Swedish Language Blog

My moving to Sweden checklist Posted by on Feb 18, 2022 in Culture, People, Swedish Language, Travel & Geography, Vocabulary

Photo by Chelsea Bowen, suitcases, passport, dalahäst

Exploring a new city, navigating a foreign language and culture, starting at a new university or job – these are all things to consider when moving abroad. Why this topic for this week’s blog? Because I myself am in the process of moving abroad – to Sweden, and it’s all I can think about!

As I’m sitting amongst moving boxes, piles of donation items, and trying to eat the last of what’s in my fridge and freezer, I’m thinking about my checklist for moving to Sweden and all the things I’ve done to get to this point. Below, I will outline my process for moving to Sweden in 6 steps and we’ll stock our vocabularies along the way.

*Please note, this is in no way a comprehensive guide to moving to Sweden. Consult the proper Swedish authorities for the details, I link to some of them below.

Jag ville flytta till Sverige, så här gjorde jag / I wanted to move to Sweden, this is what I did:

att flytta      to move
→ flyttar → flyttade → har flyttat

1. Jag sökte intressanta jobb. I looked for interesting jobs.

Arbetsförmedlingen is the Swedish Public Employment Service and is a great place to look for work. With their job board Platsbanken, you can look for work via keywords like ort (city) and yrke (industry). I used LinkedIn’s job board too and set alerts for jobs in my field in major cities Stockholm, Göteborg, and Malmö. In most cases, you’ll need a heltidsjobb (full-time job) to justify a work permit.

Jag gick på anställningsintervjuer och till slut fick jag ett anställningserbjudande.
I had job interviews and in the end, got an offer of employment.

2. Jag ansökte arbetsvisum och uppehållstillstånd. I applied for a work visa and residence permit.

Migrationsverket is the Swedish Migration Agency and the folks who process all study, work, and residence visas. Their website has loads of information on what steps to take when moving to Sweden. The U.S. is utanför EU (outside the E.U.) so my arbets- och uppehållstillsand (work and residence permits) needed to be submitted and approved before entering Sweden.

Tillsammans med min nya arbetsgivare ansökte jag arbetstillstånd och uppehållstillstånd via Migrationsverket.
Together with my new employer, I applied for a work permit and residence permit via Migrationsverket.

3. Visumen är klara, dags att packa resväskorna! The visas are ready, time to pack our bags!

Jag och min partner packar väskorna och säljer våra möbler. Vi behåller inte så mycket.
My partner and I are packing our bags and selling our furniture. We’re not keeping very much.

…if it doesn’t spark joy, we’re not keeping it. Ever heard of Swedish dödstädning ( death cleaning)? It’s a very pragmatic way to think about your life and your clutter because you can’t take it with you when you’re gone, right?

När vi landar i Sverige måste vi…once we land in Sweden, we have to:

Photo: by Tushar Mahajan from Pexels


4. Besöka Migrationsverket / Visit the Migration Board

Vi måste lämna fingeravtryck och bli fotograferad.
We have to give our fingerprints and have our photos taken. Once that is complete, we’ll get our uppehållstillståndskort (residence permit cards).

5. Folkbokföra oss på Skatteverket / Complete our Population Registry at the Tax Agency

Om man ska bo i Sverige ett år måste man bli folkbokförd.
If you’re going to live in Sweden for a year you must join the population registry.

After that, you get a personnummer, your Swedish ID number. Skatteverket’s website has a series of short Ny i Sverige films explaining this process in more detail.

6. Hitta boende / Find a place to live

Finding a place to live in large Swedish cities can be difficult. Many people end up getting an andrahandskontrakt (a second-hand contract), and subletting a place from someone else. Blocket.se is a great online marketplace to find bostad (housing) and the möbler (furniture) to fill it.

Have a better idea about what moving to Sweden entails?

Great! Now that I’ll be living in Sweden, I’d love know what type of content you want to see more of. Let me know in the comments below!

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About the Author: Chelsea B

Chelsea is a Swedish language instructor and translator living in Minnesota, U.S. She has a degree in Scandinavian Studies from Gustavus Adolphus College and has experience living and working in Sweden from north to south! In her free time, she enjoys cooking, hiking, listening to music, and practicing slöjd, the Swedish word for handcraft.


  1. Nadia:

    Please get the immigration terminology right. There is a difference between a visa and a residence permit.

    US citizens cannot get a visa for Sweden. Visas are for people who need permission to enter the country. A residence permit gives permission to live in the country.

    There is no such thing as an arbetsvisum in Sweden. It’s only arbetstillstånd.

    There is no such thing as a residence visa. It is always residence permit.

    You’re going to the Migrationsverket office to get your uppehållstillståndskort, not your uppehållstillstånd.

    These differences may seem minor to you but if you ever need to talk to Migrationsverket, you need to use the right terminology. You could end up getting the wrong information and in the worst case, be deported.

    • Chelsea B:

      @Nadia Thanks Nadia! I sometimes generalize terms in order to get more vocabulary into my blogs. You’re right about the difference between visas and permits. I’ve added a line that folks should visit the proper Swedish authorities to get all the details.

  2. Chez:

    Tack för bloggen! Också försäkringskassan och ett fackförbund är super viktigt när man flyttar hit😁

  3. Ramona:

    I have enjoyed reading your blog as an American now living in Sweden and being from ND and having lived in MN and Swedish filled Seattle. Best of luck to you!

    • Chelsea B:

      @Ramona Hej Ramona! I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed the blog. You must have some fascinating perspectives on Swedish identity in the U.S. and in Sweden – kul!

  4. Richard Arnow:

    At age 80, I still long to move to the land of my grandparents. Compared to present-day USA, Sverige seems like paradise on earth. Bon voyage!

    • Chelsea B:

      @Richard Arnow Tack Richard! I’ll tell Sweden hej from you 🙂

  5. Virginia English:

    Hej Chelsea,
    Tack för bloggen! Jag har lärt mig mycket intressanta saker som hjälper till att utveckla min svenska.
    Och lycka till med ditt nya jobb och ditt stort aventyr i sverige!
    Jag är intresserad av Svensk konst, specialt glas och vävning. Jag skulla också höra hur sverige går framåt med omställningen till förnyelse av resurser och hållbar städer. Tack tack!

    • Chelsea B:

      @Virginia English Tack för kommentaren, Virginia! Kul att du tycker om bloggen – bra forslag till framtida bloggämnen!