Want to know what to do when arriving in Sweden?
1. Get a residence/work permit
2. Register with the Tax Agency
The most important requirement as a new resident is to register with the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket). This registration process (folkbokföring) ensures you’re added into the system for tax collection, personal identification, marital status monitoring, mailing address information and insurance purposes.
By registering with the Tax Agency, you will be assigned a unique personal identification number, 'personnummer' (similar to the British National Insurance number).
Your legal identity in Sweden hinges on this key number and it is used for everyday official tasks such as opening up bank accounts and getting paid by your employer.
Apply for a Swedish ID card, you will need it for almost any interaction with the government agencies, healthcare and many other services.
Bringing your things?
3. Find a home
Get started on finding a home as soon as possible, especially if you’ll be living in a big city like Stockholm, Gothenburg or Malmö.
You can rent ‘first-hand’ or ‘second-hand’ in Sweden. First-hand (första hand) means you sign an agreement with the owner of the building, while second-hand (andra hand) means you sign an agreement with someone who owns the apartment or has a first-hand contract on the apartment.
In the big cities, obtaining a first-hand contract generally requires several years of queueing.
For second-hand contracts, there are many dedicated accommodation websites. Most ads are in Swedish, but you will find some in English too.
If you are moving to Sweden as a student, check first with the university you will be studying at. Some universities provide guaranteed housing for international students, but not all. Most universities have some kind of accommodation service available.
4. Get an ID card
Once you’ve received your identity number, obtaining a Swedish identity card (identitetskort or ID-Kort) from the Swedish Tax Agency is a logical next step.
A Swedish ID card is your primary form of identification around the country. It is used for opening bank accounts, using credit cards, picking up packages from the post office, and at doctor's appointments – naming just four examples.
5. Open a bank account
6. Find a job or start a business
If your residence permit also allows you to work in Sweden, you should consider registering with the Swedish Public Employment Agency (Arbetsförmedlingen) to get help with looking for the right job for you.
If you want to start your own company (eget företag), you will need to obtain an F-skatt (the ‘F’ stands för företagare – entrepreneur) status through the Tax Agency for tax purposes. You can also choose to register your company name through the Swedish Companies Registration Office (Bolagsverket).
Verksamt.se is a useful website if you want to start a business in Sweden.
8. Learn Swedish
Don’t wait until the previous steps are completed. Begin today!
A basic understanding of Swedish will make it easier for you to find your place in Swedish society. Once you have a Swedish personal identity number, you can sign up for free Swedish courses arranged by the government programme Swedish for immigrants (SFI).