Moving to Sweden step-by-step guide

There are several things you might need to arrange prior to your travel to Sweden and upon arrival.

Before travelling to Sweden

Have you been admitted to Doctoral education at KI? See Introduction to doctoral education at KI

Have you accepted a job offer at KI? See Guide for new colleagues at KI

Are you on KI stipend/scholarship? Read more about Conditions for scholarship holders and Scholarship holders | EURAXESS

Have you accepted an internship/traineeship position? See what applies for Traineeships at Karolinska Institutet

Make sure to extend your passport if it is about to expire – you cannot obtain a work/residence permit for longer than your passport's period of validity. This also applies to your family, if they accompany you.

Apply for a residence permit at the Swedish Migration Agency (Migrationsverket) and show your passport at a Swedish embassy. The permit must be issued before you travel to Sweden. See Residence permits and visas

EU citizens don’t need a residence or a work permit, but you need a valid passport or ID card showing your citizenship when entering Sweden.

KI Housing offers accommodation for international students and researchers at Karolinska Institutet. You should apply for KI housing accommodation as soon as possible. 
If you do not receive accommodation through KI Housing, you will have to find housing on your own, see other accommodation alternatives or International Staff pages

If you have children, you should locate a preschool or school as early as possible. Contact the municipality where you are going to live in order to enroll the child, either to a Swedish-speaking preschool/school or an international preschool/school. See more information Family.


Make sure you are fully insured for your entire stay in Sweden. You can’t assume your insurance will go with you when you travel, so find out before you leave.

The KI Insurance scheme is accepted by the Swedish Migration Agency when applying for a permit shorter than one year. 

The Swedish Tax Agency no longer requires a comprehensive health insurance to be registered in the population registration in Sweden.


During your stay in Sweden, you will need certain documents or information for administrative procedures. Make sure you arrive in Sweden with all the documents that you are likely to require. 

Upon arrival in Sweden

Personal identification number

If you move to Sweden and intend to live here for a year or more, you should normally register as a resident at the nearest office of the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket). To obtain a unique 10-digit personal identification number, personnummer, you must personally visit the local tax office and complete a form concerning immigration to Sweden. A personal identity number is necessary if you would like to gain access to the Swedish health care system, make a telephone subscription, register for a driver’s licence, and so on. 

Coordination number

If you receive a salary from KI, but intend to stay for less than a year and cannot obtain a personal number, you need to be registered for tax purposes. You will get a coordination number, samordningsnummer, which is an identification number for persons who are not registered in the Swedish population register. If you work for less than six months your employer may apply for a special income tax decision on your behalf. If you stay in Sweden for at least six months, but less than a year, you have to apply for tax registration with the Swedish Tax Agency. Please note that a coordination number does not entitle you to any healthcare benefits connected to the personal identity number.

If your stay in Sweden is shorter than one year, you can request for a coordination number yourself by visiting one of Tax Agency service centres. 

You can apply for a Swedish ID card (Identitetskort) from the Tax Agency when you have received your personal number. You need to pay the application fee SEK 400 before you visit one of the offices in person, prove your identity and get your height measured and photograph taken. 
Your ID card can be used to confirm your age and to prove your identity, for example when collecting prescription medication at a pharmacy, paying by card in a shop or banking.

Under anti-money laundering legislation, banks are required to stringently verify customer identity. We recommend you to have a plan for the economic situation for the first weeks in Sweden due to the time it takes to arrange the id number and a bank account.

See Becoming a bank customer of a Swedish bank and Guidance to opening a Swedish bank account

Major Swedish banks:

If you will reside in Sweden for only a short time (for example less than six months), it is normally easier to use your bank account and bank card from your home country. We strongly recommend that you bring a Visa or MasterCard to Sweden, as cards are widely used all over the country. 

In addition, there are neobanks such as Revolut. Make sure that the neobank you choose offers payment solutions that enable you to pay bills in Sweden (in krona not euro). 

Read information about how KI pays your salary or scholarship 

Electronic ID is widely used in Sweden for digital identification and signature.

To obtain a BankID, you must have 

  • a Swedish Personal Identity Number, 
  • be a customer of one of the banks that issue BankID and 
  • be identified with a valid ID document. 

To register Freja e-ID, you need to  fulfil the following criteria:

  • Have a biometric passport and are a citizen of an EU/EEA country;
  • Have a confirmed level of identity with the Swedish Tax Agency 
  • Have an address registered in SPAR that we mail to.

Foreign key personnel – executives, experts, researchers (second postdoc or more senior) – may qualify for special tax relief when working in Sweden. Income taxes are based on only 75 per cent of income. You or your employer must submit application for tax relief within three months of the start of your employment to the Taxation of Research Workers Board, Forskarskattenämnden

To be eligible for social insurance benefits, you must, as a general rule; either formally reside in Sweden or be employed and work here. Provide information to Försäkringskassan for registration (insurance eligibility verification) as soon as you have received a personal number. If you work in Sweden and have a coordination number, you should register for Social Insurance as well.

If you are on Postdoc scholarship, you need to add a personal letter explaining your situation, that you are not a student and that the purpose is to gain research merit after the doctoral degree. Please note that doctoral students on scholarships are not entitled to any benefits. Se Insurance cover and conditions in Scholarships