It feels like it is ages ago that I moved out and left Resi in Leipzig. I moved away from Leipzig to Stockholm. It is now Resi's Leipzig and no longer our ... I will spend the next years in Stockholm for my PhD. As exciting as it is and as much as I love the city, there are a few things that you have to get behind to start living here without worries 😉
So here I will share my experiences what has to be done where and how to leave the bureaucracy behind as fast as possible. I can also say that I have done better with some things than with others.
- Personnummer - without that one you are nothing
- health care system - how long will it take?
- Swedish ID card - more important than expected
- Waiting for a flat
1. personal code number or Personnummer
Without that number, nothing works in Sweden. You need it for everything, at least it feels that way and as my professor said, when I got mine, "Now you finally start to exist". So, do not push to got o the office to long, you will not get around this number, when you will stay for a longer time and work in Sweden. The mills of the bureaucracy turn slowly and sometimes, they get stuck.
Checkout where the closest office of Skatteverket is and spend an hour for ordering the card. If you already have a contract for working, as I had, take it with you or a confirmation that you will get a job. That will make things easier. And you will need a flat or address. You do not have to live there, but a friend or someone you know should, this way you get all the important letters. You can change the address as soon as you get the number quickly online.
If you are already at Skatteverket, ask for the form you have to hand in for the health insurance, this way you save one go and can send that letter as soon as you get your Personnummer. The mills of the health insurance turn really slowly, 6 months slowly, until then you need to save all the recites form the doctors if you need one.
2. Health insurance
As soon as you have the number, as mentioned, send the form to the following address:
839 88 Östersund
and then make a cup of tea and wait. I called after three months, still "working on it".
The friendly guy at the other end of the telephone line was very confident that everything will turn out well for me. The European insurance card is still not here, which I kind of need when I go to a doctor outside of Sweden.
Update January 2019: The "nice" guy didn't write anything down... not that nice. I called again on a Friday and that woman was great. She sent out a certificate about the insurance the same day and on week later I had my EU health card. Nice to know, press 8 to speak to a english speaking person on the hotline!
3. Swedish ID card
Next step, you can sign up for an appointment at Skatteverket again to get a Swedish ID card. That one you need for using the Bank ID (ID on your smartphone to identify yourself online) and when you get a package from a station they ask you for that because they need to put in your Personnummer, and on the ID it says your name and your number. The process worked easy and fast with the appointment. I filled in a form, got my height measured, got a picture taken and was allowed to walk off. A week later I got a message that I could pick my new ID up. Also that worked easy and fast.
Before you go to the appointment you need to transfer 400SEK to Skatteverket, you cannot pay at Skatteverket. All information about that are described here. I used an App for that to be able to transfer exactly 400SEK without paying an horrendous fee at my German bank.
4. Housing queues
When you move to Stockholm it is time to get in line for the possibility to get a cheaper flat. In Sweden, most people own the apartment they are living in. If you come from somewhere else and do not know where to buy, or maybe just don't have the money for buying you will spend some time to find a rental flat. Especially, when you stay for 1-2 years, it really is an issue in the beginning. One way to find a nice and payable flat are these waiting lines, you kind of need at least a year of waiting days to get a flat, but better a small chance then none at all.
The principle is easy, you sign up, collect days and then compete with your number of waiting days for a flat. The earlier you sign up, the better. One of the most famous organizations is byggvesta.se. They have flats in different areas of the city and different in size. Maybe close to your working place. For students, the student housing SSSB is one of the best choices. Same principle, you wait and collect days as long as you are a student. You only can live in these flats, as long as you are a student. You can collect 3 months of days before being a student, then you need to hand in a proof. The proof you get from the Student Unions, become a member and you also get the student discounts for public transport.