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Complete guide to moving to Sweden, the requirements, the steps you need to take and FAQs

It is no surprise that Sweden is one of the top immigration destinations in Europe. The beautiful Scandinavian country welcomes approximately 100,000 expats every year.
The breathtaking scenery, kind people, welfare, and living standards are just some of the reasons why people choose to move to Sweden.

The transition from one country to another can be a piece of cake for some people, however, there are some that might find it more challenging.

Do I Need a Visa to Move to Sweden?

You do not need a visa if you are a citizen of the EU/EEA and Switzerland. Nationals from the USA, Britain, Canada, Australia, Japan, etc., do not need a visa. Foreign nationals need to apply for a residence permit if they want to move to Sweden.

Moving to Sweden Checklist

Here is an overview of how you can plan your move to Sweden:

  1. Find a job and obtain a residence permit. 
  2. Find a home. 
  3. Open a bank account. 
  4. Register with the tax agency. 
  5. Pay taxes. 
  6. Obtain a Swedish driving license. 
  7. Learn Swedish. 
  8. Arrange daycare or school.

Find a Job and Get a Residence Permit

The first thing you need to do is get a residence permit. Usually, Sweden requires to obtain a permit before entering the country. You can apply for a residence permit through the website of the Swedish Migration Agency. A residence permit can be obtained for work, family reunion, or study purposes. So, you need to make sure that you have found employment or qualify for a family visa to move to Sweden.

Find a Home

It is important to look for an accommodation place as soon as possible. It is recommended to look for an apartment before moving to Sweden because there is a lack of rental apartments in most cities. Especially if you are thinking about moving to Stockholm, Gothenburg, or Malmo.

If you can enter the country visa-free, you need to use that time to enter the country and find accommodation. If you can’t, you should contact a real estate agent/agency before moving there to have some options to look into. You need to consider long-term placements such as Airbnb and hostels during this time.

For rentals, you can rent ‘first-hand,’ which means you sign an agreement with the owner of the building, or ‘second-hand,’ you sign an agreement with someone who owns the flat. You can find second-hand rentals on many Swedish websites.

Open a Bank Account

After you register and get an ID card, you can proceed with opening a bank account. The Swedish Bank requires an ID card, a Swedish personal identity number, and a valid passport to open an account. The bank will help you obtain the necessary credit/debit cards and banking services you need. Download the BankID app to your smartphone to help you with identification. You can also download the ” Swish ” app to make payments with the BankID.

You need to find out whether you can open a bank account without an address and whether you can find a rental without a bank account. This is usually a “catch-22” with moving to a new country. But, there are several ways to open a bank account before moving to the country. For example, you can check with your local bank if they deal with international transactions until you settle down and obtain an address, or you can register with a digital bank catering to expats.

Register with the Tax Agency

As a new resident in Sweden, you have to register with the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket). The registration process adds you into the system for tax collection, personal identification, marital status monitoring, mailing address information, and insurance purposes.

After registering, you will receive a unique personal identification number ‘personnummer,’ which is needed to receive healthcare services, open a bank account, for an online purchase, or receive your salary.

The next step after getting your personal identification number (personnummer) is obtaining a Swedish identity card (ID-kort). The identity card will be a primary form of identification around the country. The card is used to open a bank account, use credit cards, pick up packages, attend doctor’s appointments, etc. You can get the identity card from the Swedish Tax Agency.

Pay Taxes

The social welfare system of Sweden is funded by taxes. Therefore, you will be required to pay taxes if you want to finance it. The taxes vary from your income; e.g., if you are employed by a company, taxes are automatically deducted from your salary every month by the Swedish Tax Agency. If you’re self-employed, you need to calculate your taxes on your own and pay them to the Swedish tax authorities.

Obtain a Swedish Driving License

If you own a driving license, you need to check if Sweden allows you to use it or if you need a new one. You should also learn the Swedish road rules, signs, and parking regulations. After residing in Sweden for a year, you will be required to obtain a Swedish driving license by the Swedish Transport Administration.

Learn Swedish

If you want to move to Sweden, it is obvious you need to know the language. Although the Swedish language is not an easy language to learn, it is better to start with the language lessons early. A basic understanding of the language will make your experience in Sweden easier and help you blend in with the people. You can sign up for free Swedish courses arranged by the government program ‘Swedish for immigrants (SFI) after you get your personal identity number.

Arrange Daycare or School

Expats with children should look for available options to get in touch with the city council to begin their children’s enrollment procedure. The local council will inform you about schooling arrangements.

Is It Difficult to Move to Sweden?

The process of moving to Sweden is not difficult for citizens of the EU/EEA.
Citizens of the EU/EEA have the right to work, study, start a business and live in Sweden. After arriving in Sweden, they need to contact the Swedish Tax Agency to register in the national register and get a personal ID number. To get a residence, they need to have or will earn enough income to support themselves.

For foreign nationals, the process of moving to Sweden is more complicated. You need to apply for a Sweden work permit or any other visa that leads to a residence permit in Sweden (family, investment, etc.), which can be obtained only if you have a job offer from an employer in Sweden.

Pros and Cons of Moving to Sweden

There are a few things you need to consider before moving to Sweden to help you decide whether this is the right place for you:

Pros Cons
Free or Low-cost Education High Taxes
Excellent Workplace Environment High Cost of Living
Great Social Benefits Housing-shortage
High-quality Healthcare No Free Tuition If You Migrated to Sweden
Excellent Welfare System Long and Cold Weather
Gender Equality and Liberty Lack of Urban Areas
Low Crime Rate

Can I Get Swedish Dual Citizenship?

Yes, you can get dual citizenship. If you become a Swedish citizen, you can keep your foreign citizenship if the other country allows it. If your other country does not allow dual citizenship, you must choose the nationality you want to keep.

Moving to Sweden with Pets

Pets are considered a part of the family, and if you want to bring your pet (cat, dog, ferret, etc.) to Sweden, make sure they meet the following conditions:

  • The pet must be ID-marked with an ISO microchip.
  • The pet must be vaccinated against rabies with an approved vaccine.
  • The pet must have a passport.
  • The pet must come to Sweden via customs declaration post.

Most Popular Areas in Sweden for Expats

Thinking about where to move in Sweden? Here are five of the most popular places for expats in Sweden:

  1. Stockholm. Stockholm is a leader in innovation and sustainability and one of Sweden’s most popular places. The capital city of Sweden offers expats a great life quality, great employment opportunities, and a range of cultures to share.
  2. Gothenburg. Gothenburg is the second-largest city in Sweden, surrounded by beautiful nature. It is cheaper than Stockholm and offers high-quality education and a healthcare system.
  3. Malmo. Malmo is known for its beautiful parks and friendly people. The multicultural city is very affordable to live in, and usually, expats do not have a problem fitting in with the locals.
  4. Uppsala. An elegant city with high ratings in housing, healthcare, and safety, Uppsala is perfect for expats who want to live an affordable life. Uppsala is a liberal city and very diverse in religion, race, economy, and culture.
  5. Solna. Solna is considered one of the best places to live in Sweden. The vibrant city offers great employment opportunities and is close to the capital city Stockholm.
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