• Sweden edition
 
Presented by Stockholm Business Region
Introducing... ID cards and permits in Stockholm
You want one of these. Photo: Skatteverket

Introducing... ID cards and permits in Stockholm

Published: 29 Jul 2014 14:53 GMT+02:00

I’m moving to Stockholm. The lifestyle, the nature, the opportunities - I can’t wait. Just one small thing: how do I avoid all the bureaucracy nonsense?
 
Bureaucracy? Avoid it? Are you sure you’ve thought this move through?
 
Sure I have! But my brain cramps up at the thought of queuing at local authority offices and persuading public officials to sign this and stamp that.
 
Well, there’s obvious news and good news. The obvious news is that there is no way of avoiding the bureaucracy. Life is so complicated in Stockholm if you’re outside of the system that you really have no choice but to be in it.
 
So what’s the good news?
 
The good news is that the route into the system is incredibly efficient and involves very little in the way of papers, queuing, signatures and stamps. Here, ‘papers’ have been replaced by plastic cards and the key to almost every aspect of life in Stockholm is your own personal string of numbers.
 
My friend, I am not a number. I am a roaming citizen of the world. I am a living, breathing human being whose life cannot be distilled to a series digits. I’m a free spirit, I float with the wind, I ...
 
Let me stop you right there. That’s all very inspiring but it won’t get you a place to live, insurance, a bank account, healthcare, gym membership, a mobile phone, internet connection, TV licence, or a school place for your kids. 
 
But these numbers will? So what are these mysterious, magical numbers of which you speak?
 
I’m talking about the ubiquitous personal number. Stockholm is a highly digital city, with the vast majority of public and commercial services being managed online. Your personal number is a unique identifier that connects everything, dramatically reducing bureaucracy and processing times. 
 
At first some foreign residents are uncomfortable with their lives being held in a database but they...
 
Yeah, yeah, never mind that. I want one of these numbers. NOW. How do I get one?
 
Hold your horses. The personal number is the penultimate step at the end of an application process whose elements depend upon where you come from.
 
To summarize in a sentence, you need a work permit, a residence permit, registration with the tax agency, a personal number and an ID card. In that order. If you’re from a country in the EU/EEA (or Switzerland) then you don’t need to worry about the permits. Freedom of movement is yours!
 
I’m happy for my European friends. Truly. But how do I get a work permit?
 
First you’ll need a job offer - before you come to Sweden. There’s a fee for the application (and extension) and various rules about the period for which the permit is valid. Once you’ve been working for four years in Sweden you’ll be entitled to a permanent residence permit, but in the meantime you’ll need the temporary version for you and your family that will come with your work permit. 
 
And then I register with the tax agency, right?
 
Right. If you’re planning to be in Stockholm for more than twelve months, have a valid residence permit and can show that you can support yourself, then you need to get yourself in the ‘population register’. The tax agency will help you with that and will then furnish you with your own 10-digit personal number. Memorize it. 
 
What? Do I have to memorize yet another random string of digits? I have a terrible head for numbers. 
 
Relax. The first six digits are simply your date of birth. So there are only four more numbers to remember. Think of it like your own personal PIN-code. You can do it. And if you have kids, remember theirs too. 
 
I'm still not sure I'll manage to remember this new Swedish number. If only there was a handy reminder I could carry with me...
 
Well, you're in luck. The final step in your integration into the Swedish system is getting your Swedish ID card from the tax agency. You’ll use your ID card in many situations, such as buying booze (if you’re blessed with youthful looks), opening a bank account or hiring a car. And your personal number is printed right there on the card in case you need a reminder.
 
So where do I start?
 
With some proper advice from the good people at the City of Stockholm, a job offer and some serious memory exercises.
 
This article was produced by The Local in association with Stockholm Business Region.

For more stories about Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
'Sleepy' politicians seek free gym pass
Sleepy man photo: Shutterstock

'Sleepy' politicians seek free gym pass

A Social Democrat in Eksjö municipality in central Sweden has called for tax-payer funded gym passes to help prevent local politicians from falling asleep during meetings. READ  

Sweden's wolves set for winter cull
Photo: TT

Sweden's wolves set for winter cull

Some 40 wolves, around one tenth of the country's population, could be shot this winter after two Swedish counties set quotas for the upcoming hunt, prompting criticism from conservation groups. READ  

UN criticises Sweden's 'prison' children
The UN says Sweden's young offenders should spend less time alone. Photo: TT

UN criticises Sweden's 'prison' children

The way Sweden treats children living in detention centres has been strongly criticised by the United Nations Committee against Torture, which also suggested some young offenders had experienced violence by police officers. READ  

Sweden economy shows unexpected growth
Sweden's economy is growing slowly. Photo: Shutterstock

Sweden economy shows unexpected growth

Sweden's economy expanded slightly more than expected in the third quarter of the year, according to statistics published on Friday. READ  

Russians intercept Sweden navy 'love texts'
Staff on HMS Vinga and HMS Ulvön are linked to the scandal. Photo: Flickr/V-P Kivimäki

Russians intercept Sweden navy 'love texts'

Private messages sent between staff on two Swedish navy boats who were having an affair have been published in Russia, after a group of radio geeks intercepted the signal used to transmit the texts. READ  

Row over line-up at Sweden's biggest festival
Robbie Williams will headline Sweden's biggest music festival in 2015. Photo: TT

Row over line-up at Sweden's biggest festival

This week Robbie Williams was announced as the headline act at Bråvalla - one of the largest music events in Scandinavia. But the British star has proved a controversial choice for the three day festival in southern Sweden's Norrköpping, which takes place in June 2015. READ  

Swedish shoppers embrace 'Black Friday'
The Swedish Trade Federation said that three times as many companies in Sweden were staging Black Friday deals in 2014 compared to last year. Photo: AP/The Canadian Press/Justin Tang

Swedish shoppers embrace 'Black Friday'

More companies in Sweden are rolling out the imported American shopping phenomenon known as 'Black Friday' by slashing prices for post-Thanksgiving purchases. READ  

Skanska quits South America over corruption
File Photo: Gorm Kallestad/TT

Skanska quits South America over corruption

Swedish engineering giant Skanska has decided to pull out of the South American market after being dragged into a corruption scandal involving the Brazilian oil major Petrobras. READ  

Jobs and immigration cost Moderates election
Former Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt exits the stage after the 2014 election loss. Photo: TT

Jobs and immigration cost Moderates election

Sweden's Moderate Party slumped at the polls on election day as it lost the jobs, welfare and immigration debate, according to the party's post election analysis. READ  

Swedes cook up win at culinary world cup
Chefs at work:Shutterstock

Swedes cook up win at culinary world cup

Sweden claimed two gold and two silver medals at the culinary world cup in Luxembourg this week, which features over 100 teams from around the world competing for gastronomic greatness. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Lifestyle
What's On: November 27th - December 4th
Lifestyle
How to make Swedish potato and fish gratin
National
Would you use this app to find a job?
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's biggest music festival, Bråvalla
Lifestyle
Five magical Swedish winter markets
Blog updates

28 November

St Andrew’s Day and the Way Forward for Scotland (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Sunday is St. Andrew’s Day – Scotland’s national day. It was great to be in Edinburgh this..." READ »

 

28 November

Editor’s blog, November 28th (The Local Sweden) »

"Happy Thanksgiving to our American readers and warm wishes to the rest of you lucky subscribers. We..." READ »

 
 
 
Lifestyle
Top ten Swedish Christmas presents
Sponsored Article
SIS: the thinking behind globalised learning
Imagebank Sweden
Society
Decorating your home for Swedish Christmas
Lifestyle
VIDEO: How to stay stylish in Sweden in November
Gallery
People-watching: November 26th
Sponsored Article
How to get your own office anywhere in the world
National
'I'm a Swedish 'expat' in my home country'
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Family life in Stockholm
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's 2015 Eurovision hopefuls
Gallery
Property of the week: Rosengården
National
'Racist' Black Pete party scrapped in Sweden
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's Christmas gifts through the years
Lifestyle
'I'm spreading Japan's 'cute' culture in Sweden'
National
Ebola: Sweden's leading expert speaks
National
Why this Swedish rabbi is facing death threats
National
Fears up to 300 Swedes fighting with Isis
Lifestyle
How to make Swedish mulled wine
Gallery
People-watching: November 22nd - 23rd
Society
What's on in Sweden: November 20th to 27th
National
How to boost your career in Skåne, Sweden's south
Lifestyle
How an Umeå museum is rewriting Swedish history
National
Timeline: Julian Assange sex allegations
Lifestyle
Five unique backpacker hostels in Stockholm
National
Bones show off Sweden's history
National
What new word are Swedes voting on?
National
Why African Swedes are angry about Santa's helper
National
Pine, tar, and tinder: flavours from the north
Gallery
Selfies, solidarity and Hillary Clinton: Stefan Löfven on tour
Gallery
People-watching: November 19th
Society
Why are international professionals leaving Sweden?
Business & Money
Meet the Swedes who made suits for The Hunger Games
Technology
'I'm among the first Swedes with a microchip'
National
What is Sweden doing about bird flu?
Gallery
Property of the week: Eriksberg
National
Vecka45: Sweden's most innovative week
Gallery
In Pictures: The clubs and loves of Sweden's Sven-Göran Eriksson
Society
What's On in Sweden: November 13th to 20th
Gallery
People-watching: November 16th
National
Driving (expats) home for Christmas?
Lifestyle
Make your own Swedish pea soup
Politics
"Totally unacceptable": Defence Minister on Stockholm submarine
Sponsored Article
The best options for oversea transfers
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

835
jobs available
Swedish Down Town
Consulting & Productions

We are an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish authorities, Swedish language practice, and general communications.
Call 0731 004 781 or visit:
swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business. If you want to stop, we can help.
Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
aa-europe.org/sweden
The Local Spain is hiring!
The Local is seeking a new editor for our site in Spain to join our growing team of internationally-minded, driven, ambitious and clued-up journalists.
Details and how to apply
Counselling and Psychotherapy in English
Sometimes living in another culture can cause stress, confusion and feelings of sadness and loneliness. Talking to a professional psychotherapist/counsellor might help you. I am a UKCP Reg. psychotherapist. My practice is in Södermalm, Stockholm.
Contact me to discuss your options