Having a Swedish Personal Number – officially known as a personnummer – is necessary if you want to live in Sweden over the long term, and you should plan on getting this if you intend to live in Sweden more than one year. Once you have a personnummer you can do things like:
- Work legally
- Get into the Swedish healthcare system
- Get into the pension system
- Get a driver’s license
You can obtain a personnummer by registering with the Swedish Population Register through the government tax agency known as Skatteverket. Registrations cannot be made online. You must register in person at your local Skatteverket – there are over a hundred nationwide. For starters these are some basic items you will need to provide to register when you go to a Skatteverket office:
- A valid passport; a national ID card is also acceptable for EU/EEA citizens
- A Swedish residence permit (uppehållskort) if you are from a non-EU/EEA country outside of Europe; an exception for this is if you are the family member of an EU/EEA citizen who is registered in Sweden
- Although it is a requirement for a resident permit, you may be asked to provide proof that you have at least one year of coverage of health insurance with a limit of at least 246,500 SEK; an EU health card will fulfill this requirement
- A valid address in Sweden where you live
You will also need to provide the following specific information depending on your own circumstances, and qualify for a persunnumer through one of these routes:
- If you are from a non-EU or EEA citizen from outside of Europe and you:
- If you are an EU or EEA member citizen from a country in Europe
- If you are a student coming to Sweden
You can find detailed information about getting a personnummer from Skatteverket in several languages.
Non-EU and EEA citizens who are employees in Sweden
In this category you will need to bring an official certificate of employment from you employer that includes the following information:
- Your name and the terms of your employment
- Your employer’s name and Swedish corporate ID number
- The name of a contact person at your place of employment
To be eligible for the personnummer you must make at least 13,000 SEK per month (before taxes) or 7,300 SEK per month (net) as part of your employment. This is the amount the government considers to be the minimum required to support yourself.
Non-EU and EEA citizens who are self-employed or service providers in Sweden
If you are a service provider you will need to provide some kind of official document or certificate that details the terms, conditions, and length of the service you will be providing. You will need to show that you can support yourself throughout this time by earning at least 13,000 SEK per month before taxes or 7,300 net each month.
If you are self-employed and your business is not yet up-and-running, you will in the least need to provide proof that planning for your business venture has begun, such as by showing:
- VAT records
- Official Swedish business registration certificate
- Proof that you have skills and previous experience in your field
Skatteverket will determine whether or not you have adequate funding to support yourself – the same amount required for service providers – and make its decision to issue a personnummer accordingly.
Non-EU and EEA citizens who are moving to Sweden because of a family member
If you are moving to a family member who is already legally living in Sweden you will need to provide the following when you go to your local Skatteverket office:
- Proof that you are legally related to your family member in Sweden, such as a marriage certificate or birth certificate
- Proof that you (or your family member) are able to support yourself:
- 7,300 SEK per month for one person
- 10,800 SEK for two people who are married or common-law partners
- 2,100 SEK per month for each additional child
If you are an EU or EEA member citizen from a country in Europe
In theory as an EU/EEA citizen you automatically have the right of residence in Sweden. However it turns out this is not exactly the case. What you do have is the right to live in Sweden for three-six months while you look for work. If you want to stay longer you will need to fulfill one of the following requirements. Moreover, if you want to register with Skatteverket and obtain a personnummer you will need to meet one of these requirements for at least one year:
- Have employment where you earn at least 13,000 SEK each month before taxes (if you are single) and comprehensive health insurance
- Be a student at an approved institution with comprehensive health insurance
- Be looking for work with realistic prospects, have enough money to support yourself each month (at least 7,300 SEK), and have comprehensive health insurance
Note that to fulfill the health insurance requirement an EU health insurance card is acceptable.
While I was living in Sweden it was interesting to see that it actually took some effort for EU/EEA citizens to get their Swedish personnummer. Compared with other EU countries like Germany, from what I saw it seemed that it was downright tricky in some cases. I had one acquaintance who had UK citizenship and after a year of trying to get a personnummer and getting hung up on the employment income requirement (he was working at a coffee shop about 20 hours per week) he finally gave up. Don’t be discouraged though, because if you meet the requirements for a personnummer as an EU/EEA citizen you will eventually get it.
If you are a Student
If you are a student you must do the following to obtain a personnummer from Skatteverket:
- Provide proof that you are a matriculated student such as a certificate of admission
- If you are studying abroad through a program in your home country, also bring official documents from your home school showing the duration of your studies in Sweden
- Prove that you have comprehensive health insurance while you are studying in Sweden; for EU students your European health insurance card will suffice
- A Swedish residence permit (uppehållskort) if you are a non-EU/EEA student, or if you are a Swiss student
- Prove that you have at least 7,300 SEK of disposable income per month for the entire duration of your studies in Sweden