11 Things to Know Before Moving from Canada to Sweden
Sweden can be marked as the offspring of nature. The people of Sweden love to spend time nature. It is a country made up of thousands of islands, beautiful lakes, snow-capped mountains, northern lights, and dense forests. Sweden has a strong economy and a vast majority of Swedes speak English. Sweden is said to be the 18th safest country in the world which makes it a perfect place to move to from Canada. Before moving to Sweden, there are some things you need to prepare. Here’s 11 things you need to know before moving from Canada to Sweden.
1. First Steps When Planning a Move to Sweden
How can I move from Canada to Sweden?
Sweden is quite strict on the number of immigrants it allows every year, making it quite difficult to move there. As one of the more affordable Scandinavian countries, it has become quite popular amongst foreigners. Unlike most European countries, Swedish Resident Permits must be issued prior to your arrival in Sweden. There are various permits that allow you to move to Sweden, the following are some of the most popular. For more information on all types of Resident Permits for your move to Sweden, visit the Swedish Migration Agency’s website.
To move to Sweden for work, it is mandatory to have an official job offer prior to your arrival. After you have secured work, you will have to get a work permit. The work permit process is initiated by your employer. Once your employer has initiated the process and you have received a confirmation email, you can then begin applying for the work permit.
To join a cohabiting partner, your spouse or if you are planning to marry or become a cohabiting partner, you must apply for a resident permit. The relative you will be joining must have sufficient funds and a proper accommodation. To apply for a resident permit to join your family in Sweden and for more information on the whole process visit the Swedish Migration Agency’s website.
Resident Permit for Studying and Researching
If you are planning to study in Sweden for more than 3 months, you are required to apply for a Resident Permit. To apply, you must have received confirmation of acceptance from a school in Sweden. You must also show proof of sufficient funds and have applied for health insurance. To apply for a Resident Permit to study in Sweden and for more information on the whole process, visit the Swedish Migration Agency’s website.
2. What should I look for in an International Moving Company?
Shipping your belongings to Sweden takes about 10-15 days by plane and around 30 days by boat. You can easily ship your items from Canada to Sweden by plane or boat, but make sure the moving company you decide on is reliable. So when opting for an international moving company, here’s what you should look for:
- Insurance is included (ask what’s included)
- Rates are not extravagant (compare with other companies)
- They have many Google reviews that are over 4 stars.
- Customer service and transparency is their priority.
3. Car Shipping to Sweden
Unless they have significant emotional attachment to their car, most Canadians choose to leave their cars behind when moving to Sweden due to the elevated shipping and import fees and the long vehicle inspection process. If you must absolutely ship your car to Sweden, here are the steps to follow:
- Get various quotes from the best car shipping companies. A trusted car shipping company will have insurance, good reviews, and will make customer service their priority.
- Choose the port of departure.
- Choose the port destination.
- Prepare the car by cleaning it and emptying the tank to ⅛ full or you may have to pay a fee upon arrival.
*Ask your chosen car shipping company for additional requirements.
4. Currency in Sweden
The euro is not used in Sweden. Sweden uses the Swedish Crowns/Krona or also known as the SEK or Kr. Swedish crowns are divided into 100 öre just like in Canada 1$ is divided in 100 pennies. The bills come in 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000. The coins come in 1 SEK, 2 SEK, 5 SEK and 10 SEK. You may find it hard to spend your cash money as a lot of places in Sweden don’t accept cash. Make sure you always have a credit or debit card on hand.
5. Language in Sweden
What language is spoken in Sweden?
Everyone in Sweden speaks Swedish (Svenska). You will rarely hear Swedish people speaking English to one another, but most of them do speak English fluently.
Do I have to speak Swedish to move to Sweden?
Sweden is one of the few European countries that do not impose language laws. So no, you don’t have to speak Swedish to move to Sweden, but it will help you integrate better and form a deeper bond with the locals.
6. Healthcare in Sweden
Sweden has a universal healthcare system that is paid by its citizens and residents through taxes. While their system is universal, it is not entirely free. There are some fees to pay when using the health system, but these are very low. As a Canadian foreigner, once you have registered with the Swedish Tax Agency, you will be eligible for the same healthcare services that Sweden’s citizens receive. Eligibility for registration with the Tax Agency is only available to permanent residents who move to Sweden for legal purposes like work or studies. If you are coming to Sweden for work or studies, you will most likely be eligible for access to the health system after a certain period, but in some cases you may not be. If you are not eligible for the health system, it may be mandatory for you to purchase private health insurance. See section below on private health insurance. Each case is different, which is why we suggest you contact the Swedish Migration Agency for more information or visit their website.
7. First Steps to Take When Arriving in Sweden
Get a Personnummer
It is important to get your Personnummer at your local Swedish Tax Agency Center (Skatteverket). This number will allow you to access the healthcare system, open a bank account, and much more. To find your local Tax Agency Service Center visit the Swedish Tax Agency’s website.
Register for Benefits
Right after getting your Personnummer, you have to register for benefits at with the Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan). This registration will allow you to access basic healthcare, parental benefits, insurance payments and more. To begin your registration process, click here.
Get an ID Card
You will need your ID Card for many important things like opening a bank account. If you don’t open a bank account you won’t be able to make many purchases as most Swedish shops only accept bank cards. Get your ID Card as soon as you can at your nearest Tax Agency Office.
Driver's License in Sweden
You can drive in Sweden for up to 12 months with your valid Canadian driver’s license. Sweden is very serious about safety when it comes to driving. In fact, they have some of the lowest driving mortality rates on the planet! After 12 months, you will have to undergo a theory and a practical driving test. These tests have to be taken with the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket).
Open a bank account in Sweden
Opening a bank account in Sweden is a must because most shops only accept bank cards. To open your bank account you will need your ID Card and your Personnummer. Popular banks in Sweden include Nordea Bank, SEB Bank, Svenska Handelsbanken AB, and Swedbank.
8. Housing and Renting in Sweden
How to find a house or apartment in Sweden
With the increasing population in Sweden, cities have become more packed and it is therefore harder to find houses and apartments. As soon as you see one to your liking, contact the owner to discuss further so that it doesn’t slip away. Websites like Samtrygg or Blocket.se can help you find an apartment for rent in Sweden. To buy a home in Sweden, find a realtor or look on websites like Hemnet or Fastighetsbyran.
Energy in Sweden
When renting in Sweden it is very common to find places that already include utilities like water and heating. You will most likely have to sign up with your local Energy company even if water and heating are included in your new place. To know the company that operates in your area, visit Nätområden. You will then need to sign up online with your local Energy provider. For more information on how Energy works in Sweden, click here.
Cell phone and internet in Sweden
The Internet in Sweden is quite rapid. The prices are similar to Canada with 100 Mbps of Internet going for around $65-$75 CAD per month. Some of the most popular internet companies in Sweden are Bahnof, ip only, ownit., and Telia.
Cell phone service in Sweden is of a high quality, so you will be able to get cell service almost anywhere unless your in a small town far away from the city center. Make sure your phone is unlocked prior to your arrival in Sweden so you can quickly buy a Swedish SIM card or get a contract at with your provider of choice. Some popular cell phone providers in Sweden include Comviq, Tele2, Telia, and Telenor.
9. The Essential Insurance Coverage in Sweden
Private health insurance in Sweden
If you are not eligible for access to the universal healthcare system in Sweden, you may need to purchase private health insurance. Private health insurance is also beneficial as it can help you to avoid the long wait times to see a doctor. Some of the popular private health insurer’s in Sweden are If, Allianz, and Skandia.
Home insurance in Sweden
Home insurance is not mandatory in Sweden, but it is very useful in case of an accident. Some of the popular choices when choosing home insurance in Sweden are Trygg Hansa, Folksam, and Hedvig.
Car insurance in Sweden
Car insurance is mandatory in Sweden. Third party liability coverage is the minimum amount of coverage required. Sweden takes road safety very seriously, it is very safe to drive in Sweden. Some of the popular choices when choosing car insurance in Sweden are Länsförsäkringar Stockholm, Folksam, and aktsam.
10. Cost of living in Sweden
The cost of living in Sweden is lower than in other Scandinavian countries. The average cost of living in Stockholm is $3750 CAD per month for a couple.
Cost of living for a couple in Stockholm
Rent for 1 bedroom apartment
Utilities (gas, water, electricity, phone, internet)
Entertainment (eating out & other)
Insurance and Healthcare
Other (transportation, material goods)
11. Tips for Buying Groceries in Sweden
Groceries in Sweden are so much cheaper than in other Scandinavian countries that many people from Norway and Finland come there just to shop for food. Many of the affordable grocery stores like Lidl make it easy to stay within your budget. Other Swedish big grocery chains like ICA, Coop, and Hemkop have a range of items at reasonable prices too. The grocery stores in Stockholm and Gothenburg tend to be more expensive. Unlike its neighbors, Sweden’s grocery stores are open on Sundays which is a big plus.
What to Expect from your New Life in Sweden?
Moving from Canada to Sweden will be a great experience and you will fit right in, especially if you learn Swedish. In July, a lot of stores close down for vacation, so maybe plan a visit back to Canada during that time. Expect to call everyone by their first name and don’t wear your shoes in someone’s house! Most people in Sweden are outdoorsy, so be prepared for a lot of hikes with your new friends and colleagues. Want to know more about moving from Canada to Europe? Check out our article on the Things to Know before Moving from Canada to Europe.
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