Written by Chia May
Hej Hej! So you’re new in Sweden and probably already have a checklist on what you’ll have to do. These are my top 6 essential suggestions that I wished I knew when I first move to Stockholm.
This list does not mention housing, but there are super helpful articles here to help you navigate housing in Sweden!
Essential Suggestions 1: Personal number
To be honest, I initially thought having a personal number and Swedish ID are the same thing! They are in fact 2 entirely different things. The flow is as such: Register yourself at the nearest Skatterverket to receive your personal number first. It took me about 2-3 weeks to receive my personal number. The time estimation that it takes to get your personal number (personnummer) varies, hence the tip here is to register yourself as soon as you arrived in Sweden.
Have a look at our section “Register for a personal identity number” to have more infomration. Please note that the requirements differ based on where you are from ( EEA / non EEA, and more). Click here to check what you’ll have to bring based on where you’re from, under the “ Moving to Sweden” category.
Essential Suggestions 2: Swedish ID
Soon you’ll receive a letter from Skatterverket with your personal number! The format is basically as such: YYYYMMDD-XXXX ( your birth date and year plus a 4 unique digit code at the end). You’re now part of the Swedish population yay!
As soon as you receive that letter, click here to book a time for your Swedish ID card.
There is a payment of SEK 400 and bring along the proof of payment, together with your residence permit card and passport. How soon you can get your Swedish ID seems to be a tricky question. My Swedish ID was ready for collection in 2 weeks. However, I also have friends who waited for more than 2 months just to get their Swedish ID. Thus the urgency to register yourself as soon as you arrive!
Here is the link from Skatterverket on the conditions to apply for your Swedish ID.
3. Validate your University education
This is the easiest essential suggestion on my list. It is a fairly simple process that you can start before arriving in Sweden. You can upload your transcript and higher education certificate to their website here. You’re can apply for recognition without any Swedish personal number or ID. However, they have a long processing time. Mine took almost 3 months, hence the suggestion to submit your documents before you arrive in Sweden. While they are looking into your certificates you’ll have a case number, which will allow you to register for SIFA classes.
4. Start learning Swedish
I can’t stress this enough! Despite Swedes being able to speak in English, it is still best to learn Swedish. Learning Swedish is definitely an essential suggestion if you intend to stay here for the long term. There are 2 available Swedish language courses, SFI or SIFA. I am currently enrolled in the SIFA program – in SFINX specifically for engineers and architects. SIFA is an intensive Swedish program for people with academic backgrounds. Each course is 9 weeks long and you’ll have a national test at the end of each course. The classes are structured and intense, and I enjoy being able to learn Swedish at this pace. It is fun to see my progress in Swedish now that I’m 18 weeks into the program!
You can find the schedule for SIFA classes (in Stockholm) and their required documents for enrollment from this link.
5. Bank ID
I’ve found registering for a bank here in Sweden the most perplexing, especially because I was unemployed and not a student. Most major banks will not allow you to register for a bank account, citing that you have no use for a bank account if you’re not working or studying! Ah the frustration because if you have no bank account, you’ll have no bank ID. If you live here in Sweden, you’ll soon find out that you’ll need a Bank ID for everyday things!
I manage to open a bank account with Handelsbanken, and I highly recommend them based on my experience when I opened my bank account. Remember to make an appointment via email to the Handelsbanken branch near you, and bring along your Swedish ID.
6. Register yourself for healthcare
The last, and certainly not the least essential suggestion that I have for you is to register yourself on 1177.se! It took me almost 5 months after moving to Stockholm to realize that I needed to register myself on the website. The healthcare system in Sweden is very different compared to where I’m from. I was used to going to the nearest clinic directly when I am sick !
You’ll need a Bank ID to register yourself on 1177.se. You can pick your health provider which can be a clinic or a hospital, depending on where you stay. If you are feeling unwell, you’ll have to make an appointment on the website before you see the doctor. You’ll then receive a call from the clinic / or you will receive an SMS notification from the clinic at the website to confirm your visit.
The list in the essential suggestions is not exhaustive, but I hope it is a helpful one for you! Welcome to Sweden and I hope you’re having a great time navigating through Swedish life and culture 🙂
E-learning course: Preparing your move to Sweden
Are you already feeling a bit overwhelmed about all the stuff you need to figure out how to move to Sweden? We’ve got you covered. Over the years we’ve been repeatedly told just stressful this process can be so we created a digital course with all the information you need to move. Here you will learn about:
- Short (and long facts) about Sweden.
- The history and background of Sweden in regards to democracy, religious freedom, gender equality, social security, child welfare and LGBTQIA+.
- The types of visas and residence permits that are available plus the requirements.
- Important Swedish agencies, and trust us, you DO need to know about these ones.
- How to find a place to stay and how to avoid rental fraud.
- How to pack for your move depending on the season.
- And there will be some quizzes to make sure you are paying attention and not falling asleep at your screen.
After finishing this course, you will have a greater understanding of what has made Sweden what it is today, how you best prepare for a move here and to get your stay here started in the best manner.
About the Author
Hi! I’m Chia May. Born and bred in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, I moved to Sweden at the end of 2020. My background is in Architecture, and my passions are exploring new cities and literally looking at it’s building, people watching, trying out new restaurants, listening to a good story shared by a stranger and petting all the cats and dogs that I can while taking a walk. Since I’m new in this city I can’t wait to share my perspective as a Newbie! I hope you’ll enjoy my post.