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The essential insurance many foreigners in Sweden forget to sign up for

The essential insurance many foreigners in Sweden forget to sign up for
Making sure you sign up for this important insurance could save you thousands of kronor. Photo: Emelie Asplund/imagebank.sweden.se
When moving to Sweden, a lot of the paperwork is mercifully simpler than in many places – at least once you arrive. But one crucial insurance can be easily missed, and can end up costing a lot if you fail to apply.

The Swedish Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan) is responsible for providing a range of benefits and allowances, including sick and disability pay, child allowance, and many other forms of social security. 

In order to receive these benefits, you need to be insured in Sweden. You don’t pay anything for this insurance, but you do need to actively apply to be completely covered.

Some benefits are linked to your employment. Work-based benefits like sick pay, parental benefit, and injury compensation are available to people who work in Sweden – employees, self-employed people, and contractors are all insured for these.

Other benefits are available to everyone legally resident in Sweden, regardless of whether you’re working, but only if you sign up with Försäkringskassan.

This includes child allowance, parental benefit at the basic level, income support for the elderly, and several other benefits. 

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You need to register with Försäkringskassan to be eligible for dental care subsidies in Sweden. Photo: Simon Paulin/SvD/TT

One important one is dental care.

You will be eligible to receive medical care in Sweden on the same terms as Swedish citizens as soon as you are registered with the Tax Agency and have a personal identity number, personnummer (non-EU citizens should arrange insurance to cover them before this point).

But for dental care, you need to register with Försäkringskassan in order to be eligible for Sweden’s dental subsidies.

Dental care is free of charge for people under the age of 23. After this age you are required to pay, but are entitled to an annual subsidy depending on your age, as well as high cost protection which means you never pay above a certain amount for dental care in a given year.

So how do you apply?

If you move to Sweden together with a child (aged under 16), the agency should contact you once you have registered with the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket) and received your personal identity number. 

But for people moving here without children, you need to actively register with the agency – simply having your personnummer is not enough. It is important to do this as soon as possible after the move. Even if none of the benefits are relevant at the time when you move, it’s a key step just in case something unexpected happens.

One reason for that is that registration is not automatic. In fact, the process can take several months, and you are not insured during the waiting time. 


Registration is not automatic, and can take several months. Photo: Gorm Kallestad/NTB Scanpix/TT

Once you have got either a residence permit or have registered with the Tax Agency, you can register either online at forsakringskassan.se, if you have Swedish BankID, or by sending off a form, which you can find in English here. You will need to provide copies of your permit or, if moving from an EU/EEA country or Switzerland, proof that you are no longer covered by social insurance in that country. 

If you are not able to be added to the population register, for example if you cannot prove that your stay will be over a year, you should still apply either online or via the same form, and the agency will check if there are any forms of compensation you may still be eligible for.

When you register with Försäkringskassan, you can also apply for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) at the same time. The benefit of this is that when you travel within the EU, you will be eligible for the same healthcare at the same prices as local residents. 

If you become eligible for a benefit, for example if you need long-term sickness compensation or are expecting a child, you will need to let the agency know by either filling out a form or using the My Pages section of the website to apply for that compensation.

The exception is the dental subsidy, which you do not need to apply for because everyone is eligible. All you need to do is tell your dentist that you are registered with Försäkringskassan and would like to use your subsidy towards your payment.


Member comments

  1. The service from FK is appalling. Their website is badly designed, difficult to interact with and their response times completely unacceptable. I have been living and working in Sweden for 22 years (!) and during that time I have been fully insured for health and dental subsidies. Now, my EU Kort has expired and they refuse to renew it! All because I said 2 years ago that I would spend half of my time living in Portugal and the other half in Sweden. I am still registered in Sweden as a resident and I am folkbokförd here. I am a Swedish citizen, as is my wife. I am fully taxable in Sweden, and pay all my taxes here. And although I now spend less then half-year in Portugal every year, they are asking for a complete record of my working time in the UK (where I come from). Why now? I had all the qualifying attributes for receiving full access to public health services before, so why do they ask me for information which they already have? It seems like I am dealing with a really stupid person. FK seems to have no sense of customer service. In the meantime I have no valid EU Kort and don’t know when, or if, I will get one. Who can I complain to outside of FK?

  2. I faced the same issue as Tudor!
    Försäkringskassan has one of the worst online interfaces when it comes to dealing with expat residents in Sweden. When I got a job offer starting in March, I applied to be registered at Försäkringskassan. First of all, it is really difficult to find the page where you can register yourself, the page in English does not give any useful information about registration, you have to translate the page from Swedish which is not efficient. The registration was mainly so I can get dental subsidy. I filled up the form as usual giving all the details that were asked for and left the ‘other information’ part blank. 3 months later I got a letter stating that my case was closed and no action was taken since I had not mentioned which benefit I wanted to be registered for. I was also told that once I register for a particular benefit, I would be registered for all the benefits. When I mentioned that there was no place in the form to mention the benefit, they told me that I was supposed to put it down in ‘Other Information’. How is one supposed to know that without any instructions?! It has been 8 months since I originally applied and 3 months since they reopened my case when I requested that I needed dental subsidy. I have called them twice during this time, the first time I got good help and customer service from them, but the second time the representative was really rude and demeaning.
    This page needs to be better and easier to understand if it is to be inclusive of everyone living in Sweden!

  3. The interesting thing was that when I applied for personnummer at Skatteverket I actually asked if I need to go to the Försäkringskassan to apply and the answer I got was that I am insured and I do not need to contact them. 2 years later when I had problems with my teeth I got the surprise that I was not insured. Have a lot of colleagues that had the same issue. So one solution would be better online documentation.

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