How to Move to Sweden
I was living in the Philippines when I got a job offer from a company in Stockholm. The process of moving to Sweden is straightforward and usually, your employer will help you with the relocation.
Moving abroad can be intimidating. It feels like you have to start over in another country, learn the culture, learn the language, and many more. This process can be easy, as long as you prepare in advance.
You can move abroad in different ways. But, this post will focus on how to move to Sweden and my experiences with the process. This varies on which country you want to move, but some of the steps in this guide are specific to moving to Sweden.
How to Move to Sweden
- Secure a job or apply to a Swedish University
- Renew your passport
- Apply for a Residence Permit
- Prepare your exit clearance – Philippines
- Contact your local bank
- Find an accommodation
- Register as a resident
- Open a bank account
- Get a life/health insurance
- Join the Union and Social Insurance Agency
Before I move to Sweden, I watched videos on YouTube about people moving to another country. I read a lot of blogs about their experiences and tips.
I also read a lot about Sweden, so I know what to expect and avoid culture shock. Also, I know for a fact that the Philippines and Sweden are different from each other.
I’ve never experienced snow, and I have no idea how to deal with 4 weather seasons. But, eventually, I got accustomed to the weather, and I love how cold it is now. I’m not sure if I’m going to say the same thing about winter, though!
The hiring process took me two months, and the overall process from applying for the visa to moving to another country could take two months if everything goes well.
It was fast, right? But, don’t relax yet because there are too many variables that could change the estimated time. I hope that this guide could help you prepare better.
Secure a job or apply to a Swedish University
If you are a non-EU citizen, you can stay in Sweden for more than 90 days if you got a job in Sweden or if you are admitted to a university. You can also move to Sweden if you plan to start up or run your own business.
I will talk about this more in #3.
I am able to move to Sweden because I got a job offer so my employer initiates my work permit application.
It’s easy to find jobs on this website because you can filter it by location and position. I prefer Glassdoor because I can easily see the reviews, salaries, and benefits in the company. Plus, you can save your searches and receive notifications for new job posts.
This is where I found the company where I am working.
I didn’t use Linkedin Jobs much, but this is also where you can find jobs. It’s the same with Glassdoor where you can see reviews, salaries, and benefits in the company. Make sure to read the job details because some of the job posts are outdated.
I stumbled upon Jobbatical when I helped my friend look for a job. This should be your go-to job hunting site because most of the companies here offer visa sponsorship. It’s pretty straightforward: when you open the job details, you can see if the company offers visa sponsorship or not.
If you know the companies in the country of your choice, visit their website, and read more information about working with them. Most of the companies already indicate on their website if they help with the relocation or visa sponsorship.
If there’s no relocation information, don’t lose hope! Just submit your resume and hope for the best!
Hiring process in Sweden
With the technology, interview over Skype or any communication tool is possible. That’s why it’s also possible to get a job or start with the hiring process without going to that country. It took me only two months before I got an offer.
- Technical exam (if you are applying for a technical position)
- Interviews over Skype
- Onsite interview
- Job offer! ❤️
I know you are wondering about the onsite interview!
Yes, it means your employer will ask you to travel to Sweden for a face-to-face interview!
My employer invited me for the onsite interview in the office and I stayed in Stockholm for 3 days. The onsite interview will also let you get a feel of what it is like in Stockholm during your stay.
Unfortunately, my onsite interview was in November so the weather wasn’t really good then!
During the onsite interview, you will also have a meeting with HR to have a discussion about the relocation process. This means you are really going to move abroad soon!
Tips when applying for jobs in Sweden
- Use a one-page resume.
- Update your CV according to the CV style in the country you’re applying to.
- Avoid applying in summer or during the Christmas season. Work is slow during that time, and people are usually on vacation.
- Research on the working style in that country.
- Respond to emails as fast as you can.
- Learn more about life in that country.
- Prepare to answer the question: Why do you want to move to ______?
Renew your passport
As I have mentioned in step #1, you need to have a residence permit. This permit has a validity of maximum 2 years, and it can never go beyond your passport’s validity.
If your passport will expire in a year, I suggest that you renew your passport first before applying for a residence permit.
Apply for a Residence Permit
If you are a non-EU citizen and you want to move to Sweden or stay in Sweden for more than 90 days, then you need to apply for a residence permit.
You can be granted a residence permit if,
- You have an offer of employment in Sweden (work permit)
- You must be admitted to a university (student visa)
- You want to start up or run your own business
If your employer can help you with the relocation, then you don’t have to worry about the visa application. Your employer can hire a third party that processes your visa application and relocation itself.
Regardless if you have someone to help you with the visa application, still try to research too so you’ll get an idea of the entire process. I’m lucky that the process in Sweden is easy and straightforward.
How to get a work permit in Sweden
- You must have an offer of employment.
- Your employer initiates the application.
- Enclose the following documents:
- Power of Attorney to represent you
- Filled-out application form (this is 4 pages only, and it only contains information about yourself and previous employment)
- If your family/spouse/partner is applying with you, you need to provide more documents
- Pay and submit your application
- Biometrics for residence permit card*
- Receive your decision
You can find more information in the Migrationsverket website.
How to get a Residence Permit card
If you are granted a work permit of more than 3 months, then you will receive a residence permit card. This will serve as your visa to Sweden (and in Schengen area). The process is different if you are from an EU country. I’m going to elaborate only on the process for non-EU.
If you don’t need a visa, you can apply for a residence permit card upon arrival. You only need to show a copy of the decision to the immigration upon arrival. Then, you can book an appointment for your biometrics.
NOTE: Book as early as you can because it’s difficult to find a slot especially in Stockholm.
If you need a visa, you need to have a residence permit card first before traveling to Sweden. This usually takes up to 4 weeks before you get your residence permit card.
- Contact the embassy in your country, and confirm if you could have your photograph and fingerprints taken. If not, then they’ll suggest you contact another embassy. For Filipinos, our photograph and fingerprints can be taken in the Swedish Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand.
- There’s no need to book an appointment; you can go to the embassy as soon as possible.
- Wait for up to 4 weeks; they will send you an email if your residence permit card is ready for pickup.
- Previously, it can be delivered to the Swedish Embassy in Manila. But, unfortunately, they changed the process, and you need to go back to Bangkok again to pick up your residence permit card.
If you already have this, then you’re good to go and get ready to live abroad!
If you are a Filipino, and you’re leaving from the Philippines, you need to do more for the exit clearance.
If you are not, then skip to step #5.
Prepare your exit clearance – Philippines
It depends on where you are from, but if you are a Filipino and you’re leaving the country on a work permit, then you need to secure an OEC.
The OEC or Overseas Employment Certificate serves as your exit clearance in the immigration. This ensures that you are properly documented and protected in case something happens to you in your host country.
And, of course, POEA is so proud of this, you will be exempted from paying the travel tax and the airport terminal fee.
Contact your local bank
To be able to use your debit or credit cards abroad, give notice to the bank and inform them about your move. It’s better to keep your account open too. I still have some bills to pay back home, and that’s where I transfer my money from Sweden as well.
Before leaving your home country, you should consider opening an account with TransferWise. It is a borderless account that comes with a free debit card.
TransferWise a great tool for sending and receiving money internationally with low fees — much cheaper than using your local bank. You can also get your own local bank account details in Europe, UK, US, Australia, and New Zealand with the TransferWise Borderless account.
Find an accommodation
Most companies provide free accommodation for a month until you find a place to stay. Don’t make the same mistakes I did; grab that free accommodation and do not sign any contract unless you are 100% sure of your arrival.
It’s difficult to get an apartment in Stockholm. You don’t need to live in the city center because almost every place is accessible by the metro, commuter train or bus.
This is my first apartment in Stockholm and I lived there for more than a year.
Where to find an apartment in Sweden
First, research about the housing situation in the country. It’s difficult to rent (long-term) an apartment in Stockholm, but you can easily buy your own apartment if you have the money.
If you want to buy, you can look for an apartment or villa in these sites:
If you want to rent, you can check these sites:
The first-hand contract is an agreement between the owner of the building and the tenant. People who want to have an apartment in Stockholm are usually in the queue for up to 10 years or more.
The rental cost is way cheaper, and you can stay in the apartment for how long you want. The downside is the waiting time.
This contract is an agreement between the tenant and the person who has a first-hand contract. It is costly because the rent is usually at least twice the supposedly monthly cost. I also found out that some people who sublet their apartments put up their apartments as much as 4x than usual.
Also, it’s difficult to find a long-term contract. You’ll be lucky to get at least a one-year contract.
I created a more detailed guide on how to find an apartment in Stockholm. Beware of the scams, and only pay your deposit once you confirmed that the apartment is available and after signing a contract.
I know looking for a place to live at in a new country is difficult. Take your time and research properly so you won’t get scammed.
In the meantime, you can book short-term apartments in Airbnb. If you don’t have an account yet, you can signup on my link so you can get a discount on your first booking.
Register as a resident
Before anything else, register as a resident. In Sweden, the Skatteverket or Swedish Tax Agency is responsible for national tax collection and administering the population registration.
You need to prepare some documents:
- Residence permit card
- Employment contract
- Filled-out questionnaire
Once your application is approved, you will get your personnummer or personal identity number.
Get a Swedish ID
In Sweden, they only accept a passport, Swedish driver’s license, and a Swedish ID card as a valid ID. In some cases, only the Swedish ID card is allowed. Once you received your personnummer, you can now apply for a Swedish ID that costs 400 SEK.
Open a bank account
Once you have a personnummer and Swedish ID, you can now open a bank account without any problems. Aside from that, you can also apply for a credit card. More importantly, you can have a BankID and Mobile BankID.
BankID is often used to almost all sites as a login. It is Sweden’s more secured way as an identification.
You can also open a Swish account which is a mobile payment used in Sweden. It is convenient since you only need to have the person’s mobile number to send money.
In case you don’t have your personnummer or Swedish ID yet, you can still open a bank account. This is what I did when I first arrived here. I visited the bank and explained that I need to open a bank account so I could receive my salary. I only provided my passport, residence permit card, and employment contract, then I got a bank account for payroll.
Read about the information the bank requires from you when you visit a branch.
Get a life/health insurance
Aside from getting yourself insured during your stay in your country, insurance is also one of the requirements of the migration agency once you apply for an extension of your work permit. If you got a job in Sweden, you don’t have to think about this because your employer will provide that for you.
Join the Union and Social Insurance Agency
You might find this unnecessary, but it’s better to have more insurances. Being part of the union gives you more security with your job. One of the benefits of the union is income insurance (a-kassa) where you can get up to 80% of your income when you become unemployed.
- Register in the Swedish Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan). This is government-owned and you can get a lot of benefits such as European Health Insurance card, pregnancy benefit, care for a sick child (VAB), and a lot more!
- Register in a trade union. I am currently registered with Unionen.
- Get unemployment insurance. I am currently registered with Union
I still have a long way to go! As people always say, it takes two years to finally settle in another country! At first, I thought that it was too long, but I was wrong. I feel like I could only settle properly if I could speak Swedish already, and if I survived winter for the first time.
I hope this post gives you an idea of how to move abroad. You should also read what I love about living in Sweden!