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Healthcare: What you need to know when moving to Sweden with children

Becky Waterton
Becky Waterton - [email protected]
Healthcare: What you need to know when moving to Sweden with children
If your child is under 6 years of age, you will need to sign them up to a child healthcare centre or BVC. Elisabeth Edén/

Sweden is often cited as one of the best countries in the world for raising children, but what do international parents need to know when planning a move here? And can your children access healthcare without a Swedish personal number?


In Sweden, there are two types of healthcare which are relevant if you have children. Children under 6 should be signed up to a vårdcentral (healthcare centre) and a barnavårdscentral or BVC (child healthcare centre). Children over 6 only need to be registered to a vårdcentral.

Your child's barnavårdscentral will be in charge of routine child healthcare services such as growth and development checks and vaccinations and can also provide support to parents via parent groups and discussions with parents about any difficulties they may be facing. Their vårdcentral will help you if your child gets ill.


Children who move to Sweden join the BVC programme when they move to Sweden. Staff will go through the healthcare and vaccinations your child has already received, so it is a good idea to bring copies of vaccination records and your child's health records to your first meeting.

How much does it cost?

According to the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen), all children under 18 years of age must be offered healthcare and dental care to the same extent and on the same terms as children living in Sweden who are listed in the Swedish population register. This does not apply to children who are considered to be in Sweden temporarily.

This means that your child is still eligible for free healthcare in Sweden on the same terms as Swedes, usually meaning you will only have to pay a patient fee (patientavgift) – between 100-400 kronor depending on your municipality – when seeing a doctor.

If you are from the EU, make sure you and your children have valid European Health Insurance Cards before you leave your home country – you shouldn't need them, but it may make life easier if you need to access healthcare.


How do I apply?

If you've recently arrived in the country and didn't have to apply for residence permits before entering, you and your family may not yet have their Swedish personnummer the 10 or 12-digit personal number linked to everything in Sweden from healthcare to gym memberships.

If you do have a personnummer, your child will automatically be assigned a BVC and a vårdcentral.

If you are still waiting for a personnummer, you should be able to call your local vårdcentral and BVC and ask for your child to be registered there under a reservnummer or samordningsnummer while you wait for their personnummer to be issued. You may need to provide documentation to show that your family are planning on staying in Sweden long-term – this could be a copy of your rental contract or an application for your personnummer – your municipality will be able to help you with this if you have questions.

This is the first article in a series about what you need to know when moving to Sweden with children. If there are any particular topics you would like us to cover next, you can always email our editorial team at [email protected]. We may not be able to reply to every email, but we read them all and they help inform our coverage.


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