Important Things You Should Know Before Moving to Sweden

Stockholm Sweden

Written by Bernadine Racoma

February 15, 2021

Thinking of moving to Sweden? Who can blame you? Sweden is a wonderful place. The people are kind. The public services are excellent, and the work environment encourages people to strive for a good balance between life and work. Moving to a new country is a major decision, so it is best to know the important things you should consider before moving to Sweden.

Immigrating to Sweden?

Immigrating to Sweden is not easy, and you have to know a list of important things to ensure that your move is smooth.

It is more difficult to move to Sweden if you are not an EU citizen. It is easier if you are moving to study, which requires another type of permit. But for most people, they will have to secure a work permit, but you should have a firm job offer before you can do so. However, it is easier said than done because Swedish companies are required to make job offers to EU and Swedish citizens first.

Although it is still possible for a non-EU citizen to apply for a self-employed permit, the strict requirements make it difficult for most people to apply. Likewise, you have to prove that you have access to financial resources for the business. You should prove to the authorities that there is a demand for your product or service. Further, you should show them that you already have built a network within the country to merit consideration.

Other important things to know

There are some other things you need to know about Sweden.

  • The cost of living is high. Likewise, finding a home is difficult, and renting a home or apartment can be expensive. You need to learn the concept of first and second leases.
  • Sweden has a housing shortage.
  • Winters in Sweden are cold, dark, and long. The darkness can be disorientating, particularly if you’re from a country without winter or at winters with the sun still shining.
  • To establish residency, you need a work permit.
  • Taxes in Sweden are very high.
  • Opening a bank account depends on where you come from. If you’re a non-EU resident, your bank account will be subject to restrictions until you can get a tax account number.
  • You should learn the language.

Do I need visas and work permits for migrating to Sweden?

Yes, you need a visa and work permit if you want to migrate to Sweden. The length of waiting for immigration approval varies. You can either get a visa within months or a year at the most. The requirements here apply to non-EU residents.

To get a work permit, you should have a firm job offer. The requirements are as follows:

  • Valid passport
  • A firm job offer that complies with the terms that are standard for the particular job or from the Swedish collective agreements.
  • The job offer should have a monthly salary of about $1,480 equivalent before taxes, or a salary that is commensurate to the position.
  • The job offer includes social security, life insurance, and health insurance.
  • Proof of accommodation in Sweden and document stating that you will leave Sweden after the expiration of your employment contract.
  • Your employer complied with the requirements before offering the job to you.

Applying for a work visa

You can apply for a work visa online or visiting the Swedish embassy in your country.

You should receive the employment offer. Your employer should submit a written job offer, which must be approved by the relevant trade union. Aside from the job and salary offer, it should include the length of the employment contract, as it will be the basis for the visa’s validity.

The first part of the visa application starts with your employer, who will lodge the application for you with the Migrationsverket (Swedish Migration Agency). Your employer will need your email address, date of birth, education, and citizenship information.

You will receive an email instructing you to start your application in your country. You need two sets of documents – one for the work permit and the other for the residence visa. For the work permit, you need a copy of your passport, job offer, and trade union statement.

Pay the cost of the work permit. Approval of the work permit varies, so be prepared to wait.

Temporary and permanent residency permits

When you apply for a temporary residence permit, here are the following documents you need to submit:

  • Copy of your passport
  • Job offer from a Swedish company, with the salary offer
  • Proof of social security, life insurance, and health insurance from the employer

With the temporary residence permit, you can live and work in Sweden. The temporary residence permit should be renewed every year.

Applying for permanent residency is allowed if you have lived in Sweden continuously for five years and you can show proof that you were employed during those five years. Submit a filled out application form No. 138011, which is only available in Swedish, to the Swedish Migration Agency. This should be together with a copy of your legitimate travel document, approved residence permits for five years, proof that you were able to support yourself and people with you during those years. Approved proofs include certificates of employment, evidence of assets with a bank, pension, or statements of declared income.

You should be able to convince the authorities that you intend to live and work in Sweden for many years. Complete all the requirements and pay the permanent residence fee.

How long does it take to immigrate to Sweden post-COVID-19?

Right now, the Swedish government temporarily restricts the entry of foreign nationals who are not from Switzerland, the EU, or EEA. Even those who already have a visa/work permit/residence permit will have to wait. As of this writing, the ban will remain in effect until March 31, 2021.

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