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Getting Settled – step by step

There are a number of things to consider when you arrive to a new country, and it is not always easy to know how to prioritize. Hopefully, this guide can provide you with some help along the way.

The text below is a summary of the Welcome Guide for international Staff.  Read the whole guide at some point before your arrival, you find it in the column.

Content on this site:


Pre-arrival information

Permits

Both you and your host department are key players when preparing all the necessary documents. Please contact your host department to discuss what kind of permit you need.

Keep in mind that you only get a residence permit in Sweden for as long as your passport is valid, so it might be a good idea to renew your passport. The Swedish Migration Agency is the authority that handles visas, work permits, residence permits etcetera. Accompanying partners or children may need a visa or a residence permit – this will depend on citizenship and the length of stay in Sweden.

Visit the Swedish Migration Agency's website to find out what is applicable for you

Insurances

Check what insurance cover, if any, you bring with you from your home country before coming to Sweden. Please note that we don’t have any private health insurance in Sweden and that you will need to take out private insurance for your home here and any private travel. If you are an EU citizen, be sure to take your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with you; the same goes for all your family members, who are included in the insurance for foreign visitors and must bring an EHIC card.

Read more about insurance policies at Lund University

Accommodation

Lund is a very attractive place to live, which means that there is high demand for accommodation, especially at the beginning of each semester. Therefore, we recommend that you begin to look for accommodation as soon as possible. Prepare yourself mentally that you may need to change your address more than once. And that dream apartments in the centre of Lund with a reasonable rent don’t exist.

Subletting is the most common form of renting in Lund: a person who has the lease on an apartment (i.e. not the apartment’s landlord) rents the apartment to you. It is also possible to sublet from someone who is the tenant-owner of an apartment or who owns a house.

Living somewhere else and commuting to Lund is easy, so perhaps consider living in Malmö, Helsingborg, Eslöv, Landskrona or Höör as an option? But first: contact your host department and ask them if you’re eligible to rent accommodation via Lund University.

Lund International Citizen Hub

Lund University works closely with the International Citizen Hub in Lund, an initiative of the City of Lund. The International Citizen Hub organizes Kick Start Programmes for spouses – programmes to help individuals get into the Swedish labour market and they also organize events for employees at Lund University, for example city tours and information with the Swedish Social Insurance Agency. They can also provide information regarding schools, Swedish Tax System and other essential knowledge.

Register for the newsletter from the International Citizen Hub in Lund

On arrival information

Get registered in Sweden

If you stay in Sweden for less than 366 days your host department will request a coordination number (samordningsnummer) for you from the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket). This is a form of a temporary Swedish personal identity number. Contact your host department for more information.

If you stay in Sweden for 366 days or more: visit the nearest Swedish Tax Agency office as soon as possible to register yourself as a resident. You will receive a unique 10-digit Swedish personal identity number (personnummer). The number is important in Sweden, as it is used for all official transactions, such as opening a bank account, to receive healthcare, register a car, etcetera.

Once you have received your personal identity number, you should apply for a Swedish national ID card. The ID card is helpful to have in all future contacts with Swedish agencies, healthcare, etcetera and necessary when opening a bank account. Register with the Swedish Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan). Försäkringskassan will evaluate whether you should be insured in Sweden or not. If you are insured here, you may be entitled to compensation from Försäkringskassan, such as parental leave, child allowance, sickness compensation, apply for a Swedish European Health Insurance Card etcetera.

Read more at Försäkringskassans website

Open a bank account

With a valid residence permit in Sweden, you have the right to a bank account according to the Payment Services Directive. The bank shall supply this for you immediately, in other words, you can open a bank account on your first visit to the bank, and do not have to wait for a later appointment. Please note that most of the responsibility for initiating this lies with you.

The rules are the same for all the banks in Sweden and the procedures at the banks are similar. It is completely up to you, as the customer, to choose your bank.

In order to ensure that you get a bank account as quickly as possible, we ask you to carefully read the following and the information sheet from the Swedish Bankers’ Association: Becoming a bank customer.

Read more: Guidance to opening a Swedish bank account

Credit cards and paying bills

We strongly recommend that you bring a Visa or MasterCard, as these are the most widely accepted cards in Sweden, and “Card is King” in Sweden, which means many businesses will not accept cash anymore.

Swish is a payment method used almost everywhere in Sweden. With Swish, payments are made with your phone number, which is connected to your bank account. You need a mobile BankID to use it. BankID on mobile is a service for secure digital identification and signing using the mobile phone. You don’t need a bank code chip, only a mobile phone and a custom PIN.

If you don’t have a mobile bank ID, you can apply for a Freja ID-card. It is a free, state-approved mobile e-identification. Freja can be used as a physical ID in the mobile to log in to more than 300+ services online, including the Swedish Tax Agency, the Swedish Pensions Agency and 1177.

Insurance cover

Once the insurance for foreign visitors runs out, we strongly recommend that you check your insurance cover. Even though you are eligible for Swedish healthcare benefits, it is important to have home insurance, not only for your personal belongings and travel, but also because you are responsible for any repair and replacement costs if property is damaged or lost during your stay.

If you are an EU citizen, be sure to take your Europe an Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with you; the same goes for all your family members.

Read more about insurance policies at Lund University

If you are staying in Sweden for more than 365 days, we recommend you sign up for an unemployment insurance fund (A-kassa). If you do not purchase one, you may still be eligible for compensation, but at a much lower rate. - www.aea.se. If you become unemployed, it is important to register with the Swedish Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen) on the very first day of unemployment to be able to apply for A-kassa.

Healthcare centre

You and your family should register at a local healthcare centre (vårdcentral). There are a number of centres to choose from, but they are largely similar in terms of fees and booking procedures. You’ll need to fill in a form and thereby officially choose your healthcare provider. For small children there are separate clinics (barnavårdcentral, BVC), often located within the healthcare centre.

To choose a clinic see Health care choices - 1177

Taxation

In Sweden, income taxes are almost always automatically submitted to the Tax Agency, since employers are obliged to deduct taxes from salaries paid to the employees. Every year an income tax notice will be sent to you specifying your earned taxable income. This information is needed when you fill in your tax return (självdeklarering). Självdeklarering, declaring your previous year’s income, must be submitted on paper or electronically to the Swedish Tax Agency in May every year.

You can contact help services at the Tax Agency for assistance on this matter. There are some exceptions to the regular tax system:

  • Tax relief for foreign key personnel: 75 per cent of the income for the first five years of employment. To qualify for tax relief, you should either be an “expert”, “researcher” or “other key person”, in the eyes of the law.
  • Special income tax for non-residents (SINK). This applies if you do not have a substantial connection to Sweden and you are not staying here for more than six months. This also applies if you live in Denmark and commute to work in Sweden. You will then pay 20 per cent in taxes on the remuneration and any benefits. You do not have to declare in Sweden, and you can’t make any deductions.

Pre-departure information

When leaving Sweden, remember to contact your host where you live in good time to give notice of termination of the contract, close your bank account, contact the Swedish Tax Agency and let them know you are leaving and read up on pensions. You find more detailed information in the Welcome Guide for International Staff.


Guidance to opening a Swedish bank account

This information has been compiled in cooperation with the Swedish Bankers’ Association and the Swedish EURAXESS network (32 universities in Sweden) on 20 June 2022.

What you need to open an account without a Swedish personal identity number or coordination number:

  • Residence permit (non-EU citizens), visa (if applicable).
  • Employment contract or corresponding document, showing income/equivalent and the length of your employment/assignment (from the department).
  • Check with the bank what further docu-ments is required.

What you need provide to open an account if you have a Swedish personal identity number:

  • Swedish identity card.
  • Residence permit (non-EU citizens), visa (if applicable).
  • Documentation from the population reg-ister (that you are registered with the Tax Agency).
  • Employment contract or corresponding document, showing income/equivalent and the length of your employment/assignment (from the department).
  • Check with the bank what further docu-ments is required.

Neobanks

If you do not have a Swedish personal identity number or coordination number a neobank account might be an option. Before you apply, make sure the neobank offers payment solutions that allow you to pay your bills in Sweden

Limited account to full account

A bank account opened without a Swedish personal identity number has limited features. If you receive a Swedish personal identity number, you can update to an account with more features (BankID, Swish etc). 

Once you have received the decision with your Swedish identity personal number as well as a Swedish identity card, visit the bank and change the status of your account. You must make it clear why you want this change. It is advisable to have your decisions from the Tax Agency at hand.

Report the correct account to the employer


All payments from the University are made to Nordea Bank. If you want to transfer your salary to another account, you need to fill out a change of accounts form and send it to the payroll unit. They will make sure the bank gets your new bank account details.

Leaving Sweden

If you plan to leave Sweden, remember to close your bank account. Contact your bank, make an agreement about the closing date, and inform them about any future trans-actions.

The right to an account

If you have the legal right to be in Sweden, i.e. you have a right to residence as an EU/EEA citizen, or a valid residence permit/work permit as a non-EU citizen, you have the right to open a bank account in accordance with the Payment Services Directive. Each Swedish bank can set their own routines and rules for opening an account and making sure there is no suspicion of money laundering, bribery or similar.

You can freely choose the bank of your choice. To open an account, you can visit the bank’s office. At some banks, you can open your account online.

The right to open a bank account

Banks’ right to ensure security

The bank will ask many questions to find out if you are a secure customer. Some questions might seem unnecessary and private, but it is very important that you answer all questions carefully.

Example of questions asked to prepare for:

  • What is the purpose of the account?
  • What is your main source of income?
  • What is your monthly income before tax?
  • Will you make transactions to other countries?
  • What is your citizenship?
  • Are you or somebody in your family under threat due to political reasons?

If the bank is unsure of your intentions, they may deny you an account.

The bank can deny you a bank account if

  • you cannot identify yourself according to the bank´s requirements,
  • the information you provide about why you want to open an account is insufficient,
  • the bank violates any laws or regulations by opening an account.

If you are refused to open a bank account

If the bank denies you an account, you have the right to receive written information about where you can turn with a complaint and how you can appeal the decision.

Turn to the National Board for Con-sumer Disputes (ARN) if you are uncertain:

The National Board for Consumer Disputes (ARN)

Contact

Contact your line manager or the HR officer at your organisational unit if you have any questions concerning employment or your organisational unit’s procedures for HR/staff matters.

Welcome guide

Download the folder Welcome Guide for International Staff (PDF 12 MB, new tab)

This is the complete guide including all contact information, links to various websites and other relevant information. The guide is also available in print.