Sweden is a beautiful country full of kind and happy people. It has also been listed as one of the best countries to live in terms of happiness. The Swedish have an excellent work-life balance and although the taxes are high, so are the rewards. Let’s take a look at the steps to take in order to make a smooth transition to Scandinavia’s largest country.
For EU Citizens
- Apply for residency
It is important to start this process early. The Swedish system is quite straight forward but notoriously slow. A residency permit can take up to 14 months. Along with your application for residency, you will need to be able to demonstrate that you can support yourself and have done so for at least the last two years.
- Apply for a social security number (personnummer)
This is actually more important than your residency application. The social security number, the equivalent of a UK national insurance number, will be linked to everything from your taxes to your medical insurance.
Once you have received your residency permit, you will be able to go to a Swedish Tax office to apply for the social security number. The easiest way to get your social security number is by getting a job as your employer will be able to help with the initial application or speed up one that is in process.
For Non-EU Citizens
You will need to apply for a work permit before being able to relocate, and this requires an offer of employment. You will need to have:
- A valid passport
- A job offer with a salary that matches the industry average
- The ability to support yourself with the said job offer
- The employment package must include insurance for health, employment, retirement, and life.
For Everyone Moving to Sweden
- Finding accommodation
Don’t feel that it is difficult because you are a foreigner, accommodation is hard for everyone to find. Apartments are in great demand, especially in the city center. Don’t be surprised if you have to adjust your expectations slightly if you are determined to live in the city, or you could look a little further out of town, saving yourself some money too. Try sites like Solna, Nacka, and Lund. Of course, Facebook is another popular option to find accommodation.
- Opening a Bank Account
First, look to see if your larger international bank has a branch in your local area, as this will make things easier. If not, local banks have good modern features that you may not have at home. You will need either a Swedish ID number or your passport to open your bank account. In either case, you will need a social security number and your employment contract. It will probably take a few days for you to receive your card and Pin, and then you are ready to go.
- Learning Swedish
A large majority of Swedes speak English, but you can’t assume that you can get away with not learning Swedish. If you want to be accepted socially and to start building a new group of friends, you will need to learn the language. It might not be an easy language to learn, but there are some great government-backed resources that are free. You can also use apps like Duolingo and Babbel. If you feel you need more encouragement, you could hire a tutor.