Looking to relocate to Sweden and are not sure what to expect or where to even start? Start here!
Before moving to Sweden
If you are looking at living in Sweden for a long period of time, then you must have a visa that allows permanent residency. The most easiest way to get a visa is to have a relationship with a Swede. You must prove that you have a relationship with pictures and receipts, but if it is obvious the visa will be processed fairly quickly. Simply take your Swede to the nearest Swedish embassy and ask them what steps you need to make in order to move and live in Sweden. They will give you an application you must fill out, and you will need to go in for an interview. Don’t fret, the process is fairly easy and once we sent in all of the paper work, my visa was processed in 6 days!
If your significant other is not Swedish, the process becomes a little bit harder. You need to have a job in Sweden that is willing to help sponsor you. You can look for employment online, such as the Europa official job website.
After you have your job offer you are ready to get your work permit! Simply go to the local Swedish consul or apply online. Sweden.se has a great step by step guide on how you can move to Sweden with a new job.
After relocating to Sweden
Welcome to Sweden! So you have your visa, your bags are packed and you arrive in your new home. What are the next steps you need to do?
The next step is you must go to the Skatteverket (Swedish Tax Agency) and register for taxes. While taxes aren’t fun, they do provide for a lot of the services you will end up using in Sweden. And you can’t do anything until you register anyway, so it is a must!
After you report to the Skatteverket you will get your personal number, which is like a social security number. You will need a personal number to do basically anything in Sweden, including opening a bank account, starting a business, or borrowing a book from the library. So make sure you get this as soon as possible – it will make your life easier!
Out of work? The Arbetsförmedlingen, the Swedish unemployment office, is a great resource of those without a job and looking for one in Sweden. They offer counseling for the unemployed, including a free job couch that will help you find a job. My job couch was great – helped me look for types of work I could do, showed me where I could search for jobs, helped me write my CV the Swedish way, and helped me prep for interviews. In no time I had an amazing job! And I know if I’m ever out of work again I can go to the Arbetsförmedlingen for more help. Check their website for your local Swedish office.
If you have moved to Sweden and do not speak Swedish, do not fret! SFI (Svenska för Invandrare) is available for all foreigners that relocated to Sweden. You can check their website or your local university about where SFI is near you.
The course is for speakers of all languages and education levels, and students can go at their own pace. However, be aware that if you do sign up the course will be about 3 hours a day for 4 days a week. It takes a lot of time, but if you are good with languages you can go through it quickly (I studied Swedish a tad before moving and finished the basic course in 2 months). There is no time limit on the course, and the requirement to finish the course is a test which covers listening, reading, comprehension in Swedish and is finished with an oral conversation. Once you leave the course you will not be fluent in Swedish, but you will be able to communicate and survive.
For those of you that want to continue learning Swedish there are other courses, usually with the adult education facility in your area. Be aware, from my experience these courses are a few less hours but are still 4 days a week.