If you are partial to the Nordics, then you will have most likely thought of heading up to Sweden. This country is the home to Malmø, Gothenburg and, obviously, Stockholm. It’s the country that brought the world ABBA, Spotify, Ikea, Swedish meatballs, Volvo & PewDiePie. The country is known for its clean streets, successful welfare and a high percentage of non-religious people. Sweden is synonymous for a tolerant group of people that puts each other first and not large corporations or institutions. It’s no wonder that Sweden is part of the shortlist when people think of immigrating — that is if you can stand the colder winters.
Residency or Citizenship
By estimation, there are currently 20,000 British citizens living in Sweden without a Swedish passport. With the impending Brexit happening, there is a lot of confusion and scramble to ensure you can stay in the country. As in most countries, EU countries will have more lenient rules amongst themselves than they have for non-EU countries. There are basically two scenarios. The first one would be to apply for citizenship after five continuous years of legal residency in Sweden. The other option is to have lived with a Swedish citizen for two years, who themselves have lived in Sweden for three years.
In terms of housing, Sweden can be quite a challenge. There is quite a housing shortage, especially if you are planning to move to a city like Stockholm. It’s advised to explore options early on and look at different scenarios. In most cases, expats will have to think of renting apartments as their way of securing a home. Rental prices are quite competitive, and the standard of housing is exceptionally high.
There is some admin involved with moving to Sweden, especially when it comes to getting a personal number (a personnummer) which is your own identification that is used for pretty much everything. This will probably be one of the first things to sort out, but be aware you will need things such as a job (or job offer) from a Swedish company, evidence you can support yourself (i.e., bank statements), a health insurance in place (Sweden does provide universal healthcare for EU citizens under EU law, but obviously Brexit arrangements can alter this for UK citizens), and proof of residency. Sometimes it might feel like the old ‘chicken and egg’ process, but persevere, and you’ll get through it.
That personnummer will come in handy once you want to apply for a Swedish bank account, which isn’t that hard at all, you just need to make sure you have the right documentation. And although Swedish people are excellent at speaking English, it does help to learn the language to get the finer nuances. For example, who would have known if you were looking for a payday loan to fund a temporary finance gap, that it is called a Swedish SMS lån? There are plenty of language courses you could attend, even online ones. The best way to learn the language, however, is to immerse yourself and surround yourself with some Swedish locals. They love to test their English (again, which is excellent) but would love it, even more, to teach a foreigner their language! Before you know it, you will know more than pronouncing the name of a famous furniture chain, meatballs and that famous Swedish footballer.