Sweden is a fantastic place to live. It is a structured society, peaceful, safe, and above all, has amazing life benefits for family and future.
Having lived in Sweden since 2011, I can say that getting set up or situated here did not come with directions. I have compiled a list of what you need to do if you are interested in moving to Sweden. The following are the order of events that need to take place. My blog has documented my struggles with obtaining this stuff…because literally moving to Sweden doesn’t come with a handbook.
Get a residence/work permit
Makes sense. You need to legally be able to live and work here. Sweden doesn’t take too kindly to under-the-table work. It is a rule based society, unlike some of Europe’s southern countries. You can find all resources for what type of visa you need at Migrationsverket. I also have a list of Swedish visas that Americans are eligible for.
My visa is under ‘moving to someone in Sweden’ or a Sambo visa, because I am in a serious relationship with a Swedish citizen.
Get a personnummer (personal tax number)
As a foreigner, you need a tax number. When you receive your decision for your visa, it’s important to go to Skatteverket (tax agency) in person, and apply for the personnummer. This will be the key to unlock pretty much every opportunity in Sweden.
Get an ID card
After you receive your personummer, you need to apply for your Swedish ID card from Skatteverket (tax office). This ID card is important for pretty much everything you do, like opening a bank account. You can learn about it, and apply here.
Get a Bank Account
This is very annoying. First of all, be prepared for them to ask for proof of where you have gotten every penny. You can read about my struggles here. Some things to understand when selecting which bank to put your money in, is that all of them will 100% ask you where you got the money you want to transfer into their bank. So, you will need proof of any cash or foreign transaction fees (they want to make sure you have paid taxes on it, or you’re not a mafia kingpin).
I was rejected at first by Nordea and Swedbank because I did not have a job, which is something they needed despite me having cash in hand. So I lived off cash in a cashless society for my first 2 months until I got my first job.
Enroll in Försäkringskassan (Swedish Insurance Agency)
Technically, you are enrolled automatically in the country’s healthcare if you have a personal tax number. However, there are some things you need to enroll for, like discounts on dentists. The whole site is all in Swedish, but I just called them to ask how do I enroll myself. You can find their website here: https://www.forsakringskassan.se
Get a Permanent Residence Card (PUT)
The Permanent Residence Card comes couple years later after you have been in Sweden and are eligible for a permanent residence card. It means that as long as you are in Sweden, you will not lose the visa. Learn more.
When you have had your permanent Residence Card (PUT) for 3-5 years (depending on your reason for being in Sweden), then you will be eligible for becoming a citizen. Most expats need to be fully living and integrated into Sweden for 3-5 years before being eligible to apply for citizenship. More on that process here.