with animal owners in Swedish, reading and writing your veterinary medical journals in Swedish and reading and understanding the Swedish regulations concerning animal health professionals.
  • A description of how you and your future employer together plan to ensure that you can communicate with animal owners.
  • A description of how you and your future employer together plan to ensure that your journals will be kept in Swedish.
  • How you will learn about the Swedish animal health care regulations.

Your future employer must certify that this plan will be implemented as described in the application.

Temporary provision of services

If you have a veterinary license from and are legally established in an EU/EEA-country or Switzerland to work as a veterinarian you can work temporarily in Sweden on your foreign qualifications, that is, you don´t need to apply for a Swedish veterinary license if you are only going to work here temporarily.

When you work here temporarily you are still part of the animal health staff and therefore subject to the Swedish regulations.

Before the first time you intend to work in Sweden, you have to notify the Swedish Board of Agriculture.

You need to send us the following documents with your notice:

  • a letter including your contact information and workplace in Sweden.
  • a certificate showing that you are legally established in a Member State to exercise the profession and that, at the time of issuance of the certificate, there was no ban, even temporarily, for you to practice as a veterinarian. This certificate must be issued by the competent authority of the Member State where you are established and should not be older than three months. You can submit either the original or a readable copy.
  • evidence of your professional qualifications (i.e. a copy of your diploma).
  • a copy of your passport.

Your temporary practice period will start from the date you notify us and last for 12 months. After 12 months you need to notify us again or apply for a Swedish veterinary license.

If you return to Sweden at a later date in order to work temporarily as a veterinarian, you need to notify the Swedish Board of Agriculture once a year, using our internet service, "Anmälan om tillfällig yrkesutövning som veterinär".

Degree in Veterinary Medicine from a university in a third country outside of EU/EEA and Switzerland

If you are educated in a third country you can obtain a Swedish license in one of the following three ways:

  1. If you have completed the supplementary education at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (TU-VET see link below).
  2. You can get your Swedish license immediately if you are very skilled and especially experienced in the veterinary profession. To be consider very skilled and especially experienced you should:
    • have a veterinary education that covers a total of at least 5 years and that corresponds to the Swedish veterinary education in content
    • in addition to your veterinary degree, you have additional training in clinical veterinary medicine at university level covering at least two years or research experience in clinical veterinary medicine at university level and least 10 years experience as a clinical veterinarian.
  3. If you do not meet the criteria very skilled and particularly experienced, you can obtain a Swedish veterinary license after undergoing an adjustment period. The Swedish Board of Agriculture will decide how long the adjustment period will be in each individual case. This adjustment period replace the supplementary education TU-VET. This applies This applies provided that:
    • the education corresponds to the Swedish veterinary education in content
    • in addition to your veterinary degree, you have additional training in clinical veterinary medicine at university level covering at least two years or research experience in clinical veterinary medicine at university level covering for at least two years.

Supplementary education (TU-VET)

If your Degree in Veterinary Medicine is at least five years long, we may decide that you need to pass a supplementary education (TU-VET). This course is given by the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU).

You don’t need any previous knowledge in the Swedish language in order to receive a decision for TU-VET, but an admission requirement to TU-VET is knowledge of the Swedish language.

In order to later receive your license, you have to report that you have successfully completed TU-VET. You do this by sending us a copy of your diploma from SLU, which proves your completion of the education.

Additional higher education and experience in clinical veterinary medicine

If you have documents showing that you have completed additional higher education and/or have advanced experience in clinical veterinary medicine, please attach these documents with your application.

We will review these during our assessment of your application for a Swedish veterinary license.

Rejection of your application

Your application for a Swedish veterinary license will be rejected if your education

  • is not a university education,
  • does not cover at least five years,
  • does not lead to a Degree in Veterinary Medicine in the country where your studied.

How to apply for a veterinary license

If you have a Degree in Veterinary Medicine from a university in a third country outside of EU/EEA or Switzerland, you need to submit the following documents during the application process:

  • A copy of your diploma including an official document where all courses taken during the education are stated. This is usually called a “Diploma Supplement”. The diploma and supplement should be in the official language of your country
  • A translation, made by an authorised translator, of the diploma and the supplement to either Swedish or English.
  • A signed letter of Permission allowing the Swedish Counsil for Higher Education to contact your University. Download here: Letter of permission.pdf (uhr.se)
  • Certificates of previous professional experience in clinical veterinary medicin, if any.
  • Certificates of experience of academic research or additional higher education in clinical veterinary medicin, if any.
  • A copy of your passport in case you are not a registered citizen in Sweden.
  • A proof that you have satisfying knowledge of the Swedish language. Danish and Norwegian are considered equated to the Swedish language.

You apply by using our internet service.

You apply through our Application form

Please note that information you fill in is not saved in the form. This means that if you do not complete the application process during one session you will have to re-enter all the data and upload the required documents again. Therefore, it is important that you have printed, filled in and scanned in your letter of permission before starting the application.

Letter of permission

As a part of our assessment of your application we assess if the content of your education corresponds to the Swedish veterinary education. Sometimes it is difficult for us to determine, via the course list alone, what has been included in a course, that is why we need a letter of permission from you so that we can contact your university to get more detailed information.

Certificates for Swedish language

There are no specific requirements what a proof of satisfying knowledge of the Swedish language must be, this it is assessed in each individual case. Below are examples of what such proof can be:

  • A copy of a certificate from SFI or similar education.
  • A copy of a certificate confirming that you have studied in Swedish. The education should cover at least one year. There is no requirement what subject was studied as long as the classes were given in Swedish.
  • Grades in Swedish from a Swedish upper secondary school education.
  • Proof of at least one year of professional experience in Sweden where the working language is Swedish. This means that work experience outside of animal health care is also taken into account.

If you have a Swedish upper secondary education but your veterinary degree is from another country than Sweden you must also prove your Swedish knowledge according to the above.

You can apply from an exemption from the rule about satisfactory knowledge of the Swedish language. You can read more about this further down.

Exemptions from Swedish language

If you consider that you have specific reasons why you do not need sufficient knowledge of the Swedish language, you can apply for an exemption from that requirement while applying for a license.

There is no specific form to fill out when applying for an exemption. You can write an application that you upload instead of the certificate of knowledge in Swedish. We will then consider if your special reasons are sufficient to give you an exemption. Your application for exemption from the requirement for the necessary knowledge in Swedish must include:

  • A description of your special reasons for not being able to communicate with animal owners in Swedish, reading and writing your veterinary medical journals in Swedish and reading and understanding the Swedish regulations concerning animal health professionals.
  • A description of how you and your future employer together plan to ensure that you can communicate with animal owners.
  • A description of how you and your future employer together plan to ensure that your journals will be kept in Swedish.
  • How you will learn about the Swedish animal health care regulations.

Your future employer must certify that this plan will be implemented as described in the application.

Special permit

If you are a veterinarian from a country outside of the EU/EEA and have expertise in an area of the veterinary medicine field where there is a lack of competence in Sweden, you may receive a special permit to work as a veterinarian in order to share your knowledge with Swedish veterinarians. There are two limitations:

  • the maximum time granted is six months
  • you have to work in a business for which a veterinarian with a Swedish license is responsible

Apply for the special permit by using the application form.

Before submitting your application for a permit you must pay an application fee of 320 SEK. You do this by using the form “Avgift ansökan om särskilt tillstånd att arbeta som veterinär respektive djursjukskötare”. It is important that you write the order number you receive when paying the fee on the application form.

Send your application to the Swedish Board of Agriculture via email.

Or by mail:
International affairs and Animal Health Staff unit, Swedish Board of Agriculture, 551 82 Jönköping.

Please ensure that the application form and all documents are readable when sending by e-mail. In case we would consider the application documents as not readable, you will have to send new copies of the documents, resulting in a longer time for the assessment process.

The application should include the following:

  • a completed application form. Remember to include the order number from the web shop that shows that you have paid the application fee.
  • a copy of your qualifications (diplomas) in their original language and a translation of the documents into English or Swedish. The translation should be done by an authorized translator.
  • a copy of your passport
  • a certificate from one or more employers in Sweden that there is a need to hire you because you have expertise in a specific veterinary area where competence in Sweden is limited and that they intend to employ or in any other way engage you. The name of the responsible Swedish veterinarian should be included.

Specialist competence for veterinarians

A veterinarian needs to fulfil special requirements if he or she is to be allowed to claim special skills within a certain branch of veterinary medicine.

Specialists are currently trained in diseases that afflict dogs, cats, horses, bovine animals, and pigs. It is also possible to get specialist education within food hygiene.

You apply for a specialist education with the Swedish Society of Veterinary Medicine (SVS). They have the application forms on their web site and you submit the application to them.

Specialist education is to be carried out at an education facility approved by the Board of Agriculture and by an instructor approved by the SVS. Specialist education comprises both basic and special training. When you have completed your education you will be examined by an examiner appointed by the SVS.

You can find details about various forms of specialist education in the right-hand column. However, this information is only available in Swedish. You can also contact the SVS directly.

If you do not have the right to practice veterinary medicine/the veterinary profession in Sweden

Without the right to practice veterinary medicine/the veterinary profession in Sweden you are not allowed to claim to be a veterinarian in case you examine or treat animals for money. You are also not allowed to use a title or professional designation that gives the impression that you have a Swedish veterinary license or are in any other way authorised to perform the veterinary profession. If you violate this rule, you could be fined.

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Revision date: 2023-06-14