Sweden is one of the 4 Scandinavian countries along with Norway, Denmark and Finland and in general these nations have very similar characteristics. But there are also differences, because moving to Sweden is not the same as moving to Norway.
The country is slightly smaller than Spain, but has only 10 million inhabitants, mainly concentrated in the larger cities. The capital is Stockholm. Sweden is part of the EU, but has not joined the Euro and its currency is the Swedish Krona. The economy is in good health and the GDP is among the highest in the world.
Unlike the other Scandinavian countries, Sweden has a significant migration flow. There are currently over 1,300,000 immigrants living in the country (13% of the population). The cities with the largest presence of immigrants are located in order:
The official language is Swedish and although everyone speaks English, it is usually necessary to know Swedish to get a job. Remember that there are also free language courses that foreign citizens can sign up for with a personal number. The program is called SFI (Swedish for Immigrants). In addition, many employers pay for Swedish courses for their foreign employees.
To integrate in a foreign country, at least a basic knowledge of the language is necessary, as well as to find a job.
Move to Sweden
Since Sweden is part of the EU, EU citizens do not need a visa for stays of up to 90 days. After that, you must register with the Swedish registration office if any of the following situations apply to you:
- you are an employee
- you are self-employed
- you are a student
- you have the economic means to support yourself
If you want to enter Sweden as citizen of a country outside the EU you need a visa. A visa is a permit to enter a country and stay for less than 90 days.
Types of visa
- Tourist visa, for third-country nationals who wish to visit Sweden
- Business visa, for third-country nationals pursuing business purposes
- Family visa, for third-country nationals who wish to visit a family member in Sweden
- Sport and cultural visa, for third-country nationals pursuing cultural activities or sporting purposes
- Student visa, for third-country students who wish to study in Sweden
- Work visa, for third country nationals who have a job in Sweden
- Jobseeker visa, for third-country nationals who want to enter Sweden in search of a job
- Medical visa, for third-country citizens who wish to enter Sweden for medical treatment
You can check which rules apply to you when you are moving to Sweden, based on your citizenship.
Move to Sweden
The first document you need is the persnonumer (tax code) issued by the tax office. You will need it for all formalities. In order to obtain it, you must have a rental contract and an employment contract. If you are an EU citizen, the employment contract can be issued without the Persnonumer (PN),
Once you have the PN, you can apply for the Swedish identity card, which I recommend because many banks require it to open a bank account and many offices and businesses do not recognize foreign documents. It may be required to identify you, to buy alcohol, to smoke, to go to the club in the evening, to pick up a package at the post office, etc.
Moving to Sweden, useful resources
- Skatteverket, official government website
- Sweden, a pocket guide
- Hej! Welcome to Sweden, all the information you need to know before moving to Sweden
- Migration Agency, Swedish official website
Finding accommodation in Sweden
Finding accommodation in Sweden, especially in large cities like Stockholm, is difficult. Renting an apartment directly from the owner is almost impossible. You can find a sublet, but it takes time and effort, because the demand is greater than the supply.
Since most of the country consists of rivers and forests, most people are concentrated in the big cities, where there is a big housing shortage. If you do not want to buy a house, renting one is a nightmare. Perhaps Sweden is the worst country in the world when it comes to finding housing.
There is indeed really cheap housing, financed by the state. But with twenty-year waiting lists.
This leads to the development of a completely out of control secondary market and skyrocketing prices.
Finding housing in Sweden’s largest cities: Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmoe is a challenge. It can take years to rent an apartment first hand. Therefore, most people are forced to sublet.
If it’s possible, it would not be a bad idea to move to a smaller city where it’s easier to find housing and where social connections are also easier. In any case, as in almost all countries, the first solution is a shared apartment.
Move to Sweden, job search websites
- Blocket, (classifieds site, in Swedish but you can also post ads in English)
- Bostadsportal, (in Swedish)
- Hyrabostad, (in Swedish)
- Bostaddirekt, (in English)
- Hyrenbostad, (in English)
- iRoommates, (in English)
Move to Sweden conclusion
In Sweden, costs are higher on average for:
- food, (especially fresh fruits and vegetables)
- entertainment (restaurants, cinemas, etc.)
- personal services (dentists, hairdressers, etc.)
Rental costs, on the other hand, vary greatly by city and region. Keep in mind that in a city like Malmoe, the cost of housing is similar to Copenhagen or Rome.
Solar radiation changes depending on latitude, so even within Sweden there are significant differences between different areas. In any case, during the long gray and dark winters, it’s good to exercise, get outdoors, maintain social relationships, and take vitamin D.
In summary, I would say that acclimating to Swedish life and weather is not so easy and immediate, but ultimately the ease of adjustment depends mostly on your personality.