International Secondments (URA)

Last changed: 05 March 2024

URA is an agreement for international secondments. It contains guidelines for the terms of employment when working abroad.

URA or business travel?

The nature of the assignment determines whether the time abroad is business travel or an international secondment covered by URA. Business travel is usually seen as being when employees will be staying at a hotel and eating their meals in restaurants. However, if an employee will be “living like at home”, i.e., staying in a house or flat, shopping and making their own meals etc. this is considered to be an international secondment. The employer, manager, or equivalent will determine whether the employee is on an international secondment or not in consultation with an HR officer.

International secondment as per URA

Employees who will be spending a fixed period abroad as part of their role at the university will be covered by the Agreement on Overseas Contracts and Guidelines for Employment Conditions for Service Abroad (URA). This agreement enables employers to determine terms of employment with the employee as regards the university’s requirements, the nature of the assignment and the employee’s situation.

SLU is able to employ fixed-term staff for international secondment with support from URA. 

A URA agreement must be established between SLU and the employee before they leave for their secondment. The agreement contains the conditions that will apply during their time abroad. Such conditions may include pensions and insurance, remuneration for living costs, moving and travel back to Sweden.

Accompanying family members may also be covered by benefits and conditions linked to the employee’s secondment. If this is the case, they will be regulated in the agreement.

Local collective bargaining agreements do not apply to time spent abroad as part of URA. This means that staff are not entitled to a leave of absence from the URA agreement, nor may they remain at their base abroad during parental leave.  In certain cases, it may be reasonable for a person to remain at their base abroad for a short period of parental leave (a few days), however the URA agreement must be terminated or paused if the person chooses to be on parental leave for an extended period. URA insurance and remuneration will be stopped once the URA agreement is terminated or paused.


Before the employee stationed abroad, it is important that their department takes out an insurance policy for them.

An insurance policy must be taken out for the employee and their family (if applicable) that covers them for their entire period abroad. Take out this policy well in advance. The URA agreement must be finalised and URA insurance taken out before departure. The policy is valid during travel to and from the country where they will be stationed and during their time abroad. Both the employee and accompanying family members will maintain all benefits in Sweden during their time abroad. This means they will remain covered by the Swedish social security system.

Visit Kammarkollegiet’s website to find out more about the URA insurance.

Register with the Swedish Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan)

A person on international secondment with a Swedish public authority is considered to be resident in Sweden and covered by Swedish social insurance. Staff on international secondment must therefore be registered as resident in Sweden and eligible for Swedish social insurance.

Before a URA agreement can be signed, Försäkringskassan’s social security affiliation form, A1, must be registered at Försäkringskassan. This applies if the employees will be working in an EU/EES country or Switzerland and United Kingdom.

The employee shall register for A1 by using My pages at Försäkringskassans website. The application needs to be completed with a form from the employer; 6221 Arbetsgivarens uppgifter vid utsändning. The form is available at Försäkringskassans website.  Information about SLU and how many employees the university usually sends abroad each year needs to be stated in the form. See template for this information.

If the employee can’t use my pages on Försäkringskassans website, the form 6220 Begäran om intyg A1 eller intyg enligt socialförsäkringsavtal should be used instead. The form can be found by the above link.

A list of countries with agreements with Sweden is available on Försäkringskassan’s website

Staff who will be working outside the EU/EES, Switzerland and United Kingdom need to contact Försäkringskassan to check what information they need to provide before departure. The destination country and the length of the period the person will be stationed abroad determine which form to use.

Once the employee receives their decision stating that Försäkringskassan will coordinate their social insurance, they must submit a copy to the department.

Additional costs supplement and accompanying supplement

According to the URA agreement, employers can pay a tax-free additional cost supplement to an employee during the assignment abroad. The additional supplement is a standardized compensation for additional costs. There is also the possibility of accompanying allowances for accompanying partners (only if there is a loss of income or increase in private living expenses when abroad) as well as accompanying allowances for accompanying children.

It is the manager who decides whether additional cost supplements and/or accompanying supplements are to be paid, and must be made clear in the URA agreement. There are no requirements for the compensation to be paid.

Any supplement are indicated in the contract as a percentage of the current maximum amount for that country. Note that the maximum amounts are revised after recalculation two times a year by the Swedish Tax Agency, and the supplement will then be adjusted accordingly.

Can anyone be stationed abroad?

No. As previously mentioned, public authorities are unable to allow employees to work remotely from abroad. To be able to work abroad, employees must be on secondment as per the URA agreement. Employing a person who is considered to be a permanent resident of the country where they will be working (i.e., registered in the local population register, paying local income tax and social security) is considered to be local employment, which Swedish public authorities cannot offer.

The process

Contact your HR officer at the Division of Human Resources before signing the URA agreement. They can guide you through the process.

The URA agreement must be in Swedish. However, employees or prospective employees can access a template of the agreement in English. The template can be downloaded from the links below.

URA kontraktsmall inklusive checklistor (Swedish)
URA agreement template, English version (read only)

Checklist for periods abroad

A checklist to assist with all periods abroad is available. It contains information about what to think about before, during and after your time abroad. The checklist is available from the systematic work environment management page under systematic work environment management during international secondments.


HR Unit, Division of Human Resources