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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Contact your line manager or the HR function at your organisational unit if you have any questions concerning employment or your organisational unit’s procedures for HR matters.
This is the complete guide including all contact information, links to various websites and other relevant information.
The guide is also available in print. Please contact Media-Tryck with your request.
media-tryck [at] service [dot] lu [dot] se