• Sweden's news in English
 
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 Here, ‘papers’ have been replaced by plastic cards and the key to almost every aspect of life in Stockholm is your own personal string of numbers.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
More Swedes take to the skies for Christmas 2014
Christmas elk lights in Stockholm. Photo: TT

More Swedes take to the skies for Christmas 2014

Swedes have shown a massively increased interest in travel this year, with up to 300,000 more people taking a flight over the Christmas period compared to last year. READ  

US-Swedish newspaper archive nears completion
Photo: The American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis (ASIM)

US-Swedish newspaper archive nears completion

The Swedish-language press flourished in the US in the late 19th century as Swedes moved in, and a new project to archive and digitize the wealth of historical material is set to go live in 2015. READ  

South-East Asian tsunami: Ten years on
The wave Sweden will never forget
Tsunami "Wall of Remembrance" in Mai Khao in northern Phuket. Photo: TT

The wave Sweden will never forget

The Local looks at how Swedes are remembering the tidal wave that shook South-East Asia exactly ten years ago, leaving 543 Swedes dead. READ  

Sweden's wild carnivore population on the rise
A family of lynx. Photo: Shutterstock.

Sweden's wild carnivore population on the rise

An extensive European study has found that the numbers of carnivorous animals are on the rise across the continent, with Sweden seeing a hike in the populations of bears, lynxes, wolves, and wolverines. READ  

Swedish parties in secret election talks: report
Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson. Photo: TT

Swedish parties in secret election talks: report

The government and opposition parties are reported to be conducting negotiations in a bid to avoid government chaos, putting the new March election in doubt, according to a media report. READ  

Swedish police warn of migrating elk herds
An elk, known as a moose in northern America, crosses the road. Photo: TT

Swedish police warn of migrating elk herds

Police in northern Sweden have urged holiday motorists to be careful after reports of unusually large herds of migrating elk. READ  

My Swedish Career
Meet the Italian sketching a new Swedish future
Filippo Vanzo. Photo: Private

Meet the Italian sketching a new Swedish future

For this week's My Swedish Career, The Local chats to Filippo Vanzo, a freelance illustrator who started to picture life in Stockholm after meeting his Swedish girlfriend online. READ  

Icy roads as Swedes head home for Christmas
Photo: TT

Icy roads as Swedes head home for Christmas

The Swedish weather agency has issued a warning for icy roads across the country as many city-dwellers head out to the countryside for Christmas. READ  

Bomb blasts rock Malmö's Rosengård
Photo: TT

Bomb blasts rock Malmö's Rosengård

Police suspect that a rental dispute is behind a twin explosion which rocked the area around Ramels Väg in the Rosengård area of Malmö over the weekend. READ  

Romanian beggar lands bumper lottery win
Photo: TT

Romanian beggar lands bumper lottery win

A Romanian man who slept under a bridge in a Swedish city and lived by begging recently landed a 210,000 kronor ($27,000) lottery win after buying a ticket on impulse, saying he now wants to build himself a house. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Society
Video: The best & worst of Swedish Christmas
National
Second baby on the way for Princess Madeleine
Gallery
People-watching: December 20th - 21st
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: December 18th to 25th
National
'Unprecedented' Russian activity: Armed Forces
Blog updates

22 December

A Tale of Three Cities (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Today I am pleased to welcome a guest blogger on my blog, Sir David King, The..." READ »

 

19 December

-t or no -t? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! There are many things in the Swedish language that can give you a grey hair or two,..." READ »

 
 
 
Society
Interview: The Local chats with Melinda Gates
Society
VIDEO: Stockholmers try out some Swedish tongue twisters
Society
Eight things to do when it gets dark in Umeå
National
Inside Sweden's first 'light therapy' school
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching: December 17th
Estelle through the years
Gallery
Princess Estelle through the years
Society
Why are there so many 100-year-olds in one Swedish town?
Society
Is it time to better celebrate Sweden's diverse identity?
Gallery
Property of the week: Huddinge
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
National
CATCH UP: Russian plane in Baltic near-miss drama
Lifestyle
How my compass drew me to Sweden
National
The man whose memory you need to remember
Gallery
People-watching: December 13th - 14th
Sponsored Article
How to get your own office anywhere in the world
Politics
'Our party will stand alone': Stefan Löfven
Society
The Local chats to Ruben Östlund, director of Golden Globe nominated Force Majeure
Lifestyle
Ten things to know before a Swedish party
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: December 12th to 19th
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The 2014 Nobel Banquet
National
The Local's guide to the Nobel Prizes 2014
Education
Introducing... Education in Stockholm
Society
The Swedish Christmas market with a twist
Lifestyle
Why do so many Swedes have tattoos?
Society
Get 20% off Swedish Christmas decorations
National
Dewani family: We only heard half the story
Business & Money
Business in Stockholm: 'efficiency is money'
Gallery
Property of the week: Östermalm
National
Meet the Swedes hosting festive feasts for 'lonely' guests
Gallery
TIMELINE: Swedish honeymoon killing murder trial
Gallery
People-watching: December 7th
Gallery
IN PICTURES: What's it like to fly planes in Sweden?
National
Submarine hunters 'robbed' of reward cash
National
The Local's Countdown to Christmas
National
'Dangerous' USB charger recalled in Sweden
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's King and Queen wrap up France tour
National
Analysis: Should Snowden get asylum in Sweden?
National
Swedish schoolboy in female saint role row
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's political crisis unfolds
Sponsored Article
SIS: the thinking behind globalised learning
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Family life in Stockholm
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

828
jobs available
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
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