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Moving to Sweden requires careful familiarisation with the different aspects of life in the country. The fifth largest country in Europe is known for its minimalism, environmental concerns and efforts in the field of renewable energy. Sweden is sparsely populated, with as much as 63% of the population living in cities. The country is a constitutional monarchy. The perceived gender equality, the notorious Fika coffee tradition and innovativeness are among the characteristics of the local society. The people are creative and open-minded and the working climate is promising.

If you are a passionate nature lover, you like spending time outdoors and seek unique natural landscapes, Sweden has something to surprise you.

Let’s start with the language

Swedes are considered one of the most fluent English-speaking nations. However, learning Swedish is particularly important in terms of successful integration. Knowing the language would serve you well both in terms of everyday communication and as insight into the local culture. Learning the language is possible through so-called "SFI courses" (Swedish for immigrants) - language courses designed for immigrants and available in 290 local municipalities. They are free of charge. An important condition for applying for an SFI course is to have European citizenship or a coordination number. Registration for a language course for immigrants is possible on site at local municipalities or online. While the usefulness of the courses cannot be underestimated, learning the spoken language and local slang would be most successful through direct communication with Swedish residents. Getting in touch with the country's traditions would also enrich your linguistic competence.

Moving to Sweden and finding a new home

Finding a home in Sweden is seen as a difficult task. There are two types of tenancy relationships in the country - first- and second-hand leases. A first-hand lease is associated with renting a home directly from its owner. These types of leases are limited and are among the most sought after. There is usually a long wait for them. A second-hand lease means renting a home from what is considered the first tenant. This is done within a pre-agreed period. Often second-hand leases are the only option for finding a home.

Among the alternatives for those planning a permanent stay after moving to Sweden is buying a house. This would be less uncertain and competitive than renting a home. The process of buying a property for foreigners is easier and restrictions are minimal. Houses are at high prices. Regardless of the preferred location for moving to Sweden, either in the cities or in the surrounding areas, both furnished and empty homes are available.

In terms of furnishing, it is not surprising that, through their functionality and simplicity, Swedish furniture is perfect in keeping with the traditional Scandinavian style.

Job opportunities when moving to Sweden

Residents of EU/EEA countries have the right to reside in the country and the relocation procedure is easier for them. Arrivals from non-EU/EEA countries must have received a job offer from a Swedish company before arriving in the Nordic country.

Nationals of EU member states can work in Sweden without having a work permit. All they need is a passport or identity document. Coming to Sweden to look for work is also allowed. Families of EU citizens working in Sweden can move, subject to residency rights. If the family members are not EU citizens, they have to apply for residence cards. This can also be done after moving to Sweden.

To be entitled to work in Sweden, non-EU arrivals must obtain a work permit. Applying for a permit is possible online.

Swedish employees rank fourth in happiness. This is partly due to the perceived 'Fika' culture. It is a traditional twice-daily break, during which employees have the opportunity to enjoy a cup of coffee, a tasty treat and time for conversation.

Many prominent design and technology companies were founded in Sweden. They include Electrolux, Ericsson, Volvo, H&M, IKEA, Saab and Scania. Innovation, equality and sustainability are key to the country's professional culture. The average salary in the country for 2022 is around SEK 45,000 - or nearly EUR 4,100.

Moving to Sweden with children

Moving to Sweden with children up to the age of 18 is possible in several cases - if you have a work permit, if you have EU citizenship and if you have a residence permit (for non-EU nationals and those coming from third countries).

If you have a work permit, it is also possible to move with unmarried children up to the age of 21. If you are moving with children, you must provide a copy of their passport and birth certificate. In cases where the certificate is not in English, a translated copy is required. It must be presented together with the original text. For other work permit categories (ICT permits, EU blue cards and researcher permits) you are only allowed to move with children up to 18 years of age.

For EU nationals, moving with children to Sweden is allowed in cases of employment in the country, freelance work or owning your own business. If the children are also EU nationals, there is no need to apply for a permit. In other cases, it is required.

Sweden is a country with a high-quality education system. The minimum length of compulsory education is 10 years, with children starting at the age of 6. Pre-school education is designed for children from 1 to 5 years. Its duration is determined by parental employment. Compulsory education is divided into 4 stages - förskoleklass ('preschool year' or year 0), lågstadiet (years 1-3), mellanstadiet (years 4-6) and högstadiet (years 7-9). Gymnasium (upper secondary school - years 10-12) is selective. There are 18 national programmes, and grades in Swedish, English and mathematics are included in the admission requirements. "Friskola" or independent schools are also part of the educational options in Sweden.

Pets and moving to Sweden

Proper documentation is among the most important aspects of moving with a pet. The conditions for an animal to enter Sweden depend on the country from which it arrives - whether it is inside or outside the European Union. Animals that meet the standard requirements for the European Union are allowed into the Nordic country.

When moving to Sweden with a pet, you must also comply with the requirements that the animal is microchipped and has a valid veterinary certificate or EU passport. As the owner, you are obliged to declare the animal's passage at the Swedish border. In case you are travelling separately from your pet, the difference between your arrival and that of your pet must not exceed 5 days. On arrival, the animal must be accompanied by a veterinary certificate and confirmation from you that you are the owner. You must also produce your own travel documents to declare the date on which you are due to arrive in the country.

If you are transporting a reptile, you must do it personally, arriving at the same time. It is important to prove that it has been kept in a closed environment (captivity).

Another condition for a pet to be allowed into the country is that it must be vaccinated against rabies. The vaccination must be proven by a document. It should be administered at least 21 days before your arrival in Sweden. If you are travelling from a country that poses a high risk of rabies, the animal may be vaccinated again.

Driving in Sweden

If you hold a driving licence issued by an EU/EEA country, the document is considered valid for the period corresponding to the country where it was originally issued. The licence is valid even after registration in the Swedish Population Register.

If your licence was issued in a country outside the EU/EEA, its validity is again the same as the validity determined in the country of issue. If you have been registered in the Swedish Population Register for more than 1 year, the licence seizes to be valid.

If you need to take a driving test in Sweden, registration in the Swedish population register is required. A learner's permit is required in order to take a driving test. Make sure you apply for it. This applies both wthen you are taking the test for the first time and renewing your licence. Swedish driving licences are usually valid for 10 years.

Health rights of foreigners when moving to Sweden

Sweden's healthcare system is award-winning, with many countries applying its model. Interestingly, only 10% of the Swedish population uses private insurance. The reason for this lies in the comprehensiveness of the public health insurance system. The overall policy by which the health system operates is determined at national level. However, individual municipalities have a major influence on its downstream modelling. This allows for a more individualised model tailored to the needs of the citizens in the region.

To guarantee access to health insurance, you must register as a Swedish citizen. Lack of such registration would force you to use only private insurance - considered much more expensive. When moving to Sweden on a long-term basis, it is recommended that you get an identification number issued to ensure free access to healthcare services. Particularly important is the access of expectant mothers to the public insurance system, as there are few health services related to pre- and postnatal care in the field of private insurance. For those coming from an EU/EEA country, registration for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before arrival in Sweden is recommended. This allows you to consume healthcare services at prices equal to those for locals.

Scenic view of a green forest in Sweden, including a river, mountain, clouds and sky

Climate and natural resources

The climate of the Nordic country is associated with extreme temperature differences. Traditionally it is considered to be quite cold, but the warm Gulf Stream is the reason for the milder climate. Temperatures vary depending on the region you are in. There are 3 main parts - north, central and south. In the southern parts, winters are short and mild and temperatures in the summers range between 15 and 25 degrees Celsius. In the northern regions, winters are considerably colder, long and dry. Summers are short with temperatures around 15 degrees.

Sweden's location means that there are only short periods of darkness in the evenings from late May to mid-July. In December, on the other hand, daylight hours decrease dramatically, with daylight lasting only 5½ hours in Stockholm.

Characteristics of the Swedish countryside (landscape) are the numerous lakes and streams, hills and mountains. The country has as many as 28 national parks. More than half of Sweden's area is covered by forest. That's 23 million hectares - an area approaching the size of the United Kingdom.

Relocation is a process that needs to be carefully considered and well planned. Sweden certainly offers not only unique scenery, but also the opportunity for a high standard of living. To ensure a smooth move to a Scandinavian country, you need to consider even the small, seemingly insignificant details.

Should you need advice on the overall process, then don't hesitate to contact a Movega Removals representative. Our years of experience and expertise will be at your disposal. You can ask your questions using the contact form or via the chatbot feature.

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