Hej friends! Cool to see you here!
For this week’s article, I wanted to do something a bit more practical, more step by step, of the things, I probably, would have like to read when arriving to Sweden. When one arrives in a new country, it is just like starting an essay – you don’t know from where to start! So here are the 6 things, I believe all expats should do from the day they step in Sweden!
So, I believe that all these things are more or less linked and pretty administrative-related, however, if you do not do one, you might not be able to do the next one. Also, these things are things that no one else can do for you, so I think that it is important to just have in mind.
Get a personnummer
A personnummer or personal number is a social security number, which groups all your personal information together. Getting this number is basically getting the key to open all doors in Sweden. If you don’t have one, it is honestly hard to get through many things in this country. Including having a loyalty card from your usual grocery store.
So, once arrived in Sweden, just head to Skatteverket, with your ID documents (you may want to check online which documents to take with you) and start the process. What is recommended is to register within 7 days after you arrived. It usually takes between 2 and 10 weeks to get the number. You will receive it at your address once it is validated.
Get an ID card
Once you receive your personnummer, apply right away for a Swedish ID-card. This procedure also needs to be done at Skatteverket (the tax agency in Sweden). Of course, you can only apply once you have a personal number, and you will need to pay 400 kr beforehand to get it. Don’t forget to bring the receipt when you apply for it.
Open a bank account
It is always useful to open a local bank account when living abroad for an extended period of time. There are different reasons behind it. In fact, when working in another country, it is way easier to get your salary transferred locally. It is also better for tax reasons as you can imagine. But it is also a great way to avoid paying bank fees or exchange rates between currencies. In order to open a bank account in Sweden, you need to have a personal number and a Swedish ID card. This is the easiest way, however exceptions exist and if you don’t have the documents, you should then ask the bank for further instructions.
Register to “försäkringskassan” and 1177
Försäkringskassan is the health care system in Sweden. You may need to register as soon as you receive your personnummer. In my case it took 8 months to be registered (yes, you read it correctly). This is actually very important, because not only it allows you to get a European Health Care card, but also to get sick or maternity leaves and pensions.
On the other hand, 1177 is the system to manage doctor offices. It is also where you can book doctor or nurse appointments and overall it is made for you and the doctors to gain time when visiting them. This takes about 2 minutes and you can choose which center to go to. So you can pick whether you prefer to go next to your house or office!
Register to SFI
SFI stands for Swedish For Immigrants. It is the service offering free Swedish courses for foreigners. Of course, it is up to each and everyone to choose whether to register or not. What is good to know, it that depending on the city and language level, you get between 300 and 500 hours of free classes. You can choose to go to classes either during day time (morning or afternoon classes) or evening which is great if you are working. Those classes will give you the basic knowledge of Swedish language and it is also a great place to meet other people.
My experience with the language course just here.
Register to your embassy
It does not cost anything nor time and you can probably do it online. You can get direct access to many information, and easier access to formalities. Usually embassies want their people to register if one stays in a country for at least 6 months.
I hope this is a little helpful if you are planning on moving to Sweden, or even if you just arrived to the country.