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The Ultimate How to Move to Sweden from America Guide

The Ultimate How to Move
to Sweden from America
Guide

Moving to Sweden from America? Our Ultimate How to Move to Sweden from America Guide covers absolutely everything you need to know about moving from America to Sweden.

With in-depth information and valuable resources, from how to apply for a visa to how to import common household items, from what the Swedish healthcare and education systems are like, to how to decide where to live, our Moving to Sweden from America Guide will help you and your family have a safe, seamless, stress-free move to Sweden.

Chock-full of important international moving tips, as well as insights into Swedish customs and culture, including everything from table manners, commonly used words, holidays and food, to the sports Swedes like to play and watch, our Moving from America to Sweden Guide will also assist you and your family assimilate into day-to-day life quickly and easily on arrival.

As the largest moving company in the world, with over 1,000 service centers across 180 countries, UniGroup Worldwide International Movers will help make your move to Sweden as smooth and stress-free as possible.

With over 85 years' experience, successfully delivering 48,000 international shipments annually, our overseas move experts can help ensure your safe, seamless stress-free move to Sweden from America.

UniGroup Worldwide International Movers moving Americans to Sweden safely, seamlessly and stress-free

UniGroup Worldwide International Movers moving Americans to Sweden safely, seamlessly and stress-free

For your convenience, you may:

  • Easily navigate through our Ultimate How to Move to Sweden from America Guide by clicking the links within the Contents section below.
  • Read our accompanying step-by-step Complete How to Move to Sweden from Americans Checklist, a full-proof list of easy-to-follow, chronologically ordered tasks designed to help ensure you and your family enjoy a smooth, stress-free move to Sweden.

BASIC INFO TO KNOW WHEN MOVING TO SWEDEN

Nationality

Swedish

National Holidays

New Year's Day, 1 January Epiphany, 6 January Good Friday, Date fluctuates Easter Monday, Date fluctuates Labour Day, 1 May Ascension Day, Date fluctuates Whit Sunday, Date fluctuates Swedish National Day, 6 June Midsummer Eve, 24 June All Saint's Day, 1 November Christmas Day, 25 December Boxing Day, 26 December

Financial Year

Calendar year

Government Type

Parliamentary constitutional monarchy

Currency

Swedish Krona (SEK)

International Dialling Code

46

Country Domain Code

.se

Road Traffic

Drives on the right

Electricity

230V, 50Hz. European plugs

Emergency Numbers

112: General Emergencies 114 14: Non-emergency police 1177: Non-emergency medical advice 113 13: Information during accidents and crises

Time Zone

GMT+1 (GMT+2 from the end of March to the end of October)

HISTORY OF SWEDEN

Sweden, a country that has not participated in any wars for two centuries, runs a successful economy. Sweden’s economic formula, a mix of industrialism and substantial welfare elements, was challenged by high unemployment in the 1990s. During 2000 and 2002 and in 2009, economic downturns also put the formula in the spotlight. Over the past few years, fiscal discipline is one of the main reasons why the country has been able to withstand economic blows. In 1995, Sweden joined the EU but the public rejected the introduction of the euro in a 2003 referendum.

POPULATION

Population

9,880,604

Population Growth Rate

0.81%

Median Age

total: 41.2 years
male: 40.2 years
female: 42.2 years

Life Expectancy

82.1 years

GEOGRAPHY

Location

Sweden

Geographic Coordinates

62 00 N, 15 00 E

Area

total: 450,295km2
land: 410,335km2
water: 39,960km2

Geography

Sweden is situated along the Danish Straits that links the North and Baltic Seas.

Capital

Stockholm geographic coordinates: 59 20 N, 18 03 E

Major Urban Areas and Population

Stockholm 1.486 Million

CLIMATE

Sweden boasts mild temperatures in the south and experiences cold winters and partly cloudy summers. The north experiences subarctic conditions.

ECONOMY

Sweden’s combination of free-market capitalism and extensive welfare benefits has allowed it to achieve high living standards. The country has chosen to remain outside of the euro zone. During 2014 and 2016, the country experienced modest economic growth, with real GDP growth above 2%. Sweden continues to deal with deflationary pressures.

GDP Per Capita

$49,700 USD

Taxes and Other Revenues

48% of GDP

CULTURE

Languages Spoken

Swedish

Major Ethnic Groups

Swedish Finnish

NATIONAL IDENTITY

National Flag

National Anthem

"Du Gamla, Du Fria" (Thou Ancient, Thou Free)

National Symbol(s)

Three crowns, Lion

National Colours

Blue, yellow

SWEDEN's COUNTRY RANKING

Quality of Life

Ranked 4th of 80 countries

Cost of Living

Ranked 18th of 104 countries

Education System

Ranked 12th of 187 countries

Healthcare System

Ranked 23rd of 190 countries

Happiness of Residents

Ranked 10th of 155 countries

Crime Rate

Ranked 64th of 117 countries

Suitability for Green Living

Ranked 3rd of 180 countries

How Much Does It Cost to Move to Sweden?

Calculating moving to Sweden Calculating moving to Sweden

The cost of moving to Sweden from America comprises of a number of expenses, each with their own variables. The largest components will likely be the shipping of your household belongings and the relocation of you family. Beyond that, there are additional costs for visas, storage, insurance and temporary accommodation upon arrival.

How Much Does It Cost to Ship Household Goods to Sweden?

The cost of shipping your belongings can vary dramatically depending on the volume you’re shipping, what you’re shipping, how and from where and to you ship it. For example, a sparsely furnished two to three bedroom home shipped by LCL (Less than Container Load) or Groupage sea freight from Washington DC to Stockholm, Malmo or Uppsala could cost between US$1,000 to US$2,000, whereas a heavily furnished four-bedroom home shipped by FCL (Full Container Load) sea freight from and to the same ports may cost twice that. Furthermore, the cost would increase if you’re shipping antiques, a piano, wine, and/or expensive or bulky items that may require custom crating or packing. And if you’re in hurry to ship your belongings to Sweden, the same size homes could easily cost you tens of thousands of dollars to ship by air freight.

Given all these variables, it is strongly recommended that you obtain a detailed quote from an experienced, reputable international mover like UniGroup Worldwide International Movers.

For more information on the different types of sea and air freight, their respective advantages, disadvantages and how to calculate their costs, read our in-depth guide, check out our Best Way to Move Overseas? Best Air & Sea Freight Options.

How Much Does It Cost to Relocate Your Family to Sweden?

The average cost of an economy class ticket from the Washington DC or Portland ME to Stockholm is from between US$600 and US$1,000 per person. So, relocating a family of four from America to Sweden can be between US$2,400 and US$4,000 in airfares alone.

Additionally, if you are bringing any pets, there will be costs for their flight and any health checks or vaccinations required and possible quarantine charges on arrival. Roughly, a cat or medium-sized dog would cost between US$600 and US$1,200 to join you.

In addition to the cost of shipping your household goods, there are several other expenses involved in moving to Sweden, from visa application fees and temporary accommodation through to travel for yourself and your family.

How Much Does a Swedish Visa Cost?

Everyone that applies for a Swedish visa must pay a non-refundable, non-transferable visa application fee. This application fee must be paid regardless of whether a visa is issued or not. The application fee for most Swedish work permits is SEK2,000.

For more information, visit How to Apply for a Swedish Visa.

What Other Costs are Involved in Moving to Sweden?

There are several other costs involved in moving to Sweden, including:

  • Storage: If you are not moving to Sweden permanently and opt to leave some of your household goods in America, you may need to organize and pay for short or long-term storage
  • Insurance: When moving to Sweden, you may need to invest in several different types of insurance, including moving insurance, international health insurance and travel insurance
  • Temporary accommodation: If you plan on searching for a new family home once you arrive in Sweden, you will need some form of temporary accommodation for when you first arrive. On average, a hotel room in Sweden costs between US$120 to US$170 per night, while a serviced apartment costs on average between US$800 to US$1,000 per week. So, if you need temporary accommodation for one month, the cost could exceed US$4,000.

How to Apply for a Swedish Visa

Applying for a Swedish visa Applying for a Swedish visa

While American citizens do not require a visa to visit Sweden, you will need a visa (known as a work permit) to work in Sweden. The most important rule to remember when applying for a Swedish work permit is that you should apply for and have been granted a work permit before you enter Sweden. While the specific requirements that you must adhere to depend upon the type of visa for which you apply, the application process is familiarly similar for all types of work permits.

How to Apply for a Swedish Work Permit

If you need to apply for a Swedish work permit, you need to follow this process:

  • You must have an offer of employment from an employer in Sweden. The position must:
    • Have been advertised in Sweden, Switzerland and the European Union for at least 10 days before the offer of employment was made to you
    • Be in line with customary collective agreements within the industry or occupation
    • Pay a minimum salary of SEK13,000 before taxes per month
    • Include life, health and employment insurance, as well as a pension.
  • Your employer must initiate the application for your work permit. This requires that they complete a formal offer of employment. You will need to supply the following information to the employer:
    • Name
    • Date of birth
    • Citizenship
    • Education history
    • Email address. It is important that you have access to this email address at all times as the Swedish Migration Agency will use this email address to communicate with you throughout the application process.
  • Once your employer has initiated the process, you will receive an email from the Swedish Migration Agency that contains all the forms and information you need to apply for a work permit
  • You will need to complete the Application for Swedish Work Permit Form 149011
  • You will need to enclose several documents with your application, including a copy of your passport. If your family members (such as your spouse and children) will accompany you to Sweden, you will also need to provide:
    • Copies of their passports
    • Copies of your marriage certificate
    • Copies of your children’s birth certificates or adoption papers
    • Evidence that you lived together in America
    • Evidence that children over the age of 21 are financially dependent on you
    • If you are acting on behalf of your family members, you will need to complete the Power of Attorney Form 107011.
  • Once your documentation is compiled, you will need to lodge your application and pay the application fee. For most Swedish work permits, the fee is SEK2,000
  • The Swedish Migration Agency will then assess your application. This can take anywhere from five to 14 months (or longer), depending on the type of visa you have applied for and the type of industry in which you work. You can use the Swedish Migration Agency’s Time to a Decision online tool for an estimate on the processing time for your application
  • Once a decision is made, you and your employer will receive a confirmation email. You will then need to take your passport to your closest Swedish embassy or consulate within four weeks to receive your permit.

Keep in mind that there are special requirements (such as additional documentation and the use of specific forms) for particular occupations, including performers, berry pickers, au pairs, athletes and researchers. There are also special requirements for people who intend to be self-employed.

How to Apply for a Residence Permit for Family Members

If you are a family member of a person who has a Swedish work permit, you can apply for a residence permit for the same period. If the residence permit is for more than six months, you can also apply for a work permit.

For the purposes of a residence permit, the following are deemed to be family members: wife, husband, de-facto partner and unmarried children under the age of 21. Unmarried children over 21 can apply for a permit, provided you can demonstrate that they are financially dependent.

The easiest way to apply for residency permits is for the person who has secured employment to apply for their entire family as part of their work permit application. Alternatively, you can submit a separate application by applying online.

Documentation Required for a Residence Permit

There is a range of supporting documentation required for Swedish residence permits:

  • Spouses must enclose the following documents in their application:
    • Copies of photo and personal detail pages of passport, validity and details on any residency permits you hold in other countries
    • Married couples or de facto couples will need to provide certificates or evidence of the relationship
    • Documentation proving cohabitation in your home country, such as lease agreements or mortgage details.
  • For children under 18, the applicant should enclose the following documents:
    • A copy of the child’s passport, showing the photograph, personal details, passport number, country of issue, and permission for children to live in countries other than country of origin
    • Child’s birth certificate with names of parents
    • If one custodial parent is moving to Sweden, a letter of permission must be provided from the other custodial parent, including the custodial parent’s passport and other ID documents
    • Court documents showing sole custody or death certificate if one parent is deceased
    • Adoption documents if applicable.

How to Apply for a Swedish Personal Identity Number

Applying for a Swedish Personal Identity Number Applying for a Swedish Personal Identity Number

A Swedish Personal Identity Number comprises a 4-digit number and your date of birth in the following format: YYMMDD-XXXX. It used for a variety of purposes in Sweden, from accessing Sweden’s social security system through to opening bank accounts and for taxation purposes.

To apply for a Swedish Personal Identity Number, you must first be listed on the Swedish Population Register. To be listed on the Swedish Population Register, you need to hold a work permit and remain in Sweden for more than a year. You will then need to notify the Swedish Tax Agency by visiting your local Tax Agency office and supplying:

  • Your passport
  • Your Swedish Residence Permit Card
  • Evidence of your civil status, such as marriage and divorce certificates
  • Birth certificate or adoption papers for any dependent children.

Once registered on the Swedish Population Register, you, your spouse and your dependent children will receive Personal Identity Numbers, which are tied to your residential address.

How to Decide Where to Live in Sweden

Deciding where to live in Sweden Deciding where to live in Sweden

If you’re not moving from America to Sweden to a specific location for work, you’ll need to decide where to live. From low crime rates to superior quality health and education systems, there are many variables to consider when choosing the perfect place for you and your family to call home. Climate and weather can also play a large part in your decision, just as unemployment rates, average salary and the cost of living are likely to influence the location of your new home.

To help you decide where in Sweden will best suit both your needs and those of your family, some of the most important factors are outlined below.

What is the Unemployment Rate in Sweden?

The local unemployment rate is a good indication of whether the local job market is growing, stable, or contracting; this is particularly important if you will be looking for employment opportunities on arrival. This report by Swedish publication The Local shows where it is easiest to find a job in Sweden.

What is the Average Salary in Sweden?

The average gross salary in Sweden is approximately SEK516,500 per annum (approximately US$64,107 per annum). However, given the size of the country, a better factor to consider when choosing where to live in Sweden is the local average salary, which provides a good indication of your likely earning potential. Luckily, Sweden enjoys an even average salary across regions. The Average Salary Survey publishes data on the average salaries in Sweden, both by city and occupation.

What is the Cost of Living in Sweden?

The average cost of living in Sweden is approximately the same as in America. For example:

  • Housing prices in Sweden are 6% lower than in America
  • Entertainment prices in Sweden are 1% lower than in America
  • Personal care prices in Sweden are 31% lower than in America
  • Food prices in Sweden are 3% higher than in America.

However, the average cost of living varies from region-to-region and city-to-city in Sweden. Investigate the average cost of living in your preferred locations so that you can budget accordingly.

The following list provides an idea of the average prices you can expect to pay for products and services in the most expensive part of Sweden: its capital city, Stockholm (although keep in mind that these prices will vary based on both location and provider):

  • Monthly rent for a two-bedroom apartment in city-center: SEK14,500
  • A dozen eggs: SEK28
  • 1 liter of milk: SEK10
  • Loaf of bread: SEK25
  • McDonald’s Big Mac Meal: SEK70
  • A cappuccino: SEK35
  • Three course meal for two (mid-range restaurant): SEK350
  • Monthly internet (uncapped ADSL or cable): SEK320
  • Monthly electricity for an average household: SEK1,250.

What are Crime Rates Like in Sweden?

Obviously, you want your family to live in a safe neighborhood. Just how safe a neighborhood is varies from city-to-city. So, before you decide where to live in Sweden, review the Swedish Crime Survey, which provides in-depth information on the crime rate in Sweden.

What is the Quality and Availability of Health Care in Sweden?

If you or your family members become ill, you need peace of mind that you’ll have access to quality local health care. Luckily, Sweden enjoys one of the most comprehensive health care systems in the world, regardless of which city you live. Health care is largely tax-funded, which means that everyone has equal access to health care services. In fact, in 2005, Sweden introduced a health care guarantee. Under this guarantee all patients will:

  • Be in contact with a community health care center the same day they seek help
  • Have a doctor’s appointment within seven days
  • Wait no more than 90 days to see a specialist
  • Wait no more than 90 days for an operation or treatment.

For more information, visit What is the Health Care System Like in Sweden?

What is the Quality of Schools Like in Sweden?

If children will be accompanying you when you move to Sweden, you need reassurance that their education will be of the highest quality. Luckily, Sweden has an extremely comprehensive education system, regardless of the city in which you live. From the age of six, every child has access to free education, which is regulated through the national Education Act to ensure a friendly, safe environment for all children.

For more information, visit What is the Education and Schooling System Like in Sweden?

What is Population Wellbeing and the Standard of Living Like in Sweden?

Sweden performs very well in many measures of population wellbeing when compared to most other countries in the OECD Better Life Index. In fact, Sweden ranks above average in almost all dimensions: environmental quality, civic engagement, education and skills, work-life balance, health status, subjective wellbeing, jobs and earnings, housing, personal safety and social connections. Plus, the city of Malmo features in the top ten of Europe’s happiest cities.

What are Tolerance and Diversity Like in Sweden?

If you or any member of your family belong to a minority group, general levels of societal tolerance and diversity are important factors. As in any country, some cities in Sweden are more accepting of cultural, racial, religious and sexual differences, both socially and legally.

What is the Average Commute Time in Sweden?

When deciding on where to live in Sweden, the average commute time can be an important consideration, particularly if you plan to drive to and from work every day. The average commute time in Sweden is 41 minutes per day. Commuting takes the most amount time for people living in suburban areas, outside large cities.

What is the Climate Like in Sweden?

Sweden’s climate can vary considerably. In southern and central Sweden, winters are short, cold, and include snow from December to April. Temperatures average from     -22°C (-7°F) to -3°C (26°F). However, summers are relatively warm, with temperatures averaging from 13°C (55°F) to 25°C (77°F). At the peak of summer in southern Sweden, there are 19 hours of daylight each day.

However, if you’re considering moving to the north of Sweden, which sits above the Arctic Circle, you need to keep in mind that winters are long and there is very little daylight. Temperatures often drop below -30°C (-22°F), snow starts to fall from October and there is little daylight for around two months of the year.

What is the Geography of Sweden?

Two-thirds of Sweden is covered with woodland and forest. The west is mountainous, while the portion that sits in the Arctic Circle is icy and snowy. 8% of Sweden is covered in water, thanks to the 95,000 lakes that dot the landscape. The highest point of Sweden is Kebnekaise, which sits at 2,106m (6,909 feet). Most of Sweden’s population resides in urban centers. Be sure you know what sort of geography (and therefore outdoor recreational activities) is predominant in your new home before you decide to move there.

What is the Weather Like in Sweden?

There are three weather zones in Sweden:

  • The southern zone: Featuring the cities of Gothenburg and Malmo, the southern zone has mild winters and warm summers. It also doesn’t experience the extremes of temperature as the rest of Sweden with temperatures ranging from 13°C (55°F) in the winter to 25°C (77°F) in the summer
  • The middle zone: Cooler than the southern zone, this area experiences more snowfall and temperatures drop below freezing in January
  • The northern zone: Summers are short, with the temperature only rising to 13°C (55°F) and winters are long, dark and freezing. The temperature stays below freezing for months and the sun rarely comes out at the peak of winter.

What are the Most Popular Cities to Move to in Sweden?

For more information on the most popular Swedish cities in which to live, visit:

When is the Best Time to Move to Sweden?

Deciding when to move to Sweden Deciding when to move to Sweden

Because Sweden is a large country, the best time to move there is highly location specific. In fact, two of the most important factors to consider are the weather (you don’t want to move in heavy snow or temperatures of -30°C (-22°F) and the holiday seasons (which are generally a more expensive time to move).

Consider the Weather

If possible, time your move to Sweden so that you don’t need to cope with snowdrifts and freezing temperature. If you’re moving to the southern part of Sweden that has temperate weather, you don’t need to put as much time into planning your move. However, if you’re moving to the middle or northern zones of Sweden, it’s best to avoid moving in winter when daylight is limited and snowfall could interrupt your plans.

The weather in Sweden is quite varied:

  • The southern zone: Featuring the cities of Gothenburg and Malmo, the southern zone has mild winters and warm summers. It also doesn’t experience the extremes of temperature as the rest of Sweden with temperatures ranging from 13°C (55°F) in the winter to 25°C (77°F) in the summer
  • The middle zone: Cooler than the southern zone, this area experiences more snowfall and temperatures drop below freezing in January
  • The northern zone: Summers are short, with the temperature only rising to 13°C (55°F) and winters are long, dark and freezing. The temperature stays below freezing for months and the sun rarely comes out at the peak of winter.

Consider Holiday Seasons

Moving during holiday seasons in any country is generally more expensive. If possible, avoid the following holiday seasons in Sweden:

  • All federal public holidays
  • Christmas holidays: Two weeks from Christmas Eve
  • Winter break: Dates vary depending on the region; visit this page for dates in your region
  • Easter Holidays: From Good Friday to Easter Monday
  • Summer Holidays: Nine weeks from the middle of June
  • Autumn Holidays: One week from the end of December.

What is the Education and Schooling System Like in Sweden?

Types of schools in Sweden, and how to choose one Types of schools in Sweden, and how to choose one

From the age of six, every child has equal access to free education in Sweden. The Swedish school system is regulated through the Education Act, which ensures a safe and friendly environment for students and mandates nine years of school attendance for all children from the year they turn seven. In the Swedish Education System:

  • There are three stages of compulsory schooling in Sweden:
    • Lågstadiet(school years one to three)
    • Mellanstadiet (school years four to six)
    • Högstadiet (school years seven to nine)
  • There are two stages of optional schooling in Sweden:
    • Förskola (or pre-school): Provided by municipalities, this stage educates children between the ages of one and five. This stage is subsidized depending on the financial status of the parents. Pre-school is focused on using play to encourage the development of children and prepares students for compulsory schooling
    • Gymnasium (school years 10 to 12): To be admitted into Gymnasium, students must have passing grades in Swedish, English and Mathematics. Students can choose from 18 regular national programs, six of which are designed to prepare students for university, while the other 12 are center on vocational studies
  • Students are not graded until Year Eight, when the standard A to F grading system is introduced
  • The Swedish academic year begins in mid-August and runs until the beginning of June in the following year. The school year is divided into two semesters, known as the Autumn and Spring Terms.

What Types of Schools are there in Sweden?

There are several types of schools in Sweden, meaning expats will have options at all levels. The main types of schooling available to American are public, private and international schools.

Public Schools

Public schools are open to all Swedish residents and students are automatically placed in a nearby public school when they turn seven. The standard of public schooling in Sweden is high and most Swedish children attend a public school.

If you’re planning to stay in Sweden long-term, sending your children to a public school is a great option; public schools generally provide expat children with additional help to learn Swedish. If you’re only in Sweden for a short time, it is better to enroll at an international school where the language of instruction is English and the curriculum will be like what your children are used to.

Private Schools

The high-quality public school system means that private schooling isn’t as popular in Sweden as it is in America. There are, however, many private schools in Sweden. The key difference between private and public schooling in Sweden is that private school aren’t required to follow the national curriculum, which makes it a popular choice for parents who are seeking a different learning experience than what the public program offers. Private school are funded by a combination of fees, donations and state funding.

International Schools

International schools are found in the major cities throughout Sweden and usually follow the American or British curriculum. English is the main language of instruction, although there are some schools that teach in Swedish. Some international schools prepare students for the International Baccalaureate examination and diploma, qualifying graduates for entry to universities outside of Sweden. Waiting lists for international schools can be long and the fees can be very expensive. Find your local International Baccalaureate school here.

What Types of Tertiary Education are there in Sweden?

In Sweden, the Riksdag (parliament) and Government have overall responsibility for tertiary and higher education and research in Sweden and make all decisions about targets, guidelines and the allocation of resources.

The structure of tertiary education in Sweden follows the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS), designed to help recognition of a student’s studies between different institutions and countries. As such, all tertiary education in Sweden is divided into Bachelor, Master and research levels. As one progresses through these cycles, each year of full-time study corresponds to the ECTS standard of 60 credits, facilitating transfer and equal recognition throughout Europe.

Bachelor Programs

Bachelor programs or an undergraduate program is the first step of tertiary education, following Gymnasium. These courses usually take three years and after the bachelor degree has been awarded, students can either choose to enter the workforce or conduct further studies, such as a masters or PhD program.

Master Programs

Masters programs can take one or two years to complete and builds upon the knowledge gained during the bachelor program.

PhD Program

A PhD or doctoral program is focused on research and the creation of a dissertation or thesis. This stage can take several years to complete, although the duration and nature of the degree varies between universities.

What Types of Tertiary Education Institutions are there in Sweden?

There are two main types of tertiary education institutions in Sweden: university (universite) and university college (högskola). There is very little difference between the two institutions, except that universities have the authority to award PhD degrees while university colleges don’t. For further information, visit:

How to Choose a School in Sweden

To assist you in finding the most appropriate school for your children, visit:

How to Ship Household Goods to Sweden

Shipping household goods to Sweden Shipping household goods to Sweden

If you’re moving to Sweden, then a huge part of the process is going to involve shipping your household belongings to Sweden and associated customs requirements. To ensure that your household items arrive in Sweden safe and sound and clear customs as quickly and easily as possible, be sure to follow our advice on the documents required, customs prescriptions and other tips and suggestions below.

Keep in mind that when shipping your household belongings to Sweden, exemption is granted for goods other than spirits, liquors, wines, export beers and tobacco products if they are:

  • Presented for customs clearance by or on behalf of a person who is immigrating from overseas without having been domiciled in Sweden previously or a person who is returning to Sweden after having stayed abroad for at least one year
  • Owned by the person presenting them for customs clearance
  • Found not to be more than the needs of the owner and their household
  • Constitute household necessities or have been used abroad by the owner or a member of their household
  • To be used in Sweden by the owner or a member of their household
  • Arriving in Sweden within one year after their owner has formally moved into Sweden.

What Documents are Required for Shipping Household Goods to Sweden?

For the safe shipment and smooth customs clearance of your household goods, you’ll need to ensure that the following documentation is completed as accurately as possible and provide:

For more information about how to ship household goods to Sweden, visit Swedish Customs Forms & Guides for Moving Overseas.

How to Import Vehicles into Sweden

Importing vehicles into Sweden Importing vehicles into Sweden

You can import cars, trucks, caravans, campervans and motorbikes into Sweden so long as the relevant customs requirements are met. These requirements include safety and emission standards, proof of ownership and cleanliness standards. To help ensure that you meet customs requirements and that the clearance of your vehicle is as smooth as possible, follow our advice below.

What is the Process for Importing Vehicles into Sweden?

The process for importing vehicles into Sweden is:

  • Clear the vehicle through the Swedish Customs Serviceby reporting the vehicle to the customs office immediately at the point of entry to Sweden.
  • Pay Value Added Tax (VAT) if the vehicle is ‘new’ by sending a copy of the sales contract to the Swedish Tax Agency. According to Sweden’s VAT rules, a vehicle will be classified as ‘new’ if it has been driven for less than 6,000km (3,700 miles) or been on the road for less than six months. VAT will then be payable on the purchase price.
  • Take out road traffic insurance for temporary registration with a Swedish insurance company. Your insurance certificate (which clearly states the insurance company's company code, the name of the policyholder, and basic information about the insured vehicle) should be sent to Transport Sweden. Temporary insurance is granted for 30 to 90 days and it is illegal to drive without this insurance for more than a week after import. While holding this temporary registration insurance, you can only drive your vehicle on the shortest possible routes, for example, from point of entry to the inspection point or to and from the registration inspection.
  • Apply for a verification of origin, which can be completed online or by paper. To receive this verification, after you have completed the process you will need to send:
    • The application form or signed confirmation if you have applied online
    • Registration certificate from America, which will be used to determine if the vehicle is able to be driven in the European Union
    • Proof of ownership, in the form of a receipt, sales invoice, or similar documentation. This can be sent as a copy, the original document is not necessary, but it must contain an identification number or other specific information about the vehicle. If your document does not contain this information, request the document from the point of sale
    • Proof of initial customs clearance, which can be provided by the Swedish Customs Service. This will show the custom official’s ID and vehicle identification number.
  • After completing the verification of origin, you will need to make an appointment for a registration inspection and technical identity verification. This inspection is carried out by an independent body; visit SWEDAC for more information on inspection bodies.
  • Your vehicle will also need to be tested for roadworthiness, which can be conducted by the body that performs the registration inspection and technical identity.
  • Once both inspection have been conducted and your vehicle has been passed, the Swedish Transport Agency will automatically allocate a registration number to your vehicle and the certificate and plates will be sent to your address in Sweden. If you applied for temporary registration when you conducted the verification of origin process and if the temporary registration is still valid when you are approved, you will keep the same number.
  • Once you have the received the plates and number, you need to activate your registration. You can do this in three ways:
    • Register online, although the text is in Swedish only
    • Call the automated service telephone on +46 (0)771-25 25 25 (in Swedish only)
    • Request for the activation to take place by writing on the registration certificate.

What Emission Standards Must be Met?

Before attempting to import any vehicle into Sweden, you must ensure that the vehicle meets all European Union emissions standards, including:

  • Euro 1: Cars registered after 31 December 1992:
    • Petrol: CO: 2.72g/km, HC + NOx: 0.97g/km
    • Diesel: CO: 2.72g/km, HC + NOx: 0.97g/km, PM: 0.14g/km.
  • Euro 2: Cars registered after 1 January 1997:
    • Petrol: CO: 2.2g/km, HC + NOx: 0.5g/km
    • Diesel: CO: 1.0g/km, HC + NOx: 0.7g/km, PM: 0.08g/km.
  • Euro 3: Cars registered after 1 January 2001:
    • Petrol: CO: 2.3g/km, HC: 0.20g/km, NOx: 0.15g/km
    • Diesel: CO: 0.64g/km, HC + NOx: 0.56g/km, NOx: 0.50g/km, PM: 0.05g/km.
  • Euro 4: Cars registered after 1 January 2006:
    • Petrol: CO: 1.0g/km, HC: 0.10g/km, NOx: 0.08g/km
    • Diesel: CO: 0.50g/km, HC + NOx: 0.30g/km, NOx: 0.25g/km, PM: 0.025g/km.
  • Euro 5: Cars registered after 1 January 2011:
    • Petrol: CO: 1.0g/km, HC: 0.10g/km, NOx: 0.06g/km, PM: 0.005g/km (direct injection only)
    • Diesel: CO: 0.50g/km, HC + NOx: 0.23g/km, NOx: 0.18g/km, PM: 0.005g/km, PM: 6.0x10 ^11/km.
  • Euro 6: Cars registered after 1 September 2015:
    • Petrol: CO: 1.0g/km, HC: 0.10g/km, NOx: 0.06g/km, PM: 0.005g/km (direct injection only), PM: 6.0x10 ^11/km (direct injection only)
    • Diesel: CO: 0.50g/km, HC + NOx: 0.17g/km, NOx: 0.08g/km, PM: 0.005g/km, PM: 6.0x10 ^11/km.

What Taxes are Imposed on Vehicle Importation in Sweden?

Expats that register cars in Sweden need to be prepared to pay taxes on the import of the vehicle, as well as the taxes that exist for all driving Swedish residents.

There are no import duties to import vehicles that have driven for less than 6,000km and have been owned for more than six months. However, Value Added Tax (VAT) is payable if either of those conditions are satisfied. For example, if you have owned the car for six months and it has only travelled 1,000km (620 miles), you will still need to VAT.

VAT is based on the value of the vehicle you are importing, plus shipping fees. Swedish Customs will add a 10% duty on the value of the car plus shipping fees and the Tax Authority will also add a 25% tax based on the value of the vehicle and shipping fees. This could add up to thousands of dollars, so if you don’t satisfy the requirements to avoid paying VAT, you may wish to consider leaving your vehicle in America. Visit Transport Sweden for further information.

Are there General Vehicle Taxes in Sweden?

All vehicles registered in Sweden are subject to a vehicle tax, which is tied to the amount of CO2 emissions that your car produces. For a petrol car, the tax is calculated at a base rate of SEK320, plus SEK22 for every gram of CO2 that your car produces over 111g/km. This rate is multiplied by 2.37 for diesel cars, plus additional charges of SEK250 for diesel cars registered after 2008 and SEK500 for diesel cars registered before 2008. The vehicle tax is paid in advance for the period of a year. If the total cost of the tax is more than SEK3,600, the tax is paid in three installments.

For more information about How to Import Cars into Sweden visit Swedish Customs Forms & Guides for Moving Overseas.

How to Import Pets into Sweden

Importing pets into Sweden Importing pets into Sweden

You can take most pets to Sweden, so long as they are free from infectious diseases that are transmittable to humans and are not deemed harmful to the environment. As such, importing most cats, dogs, birds and reptiles is possible. General laws and regulations for importing pets into Sweden include:

  • The Swedish Board of Agriculture governs the importation of pets in to Sweden
  • As America is a non-European Union country, there are strict regulations for importing your pet
  • The regulations set by the Swedish Board of Agriculture are designed to prevent contagious diseases from moving into Sweden and affecting the local animal population.

There are also specific requirements for importing different types of pets, each of which is outlined in detail below.

How to Import Dogs, Cats and Ferrets into Sweden

You can import your pet dog, cat or ferret into Sweden, so long as it is free from infectious diseases that are transmittable to humans and is not deemed harmful to the environment. To import your dog, cat or ferret into Sweden, you must keep in mind:

  • Pets must be ID-marked in the form of an ISO-approved microchip. If your pet has already been microchipped, check with your vet that it is ISO-approved. If the chip cannot be read, your pet may be rejected at the border. Animals tattooed before 3 July 2011 don’t need a microchip
  • Animals must have a valid vaccination against rabies, in the form of a two-shot primary vaccination that builds up defense against rabies. Keep in mind that:
    • The validity period of the shot your animal receives in America may be different to the validity period in Sweden, so check with a vet upon landing in Sweden
    • You need to wait at least 21 days after the shot has been administered to travel. If you revaccinate your pet after the validity date of the last rabies vaccination, it will be considered a primary shot and you need to wait another 21 days before travelling.
  • Pets must travel with a veterinary certificate completed by official American veterinarian. You can also have your local veterinarian complete the certificate and have it stamped by the central veterinary authority
  • When visiting the veterinarian, you need to present three documents: an owner’s declaration, a certificate of identification and a certificate of rabies vaccination. These pages need to be attached to the veterinary report and each page needs to be stamped and signed. The owner’s declaration should state that the animal is your pet, it belongs to you and you are not importing it for the purpose of sale
  • After the certificate has been issued, you have 10 days to travel to the Swedish or other European Union Entry Point
  • All animals need to be checked at a Swedish entry point. The two entry points in Sweden are Arlanda Airport, Stockholm and Landvetter Airport, Gothenburg.
  • Animals travelling without their owner:
    • If the animal travels within five days of you, it needs to be accompanied with: a veterinary certificate, an authorization from you or a representative giving authority for the animal to travel and a copy of your travel details and flight booking
    • If the animal is travelling more than five days before or after you arrive, it will have to travel as freight and comply with Swedish regulation for trade animals.
  • How to Import Birds into Sweden

    To import a bird into Sweden, you must ensure the following requirements are met:

    • Birds must have been born and raised in captivity, as it is illegal to keep wild animals as pets in Sweden
    • If you import more than five birds, they do not count as pets and are instead considered trade, meaning trade regulations apply
    • If you are importing a CITES-listed species, you need an export licence from America and an import licence from the European Union
    • American expats will need to apply for an import permit for every bird they seek to import. To apply for an import permit:
      • Complete Moving to Sweden Customs Form Application for Licence for Import or Export of Animals and Animal Products Note: Please upload and link to pdf form moving-to- sweden-customs- form-application-for-licence- for-import- or-export- of-animals- and-animal-products.pdf provided. This form will also be found on the Customs Forms & Guides Overview page.
      • Apply at least 30 days before estimate date of importation
      • Pay application fee of SEK400 before submitting application
      • Send the application to the Swedish Board of Agriculture, Division for CITES and Pet Animals (at 551 82 Jönköping, Sweden) or scan the signed application and email to [email protected].
    • Your consignment must comply with health regulations:
      • Birds must be inspected for disease on the last working day of dispatch or within 48 hours of dispatch
      • To pass health regulations, your consignment of birds must comply with one of the following:
        • Have been held in isolation for at least 10 days before dispatch and tested for H5NI-antigen or H5NI-genome, as dictated by OIE Manual of Diagnostic Test and Vaccines for Terrestrial Animals. The test needs to be taken on the third day of isolation and it must show no trace of bird flu. You must sign a document stating that you conducted the test and no traces of bird flu were found
        • Have the birds quarantined for 30-days at an approved EU-facility. There are no facilities in Sweden, so you will need to take the birds to a registered facility elsewhere in the European Union. There are facilities in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Spain
        • Birds can also be placed in isolation for 30-days prior to dispatch in a third country listed in Part 1 of Annex I or in Part 1 of Annex II to Commission Regulation (EU) No 206/2010.
    • Pet birds can only be brought in through inspection points at Arlanda Airport, Stockholm and Landvetter Airport, Gothenburg. Customs needs to be notified at least 48 hours in advance and the local border inspection veterinarian should be contacted one working day before arrival.

    How to Import Horses into Sweden

    To import a horse into Sweden, you must ensure the following requirements are met:

    • Horses need to be examined by an official American veterinarian. You can also get your local veterinarian to complete the certificate and have it stamped by the central veterinary authority
    • If the horse will remain in Sweden for more than 90 days, it is considered a permanent import and you will need to apply for a horse passport
    • Horses must enter Sweden at inspection points, which are located at Arlanda Airport, Stockholm and Landvetter Airport, Gothenburg
    • Horses travelling from America to Sweden need to travel according to a travel plan, drawn up by an official veterinarian in America.

    How to Import Other Animals into Sweden

    When it comes to importing other types of animals into Sweden, please be sure to visit the Swedish Board of Agriculture for full details, in addition to the following:

    • Some reptiles and amphibians are CITES-listed. It’s your responsibility to check your pet’s classification and apply for an export licence from America and an import licence from the European Union if needed.
    • Rabbits and rodents need to be accompanied by an owner’s declaration stating that the animal shows no visible or obvious signs of disease or illness at the time of dispatch.

    For more information about how to import pets into Sweden, visit Swedish Customs Forms & Guides for Moving Overseas.

    How to Import Weapons into Sweden

    Importing weapons into Sweden Importing weapons into Sweden

    Americans need a permit to import all arms and dangerous articles into Sweden. Guns, ammunition, switchblades, stilettos, knuckledusters, truncheons, karate sticks, maces and ripping gloves are all considered as dangerous articles.

    To apply for a permit to import weapons and dangerous article into Sweden, you need to:

    • Apply for the permit well in advance by filling out the appropriate form. The form is only published in Swedish so you will need to have it translated. If you have hired an international removals expert like UniGroup, they will be able to complete and sign the form on your behalf
    • You must know in advance which weapons you will be importing, as all items need to be included on the permit request
    • If you receive a permit, you must declare the articles you have brought with you, as well as the issued permit. If no customs official is present when you arrive in Sweden, you need to contact an official via the telephone at the border crossing. A number will be provided to you so you can speak with the closest customs clearance office
    • Items must be carried on your person or the person of your nominated agent
    • If the total amount of the weapons you import is less than SEK4,300, you won’t have to pay duties or taxes.

    Upon arrival in Sweden, you will need to apply for a weapons licence:

    • You will need to complete Weapon Licence Application Form 551.1 in full. Failure to complete every section will mean you need to be contacted by an official, which will lengthen the process
    • You will also need to include all requisite appendices, which demonstrate the reason for possessing weapons, such as hunting, target shooting and so on
    • Once the form is complete and your documentation compiled, the form can be submitted digitally
    • After the Swedish police have received the application, you will be mailed a payment notice. As soon as you pay the fee, the process of granting the licence will begin
    • If you are successful, a licence will be mailed to your address.

    For more information about how to import weapons into Sweden, visit Swedish Customs Forms & Guides for Moving Overseas.

    How to Import Alcohol into Sweden

    Importing alcohol into Sweden Importing alcohol into Sweden

    You may import wines and other alcoholic beverages into Sweden as part of your household goods shipment, so long as the alcohol is for personal use. Keep in mind the following requirements:

    • To bring alcohol into Sweden you need to be at least 20 years of age
    • You can import the following amounts of alcohol into Sweden tax and duty-free:
      • 1 liter of liquor or 2 liters of fortified/sparkling wine
      • 4 liters of wine
      • 16 liters of beer
    • If you exceed this limit, you will be charged the following in tax and duties:
      • Liquor: 4 SEK/liter in duties, 256 SEK/liter in tax
      • Fortified wine: 2 SEK/liter in duties, 72 SEK/liter in tax
      • Wine: 1 SEK/liter in duties, 32 SEK/liter in tax
      • Beer over 3.5%: 3 SEK/liter in duties, 17 SEK/liter in tax.

    For more information about How to Import Alcohol into Sweden, visit Swedish Customs Forms & Guides for Moving Overseas.

    How to Import Plants into Sweden

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    The Swedish Board of Agriculture controls the import of plants into Sweden. The rules and regulations around the importation of plants into Sweden are quite strict. As such, it is worth considering whether to include plants in your shipment of household goods. If you decide to import plants into Sweden, keep in mind the following requirements:

    • As Sweden is a member of the European Union, some plants are banned from importation:
      • Examples of banned plants include many species of citrus, conifers, vitis, fruit trees, potato and grasses
      • Soil and other growing media, apart from pure peat, is also prohibited from importation
      • Additional plant species are banned from importation as they are endangered
      • The importation of seed and ware potato is strictly regulated, due to the importance of potato as a crop and the number of diseases that can afflict crops. It is illegal to import seed or ware potato from America.
    • Plants, seeds and other plant products require a phytosanitary certificate. To import these into Sweden, the phytosanitary certificate must demonstrate that your plant consignment conforms with EU plant protection rules. You can apply for a phytosanitary certificate in America through United States Department of Agriculture.
    • Upon arrival in Sweden, your plant products and phytosanitary certificates will be inspected by the Swedish Board of Agriculture. The inspection fee is SEK450 for a regular consignment, while larger consignment may attract a larger fee
    • Inspection points are in Malmo, Helsingborg, Gothenburg, Landvetter, Stockholm and Arlanda
    • The importer in charge of the consignment must be registered by the Swedish Board of Agriculture. Email the Swedish Plant Control Unit to become registered
    • If you are importing plants for scientific purposes you may be exempt from certain import requirements.

    For more information about How to Import Plants into Sweden, visit Sweden Customs Forms & Guides for Moving Overseas.

    How to Find Employment in Sweden

    Finding employment in Sweden Finding employment in Sweden

    If your spouse and children are accompanying you on your relocation, you’ll need to start researching employment opportunities. Follow our tips for the easiest job seek possible, from using the most popular employment websites and best recruitment agencies in Sweden through to how to establish a business in Sweden.

    What are the Best Employment Websites in Sweden?

    Some of the major employment websites in Sweden are:

    What are the Best Recruitment Agencies in Sweden?

    Alternatively, you may wish to register with a recruitment agency. Some of the major professional recruitment agencies in Sweden include:

    Some of the major executive recruitment agencies in Sweden include:

    Self-Employment and Establishing a Business in Sweden

    If you or your partner are considering self-employment or establishing your own business in Sweden, the following resources may be useful:

    Further Resources on Employment

    The Swedish Government provides a range of resources designed to make securing employment easier:

    • Finding a Job in Sweden: A Government resource designed to help expats find employment in Sweden
    • Working in Sweden: Government resource that makes finding employment and acclimatizing to Sweden business culture easier for expats.

    What is Working in Sweden Like?

    Working in Sweden Working in Sweden

    Understanding the workplace culture of Sweden is key to making a smooth transition into your new role. It can be difficult to make generalizations about working culture, with there being several differences from company-to-company and industry-to-industry. However, hard work is generally respected and expected, with enthusiasm and a genuine passion for one’s company, career and industry commonplace.

    How Do Swedes Communicate in Business?

    Most Swedes, particularly those that work in a corporate environment, are fluent in English. As such, expats will have little difficulty in communicating with their coworkers. However, learning a few Swedish phrases will be appreciated.

    In business, Swedes tend to be polite and somewhat reserved. Business is conducted in a direct fashion, with honesty appreciated and obfuscation discouraged. It is rare for conflicts to take place in the workplace.

    Swedish workplaces usually respect collaboration and teamwork, with decisions being made by consensus rather than by executives.

    Greetings

    Greeting in a business setting should consist of a firm handshake while introducing yourself and maintaining eye contact. If entering a room of people, you should move around the room and introduce yourself to each person, unless you are introduced to the room by someone else.

    Titles are not particularly important in Sweden. You may wish to use titles when beginning a new business relationship, but you will likely find that you are invited to use first names quickly, especially amongst younger Swedes.

    Business Meetings

    Business meetings in Sweden are much the same as those in America:

    • They take place in an office or meeting room on company premises
    • A few pleasantries will be exchanged, but business is discussed quite quickly
    • Sometimes an agenda will be set ahead of time so that attendees know what is to be discussed and can prepare accordingly
    • Decision are usually made by consensus
    • Expats should remember to be reserved in business meetings. Humor, displays of emotion and gloating will not be received well.

    Email

    Communication via email should be no different than any other form of business communication—it should remain professional at all times. When first contacting a person via email, you should use some degree of formality. As your business relationship progresses, you can adopt a friendlier, more casual tone. Some tips for email communication:

    • Your subject line should be clear, succinct and in line with the content of your email
    • Keep your sentences short, clear and easily understood
    • Include a signature in your email with relevant contact information, such as your return email, cell phone number and landline phone number.

    Text Messaging

    Business communication via text message is becoming more common in Sweden. However, the appropriateness of texting as a business communication method varies from company-to-company and industry-to-industry and can sometimes even be influenced by regulations.

    For instance, a real estate agent and their client may regularly use text messages for communication, particularly as it is an easy communication method to use whilst on the go. However, a financial advisor may be prohibited from texting clients due to security and privacy concerns.

    What are Business Hours in Sweden?

    Business hours can vary depending on the industry, location and even company. General business hours include:

    • Banks:
      • Weekdays: Most banks are open from 9.30am to 3pm and then 4pm to 6pm
      • Saturdays and Sundays: Most banks are closed.
    • Corporate Offices: Working hours in Sweden are similar to those in America – 8am or 9am to 5.00pm or 5.30pm, Monday to Friday, with a half hour to an hour lunch break. Many companies also offer ‘flexi-time’, with flexible start and finish times and trials of a shorter, six hour working day have been tried recently
    • Government: Similar to corporate offices, Government offices are generally open from 9am to 5pm. However, hours can vary depending on the services and work being completed
    • Retail Outlets:
      • Weekdays: Most shops open at 9.30 am and close at either 5pm or 6pm. Larger shops may have later closing hours
      • Saturdays: Most shops open at 12pm and close at 4pm
      • Sundays: Some large department stores and malls may be open on Sundays, if permitted by local laws.

    What is the Usual Office Dress Code in Sweden?

    Swedes are known for being fashionable dressers, but expats should avoid flashy or obviously expensive clothing as this is seen negatively as a ‘status symbol’.

    Men should wear dark business suits and women should wear conservative suits or dresses. There is little difference in dress between management and staff in Sweden.

    Dress code does vary throughout companies and in some businesses the dress code may be very informal. Slacks, open-neck shirts and even jeans and a t-shirt may be acceptable in some workplaces. However, you should always wear a suit for your first day and take your cue from other workers.

    What is Common Office Etiquette in Sweden?

    Office etiquette in Sweden is similar to that of America. Hard work is expected and respected and high levels of manners and politeness are the norm. While Swedes are quite informal in many ways, this informality is always tempered with respect (particularly for more senior management) and political correctness.

    Work Ethic

    Swedes are famously hard workers, but the strength of unions and the social democratic nature of the country’s politics mean that worker’s rights are protected and long vacations and holiday periods are enjoyed by everyone.

    Swedish workers take pride in their work and Swedish companies are sought after by international businesses due to their attention to detail and commitment to fulfilling contracts.

    Swedes enjoy a good work-life balance and while hard work is appreciated, you will also have plenty of freedom to engage in leisure time and cultivate your life outside of work.

    Gifts

    Gift giving is not common in Swedish business culture. You should only give gifts if you receive gifts from your colleagues.

    In some instances, it may be appropriate to give business associates small gifts (such as chocolates, wine or flowers) when invited to a colleague’s home or for a client's Christmas gift.

    It is Swedish custom to at first refuse the gift. So, if you feel as though the gift is appropriate, politely insist until they accept.

    Do’s and Don’ts of Business in Sweden

    To help ensure that you’re successful in the Swedish world of business and to avoid any faux pas when you first arrive:

    • Do speak clearly and directly
    • Do start by addressing business associates formally using their title and surname. It is likely that business associates will ask to be referred to using their first name
    • Do behave conservatively in business settings
    • Do dress formally for initial meetings and interviews. After this initial meeting, follow the example set by your colleagues
    • Do respect the egalitarian nature of Swedish business and refrain from trying to pull rank or make decision without consultation
    • Don't waste time making small talk
    • Don't be late for meetings or appointments.

    What are Common Customs and Social Norms in Sweden?

    Customs and social norms in Sweden Customs and social norms in Sweden

    If you’re an American moving to Sweden, you’ll need to investigate local Swedish customs and common cultural differences in Sweden to help you and your family, assimilate more easily into Swedish culture on arrival. Luckily, you can follow our in-depth guide below that takes you through everything from the Swedes anti-social façade and egalitarianism through to table manners and commonly used words.

    What is the Swedish Anti-Social Façade?

    Americans may find Swedes to be slightly unfriendly at first. While Swedes are reserved and somewhat cold, this should not be perceived as unfriendliness. Once you are used to the Swedish way of socializing, you will find that they are incredibly welcoming, friendly and generous.

    What is Swedish Egalitarianism?

    Modern Sweden is based on equality at all levels. This is evident in business, in families, and in everyday life. Wanting to be the best, the richest or the most talented isn’t the object of Swedish ambition. Instead, most Swedes are more concerned with ensuring that everyone gets what they deserve. This extends to the Law of Jante, which is common throughout Nordic countries. The Law of Jante—“You are not better than anyone else”—is a desire for common and collective success, rather than individual success.

    What is Religion Like in Sweden?

    The Church of Sweden (Svenska kyrkan) is Evangelical Lutheran and is the largest religion in Sweden, accounting for 64% of the population. However, it is only since 2000 that Swedes do not automatically become a member of the Church of Sweden at birth and record numbers of Swedes have left the church in recent years. In reality, Sweden is a fairly secular society, with surveys indicating that only 8% Swedes attend any religious services regularly and levels of worship drop every year.

    Swedish society is marked by tolerance, and freedom of religion is enforced at a state-level. Sweden has a sizeable immigrant community, meaning that Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism, as well as other religions are practiced throughout the country.

    What is Considered Good Manners in Sweden?

    Much like in America, good manners and politeness are important in Sweden. To ensure that you exhibit good manners when you arrive in Sweden, follow our list of tips:

    • If someone does something nice for you, say ‘thank you’
    • Hold the door open for people behind you
    • Respect your elders
    • Punctuality is important in Sweden, with many people finding it rude and disrespectful to arrive late to a social event or appointment
    • Swedes rarely stand in line. At places like banks, there is often a ticket system. So instead of standing in line, take a number and wait
    • Equality is very important in Sweden. All Swedes aim for a middle-level of normalcy, rather than trying to be better than anyone else. You should recognize this in your interactions with people
    • If you are at a dinner, you should wait until the organizer of the dinner has said “Skal”, which is the equivalent of cheers. It is considered very rude to drink before this signal has been given.

    What is Considered Good Table Manners in Sweden?

    Table manners are important in Sweden. So, to ensure you make a good impression at your first dinner party or your first meal out a restaurant, follow these handy tips and tricks on good table manners:

    • Eat politely and chew with your mouth closed
    • Never talk with your mouth full
    • Try not to make too much noise; do not slurp or loudly munch or crunch
    • If something on the table is out of reach, politely ask someone to pass it to you
    • Lift food up to your mouth, rather than bending over to eat it
    • Place a napkin on your lap when eating
    • If in a group, wait until everyone has been served before you start eating
    • Keep your elbows in when cutting food
    • Always use cutlery when eating; never pick up food in your hands, expect in rare exceptions to the rule, such as fried chicken and corn on the cob.

    Swedish table etiquette follows the continental style in that the knife is held in the right hand and the fork is held in the left throughout meal. It is important to use a butter knife to butter your bread and after finishing your meal, the knife and fork should be placed on your plate next to each other.

    It is also considered impolite to leave food on your plate.

    There are some behaviors that should be avoided when eating in Sweden, including:

    • Burping at the table
    • Picking your teeth at the table
    • Licking your fingers at the table
    • Placing your elbows on the table
    • Smoking at the table
    • Speaking with your mouth full.

    What is Communication and Conversation Like in Sweden?

    Swedes are very reserved during conversation. While at first this may seem cold or brusque to some people, they rarely mean to be offensive. To help ensure you’re neither offended nor offend others when you first arrive in Sweden, follow these rules:

    • Some topics of conversation, such as religion and politics, especially Sweden’s treatment of the Sami people, should be avoided at social gatherings, until you know the other guests well. Safe topics of conversation include sports, hobbies, travel and one’s children
    • When speaking, it is important to make and maintain eye contact
    • Swedes don’t like their personal space being encroached on during conversation, so maintain a buffer at all times
    • Swedes use very little body language during conversation, so it is important that you are reserved with your own use of body language.

    Does Sweden Use Metric or Imperial Units of Measurement?

    Sweden uses the metric system, unlike the United States which uses the imperial system.

    The Imperial system is based on the old British system of measurement (as ordered by the king, hence the name Imperial). The units of measurement in the Imperial system are yards, miles, feet, inches, pounds, ounces, and gallons.

    The Metric system is an internationally agreed system of measurement. Based on the mètre des Archives and the kilogramme des Archives introduced by the French in 1799, the metric system uses the units of meter, kilogram and second.

    Units of Measurement

    Units of measurement in the Imperial system, versus those in the Metric system include:

    • 1 inch = 2.54 cm
    • 1 meter = 3.28 feet
    • 1 mile = 1.6 kilometers
    • 1 gallon = 3.78 liters
    • 1 kg = 2.2 lbs.

    Some tips and tricks to help remember how to convert units of measurement include:

    • Converting miles to kilometers: Five miles is equivalent to 8 kilometers (this is an easier conversion to remember than 1 kilometer equals 0.62137119 miles). To convert miles to kilometers, the easiest way to formula to use is: divide the number of miles by five, subtract the answer from the number of miles, and then double the number left. For instance:
      • 100 miles ÷ 5 = 20
      • 100 – 20 = 80
      • 80 x 2 = 160km.
    • Converting pounds to kilograms: 2.2 pounds is equivalent to 1 kilogram (this is an easier conversion to remember than 1lb equals 0.45359237 kilograms). To convert pounds to kilograms, halve the number of pounds, and then subtract one tenth of the result. For instance:
      • 100lbs ÷ 2 = 50
      • 50 - 5 = 45kg.
    • Converting gallons to liters: One liter equals 1.8 imperial pints, and there are eight pints in a gallon. Therefore, one gallon equals 4.55 liters. To convert gallons to liters, multiple the number of gallons by nine, and then halve the answer. For instance:
      • 100 gallons x 9 = 900
      • 900 ÷ 2 = 450 liters.
    • Converting inches to centimeters: One inch is equivalent to 2.54cm. So, to convert inches to centimeters, you simply need to multiply by 2.45. For instance: 100 inches x 2.45 = 245 centimeters
    • Converting feet to meters: There are 3.28 feet in a meter. So, to convert feet to meters, take your measurement (in feet) and divide it by 3.28. For instance: 100 feet ÷ 3.28 = 30.48 meters.

    Temperature

    In Sweden, temperatures are expressed in Celsius instead of Fahrenheit (as in America). A few key temperatures to remember:

    • 32°F = 0°C (freezing)
    • 70°F = 21°C (comfortable)
    • 100°F = 38°C (uncomfortable).

    What is the Swedish Language Like?

    English is widely spoken in Sweden, thanks to the emphasis placed on learning English at school. It is rare to meet a Swede who can’t speak English; usually only older generations or immigrants (for whom their second language is Swedish) cannot speak English. However, it is important that you try to learn some Swedish, particularly as understanding people around you will help you feel more at home.

    Common Swedish Phrases

    Try substituting the following Swedish words for their English counterparts:

    • “ja” means “yes”
    • “nej” means “no”
    • “tack” means “please” and “thanks, thank you”
    • “tack så mycket” means “thank you very much”
    • “ingen orsak” means “you're welcome”
    • “hej” or “hej hej” means “hi, hello”
    • “god dag” means “hello” and “goodbye”; “literally, good day”
    • “god morgon” means “good morning”
    • “god förmiddag” means “good morning” (used from around 11am until noon)
    • “god middag” means “good afternoon” (used at noon)
    • “god eftermiddag” means “good afternoon” (used from noon until around 5pm)
    • “god kväll” means “good evening” (used from around 5pm)
    • “välkommen!” means “welcome!”
    • “vi ses!” means “see you!” (informal)
    • “vi ses snart!” means “see you soon!”
    • “vi ses senare!” means “see you later!”
    • “ha en bra dag!” means “have a good day!”
    • “ursäkta mig” means “excuse me” (to get attention or move past someone) and “sorry”
    • “förlåt” means “sorry”
    • “inga problem” means “no problem”
    • “det gör inget” means “don't worry about it”
    • “pratar du engelska?” means “do you speak English?”
    • “jag pratar inte svenska” means “I don't speak Swedish”
    • “jag pratar lite svenska” means “I speak a little Swedish”
    • “jag pratar väldigt lite svenska” means “I only speak very little Swedish”
    • “var snäll och prata långsammare” means “please speak more slowly”
    • “kan du säga det igen?” means “could you please repeat that?”
    • “jag förstår” means “I understand”
    • “jag förstår inte” means “I don't understand”
    • “jag vet” means “I know”
    • “jag vet inte” means “I don't know”
    • “var är toaletten?” means “where is the toilet, please?”

    Swedish Pronunciation

    The Swedish language has nine vowels: a, e, i, o, u, y, å, ä and ö. These differ in terms of the type of sound and length of sound that they make:

    • a is pronounced as the "aw" sound in claw
    • e is pronounced as the "e" sound in fell
    • i is pronounced as the "ee" sound in fleece
    • o is pronounced as somewhere between that of "o" in "close" and "oo" in "moose”
    • u is pronounced as the "oo" sound in "moose"
    • y is pronounced as somewhere between the "oo" in "moose" and "y" in "any"
    • å is pronounced as somewhere between the "o" in "close" and "o" in "pot"
    • ä is pronounced like the "a" in "apple"
    • ö is pronounced like the "u" in "full"
    • j is pronounced like the "y" sound in yellow.

    The Swedish constants also have a difference pronunciation when compared to English:

    • c is pronounced as an “s” before the letters e, i or y; and as a “k” elsewhere
    • ch is pronounced as a “k”, or not pronounced at all
    • g is pronounced as a “j” before the letters e, i, y, ä or ö; and as a “g” elsewhere
    • gn is pronounced as “gn” if it is at the beginning of words; and as “ŋn” elsewhere
    • rg is pronounced as “rg” if it comes before the letters a, o, u, å; and is pronounced as “rj” elsewhere
    • lg is prounounced as “lg” before a, o, u, å; and “lj” elsewhere.

    For more information on Swedish pronunciation, visit Learning Swedish.

    What is a Credit Rating?

    Maintaining a good credit rating is important in Sweden, as it influences loan and credit card applications. There are three major credit bureaus in Sweden (UC, Soliditet and Creditsafe), which collect credit rating information. Several factors affect your credit score, some of which include:

    • The amount owed on your credit accounts
    • Your total available credit limit
    • Your total debt
    • Your promptness in paying bills
    • The number of credit accounts you hold
    • Payment or credit issues, such as bankruptcy, loan defaults or foreclosures.

    What are the Most Popular Sports to Play and Watch in Sweden?

    Most popular sports to play and watch in Sweden Most popular sports to play and watch in Sweden

    Swedes enjoy engaging in physical activity, particularly in the form of outdoor sports, such as skiing, hiking, ice-skating and climbing. Soccer is also hugely popular, both to play and watch. Professional-level sports in Sweden include soccer, handball, ice hockey and basketball. Games attract huge crowds at high school, college and professional levels.

    Soccer

    Soccer or football is the most popular sport in Sweden. The national team is successful and features star players, including Zlatan Ibrahimović. The national league, the Allsvenskan, is also strong and has been running since 1931. The league features 14 teams and runs from April to October.

    Handball

    Handball is popular throughout the Nordic countries. The Handbollsligan is the top national competition, featuring 14 teams and a history of over 80 years. The champion of each season progresses to the EHF Champions League. The national team has won four Olympic silver medals.

    Swedish Hockey League (SHL)

    The Swedish Hockey League (SHL) is the second-most watched professional sporting league in Sweden. It commenced in 1975, features 14 teams, and the season runs from late-September to April. The national team has won the world championships nine times and won gold medals at the 1994 and 2006 Winter Olympic Games.

    Basketball

    The Basketligan is the top national basketball competition, with nine teams competing for the annual championship. BC Lulea is the most successful team with nine league titles. Sweden also fields a national team in the Olympics.

    Other Sports in Sweden

    There is significant interest in sports such as tennis, bandy, golf and rugby. Winter sports, such as skiing and ice-skating, are also incredibly popular throughout Sweden.

    Playing Sport in Sweden

    It won't be difficult to join a local sporting team. The best place to start is at a local YMCA or local private club. If you're interested in soccer you may find that recreational groups have informal games at local parks. Most towns will also have club for anyone wishing to play competitive soccer, handball, ice hockey or basketball.

    Fitness in Sweden

    Fitness is an essential part of Swedish daily life and culture. Most Swedes will engage in some form of exercise daily and some companies even subsidize gym memberships for employees. Most cities and towns have local fitness facilities. YMCAs are a great option for exercising on a budget, while private gyms and clubs offer an incredible range of facilities at a higher price. Some of the larger private gyms include:

    If you want to exercise for free, take advantage of jogging and bike paths. You can also use the sporting facilities of some local schools on weekends.

    What Holidays and Traditions are Celebrated in Sweden?

    Celebrating holidays and traditions in Sweden Celebrating holidays and traditions in Sweden

    There are many different types of holidays and traditions celebrated in Sweden, from religious holidays such as Christmas and Easter through to cultural celebrations such as Midsummer and the National Day of Sweden, as well as more general school holidays. Read our guide below so that you understand the meaning behind each tradition, as well as how and when they are celebrated.

    School Holidays

    The Swedish academic year begins in mid-August and runs until the beginning of June in the following year. The school year is divided into two semesters, known as the Autumn and Spring Terms, with the following holiday periods observed:

    • Christmas holidays: Two weeks from Christmas Eve
    • Winter break: Dates vary depending on the region; visit this page for dates in your region
    • Easter Holidays: From Good Friday to Easter Monday, usually in March or April
    • Summer Holidays: Nine weeks from the middle of June
    • Autumn Holidays: One week from the end of December.

    Federal Public Holidays

    Sweden observes several federal public holidays, each of which is outlined below. If a federal public holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday, it is moved to the first available weekday.

    New Year’s Day (1 January)

    New Year’s Day celebrates the beginning of the new calendar year. Generally, people attend large parties on the night of 31 December, ringing in the New Year at midnight.

    Epiphany (6 January)

    Epiphany is a Christian feast day that celebrates the revelation of God through Jesus Christ. Practicing Christians attend religious ceremonies, but most Swedes use the day to relax and spend time with friends and family.

    Good Friday and Easter Monday (March to April: First Sunday After the First Full Moon After the Vernal Equinox)

    A Christian holiday, Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ following his crucifixion three days prior. Swedes often take advantage of the long weekend to go on a short holiday.

    International Worker’s Day (1 May)

    A day dedicated to the rights of workers and an important holiday in the Swedish calendar. Marches are held throughout major cities and towns so that workers may voice their grievances and enact change.

    Ascension Day (Date Fluctuates)

    A Christian feast day that celebrates the ascension of Jesus Christ’s earthly body into heaven. However, with declining numbers of Swedes practicing Christianity, it is becoming more and more secularized.

    National Day of Sweden (6 June)

    This day celebrates King Gustav Vasa’s ascension to the throne in 1523, a moment which marked the creation of modern Sweden. People celebrate by attending ceremonies, carrying flags and donning the Swedish colors of yellow and blue.

    Midsummer (Between 19 and 24 June)

    The holiday is centerd around the summer solstice. Huge celebrations and parties take place across the country to celebrate the longest day of the year and summer. Traditional celebrations include the erection of a maypole for revelers to dance around and the decoration of houses in green plants, as this is thought to bring good luck and health.

    All Saints Day (1 November)

    A day dedicated to all Christian saints and an acknowledgment of the connection that exists between heaven and earth. People traditionally place candles and lanterns on the graves of loved ones. This day also signals the beginning of winter in the north of Sweden and the commencement of the alpine snow season.

    Christmas Day (25 December)

    The chief celebrations for Christmas take place on Christmas Eve in Sweden. Celebrations are similar to American customs, with families coming together to feast, swap presents and celebrate the moment. Some Swedes use the day to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, but it has become secularized throughout much of Sweden.

    Most people decorate their homes with Christmas lights and Christmas trees and children believe that Santa Claus will visit their home and bring them gifts, so long as they have been well behaved.

    Boxing Day (26 December)

    Families use this day to relax and clean up after the Christmas festivities, while many Swedes will also head to the mountains for the ski season. A key tradition of Boxing Day in Sweden is the kick-off of the bandy season. Bandy is a team winter sport played on ice, similar to ice hockey. On Boxing Day, several elite teams play off against each other, drawing huge crowds.

    Other Swedish Holidays and Festivals

    In addition to federal public holidays, there are various other holidays, festivals and celebrations observed by the Swedish population, each of which is outlined below.

    Valentine’s Day (14 February)

    Much the same as Valentine’s Day in America, this festival is celebrated in memory of St Valentine. The key part of day for Swedes is to show their love and appreciation for each other.

    St Patrick’s Day (17 March)

    Like most of the world, Sweden turns green on the 17th of March to celebrate Irish culture. There are a number of celebrations throughout Sweden, including the march through Stockholm by the Swedish Irish Society.

    Warpurgis Night (30 April)

    Warpurgis Night celebrates the coming of Spring, with customary celebrations consisting of gathering around a bonfire and eating gravlax (fresh salmon cured in sugar, salt and dill).

    Passover (14th Day of the First Month of the Jewish Year)

    Passover is a Jewish tradition, which lasts for eight days and celebrates the survivals of the Jews in Egypt. The tradition is marked with ritual dinners called Seder. While Passover is not a federal public holiday, most Jewish companies close during this period.

    Mother’s Day (Last Sunday in May)

    Just like Mother’s Day in America, children of all ages use this day to show their appreciation for their mother, often buying presents and gifts.

    Father’s Day (Second Sunday in November)

    Once again, just like Father’s Day in America, children of all ages use this day to show their appreciation for their father, often buying presents and gifts.

    Halloween (31 October)

    Halloween began in European cultures, which believe that on this day magic is at its most potent, with ghosts and spirits able to contact the physical world. Halloween was first celebrated to keep the evil spirits at bay. However, the customs in Sweden have largely been adopted from America. Young children dress up and go door to door to “trick or treat’ their neighbors, and people decorate their homes with ‘Jack-O-Lanterns’, which are hollowed-out pumpkins with a candle inside.

    St Lucia Day (13 December)

    St Lucia Day is observed in the lead up to Christmas. It is a celebration of light and a way of warding off the long, dark days of winter. The chief celebration involves young girls or women dressing in white and wearing a crown of candles. Pictures of St Lucia are also placed around Sweden.

    What is Food and Drink Culture Like in Sweden?

    The eating and drinking culture of Sweden The eating and drinking culture of Sweden

    A key way to experience the culture of a new country is through their food and beverages, and Sweden is no different. Not only does Sweden have its own unique foods and drinks, it also offers a range of culturally diverse options due to its rich cultural heritage. You’ll also need to be aware of some cultural norms when it comes to food and drink in Sweden, such as expectations around tipping and the legal drinking age.

    Does Sweden Have a National Dish?

    The homogeneous culture that Sweden has had for so many years means that there are lots of Swedish foods. While the influx of migration has brought new types of foods and cuisines into the country, the following are undeniably Swedish:

    • Swedish meatballs
    • Gravlax
    • Pickled herring
    • Potato pancakes
    • Crisp bread
    • Lingonberry jam
    • Swedish cheesecake
    • Spettekaka
    • Licorice candy
    • Yellow pea soup.

    Swedish beverages include glogg (mulled wine), filmjok (cultured milk), punch, and Swedish cider, including popular brands such as Kopparberg and Rekordelig.

    What are Restaurants in Sweden Like?

    Swedes love dining out and Americans will notice that the dining culture is quite similar to that of America. International cuisines are available, especially in larger cities. Gothenburg is recognized as having the finest restaurant culture, while Stockholm is noted for the diversity of cuisine.

    Swedish restaurants are known for smorgasbord, which consists of sharing from large dishes of food. Sweden is also famous for fine seafood dining, with salmon being a specialty. You can also be treated to old-fashioned home cooking at a husmanskost restaurant.

    Standard dining etiquette is observed in Sweden; don't speak too loudly, don't place your elbows on the table, don't burp and don't speak with your mouth full. Also keep in mind that at lunchtime, restaurants will happily split the check, but at dinner one check is given and it is customary for diners to split the bill.

    How to Find a Restaurant in Sweden

    There is no standard restaurant rating system in Sweden, although newspapers and magazines regularly print reviews. The easiest way to find restaurants and view their ratings is by visiting review websites:

    How to Tip in Sweden

    Service charges are usually included in the bill at bars, restaurants and hotels. However, Swedes will often add an extra tip for good service. A tip of 10% is an appropriate amount. When ordering drinks at a bar, it is customary to leave the change (within reason) as a tip.

    What is the Legal Drinking Age and Restrictions in Sweden?

    To buy alcohol from a store (or a systembolaget, as they are known in Sweden), you must be at least 20 years old. However, the legal age for drinking in a bar is 18.

    Shopping for Food

    The quality of food in Sweden is very high. Food is fresh or snap frozen at the source and shipped by air. As such, food is very safe, with no need to disinfect surfaces–rinsing fruit and vegetables in tap water is sufficient.

    The most common means of shopping for food is in large chain supermarkets. These are self-serve, with people pushing a shopping cart up and down the aisles. Some of the larger supermarket chains include:

    A rising trend in Sweden is home delivered meal-kit options, including Linas Matkasse, which is considered to be the first home delivered meal-kit provider in the world.

    What is Housing Like in Sweden?

    Housing in Sweden Housing in Sweden

    If you’re not moving to Sweden from America for work or your employer hasn’t secured housing for you, you’ll need investigate potential properties to buy or rent in Sweden.

    What are the Best Real Estate Websites in Sweden?

    A good place to start your real estate search is some of the most popular real estate search websites. These will give you an idea of the type of housing available, as well as the average cost. Try:

    What is Renting Property in Sweden Like?

    If you’re planning on renting property in Sweden, keep in mind:

    • It is rare to rent a property directly from a landlord. Instead, most properties are rented through the Bostadsformedlingen, which is the Government organization responsible for distributing vacant properties
    • You will need to pay a fee to the Bostadsformedlingen to be placed in housing. The waiting list is long, which is why expats often turn to private housing companies to find accommodation. These private companies have access to ‘send-hand’ rentals, which are not directly leased and easier to find
    • One month’s rent is usually required a deposit
    • You must give three month’s notice before vacating a rental property
    • Utilities are usually included in the rental amount of the property.

    What is Buying Property in Sweden Like?

    If you’re planning on buying property in Sweden, keep in mind:

    • There are no restrictions on expats buying property, but the severe housing shortage means finding properties can be difficult
    • Property prices in Sweden are lower than the rest of Europe, but the price of property in Stockholm and Gothenburg is still expensive
    • Buyers are required to pay a 20% deposit to the seller to secure the property once an offer has been accepted
    • You need to hire a lawyer when buying a house to sign the deeds
    • You will need to engage the services of a local, reputable real estate agent. Use this directory to find a real estate agent in your area
    • Organize inspections of properties that meet your criteria for when you arrive.

    What Types of Housing are there in Sweden?

    Housing types, styles, and even availability vary from region-to-region in Sweden. However, some general facts you can expect about housing in Sweden include:

    • Housing prices and rent are more expensive in major metropolitan regions, such as Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmo
    • Houses and apartments do not usually come furnished
    • Kitchens in Swedish houses usually include a space for a fridge, microwave, dishwasher and all other appliances. Kitchens in Sweden are usually smaller than kitchens in America, so it?s best to leave your American appliances at home and buy new, smaller ones on arrival
    • Laundries in Sweden are typically of the Euro-style (often a large cupboard, rather than an entire room). This means your existing American washing machine and dryer may be too large
    • Most houses feature built-in central heating and homes are well insulated.

    What are Houses Like in Sweden?

    There are two types of houses in Sweden:

    • Detached: Free-standing properties that have their own backyards. These yards can range in size from 550m2, right up to more than an acre
    • Apartment: The most common form of housing in Sweden, especially in cities. These residences are self-contained but share common areas with other apartments, such as gardens and a common area.

    What are Apartments Like in Sweden?

    Apartments in Sweden may be:

    • Occupant-owned
    • Leased from the building owner (or their appointed representative, such as a real estate agent)
    • Cooperatively-owned (referred to as a ‘co-op’), where owners become shareholders in a company that owns the entire building and its grounds. Members of a co-op pay a monthly fee to cover the cost of gardening, maintenance, the mortgage, insurance and taxes. As members have voting rights when new owners seek to rent or buy a property within the building, they can be difficult to rent or buy.

    What is the Best Way to Get Around in Sweden?

    Getting around in Sweden Getting around in Sweden

    Getting around Sweden is easy for expats, thanks to the clean, efficient and punctual public transport system and the excellently maintained roads. You can easily move between cities and regions and even reach the remote far north with relative ease, meaning Americans can make the most of everything that Sweden has to offer.

    What are the Road Rules When Driving in Sweden?

    If you plan to drive once you arrive in Sweden, there are several different road rules of which you should make yourself aware:

    • Like most European countries, in Sweden you must drive on the right-hand side of the road
    • If you want to overtake a car, you must overtake on the left-hand side
    • Turing right at a red light is not allowed
    • All occupants of a vehicle must be wearing a seatbelt
    • Using your phone while driving is prohibited in all situations
    • Headlights must always be on, even during the day. However, if there is oncoming traffic you must dim your light from ‘high beam’
    • Slower traffic should keep to the right and stay in the rightmost lane to allow traffic to pass through
    • You must signal when exiting a roundabout
    • Cars must have snow tires fitted between December 1 and March 31
    • The blood alcohol limit for driving in Sweden is 0.02%, so it’s best to refrain from drinking if you plan to drive
    • If there are no signs or rules to govern traffic, then ‘priority to the right’ takes precedence
    • For more information about driving in Sweden and road rules, visit the Driving in Sweden.

    Can You Drive in Sweden with a Foreign Licence?

    American drivers’ licences can be used in Sweden for up to one year. After that, you will need to convert your licence into a Swedish licence. To convert your licence, Americans need to:

    • You will need to undergo a risk-training course. This training consists of two parts–theoretical and practical. In the theoretical section, you will learn about topics such as the risk of driving while tired or intoxicated. The second part will test your ability to drive in extreme conditions, particularly on icy roads. You need the certificate from this course to sit a driving test. The course usually costs around SEK2,800
    • Book a driving licence test through the Swedish Transport Administration Agency – Trafikverket. It is recommended that you practice with a driving school before taking your test, as driving conditions and rules are different to those in America. Driving schools can also book your test for you
    • The theoretical test contains 70 questions, with 52 correct answers needed to pass the test. The test can be taken in English
    • The driving test lasts for 25 minutes and covers vehicle control, ability to respond to traffic conditions, understanding and application of traffic rules, and your ability to drive economically. You also need a dual control car for the test, which is why it’s best to go through a driving school
    • Visit the Swedish Transport Administration for further information.

    What is Public Transport Like in Sweden?

    Sweden has a clean, efficient and extensive public transport system, meaning expats can easily move around without a car.

    Trains

    Statens Jarnvagar (SJ) runs the national railways, providing Stockholm, Helsingborg, Gothenburg and Malmo with hourly trains. There are first and second-class carriages available for regional travel and some trains even have entertainment facilities for children. Train lines are extensive and are by far the fastest way to travel throughout Sweden. They are also run on renewable energy sources, making train travel an extremely environmentally friendly form of travel throughout Sweden.

    Buses

    The Swedish bus network is made up of national long-distance routes and county bus networks. The largest bus network is Swebus Express, which features buses with toilet facilities, free Wi-Fi and air conditioning. Tickets can be purchased online, over the phone, at convenience stores and on-board. Online purchase offers the cheapest prices. The same ticket can be used for travel on trains and county buses.

    Railways, Subways and Trams

    The only subway system in Sweden operates in Stockholm. It consists of seven lines and 200 stations, making it an effective way to travel around the city. The cities of Gothenburg, Helsingborg, Jonkoping, Linkoping, Lund, Malmo, Stockholm and Uppsala also have tram systems.

    Taxis and Uber

    Taxis (or ‘cabs’) are available throughout Sweden. Taxis can be hailed from the side of the street with the wave of a hand or a whistle, at taxi ranks or booked over the phone. While taxis are convenient for travelling short distances, they can be expensive. The system has been deregulated, which means prices can vary. Reputable companies include Taxi Kurir, Top Cab, Taxi 020, Taxi Transfer and Taxi Stockholm.

    A relatively new company, Uber is an app-based ride share cab company. Using Uber, you can hire a driver to pick you up in their private car and take you to your desired destination. The nearest driver can be at your pickup location within minutes.

    What is Air Travel Like in Sweden?

    Stockholm-Arlanda is the busiest airport in Sweden and the base of many domestic airlines. Domestic flights are very expensive and with such extensive public transportation available, flying may not be the best option for travelling around Sweden. Air Sweden is the national airline. Smaller regional carriers also provide services on specialized routes.

    While air travel is fast, passengers should allow ample time to clear immigration, customs and security, particularly for international flights.

    What Items are Prohibited when Shipping Goods to Sweden?

    Prohibited items when shipping goods to Sweden Prohibited items when shipping goods to Sweden

    Many dangerous or prohibited goods cannot be shipped to Sweden. People attempting to import prohibited items into Sweden may be subject to a penalty, and the items may be seized by customs officials. To help ensure that your goods are not seized and that your entire shipment is not delayed, follow our guide on prohibited items.

    What Items are Prohibited Entry into Sweden?

    General items prohibited from entry into the Sweden include:

    • All forms of asbestos fibers
    • All products containing the biocide dimethylfumarate (DMF)
    • Animal products
    • Atlantic red tuna fish (Thunnus Thynnus) originating from Belize, Panama and Honduras
    • Certain US beef hormones
    • Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) and HCFC, such as products containing foam rubber, aerosols (hair sprays), or fire extinguishers containing halon
    • Drugs, including both prescription and non-prescription
    • Foodstuffs
    • L-trytophane and any items having L-trytophane as an ingredient
    • Medical thermometers containing mercury intended for human consumption
    • Machine and electronic parts
    • PCB and PCT products such as transformer oil
    • Products that have been surface-treated with cadmium or contain cadmium substances
    • Rubber erasers that are similar in appearance to food products that are easily ingested
    • Textiles
    • Tobacco and tobacco leaves
    • Toys and games containing copper sulfate.

    What Wildlife Products are Prohibited Entry to Sweden?

    Any products made from endangered or threatened wildlife, as defined by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora are prohibited from entry into Sweden.

    What Items are Restricted When Shipping Goods to Sweden?

    Restricted items when shipping goods to Sweden Restricted items when shipping goods to Sweden

    When shipping items to Sweden, some items are subject to restrictions and will require additional precautions. People attempting to import restricted items into Sweden may be subject to a penalty and the items may be seized by customs officials. To help ensure that your goods are not seized and that your entire shipment is not delayed, follow our guide on restricted items.

    Money

    Money totalling more than SEK95,000 must be declared to customs officials upon entering Sweden.

    Food (Including Herbs and Spices)

    Expats are prohibited from bringing any foodstuffs into Sweden, unless they have a permit from the Swedish Board of Agriculture.

    What is the Health Care System Like in Sweden?

    The healthcare system in Sweden The healthcare system in Sweden

    The Swedish health care system is universally regarded as being one of the finest in the world. Its efficacy comes down to the fact that the public health care system gives everyone free access to quality health care. Plus, Sweden also enjoys one of the highest doctor-patient ratios in the world.

    Health care is largely tax-funded, with one tenth of the Swedish Government’s GDP invested into the health care system. This means that everyone has equal access to health care services. In fact, in 2005, Sweden introduced a health care guarantee. Under this guarantee, all patients will:

    • Be in contact with a community health care center the same day they seek help
    • Have a doctor’s appointment within seven days
    • Wait no more than 90 days to see a specialist
    • Wait no more than 90 days for an operation or treatment.

    The only reason that expats would choose to invest in private health care insurance is to avoid wait times of up to 90 days. Plus, dental care is not completely free, although it is subsidized.

    What is Health Insurance Like in Sweden?

    The public health care system is so good that private health insurance is a relative rarity. The only benefit of private health care is that waiting times are avoided. Apart from this, you will be treated by the same doctors and in the same facilities as public health care patients. Having all your dental bills covered is also a benefit of private health insurance.

    If you’d like to take out private health insurance to be safe, you should talk to your employer about including it in your salary package, as Swedish companies often provide this to attract talent.

    What are the Major Swedish Health Insurance Providers?

    Private health insurance is so rare in Sweden that there aren’t many companies offering this type of insurance. The main provider of private health insurance in Sweden is Skandia.

    What are Emergency Medical Services Like in Sweden?

    Emergency medical services in Sweden are available to all residents. If you have a medical emergency, dial ‘112’ on your phone to request an ambulance (as well as the police and the fire brigade). The operator will dispatch the ambulance as quickly as possible. Paramedics are highly trained to provide excellent care.

    If the situation is not an emergency, but is serious enough to require a visit to a hospital, you should go to the nearest Akutmottagningen or emergency room.

    You should learn the following Swedish phrases in case of emergency:

    • “Ring polisenmeans “Call the police”
    • “Ring en ambulans” means “Call an ambulance”
    • “Jag behover hjalpmeans “I need help”.

    While it is useful to know these phrases, most emergency personnel will have an excellent command of English, so speaking Swedish isn’t integral to getting the help you need.

    How Do Pharmacies and Prescription Medication Work in Sweden?

    Pharmacies are known as Apotek in Sweden. All pharmacies are state-owned and only sell medications. They are typically open from 9am to 6pm. In Stockholm, there are also several 24-hour pharmacies.

    There are strict regulations in place for the prescription of medicine and you may need prescriptions to access drugs that are sold as over-the-counter medications in America.

    Attendants will generally speak English and it is possible to have medical information printed in English.

    International prescriptions will not be filled by Swedish pharmacies. You will need to take a copy of your American prescription to a Swedish doctor and have them write you a local prescription.

    How Do Electricity, Water and Gas Utilities Work in Sweden?

    Electricity, water and gas utilities in Sweden Electricity, water and gas utilities in Sweden

    When moving to Sweden, you’ll need to understand how electricity, water and gas utilities work, from the biggest utility companies in the market to connecting your services, as well as whether your American appliances and electronics will work in Sweden.

    How to Connect Your Utilities in Sweden

    Once you’ve found a property to rent or buy, you’ll need to Organize the connection of your electricity, water and gas utilities. Some things to keep in mind:

    • The domestic power supply is provided by thermal electricity plants and hydropower and nuclear sources—50% of Sweden’s total energy supply is generated by nuclear power
    • A singe power market covers the Nordic countries, including Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark. A number of suppliers compete for customers within this market, so do your research and find the best deal
    • Water supply and sewage disposal are provided by municipal authorities. As such, services are subsidized by the state, which means that the water charges are relatively low. By law, providers cannot exceed the cost of providing the water supply
    • If you’re renting:
      • Your landlord should be able to tell you who your local utility suppliers are and how to have them connected
      • Keep in mind that utilities are often included in the price of rent.
    • The biggest electricity utility companies in Sweden include:
    • The biggest gas utility company in Sweden is

    Will American Appliances and Electronics Work in Sweden?

    Your American appliances and other household electronics may not work in Sweden due to three potential compatibility issues: the plug, the voltage and the frequency.

    The different power plug is easy to overcome with a plug adapter. However, the difference in electricity voltage and frequency can be more challenging. In the US, electricity is 100 to 110 volts, at a frequency of 60 Hz.

    Generally, many electronic items nowadays (like computers and peripherals) can run on both voltages and frequencies. You just need to check their power labels or manuals for ‘110-240v 50/60Hz’ before plugging them in for the first time in Sweden. And if they can’t run on both voltages, there is still a chance they’ll work by purchasing ‘step-down’ voltage transformers. However, these transformers can be costly, bulky, unsightly and inconvenient.

    You should therefore thoroughly check the manuals of all your appliances and electronics to ensure they are compatible with Swedish voltages and frequencies before incurring the cost of shipping over items that might be useless upon arrival. Buying new or secondhand appliances and electronics once you arrive may not only be more cost-effective, but your only solution.

    How Do Cell Phones and the Internet Work in Sweden?

    Mobile phones and the internet in Sweden Mobile phones and the internet in Sweden

    There is any number of cell phone and internet providers in Sweden, all of which offer differing services at various price points. If you do your research and compare companies, you can save a lot of money.

    Sweden is considered to have one of the most technically advanced internet systems in the world, with half of the municipalities having access to fiber-optical networks. DSL is the most popular method of connection.

    The main cell phone providers are:

    The main internet providers are:

    How to Keep in Touch with Family and Friends Back Home While in Sweden

    Keeping in touch with family and friends from Sweden Keeping in touch with family and friends from Sweden

    Moving to Sweden to work is an exciting opportunity to broaden your horizons by experiencing a new culture. However, it’s also a confronting experience that involves moving away from the friends and family you love. Luckily, there are plenty of ways for you to stay connected after your relocation, from cell phones and Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) apps, like Skype and WhatsApp, through to the Swedish Postal Service.

    Phone

    To make an international call from Sweden, you'll need to dial:

    • The Swedish international access code, which is ‘011’
    • The international country code for the country you wish to call (this is '1' for America)
    • The area code. For example:

      • '907' for Alaska
      • '302' for Delaware
      • '808' for Hawaii
      • '208' for Idaho
      • '207' for Maine
      • '406' for Montant
      • '605' for South Dakota
      • '802' for Vermont
      • '307' for Wyoming.
    • The number of the person you wish to call.

    Different carriers will have different international call rates, so make sure you confirm these rates early on.

    Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) Apps

    One of the cheapest way to make an international call from your mobile is to take advantage of a Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) app, such as:

    If you use any of these apps while you're connected to Wi-Fi, you'll save a lot of money. You also won't have to worry about international country codes—just click on the contact and press call. You also have the option of making videos call over Skype, Facebook Messenger and FaceTime, helping you feel more connected to your friends and family.

    Internet

    Sweden enjoys some of the fastest internet connectivity in the world, making it easy to keep in touch with friends and family. The Internet offers you round-the-clock access to the people you miss back home. Email, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter all allow you to stay connected and you can also use your computer and/or smartphone to make international calls via Facebook and Skype.

    Most cities throughout Sweden will offer free public Wi-Fi access points, so keep an eye out for the Wi-Fi symbol to increase your connectivity.

    Postal Service

    PostNord AB runs Sweden’s postal service and it is efficient and reliable. International airmail is typically delivered in five to seven days, while ground mail will arrive in four to five weeks.

    What Tax Do I Pay in Sweden?

    Paying tax in Sweden Paying tax in Sweden

    Taxes are central to Sweden’s social democratic style of politics. While working in Sweden, you will be required to pay taxes. These include income tax, sales tax and capital gains tax. So that you understand personal taxation obligations, be sure to read through the in-depth resources below.

    Income Tax

    If you are an employee, income tax is taken directly from your paycheck, so you won’t need to set aside money each month. If you are self-employed or have your own company, you will be responsible for paying your own income tax.

    Whether you’re an employee or self-employed, each year you will need to complete a tax return, which declares how much money you’ve earnt, how much tax you’ve paid and, therefore, whether you’re owed a refund (or if you owe more tax).

    Income tax rates are as follows:

    • Under SEK18,800: 0%
    • From SEK18,800 to SEK438,900: 31%
    • From SEK438,901 to SEK638,500: 31% + 20%
    • Above SEK638,500: 31% + 25.

    For more information on filing a tax return and paying taxes, visit the Swedish Tax Agency.

    Sales Tax

    The sales tax or Value Added Tax (VAT) is taxed at a flat rate of 25%. There are some exceptions, including food, sales related to cultural events (such as tickets and publications) and services such as renting a hotel room.

    Capital Gains Tax

    All capital gains are taxed at a flat rate of 30%.

    What to See and Do in Sweden?

    Things to see and do in Sweden Things to see and do in Sweden

    Sweden is a country of incredibly natural beauty, an enviable lifestyle, and a long and storied culture. It is the land of Vikings, snow, ice, untouched forest, ABBA, IKEA and endless days in Summer. It is also incredibly accessible, meaning expats will have ample opportunities to take in all the wonders that make Sweden such an international destination. It would be almost impossible to list every sight to see, so the list below should be viewed as a starting point. Make your own discoveries about the natural and cultural wonders that Sweden has to offer.

    Astrid Lindgren’s Varld

    Astrid Lindgren is the creator of such iconic characters as Pippi Longstocking, Ronja, the Robber’s Daughter and Karlsson-on-the-Roof. At Astrid Lindgren’s Varld, in Vimmerby, Smaland, you can be part of her universe. You can stay for a night in the houses at The Tiny Town and take in the 50 different theatre performances that take place in the park during summer.

    Beaches

    While Sweden and beaches don’t automatically seem like a good fit, the country is blessed with miles of stunning beaches. As soon as the weather warms up, Swedes flock to the coast for sunbathing and windsurfing.

    Bohuslan Province

    The Bohuslan province was the center of ancient Swedish culture, from the Bronze Age to the Vikings. The entire province is littered with museums and displays of archeological finds.

    Gothenburg

    Gothenburg is a stunning city, full of history, incredible dining experiences and the home of Sweden’s most famous export, Volvo Cars. The Nortstaden Kronhuset is the city’s most picturesque area and the City Museum offers an incredible look at what made Gothenburg the city it is today. This slick stylish city effortlessly combines the new and the old. You also can’t miss the opportunity to cruise up the 19th century Gota Canal.

    Lakeland

    Sweden has 97,500 lakes and the highlights are found in Lakeland. The area goes from Gothenburg to Uppsala and the Baltic Coast. Hire a car and travel through endless stunning scenery, spy out medieval castles and relax in picturesque villages. This area is also home to Santaworld, a theme park that will transport adults back to the magic of childhood Christmases.

    Lund

    The scenic town of Lund was founded by King Sven Tveskagg over 1,000 years ago. The 12th century cathedral and 14th century astronomical clock sit amongst hordes of students that attend the finest university in Sweden: Lund University. The highlight of the town is the preserved medieval streets in the open-air museum Kulturen. Another example of Sweden’s ability to strike the perfect balance between modernity and honoring the past.

    Malmo

    Malmo may be Sweden’s third city, but it makes a strong case to be its first. It is far warmer and sunnier than the rest of Sweden and that may be why it regularly ranks in the top 10 of Sweden’s happiest cities. The key sights include St Petri Church, Malmohus Castle and the Konsthallen. The Turning Torso skyscraper is a testament to neo-futurist architecture.

    Midnight Sun Coast

    This stretch of coast derives its name from the fact that the sun almost never goes down during the summer. It stretches up to the Finnish border and is the perfect place for the keen angler, with plenty of opportunities for river and ocean fishing.

    Oland and Gotlan Islands

    Sweden features an almost uncountable number of islands. The nation’s biggest are Oland and Gotland, in the southeast part of the country. Gotland has much to offer visitors with the spectacular Lummelanda Caves and the preserved medieval town at Kattlundsgard.

    Sami Culture

    The Sami are the indigenous people of Sweden. You can come face-to-face with them at Jokkmokk. You’ll see the beautiful art of the local people and wander amongst a replica village, featuring more than 70 cone-shaped Lapp huts. You can also sleep on an ‘ice bed’ at the small northern village of Jukkasjarvi. The Ice Hotel is entirely fashioned out of ice and has to be rebuilt every year.

    Smaland Museum

    The Swedish are obsessed with glass, which is why some of the finest glassworks in the world are produced there. German immigrants brought the craft to Sweden in the 16th century and The Smaland Museum takes visitors through the story of glassmaking in Sweden.

    Stockholm

    Sweden’s capital city Stockholm bustles with energy and shows just how efficiently a modern city can be run. It is clean and runs like clockwork. The Old Town features beautifully preserved historic buildings and The National Museum of Fine Arts contains the country’s finest collection of art.

    Vasa Museum

    Ever since the age of the Vikings, the Swedes have been noted for their naval skills. At Vasa Museum, you can learn more about Sweden’s naval history and even take in a 360-year old warship that was recovered from the Stockholm harbor in 1961. You can also learn about the folk history of Sweden as the Skansen open-air folk museum.

    Wildlife

    Sweden is full of opportunities to see wildlife in their natural environment. You can find buzzards, reindeer, beavers and lynxes in Southern Lapland. Elk and moose wander around the streets in forested areas and the Harjedalen Valley features endless birdwatching opportunities, while also being home to the country’s only population of musk oxen.

    Further Resources on What to See and Do in Sweden

    For further information on what to see and do in Sweden visit:

    Disclaimer

    We have been furnished with the above information, however, UniGroup Worldwide Moving gives no guarantees or undertakings concerning the accuracy, completeness, or up-to-date nature of the information provided. It is essential that users verify all information contained here before taking any action or relying upon it. UniGroup Worldwide Moving cannot be held liable for any actions taken based on the information contained within this Guide.