Everyone in Sweden has a Personnummer. This 12 digit number tags everything you do in Sweden to a personal record, everything from birth to a high school grade, addresses, and even store cards.
You also NEED a Personnummer in Sweden to do anything. Gym memberships, phone contracts, jobs, store bonus cards; everything needs this number so the tax office can collect tax and social security (Socialförsäkring) from you.
Applying for a Personnummer in Sweden is a bit of a nightmare and is different for EU Citizens compared to Non-EU citizens. This guide is for EU citizens.
P.s. get some coffee. This is a long and difficult process. Even if you have all of the paperwork ready, it’s going to be a rocky road.
UPDATE: I finally got my personummer after a long wait. Find out more below.
Having issues with health care/insurance? More details at the bottom of the article.
Getting a Personnummer as an EU Citizen
Because you are from the EU, you have a right to stay in Sweden for 3 months and work. However, you will still need to get a Personnummer if you plan to stay in Sweden for the long run.
To apply, you will need to be able to either:
- Have a job offer in Sweden from a Swedish company (and with proof – the easy way)
- A Migrationsverket uppehållstillstånd (the right to stay in Sweden longer than 3/6 months and the card to prove it)
- Evidence that you can support yourself with some form of regular income (with proof – really hard)
You will also need to show:
- Your passport
- Your E111 Health Insurance Card
- Someone/something that can confirm your address
- Ideally, a Swede to help with the process
Have all this ready in good time as the more you can bring, the more chance you have of your application being processed.
You need to go in person to a Skatteverket Office (the list is here) and there is no paperwork to fill in before – just bring ALL of your documents. Be as prepared as possible. Get there before 9am (there will be a long queue) and be brutal. Push through, run to the reception, tell them what you need and get the form to fill in. The Skatteverket Offices processes Personnummer and ID-Card (ID-Kort) applications. You just want to apply for a Personnummer!
Fill in the 4-page form they give you in as much detail as possible. If you have any questions then just ask at the desk.
You will then be passed to an advisor who will process your application.
The desks at the Skatteverket Offices are high up so you feel like an ant. Give your paperwork and start telling the advisor what they need. The more you have (and have documented), the better your Personnummer application will be.
The person you speak with will ask you questions regarding your application, what you are doing in Sweden, what you plan on doing here, etc.
After your Visit
The waiting times for a Personnummer are better than Migrationsverket and are something like:
- 1/2 weeks if you have Migrationsverket uppehållstillstånd
- 3/4 weeks if you are applying with some other grounds
Then it is a waiting game. I’ve heard stories of people getting their personummer in 1 week, and others can wait months. Unfortunately, the truth is that it really depends on the case worker you get.
When I first came to Sweden, I kept my English job and worked from home. I went to Skatteverket to prove that I could support myself and had the means to do so.
UPDATE (16th June)
When I applied for my Personnummer, I said that I would be living in Sweden on my own means (have a job in the UK). This is fine but after applying for my Personnummer, I received a letter telling me that I needed adequate health insurance. I just used the E111 travel insurance card but this only covers you for up to 90 days. So I went and bought BUPA International Health insurance and upgraded the account to cover repatriation, etc, so there were no restrictions. After going back to Skatteverket to have these documents copied, I was then told a few days later that this does not quality. You MUST have a government-backed health insurance, something like:
You need to apply for these from the UK via HM Revenue and Customs. I have applied for mine and not sure how long it takes to arrive, so be prepared for a setback in getting a Personnummer!
UPDATE (25th July)
I finally received my Personummer after my second attempt. After applying for health insurance from the UK government, I was lucky enough to get a job offer from a Swedish company. This is a much quicker way of getting your personummer. I took the signed contract (needs to be a full contract with all the details of the offer) to Skatteverket and got my personummer in two weeks. They need to confirm some details with your employer and then you should be accepted.
Things to bear in mind
If you move to Sweden and decide to support yourself, you will need to show that you have adequate health care from your home country or your own health insurance. This is a major pain point for most expats.
If you take a private health insurance policy from a company like BUPA (in the UK), make sure you read the full terms and conditions and ask if this policy is valid to gain a personnummer in Sweden. Most are not!
Here is another difficult part of this process. Who deals with your application can play a large part in how your application goes.
That being said, if you are looking for private health insurance (or travel insurance as I did), you need to make sure that it follows one of the following rules:
- The health insurance should give you cover for the time that you live in Sweden.
- It should be valid for at least one year from the date that you moved to Sweden.
It should comply with one or other of the following requirements:
- it should compensate necessary healthcare up to a value of at least SEK 10 million, or
- it should correspond to the statutory health insurance in the EU or EEA nation of which you are a citizen or moved from, or
- it may cover necessary healthcare for a lower amount than SEK 10 million but, in that case, the insurance should pay for your homeward journey for continued care in your home country.
- The insurance may not have any exemption clauses that mean that it does not cover necessary medical care. There may be clauses that apply to dental care, fertility treatments, voluntary plastic surgery and force majeure (sic) situations such as war and natural catastrophes.
Section 4 is the most important. You can try finding a policy online, but I would pick 2/3 providers, call them up and ask for a custom quote, with the above information included. They should be able to give you a much better chance of getting the insurance you need.
Government Health Care
Skatteverket will also suggest that you apply for an S1 form from your home country (UK/EU). We’ve heard from recent applicants that this is also wrong. Tommlie told us:
“I was told by the HMRC last week that I am not eligible for applying for public health insurance in the UK to move to Sweden as you do NOT qualify for an S1 form (this has been replaced by E106, E109 and E121 so they do not actually exist any more) unless you are a pensioner/on benefits (neither apply to me). I will instead have to take out extensive private health insurance. I then spoke to their healthcare team and they advised when I arrive I need to ask Försäkringskassan to request a S041 (used to be A104) form to be sent to HMRC and they will process it.”
This is process takes a long time to we suggest you plan ahead for this part of the process. You can read Skatteverket’s full description on their website.
Read this guide on the Skatteverket website about applying for a personummer.
How did you get your personummer? Let us know on Facebook or in the comments section.
Photo Credits:Ola Ericson/imagebank.sweden.se