• 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 Here, ‘papers’ have been replaced by plastic cards and the key to almost every aspect of life in Stockholm is your own personal string of numbers.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
Swedish WW2 soldier buried 70 yrs after death
Vetlanda church. Photo: Karin Thuresson

Swedish WW2 soldier buried 70 yrs after death

A Swedish soldier has been buried 70 years after he died fighting with Finland against Soviet troops during World War Two. Remarkably, his sister was still alive to attend the service. READ  

World's first limousine snowplough for hire
Håkan Andersson's limousine snowplough. Photo: Haga Limo

World's first limousine snowplough for hire

A businessman in central Sweden is advertising what he claims is the world’s first Hummer limousine snowplough for hire on Blocket, Sweden’s version of eBay. READ  

Breastmilk drug could fight resistant bacteria

Breastmilk drug could fight resistant bacteria

Swedish researchers may have found a solution to the growing resistance to antibiotics in the most unlikely of places — breastmilk. READ  

Video
Swedish baby wins TV fame in US
A screenshot of Alma and Maja before the collision from America's Funniest Home Videos

Swedish baby wins TV fame in US

A Swedish baby and her King Charles Spaniel scored more than three million views on America’s Funniest Home Videos in just one day, after the baby's father sent a video of the then six-month-old being bowled over by the puppy. READ  

Royal couple blames tax woes on identity theft
Princess Madeleine and Chris O'Neill in December 2014. Photo: TT

Royal couple blames tax woes on identity theft

Chris O'Neill, the British-American banker married to Sweden’s Princess Madeleine, has admitted to having had problems over unpaid US taxes, explaining that he had been the victim of identity theft. READ  

Up to four subs feared in Stockholm waters
An enlarged look at the mystery sighting of a suspected submarine in the Stockholm archipelago in October. Photo: TT

Up to four subs feared in Stockholm waters

Sweden’s armed forces now estimate that as many as four submarines were operating in the Stockholm Archipelago in mid-October, the country’s Dagens Industri (DI) newspaper reported on Saturday. READ  

Sweden mulls ticket controls for jihadis
The war in Syria and Iraq has attracted many young Swedish Muslims. Photo: STRINGER/Scanpix

Sweden mulls ticket controls for jihadis

Sweden could introduce controls over airline ticket sales and border crossings as part of a new anti-terror strategy aimed at preventing citizens going abroad to fight for extremist groups. READ  

'Frozen' hanging woman died 'climbing fence'
The fence in Norrköping where the woman was found hanging. Photo: TT

'Frozen' hanging woman died 'climbing fence'

A woman found hanging dead on a fence in Norrköping, about one hour south of Stockholm, was pierced by razor-sharp spikes, but probably ended up there 'by accident', police have concluded. READ  

Sweden's first LGBT pool makes a loud splash
Sweden's first LGBT swimming pool. Photo: Sundbyberg Stad

Sweden's first LGBT pool makes a loud splash

The first swimming pool in Sweden designed for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people is making waves in the Swedish media, ahead of its official opening next week. READ  

Princess Madeleine 'not involved in any debt'
Princess Madeleine at the Nobel Prize ceremony in December 2014. Photo: TT

Princess Madeleine 'not involved in any debt'

Sweden's royal family has strongly denied claims that Princess Madeleine's husband Chris O'Neill has debts in the US, saying the US tax authorities 'made a mistake'. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Society
Meet the 'beggars' buttoning up immigration critics
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden this week
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Princess Madeleine through the years
Features
Learn Sweden's bizarre dating lingo
People-watching: January 21st - 22nd
Gallery
People-watching: January 21st - 22nd
Blog updates

23 January

Editor’s blog, January 23rd (The Local Sweden) »

"Happy Friday from The Local’s team in Stockholm. We can’t wait for the weekend, when we’re planning..." READ »

 

14 January

Adjectives and nouns (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hi there, The other day I got a question about combining adjectives and nouns: When you have a..." READ »

 
 
 
Lifestyle
'Life as a Swedish candy-maker is sweet'
Society
Why Sweden's viral 'genital' video is getting an English remake
Gallery
IN PICTURES: January snow snaps
National
Why does Sweden's Luleå have a giant ice beaver?
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Who are Sweden's richest one percent?
Business & Money
How a classic Swedish snack got a revamp for 'busy' Stockholmers
Lifestyle
The Local's top Swedish acts for 2015
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's Årets Bild photography prize winners
Business & Money
'I met my Swedish man in Tokyo's first Ikea store'
Gallery
Property of the week: A cozy apartment in Bromma, Stockholm
Gallery
People-watching: January 17th - 18th
Lifestyle
How to make Swedish gravad lax
Lifestyle
Four hot Swedish home design trends
National
How The Local's video on a strange Swedish sound went viral
Gallery
People-watching: January 14th
National
The Local's guide to Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Politics
Paris attacks: Knock-on effects in Sweden and across Europe
National
Swedish Muslims react to new Charlie Hebdo magazine
National
The Local talks to Sweden's Home Affairs Minister about Paris attacks
Business & Money
Will Spotify launch on stock market after users rocket?
Accelerated
Texans and Swedes to play ice instruments
Gallery
Property of the week: An 18th century mansion in Stockholm
Business & Money
'Snowboarding drew me to work in chilly Sweden'
National
Are Sweden's royals moving to London?
National
How Sweden's Charlie Hebdo rally broke a winter protest record
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Princess Madeleine through the years
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Stockholm's 'no pants' subway day 2015
Gallery
People-watching: January 10th - 11th
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Stockholm holds Charlie Hebdo rally
National
Have you seen Sweden's viral children's 'genital' song?
National
Mother of 'Superman' victim warns of ecstasy drug trend in Sweden
National
Are wolves on the loose in the Swedish capital?
Gallery
People-watching: January 7th
National
Stockholmers discuss why they joined global Paris shooting vigils
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's reaction to Paris magazine shootings
National
The best Swedish songs of the month
National
Ten Swedes who made a lasting impact on the United States
National
The Local meets northern Sweden's frozen Roma beggars
Sponsored Article
Everything you need to know about moving to Stockholm
Sponsored Article
How to jump-start your career in southern Sweden
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

1,104
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
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