Everything Sweden

How to Move to Sweden

July 03, 2017

Moving to Sweden has never been more popular. Since I moved here 4 years ago, I’ve spoken and seen more & more people from across the EU and the World making the move to Sweden.

I’ve been reading emails, comments, and things online about people planning to move here, so I wanted to outline how to move to Sweden and give some of the resources I’ve written in the past.

All of this is based on my experience moving here and how I got settled after I moved to Sweden.

How to Move to Sweden

Moving to Sweden takes about 12 months for EU citizens, and the process looks like this:

  1. Apply for residency
  2. Apply for a personnummer (social security number)
  3. Look for a job
  4. Look for an apartment
  5. Open a bank account
  6. 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. The key takeaway? Plan this move carefully and get ready for some setbacks.

#1 - Apply for residency

Start here. When moving to Sweden, applying for a residency permit 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. Your move to Sweden and everything you do here relies on this.

#3 - Look for a job

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. Build a network and plan ahead even before you move to Sweden.

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 Samtrygg.se, but Blocket and Facebook as still (unfortunately) where most of the business happens.

Read our full guide to finding apartments in Stockholm.

#5 - Open 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 - Learn 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.

Ready to move to Sweden?

These are our top tips for your move to Sweden and I hope that helps. Like I say, be ready for a long process ahead with some setbacks, and as long as you are 100% you want to move here, it’s going to be great.

Any tips you would suggest or found easy/hard? Let me know in the comments!

Photo Credits: Hans-Olof Utsi/imagebank.sweden.se