What to know before your move from Canada to Sweden

7 Things to know and do before moving from Canada to Sweden

Featured in this article


Before making the move from Canada to Sweden, there are necessary things to know and do. Sweden welcomes you to a natural wonderland, featuring stunning landscapes with thousands of islands, lakes, snow-capped mountains, the captivating northern lights, dense forests, and vibrant Swedish cities.

Beyond its breathtaking nature, Sweden, often referred to as “The Land of the Midnight Sun”, boasts a robust economy. Sweden is a good place for Canadians who speak English because many people in Sweden also speak English, which makes it easy to talk and fit in. Moreover, Sweden’s reputation as one of the safest countries in the world adds to its appeal, making it an ideal choice for those desiring to move to Europe.

Moving to Sweden: Everything to know and do

What to know before your move from Canada to Sweden

1. First steps before moving to Sweden

Visa requirements

Securing a residence permit is typically the first step in the process. The Migration Agency of Sweden (Migrationsverket) is responsible for all matters related to immigration, visas, permits, and citizenship.

How can I move from Canada to Sweden?

Moving to Sweden can be challenging due to strict immigration quotas, but it’s an attractive option for many because of its affordability among Scandinavian nations. Unlike many European countries, Swedish Resident Permits must be obtained before your arrival in Sweden. Several types of permits are available, including work permits, study permits, permits for family reunification, Swedish citizenship, and more. For comprehensive information on all types of Resident Permits for your move to Sweden, visit the Swedish Migration Agency’s website.

Work Permit

To work in Sweden, you must first secure a job offer before your arrival. Your employer will initiate the work permit process, and once you receive a confirmation email from them, you can proceed with your work permit application.

Joining Family

If you plan to join a cohabiting partner, spouse, or intend to marry, you must apply for a residence permit. The person you are joining should have adequate funds and suitable accommodation. For more details on applying for a residence permit to join your family in Sweden, visit the Swedish Migration Agency’s website.

Resident Permit for Studying and Researching

If you intend to study in Sweden for over 3 months, you must apply for a Resident Permit. Ensure you have received acceptance from a Swedish school, provide evidence of adequate funds, and have health insurance. For detailed information on applying for a Resident Permit to study in Sweden, visit the Swedish Migration Agency’s website.

Finding a job 

When looking for a job in Sweden after relocating from Canada, you have a variety of options available to you. The Swedish Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen) provides valuable information, guidance, and assistance for jobseekers, and there are numerous privately operated job websites where you can find job listings and upload your CV.

Consider visiting the websites of specific companies you’re interested in and contacting them directly. Gaining work experience or internships can enhance your job prospects. Explore the ‘Korta vägen‘ program, designed for foreign academics to enter the Swedish job market more quickly. These resources are valuable for your job search during your move to Sweden, helping you achieve a better work-life balance.

Getting there 

When preparing for your move to Sweden, it’s important to explore your transportation options. Flying is the preferred choice for its speed and convenience. Sweden boasts major international airports like Stockholm Arlanda, Gothenburg Landvetter, and Malmö, ensuring easy access and excellent global connections. 

The flight duration from Canada to Sweden varies based on departure cities and factors like layovers and wind patterns. On average, a non-stop flight from major Canadian cities, such as Toronto or Montreal, to Stockholm takes around 7 to 8 hours, while west coast cities like Vancouver may have longer flight durations, typically 9 to 10 hours.

What should I look for in an International Moving Company?

Shipping your belongings to Sweden typically takes 10–15 days via air and around 30 days by sea. When it comes to shipping your items from Canada to Sweden, you have the option of air or sea transport. However, it’s crucial to choose a reputable moving company. Here are some key factors to consider when selecting an international moving company:

  • Verify that insurance is included (inquire about coverage details).
  • Ensure that their rates are reasonable (compare them with other companies).
  • Check for a substantial number of Google reviews with ratings exceeding 4 stars.
  • Confirm that they prioritize customer service and transparency.

Car shipping to Sweden?

Most Canadians opt to leave their vehicles behind when relocating to Sweden, mainly due to the high shipping and import costs, along with the lengthy vehicle inspection process. However, if you are determined to ship your car to Sweden, here are the steps to guide you:

  • Obtain quotes from the best car shipping companies. Look for companies that offer insurance, boast positive reviews, and prioritize customer service.
  • Select the departure port.
  • Choose the destination port.
  • Prepare the car by cleaning it and emptying the tank to ⅛ full, or you may have to pay a fee upon arrival.

*Additionally, consult your chosen car shipping company for any extra requirements.

Must dos before your arrival 

Moving to Sweden from Canada is an exciting adventure, but it can be complicated. Here are some essential things to do for a smooth transition:

  • Figure out the type of visa or residence permit you need for Sweden. Visit the Swedish Embassy or Consulate website in Canada for detailed instructions on how to apply.
  • Make sure your passport is valid for your entire stay in Sweden, renew it if necessary.
  • Find a place to live in Sweden before you arrive. You might want to rent a temporary place until you find a permanent home.
  • Understand how moving to Sweden affects your taxes. Inform the Canadian tax authorities about your move and manage your taxes in both countries.
  • Decide what to take with you and what to leave behind. Arrange for shipping or hiring a company experienced in international moves.
  • Learning Swedish can make your daily life in Sweden easier to fit into Swedish society. 

2. Upon your arrival in Sweden

Must dos right upon your arrival

  • Get to know the local area, transportation, and services like hospitals, pharmacies, and grocery stores.
  • Familiarize yourself with the Swedish healthcare system. You may need private health insurance until you’re covered by the national healthcare system.
  • Open a Swedish bank account and transfer funds from your Canadian account for financial access in Sweden.
  • If you’re moving to Sweden for work, ensure you have a job contract and understand your employment terms.
  • Register your residence with the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket) upon your arrival to obtain a personal identity number (personnummer).


Sweden has a universal healthcare system that is paid for 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. Sweden offers universal healthcare to all its residents, which includes expats. In simpler terms, after receiving your residence permit, you’ll have to obtain a personal identification number (personnummer) from your local tax office. This number is necessary for you to enroll in the universal healthcare system.

While those coming for work or studies are generally eligible for health system access after a specific period, in some cases, eligibility may not apply. If you are not eligible for the health system, you may be required to obtain private health insurance. Individual circumstances vary, so we recommend contacting the Swedish Migration Agency for further information.

Private health insurance in Sweden

Private health insurance in Sweden can be essential if you’re not eligible for the universal healthcare system, or if you need access to certain specialists and want to avoid waiting lists for specific treatments. Some popular private health insurers in Sweden include Allianz Care, and Skandia.

Setting up your cell phone 

The internet in Sweden is quite rapid, with prices similar to Canada. According to numbeo, the mobile phone monthly plan with calls and 10 GB+ data is around $36.91. Some of the most popular internet service providers in Sweden are Bahnof, ownit, and Telia.

Cell phone service in Sweden is of high quality, and you can expect to have cell service almost anywhere, unless you are in a small town far away from the city center. Ensure that your phone is unlocked before your arrival in Sweden so that you can easily purchase a Swedish SIM card or sign a contract with your preferred provider. Some popular cell phone providers in Sweden include Comviq, Tele2, Telia, and Telenor.

Getting a driver’s license 

You can drive in Sweden for up to 12 months with your valid Canadian driver’s license. Sweden places a strong emphasis on safety when it comes to driving and boasts some of the lowest driving mortality rates in the world. After 12 months, you will need to complete both a theory and a practical driving test, which must be conducted through the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket).

Car insurance is a legal requirement in Sweden, with third-party liability coverage being the minimum mandated level of protection. Sweden places a high priority on road safety, making it a safe country for driving. Some popular choices for car insurance in Sweden include Länsförsäkringar Stockholm, Folksam, and Aktsam.

Setting up a bank account 

Opening a bank account in Sweden is essential 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.

What language is spoken in Sweden?

In Sweden, the primary language spoken is Swedish (Svenska). It is rare to hear Swedish people conversing in English with each other, but the majority of them are fluent in English.

Do I have to speak Swedish to move to Sweden?

Sweden is one of the few European countries that do not have language requirements. Therefore, no, you don’t have to speak Swedish to move to Sweden, but doing so will facilitate better integration and help you establish stronger connections with the locals.

Get a Personnummer

Obtaining your Personnummer is crucial, and you can do so at your local Swedish Tax Agency Center (Skatteverket). This unique identification number grants you access to the healthcare system, allows you to open a bank account, and offers various other benefits. To locate your nearest Tax Agency Service Center, you can visit the Swedish Tax Agency’s website.

Register for Benefits

Sweden’s Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan) oversees the nation’s social insurance system, which provides financial support throughout life’s various stages, including family benefits, disability coverage, and support for the elderly, funded through taxation.

Eligibility for these benefits depends on legal requirements, and residence or work in Sweden. As a Canadian you must secure a residence permit from the Swedish Migration Agency (Migrationsverket) for access.

Get an ID Card

Having an ID Card is essential for various purposes, including opening a bank account. Without a bank account, your ability to make purchases is limited because most Swedish shops only accept bank cards. Therefore, it’s important to obtain your ID Card as soon as possible, and you can do so at your nearest Tax Agency Office.

3. Best places to live in Sweden

Best places to live in Sweden

Sweden is a country that boasts not only natural beauty but also a high standard of living and a strong sense of community. Whether you prefer the bustling streets of Stockholm or the serene shores of Västerås, Sweden has a perfect place for you to call home. Each of these cities offers a unique blend of modern amenities, cultural richness, and natural wonders, making them some of the best places to live in this captivating Scandinavian nation.




Sweden’s capital city, where the old meets the new in a beautiful island setting.


A coastal city on the West Coast with a maritime history, lovely parks, and a relaxed vibe.


A city of knowledge and culture, home to Uppsala University, an ideal environment for intellectuals.


A diverse, cosmopolitan city in the south with a modern edge, vibrant art, and multicultural experiences.


Nestled by Lake Mälaren, a peaceful lakeside life with industries and outdoor activities to enjoy.

Setting up home services 

When renting a property in Sweden, it’s common for utilities like water and heating to be included. However, you’ll likely still need to register with your local energy company, even if these utilities are included in your new place. To find out which company operates in your area, you can visit Nätområden

Following that, you’ll need to sign up online with your local energy provider. Sweden is one of the countries that consume more energy per capita, but their carbon emissions are lower due to the use of renewable energy.

Should you rent or buy?

With Sweden’s increasing population, cities have become more densely populated, making it increasingly challenging to find houses and apartments. When you come across one that suits your preferences, it’s essential to promptly contact the owner to discuss further and secure the opportunity.

 Websites like Samtrygg or Blocket.se can assist you in finding apartments for rent in Sweden. If you’re looking to buy a home in Sweden, you can either consult a realtor or browse through websites such as Hemnet or Fastighetsbyran.

Home insurance in Sweden

Home insurance is not mandatory in Sweden, but it can be extremely helpful in case of an accident. Some popular options for home insurance in Sweden include Trygg Hansa, Folksam, and Hedvig.

4. Cost of living in Sweden


Monthly cost

1 bed apt rent outside city center



Numbeo’s grocery list ($65.7 multiplied by 4)



Electricity, heating, cooling, water, garbage


Internet with 60 Mbps


Transit pass



Meal, taxi, movie


Gym membership 




Numbeo (Oct 2023)

Tips for Buying Groceries in Sweden

Groceries in Sweden are significantly more affordable than in other Scandinavian countries, to the extent that people from Norway and Finland often travel there specifically to shop for food. Many budget-conscious shoppers find that affordable grocery stores like Lidl offer a wide selection of products to help you stick to your budget. Other major Swedish grocery chains, such as ICA, Coop, and Hemkop, also provide a variety of items at reasonable prices.

It’s important to note that grocery stores in cities like Stockholm and Gothenburg may be somewhat more expensive. However, one notable advantage in Sweden is that its grocery stores remain open on Sundays, a convenience not typically found in neighboring countries.

Currency in Sweden

Sweden does not use the euro. Instead, the official currency is the Swedish Krona (SEK or Kr). The Swedish Krona is divided into 100 öre, similar to how the Canadian dollar is divided into 100 pennies. Banknotes are available in denominations of 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1000, while coins come in 1 SEK, 2 SEK, 5 SEK, and 10 SEK. It’s important to note that many places in Sweden do not accept cash, so it’s advisable to carry a credit or debit card at all times.

What to Expect from your New Life in Sweden?

Moving from Canada to Europe, especially to Sweden, promises to be a rewarding experience, especially if you take the time to learn Swedish. It’s worth noting that in July, many stores in Sweden close for vacation, so you might consider planning a visit back to Canada during that period. In Sweden, addressing people by their first names is the norm, and it’s customary to remove your shoes when entering someone’s house. Additionally, Swedes are generally outdoorsy, so expect to engage in numerous hikes and outdoor activities with your new friends and colleagues.

5. The weather in Sweden

This Scandinavian nation, known for its thousands of coastal islands, boreal forests, and glaciated mountains, is a large country with varying climates. Coastal areas tend to experience milder winters, while the northern regions have colder and longer winters. Winters are cold and snowy, with temperatures ranging from -2 °C to -6 °C, making it an ideal place for winter sports and activities. Summers are warm, with temperatures ranging from 20 °C to 25 °C, especially in the southern parts of the country, while the northern parts of Sweden can experience longer daylight hours, sometimes even 24 hours of daylight.

The seasons in Sweden are as follows:

  • Spring: March to May.
  • Summer: June to August.
  • Autumn: September to November.
  • Winter: December to March.

6. What to do as a local in Sweden

As a local in Sweden, embrace diverse landscapes, including forests, lakes, and mountains for outdoor activities like hiking, skiing, and fishing. In winter, especially in the northern regions, you can enjoy skiing and ice skating. Additionally, cycling is a beloved pastime in Sweden, thanks to its extensive network of bike paths. These paths are perfect for exploring both the picturesque countryside and vibrant cities.

Sweden is also renowned for hosting a variety of cultural events and festivals, including art exhibitions and food festivals. For food lovers, Swedish dishes like Sweden meatballs, and gravlax are must-tries. 

A traditional Swedish practice that you will love is the sauna and cold dips, involving alternating between hot saunas and refreshing cold dips in lakes or the sea, offering relaxation and many health benefits. In Sweden, you’ll discover a diverse array of experiences, from nature’s beauty to cultural delights, ensuring there’s something for every taste and interest.

7. Fun facts about Sweden

  • Sweden is where the famous furniture and home goods company IKEA originated.
  • Home to the original ice hotel, the ICEHOTEL, located in Jukkasjärvi since 1989.
  • Sweden has contributed innovations like Spotify and the zipper.
  • Stockholm, Sweden hosts the annual Nobel Prizes for various achievements.
  • The Right of Public Access (Allemansrätten) allows you to freely explore nature, camp, kayak, and forage while respecting the environment.


When moving from Canada to Sweden, it’s necessary to be well-prepared for the cultural, logistical, and bureaucratic adjustments that come with such a significant change. Understanding the healthcare system, social norms, and the Swedish way of life will greatly assist in your comfortable settlement in your new home.

As you prepare to move from Canada to Sweden, be sure to research the best international moving companies. Selecting the right one is crucial for a smooth transition. Remember that your choice of movers can make your move to Sweden more enjoyable and less stressful.


Widgets Magazine


Widgets Magazine

Share this article on social media

Ann Nacario

The author

Meet Ann – our head writer with a knack for making moving and city living a breeze. From the many details of moving to picking the perfect moving company, she’s your guide. Ann has a friendly yet detailed approach to ensure your move goes off without a hitch. When she’s not writing about relocation, it will always be on her mind, but you’ll catch her spending time with her three furry friends.

Relevant for your move

How much is your move?

Find a mover

Easily compare multiple quotes

Organize your move

Guided through a checklist

Internet packages

Get up to speed on the new deals

Address change

Update your address in a few clicks

Join the network

Become a trusted vendor in your service area

For agents and brokers

MovingWaldo is a one-stop-shop that simplifies tackling moving tasks

What is MovingWaldo?

We guide millions of families through each step of their moving process, helping them save time and money, and making sure nothing gets left behind.

Trouver un déménageur

Comparez plusieurs devis

Organisez votre déménagement

Guidé à travers une checklist

Changement d’adresse

Mettez à jour votre adresse en quelques clics

Forfaits internet

Soyez au courant des nouvelles offres internet à domicile

Rejoignez le réseau

Devenez un fournisseur de confiance pour desservir votre région

Professionnels de l’immobilier

Prolongez la relation avec vos clients grâce à votre propre plateforme de déménagement personnalisé

Qu'est-ce que MovingWaldo ?

MovingWaldo est un guichet unique qui simplifie la planification du déménagement

Get our printable change of address checklist directly in your inbox