Moving To Sweden For Expats – that will be the topic of today’s article.
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Are you trying to tick off “Sweden” off your travel bucket list? Perhaps moving to Sweden has to do with seeing the royal palaces for yourself? If only you could step down the plane with your luggage of Nordic attires and a mind full of the do’s and don’t of the Swedes.
But right now, here you are, with zero guides on how to move to Sweden as an expat, however, worry less, your goal of being a Swedish expat lies in the detailed information this article is going to provide.
Aside from its beautiful traditional attires as popularly seen in movies depicting an 80s vibe, Sweden is a hub for foreigners to explore its aesthetic nature, stunning architectural designs, and unique cultural arts.
However, with the coronavirus pandemic, there are certain restrictions placed in some Sweden locations, thus as an expat, your covid-19 certificate should be among your travel essentials to gain you access into the country.
So, are you ready to explore the country of royal palaces and monuments? This article has got you covered with the right guide to make your move to Sweden a smooth flight. Let’s get you Swedish.
What to Know Before Moving To Sweden
Moving to a foreign country goes beyond knowing the best diners or fun places to visit. There is necessary information needed to equip yourself for easy relocation. Hence, let’s dive into the mini details to know before moving to Sweden.
- Sweden’s capital city is Stockholm
- The currency is Swedish Krona
- The official language is Swedish
- The total population is 10.23 million
- Expat population includes 900, 000
- The biggest cities in Sweden are Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmo
- Dialing code is +46
Since we’ve established the mini information about Sweden, let’s dive into the major details you need to know before moving to Sweden as an expat.
1. Get your Swedish Visa
Applying for a Schengen Visa for Sweden depends on your reason behind the relocation. The process behind acquiring a visa for schooling or work differs. However, the general guide to applying for a Sweden Visa as an expat includes;
- You will need a travel and medical insurance
- Proof of your accommodation.
- Purpose of your move to Sweden.
- Proof of your financial stability.
However, since Sweden falls under the EU countries, these rules exempt EU Nationals. Thus, if you don’t fall under the EU Nationals, you’d need to apply for your Visa via the Sweden Consulate in your country.
2. Know your Legal Rights as an Emigrant
Human rights, in general, is a fundamental policy in Sweden, renowned for establishing liberal rights like gender equality and lengthy maternal or parental breaks for their employees. Nonetheless, it is still necessary to research further on the European or Sweden rights of emigrants.
3. Plan your Financial Budget
Although moving to Sweden is exciting, don’t let your excitement cloud your financial judgement. Your financial stability is amongst the key elements that gets you a Sweden Visa; thus, plan your financial budget around Sweden’s cost of living, which we will dive into later in this article.
4. Learning the Swedish Language
Although the official language of Sweden is Swedish, you can learn the basic phrases if you plan on working there as it helps you relate better with your colleagues. Nonetheless, you don’t have to spend sleepless nights trying to learn Swedish as eighty percent of swedes are well versed in English.
Why Sweden is the Top Destination for Expat?
Does Sweden top your list of countries for a fresh start? Well, you’ve booked the right flight. The Scandinavian nation ranks amongst the top ten happiest countries and has the 16th highest life expectancy from birth globally.
So, what makes Sweden one of the top countries for a happy expat life? Let’s find out.
1. The Fika Culture
Fika is a Swedish culture that translates to a “cake and coffee break”; however, the Fika culture goes beyond just stocking up on caffeine; it is also a “date” like a routine that entails finding time for friends to strengthen bonds and detox from the stress of life.
What’s spells out happiness as a Swedish expat? A coffee and cake time!
2. The Cuisines
As an expat, training your taste buds to get used to cuisine can be a hassle; however, with the Swedish delicacies, your taste buds will require no getting used to. Sweden is renowned for its tasty pastries such as the Kanelbular and the Lussekatter.
3. Rapid Internet Connection
In a world of technological innovations, the internet connection is a travel necessity. Sweden hits the internet speed chart in the world as the fifth country with the fastest internet connection. Hence, you can be rest assured of a steady internet connection to help you navigate through the maps or other purposes.
4. Aesthetic Nature and stunning Destinations
The aesthetic scenery in Sweden makes it a paradise for tourists. It is a hub for nature sights such as the Stockholm archipelago, northern lights, midnight sun, the vibrant city life of middle Sweden, stunning landscapes, and coastlines in southern Sweden.
Other notable destinations include;
- The Liseberg theme park
- The Vasa museum
- The Skansen traditional museums
- The Drottningholm palace
- The Lapland ice hotel
5. The Music
From the ABBA pop group Ace of base to Zara Larsson electrifying vocals, Sweden is among the top countries with active pop music talent. Being the third-largest pop music exporter in the world, it is safe to say your playlist is going to be on repeat.
6. The Shopping Luxury
There’s no denying that shopping incites a sense of calm within the body, especially if it falls within your budget. Aside from being the home of IKEA’S founder, Sweden is known for its luxurious shopping malls with reasonable prices. Thus, you can explore stores like the Mall of Scandinavia without moving past your budget.
Understanding the Swedes
It is vital to understand the personality of the swedes to avoid awkward communications once you move to Sweden. We will list a few behavioral tips to help you understand the Swedish people; however, keep in mind that not all behavior correlates with every Swede, as people relate differently.
1. The Swedes Are Calm and Humble People
Known for their humble and egalitarian nature, the Swedes rarely exhibit negative emotions such as anger or aggressiveness, thus as an expat, if you’re naturally kind and compassionate, you’ve won the hearts of a million swedes.
2. The Swedes Are Softly Spoken
In addition to being calm, the swedes are known to speak calmly and respectfully. Rather than airing their opinions, the swedes prefer listening to others talk. So, if you are looking for someone to listen and comprehend what you say, the swedes have the perfect ears.
3. They Detest Arrogance
Lack of gratitude for a gift from a Swede or excessive talking about your achievements gives off a red light of arrogance to them. Thus, avoid being flashy or boastful as a Swedish expat.
4. They Work in Moderation
Aside from the Fika culture, the Swedes don’t fall under the “work hard” category. They believe in working with moderation and finding time in between to rest for more productivity. Due to this, the Swedish children are raised with the notion that they are all equal, thus avoiding competitions within them.
Do’s And Don’t Of The Swedish Culture
Moving to Sweden requires understanding the culture as you wouldn’t want to bring your cultural etiquettes to people who are not familiar with it. We are going to list few tips to help you understand the do’s and don’t of the Swedish culture.
1. Maintain Personal Space
The Swedes are naturally egalitarian, which makes them overprotective of their personal space, thus avoid unnecessary proximity that invades the space of a Swede.
2. Be Professional
In instances whereby you moved to Sweden for work purposes, it is necessary to maintain a firm handshake with eye contact. Avoid addressing your hosts by their first names as seen in the U.S, instead address them professionally by their titles and surnames.
3. Stay Calm in Every Situation
As stated earlier, the swedes are softly spoken, thus amid negotiations, always stay calm and collected, which diffuses the tense atmosphere, thus inciting respect for you from the swedes.
4. Be Authentic
The Swedish culture naturally gives off authenticity and expects the same from others. You don’t have to channel an inner swede within you forcefully; always be authentic and speak straightforwardly.
- Be Punctual
Tardiness is an attitude that isn’t naturally appreciated; however, the Swedish culture emphasizes punctuality regardless if it’s a business meeting, school day, or casual hangouts.
6. Dress Simple
Due to the egalitarian culture of Sweden, avoid flashy outfits or jewelry as this gives off a negative vibe of arrogance and shows off to the swedes. You can always put on your Gucci’s and Michael Kors but in a less flashy manner.
7. Always Bring Gifts During an Invite
The Swedish culture takes gifting as an important etiquette, as the swedes are naturally givers. Hence, when invited to the home of a Swede, always take gifts like flowers or chocolates if your host has little kids who might be a family member as well.
8. Maintain Good Guest Etiquettes
The Sweden culture also applies to being invited to their homes; these guest culture etiquettes includes;
- You don’t eat until your host says “varsagod,” which translates to “go ahead, or here you are”
- Keep your hands on the table in view while eating
- Always keep the knife in your right hand and the fork in the left
- Don’t leave leftovers on your plate as the swedes consider uneaten food to be a rude gesture
- Show gratitude for the food and invitation before leaving
National Public Holidays in Sweden
Planning your big move to Sweden should also incorporate a list of Swedish holidays and traditions. If there’s one thing Sweden is known for, it’s the emphasis on celebrations and relaxations, and we’ve got you covered on these holidays.
Kraftskiva Crayfish Party
Kraftskiva was created as a result of crayfish popularly eaten in the 1500s. The crayfish party, usually celebrated in the half of August, entails wearing funny bibs and paper hats while sucking on crayfish with schnapps and beer on the side.
As the Easter date isn’t fixed, the Swedish Easter holiday is celebrated on a Monday in April. This holiday has children dressing up as Easter witches, obtaining sweets and Easter eggs in a door-to-door visit.
Walpurgis Eve is celebrated on the 30th of April and entails large bonfires lit in the evening accompanied by songs to mark the end of winter and welcome the arrival of spring.
The Sweden midsummer celebration is celebrated on a Friday of the last week of June. This celebration entails raising wreaths on a pole, picking flowers, and the women wearing adorned midsummer flower crowns.
Sweden’s National Day
Celebrated on the 6th of June to commemorate the election of Gustav Vasa as king, the Swedes wear blue and yellow to dominate the day and celebrate New Swedish citizens as well.
Other National holidays include; St Lucia day, Nobel day, Studenten, Christmas, and New year’s Eve.
Cost of Basic Living Necessities in Sweden
As stated earlier, before moving to Sweden as an expat, you’d need to acquire a Schengen Visa that requires your purpose of moving, proof of your accommodation, financial subsistence, and a residence permit if you plan to stay more than 90days.
Thus, we’ve put together the cost of living necessities in Sweden like food, apartment, and transport to help plan your financial stability before moving.
Sweden cities like Stockholm and Gothenburg are known to have expensive living utilities, especially accommodation. However, we’ve put together the prices of housing in Sweden.
|One-bedroom apartments in the city||12,000 SEK|
|One-bedroom apartments in rural areas||10,000 SEK|
|One-bedroom apartments in the city||4 million SEK|
|One-bedroom apartments in rural areas||1-2 million SEK|
Buying your groceries in bulk and being your own chef will help you save money as a Swedish expat. As cities like Stockholm and Gothenburg are notably expensive, you can opt for supermarkets out of town as they are cheaper.
|A loaf of bread||30 SEK|
|A liter of milk||12 SEK|
|A pack of eggs||15 SEK|
|Meal for two in the city||2000 SEK|
|Meal for two in the suburbs||700 SEK|
|Hot dog||20-55 SEK|
|Bottle water||20-30 SEK|
|Cup of coffee||20-40 SEK|
|A can of soda||10-20 SEK|
|A 33cl bottle of beer||60- 90 SEK|
Transportation in Sweden is of good value with extensive modes of movement at reasonable prices.
|Stockholm subway||37 SEK|
|Gothenburg subway||30 SEK|
|Malmo bus||30 SEK|
|Rental car||400-600 SEK|
The cost of other basic utilities include;
|Electricity/ Gas||700 SEK|
|Internet connection access||350 SEK|
Education in Sweden
Being the biggest city and capital of Sweden, Stockholm holds more schools than any other city. As an expat, if you’re moving to Sweden for schooling purposes or a family member of yours, it is best to know that the Sweden school system made education compulsory for children aged 7-19.
The education system consists of public, private, and international schools; the public school is free for all students and strictly follows the Swedish syllabus. Most expat kids opt for private or international schools as they are flexible with their syllabus and teach English; however, the downside is that they are expensive.
European Union students are exempted from paying tuition; however, if you are a non-EU student, you’d need to pay tuition or apply for scholarships in either college of your choice. Stockholm University is known to have great scholarship offers for students.
Jobs in Sweden
Moving to Sweden as an expat will require getting a job to keep up with the expensive cost of living in the country. Although the labor market is competitive in Sweden as most of the Swedes speak English, the work environment in Sweden is pleasant and less stressful.
Employees are allocated 40 hours of a working week, with a 25 days leave, exempting public holidays. Due to the swedes egalitarian nature, the employers are less strict and always carry their employees along on every decision.
However, getting a job in Sweden as a non-EU expat can be complicated as you’d require a work permit before obtaining a visa, and the only way to get a work permit is by getting a job.
Thus, before making your big move down to the country of coffee breaks, do extensive research on job vacancies and perfect your CV to earn you a spot in either of the Swedish workplaces.
Jobs niches available in Sweden include; healthcare, education, science, construction, engineering, and ICT fields. You can also check the Swedish public employment service or the Arbetsformedlingen for job vacancies.
Healthcare System in Sweden
Being familiar with the Swedish health care system is crucial before moving to Sweden. As other life utilities differ for EU and Non-EU expats, the similar way the health care system also differs.
The country’s healthcare system covers every medical care, including home-based treatments. This is less complicated for EU/EFTA nationals as they only require their European health card, whereas Non-EU expats need to apply for private healthcare insurance.
Once you’ve settled and gotten a job in Sweden, you can register with the Swedish tax agency to save you money on healthcare bills. Although most healthcare services are accessible in Sweden, the primary medical services cost 100-220 SEK.
However, healthcare services in Sweden depend on your county or region of residence. For instance, some counties offer free medical services to children and teenagers.
You can visit your county’s website for healthcare information and hospitals that are within proximity.
- 112 is the number for emergencies
- 1177 is the number for medical advice
Banking in Sweden
Managing your finances is probably one of your top priorities as an expat moving to Sweden. The majority of the cash transactions in Sweden require a credit card; hence, opening a bank account should be on the to-do list once you touchdown Sweden.
Opening a bank account in Sweden includes formalities such as; visiting the tax agency to apply for a personal number which is your identity number, obtaining your Swedish ID card, a work permit, or a letter that confirms your employment in a company and your address.
Once you’ve acquired the above documents, you can head to any Bank of your choice to open an account. You can research online for local banks like Nordea bank, Swedbank, etc.
Keep in mind that the banking hours in Sweden are limited; hence you’d want to opt for a bank that’s closer to your residence or workplace.
Crime Rate in Sweden
Sweden is a safe place to take a soothing stroll at night in your neighborhood. Aside from petty theft and pickpocketing, primarily reported in high traffic areas, Sweden is a low crime threat location.
Weather in Sweden
Picking out outfits for your big move to Sweden should also include seasonal weather outfits. Although the weather in Sweden differs in each region, the winter season lasts from November to February while the summer season lasts from June to August.
The summer season is the best time to move as an expat, as the temperature settles around 20-30 degrees; thus, the best season to tour the beaches and archipelagos.
Sweden also has heavy rainfall seasons which last from July to August, most times this rainfall clashes with the summer season hence, don’t forget to include your rain apparels in your luggage.
Although the cost of living in Sweden is expensive, but that shouldn’t make you forfeit your Swedish dream. The above guide to being a Swedish expat will help you live comfortably and take advantage of the opportunities in Sweden. Nonetheless, follow this platform for more updates regarding Sweden travel and more.