The Newbie Guide Team would like to welcome and wish you all the best. If you are feeling confused about what to do and how to do it – you have come to the right place. Here we offer you our tried and tested top ten list with things to get you started. Try to work your way through the list in chronological order – the steps in the list build on each other.
1. Get a visa or a residence permit
Note: this is a step that needs to be taken before you come to Sweden.
2. Get a personnummer by registering with the Tax Agency – Skatteverket
Next, you must register with the Swedish Tax Agency – Skatteverket. This step is of great importance. From now on you will be part of the Swedish Tax System, assigned with a unique personal identification number – a personnummer. This number – consisting of your birth date + four numbers – is the key to your whole legal existence – from opening a bank account to visiting the doctor.
3. Sign up for benefits at the Social Insurance Agency -Försäkringskassan
Next, you must register with the Swedish Social Insurance Agency – Försäkringskassan. We recommend you do this immediately after registering with Skatteverket. This helps you with certain benefits such as basic healthcare, parental benefits, child allowances, disability coverage and other insurance payments.
4. Get a Swedish ID-card
A Swedish identification card is important to get as soon as possible. For instance, you need a Swedish ID-card to open a Swedish bank account. And having a Swedish bankcard is a necessity as nearly everything is paid for by credit/debit cards. The most common way to apply for an ID-card is at Skatteverket.
5. Get a bank account
It’s time to open a bank account. In order to do so you usually need your Swedish ID-card and personnummer (see step 2). When you have that cleared, you visit any Swedish bank of your choice and proceed.
6. Find a home
Your next step is to find a place to stay and this task can be challenging. There is a housing shortage in Sweden, especially in the cities, which makes it hard – for Newbies and Oldbies to find an place to stay.
Talk to family and friends, register on different housing sites – so called bostadsköer, such as Stockholms rental housing site and look for second hand contracts – so-called andrahandskontrakt on for instance Blocket.se, a site for buying, selling and renting.
7. Learn Swedish
Nothing will improve your time in Sweden as much as learning Swedish. You have many different teaching alternatives to choose from and its important that you choose a method that suits you. You can learn by yourself, register with SFI or SAS, enroll in a Swedish course at the university or opt for a private teaching alternative. Regardless of what you choose, remember that practice makes the master!
8. Find a job
While some Newbies come to Sweden with a signed job contract others have to start from scratch. So what can you do to find a job? Read our tips here. Sweden has an extensive social security system. If you find yourself in a difficult financial situation, the National Board of Health and Welfare is a place to turn. They have limited information in English so contact your local office or call.
9. Make friends
Friends are important, especially in a new country. But how to make new friends? Go clubbing, join clubs, sign up for Swedish school, take up sports, join dating sites, join a choir, go to a cooking class, volunteer and visit language cafés and groups for foreigners in Sweden. The probability that you will find e.g. work through friends is significantly bigger than finding a job through a work agency. So get out there. Meet people and make it possible for others to meet you.
Try to travel around as much as you can. Take the bus, the train, the bike and discover this remarkable country. Sweden has wonderful woods, lakes and mountains. Be curious. Make this country your own. Sweden and Swedes are a little stiff at first but are good friends once you get under the surface. Enjoy it – Sweden is a great country to live in.
Missing something? Or does something feel unclear? Contact us and help us improve.