Life in Sweden is difficult

Emigrate to Sweden

The Scandinavian countries are popular emigration countries for many Germans. Sweden is one of them. Most Germans do not emigrate to Sweden because they love the summer there so much. Because this is only short. Above all, they appreciate the high standard of living in Sweden. Young families who emigrate to Sweden hope that, thanks to the good range of child and school care, they can reconcile family and work better than in Germany. But of course Sweden, with its lakes, rivers and large coniferous forests, also has a lot to offer in terms of landscape. Anyone who speaks the English language can find their way around in Sweden well, because most Swedes speak English. However, if you want to consolidate yourself professionally and privately in Sweden in the long term, you should be able to speak and write Swedish.

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For whom is Sweden suitable as a country of emigration?

Certain occupational groups have good chances on the Swedish labor market. Those who have completed vocational training or a degree have better opportunities to find work in Sweden than unskilled workers. There are some companies that have already prepared to take on foreign workers. For example, employees from abroad can sometimes attend language courses that are paid for by the employer. There are also special language courses for immigrants (“Sfi-svenska för invandrare”), which the Swedish state offers free of charge.

The professions that are particularly sought after in Sweden include:

  • Doctors, Nurses and Nurses
  • dentists
  • Psychologists
  • Midwives
  • Teacher
  • Mechanic and electrician
  • Craftsmen, e.g. roofers, painters, tilers
  • Computer scientist

The Swedish Embassy tries specifically to recruit people from the professions they are looking for for their country. Further information can be obtained from the Swedish Embassy in Berlin and from the consulates.

Requirements for an unlimited visa

Sweden is a member of the European Union. EU citizens therefore no longer need a residence permit or work permit in Sweden to live and work there. You can stay freely in Sweden for the first three months. Then you have to have your right of residence confirmed at the Swedish Immigration Office (“Migrationsverket”). You will then receive a residence card. The right to stay in Sweden is tied to certain conditions so that the immigrant does not have to worry about the Swedish state. The immigrant must be able to prove that he can pay for his own living in Sweden. The following certificates are accepted:

  • an employment contract with a Swedish company
  • its own business that provides for the immigrants' livelihood
  • sufficient capital reserves with which one can earn a living or
  • as the partner of an immigrant with a right of residence or as the parent of a child under the age of 21 with a right of residence

Anyone who has a residence permit and has resided in Sweden for five years at a time can apply for Swedish citizenship at the Swedish Immigration Office. In Sweden there is the possibility of dual citizenship. So whoever accepts Swedish citizenship can also keep German citizenship.

Moving to Sweden: What to look out for

Anyone who emigrates has many things to arrange in advance. Some things can already be done from Germany. Other things are only possible on site in Sweden.

What you can already regulate in Germany:

  • Papers: When moving to Sweden, you should first de-register at the responsible residents' registration office in Germany. To enter Sweden you need valid identification papers, a passport or an identity card. The German driving license is also valid in Sweden. This applies to both tourists and emigrants. Of course, you can also have your German driver's license converted into a Swedish one. You do this at the Swedish Transport Authority ("Transport Styrelsen").
  • Pension and old-age provision: Germany and Sweden have signed a social security agreement. This means that German pension entitlements are also retained if you emigrate to Sweden. Should the emigrant return to Germany after all, he is also entitled to the pension entitlements worked out in Sweden. The Deutsche Rentenversicherung provides further information on this. In Sweden, the principle of equal treatment applies to pensions. There is a state pension that is around 50 percent of your last income. However, if you have earned very well, the actual pension can be far below that. Some employers offer their employees the option of a supplementary company pension. Of course, you can also take out a supplementary pension privately. Due to the low pension entitlements in Sweden, a supplementary pension is definitely recommended.
  • If the household effects are to emigrate with: If you want to take larger household items from Germany to Sweden, you should hire an experienced moving company. The Swedish Customs Office ("Tullverket") provides information on import regulations.

What needs to be regulated in Sweden:

  • Apartment Search: In Sweden it is more common to buy an apartment or house than to rent it. This is especially true for Stockholm and the city's catchment areas. For this reason, the rental market is also rather small. Since most emigrants are looking for their first residence in Sweden from abroad, the search is even more difficult. Here it is advisable to take the help of a broker. Otherwise there are of course websites that you can browse for suitable living space. These include: or
  • Application for a tax card: All residents of Sweden who have lived in Sweden for more than a year and who have a residence permit should have a personal number (“Personal Number”). The personal number is a kind of identification number. Your information is required on many forms. The personal number is used to pay taxes, take out insurance or, for example, open a bank account. You apply for the personal number after you have received your residence permit from the Swedish Immigration Office. The application for the personal number takes place at the tax office ("Skatteverket"). There you enter yourself in the central register of residents (“Folkbokföring”). At the tax office you will then also receive the identity card on which the personal number is saved and which you can show anywhere.
  • Setting up a bank account: In order to open an account in Sweden, you should already have a residence permit and a personal number. Otherwise the account opening will be rather difficult. There are also banks where you can open an account without a personal number, but you should not rely on it. Anyone who has already signed an employment contract with a Swedish company can also show it to the bank.
  • Health insurance: In Sweden the health system is regulated by the state. Every resident of Sweden is automatically insured with the state health insurance. Financing runs through income tax and is regulated by the provincial parliaments. However, insured persons have to pay a fee for visits to the doctor and make their own contribution for treatments. As in Germany, in Sweden there is the possibility of taking out additional insurance in order to keep personal contributions as low as possible. In recent years, many Swedes have taken out private health insurance, which is rather unusual in Sweden, in order to avoid long waiting times for an appointment with a doctor.

Guide to jobs abroad in Sweden

Book tips for emigrating to Sweden

Note: Update on May 20th, 2021 via Amazon Product Advertising API. Dates and prices may have changed. We earn commissions for qualified purchases through the affiliate program.