Since the Brexit vote, I’ve been reading emails, comments, and things online about Brits planning to move abroad in the aftermath. Quite a few of those people have thought about moving to Sweden, so I wanted to outline how to move to Sweden and give some of the resources we’ve written in the past.
How to move to Sweden
Moving to Sweden takes about 12 months for EU citizens, and the process looks like this:
- Apply for residency
- Apply for a personnummer (social security number)
- Look for a job
- Look for an apartment
- Open a bank account
- Learn Swedish
This all sounds easy enough, but you should know now that the Swedish system can be very slow, cumbersome, anal, paperwork-driven, and a general pain. Everything Sweden is here to help.
Since it will take about 2 years (potentially) before the UK leaves the EU and you should be treated as an EU citizen until the day the UK finally leaves, now is the perfect time to get started.
#1 – Apply for Residency
Start here. This takes the longest amount of time and there are no shortcuts. Waiting times here can be up to 14 months even for EU citizens, so start your application early. You need to be able to support yourself and prove what you have been up to over the past 2 years or so, but this is a very slow system. Since you are in the EU, you can apply from the UK and then move here unlike people from the USA and non-EU countries that need to wait before making the move to Sweden. If you are from outside the EU, check the recent changes to family reunification and maintenance requirements.
You can’t apply for the first time if you are already in the Sweden. You will need to leave and come back again.
We have a full guide on how to get a residency permit (or uppehållstillstånd).
#2 – Apply for a personnummer
This is more important than applying for residency but you need a residency permit before you can apply for a personnummer (your social security number). Your personnummer is one of the most important things you will have in Sweden and it’s another slow process to apply for.
The quickest method to get a personnummer is to get a job and have your Swedish employer help with the process or push your existing application through.
Read our full guide on applying for a personnummer.
#3 – Looking for a job in Sweden
Don’t think that just because you are fluent in English that job offers will come flying to you. They won’t. Polish your CV, be humble and start applying.
Using the search engine Indeed is my best tip and a great place to start.
We’ve written about looking for a job in Sweden before.
#4 – Look for an apartment
Looking for an apartment is a nightmare for Swedes and Expats alike. Start looking as early as possible because finding an apartment really takes times. I’ve heard good reviews of Bostad Direkt (paid) but Blocket and Facebook as still (unfortunately) where most of the business happens.
Read our full guide to finding apartments in Stockholm.
#5 – Opening a bank account
Banking in Sweden is very good and has some great features that most European banks have yet to implement (Swish/BankID/etc).
You will need a personnummer and some banks require a Swedish ID, although a passport is normally fine. Once you’ve got an employment contract, head to one of the top banks and open an account. It takes about 30 mins in the bank to go through all the paperwork and you should have access to your bank in a few days after they have posted cards and PIN numbers.
#6 – Learning Swedish
Learning Swedish takes time and it hard but there are plenty of free resources online and government-backed to help you learn. If you plan to live in Sweden for the long term, learning Swedish is essential.
These are our top tips for your move to Sweden and I hope that helps.
Any tips you would suggest or found easy/hard? Let me know in the comments!