Living in Sweden
Advice for British nationals planning to move to, or already living in Sweden.
This guide sets out essential information for British nationals residing in Sweden, including advice on health, education, benefits, residence requirements and more. We are unable to provide any guidance on general lifestyle enquiries apart from the information and links listed below. See our information on what consulates can and cannot do for British nationals. This information supplements the travel advice for Sweden.
Entry and residence requirements
If you are a British citizen or British subject with the Right of Abode in the United Kingdom, you do not require a visa to enter Sweden. Other British nationals should confirm the current entry requirements with their nearest Swedish embassy.
A valid British passport must be held for entry to and exit from Sweden. There is no minimum passport validity requirement but you should ensure that your passport is valid for the duration of your visit.
If your passport appears to be damaged the Swedish immigration police may deny you entry into Sweden.
As an EEA citizen, you have the right to work, study or live in Sweden without a residence permit provided that you can support yourself, either by work or by other independent means. In this case, you automatically have right of residence in Sweden and therefore need not register with or apply for a residence permit at the Swedish Migration Board.
If you are an EEA citizen and you wish to move in with a family member who lives in Sweden, and you cannot support yourself then you must apply for a residence permit.
If you would like to apply for a residence permit, the following people are recognised as family in Sweden:
- spouse, common law spouse or registered partner
- future spouse, or future common law spouse
- any of your children under the age of 18
The Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket)
To find out what you need to do please visit the website of the Swedish Migration Board.
If you are still in the UK, please take a look at the Swedish Embassy in London’s website.
Register with the Swedish Population Register - Applying for a Swedish ID-number (Personnummer)
If you are a citizen of an EEA country and are planning to live in Sweden for one year or more, you are generally required to be registered in the Swedish Population Register. The Register is managed by the Swedish Tax Agency. When you register with the population register, you get your own personal identity number (personnummer). Your ID number is an essential part of daily life in Sweden as it is used in all transactions with authorities, shops, estate agents, banks etc.
If you are an EEA citizen, you may have right of residence in Sweden. A person with right of residence may live in Sweden without a residence permit. The purpose of this is to facilitate free movement within the EU. You can either have your own right of residence (uppehållsrätt) or you can have right of residence (uppehållstillstånd) as a family member.
You have right of residence and can be entered in the population register if in addition to being an EEA citizen you fulfill any of the following additional criteria:
- you are employed, provide services or are self-employed in Sweden
- you are registered as studying in an approved educational establishment in Sweden and have comprehensive medical insurance
- you have sufficient funds to support yourself and your family as well as comprehensive medical insurance for you and your family members in Sweden.
As an EEA citizen looking for work you may have right of residence in Sweden, but you cannot be entered in the Swedish Population Register on these grounds. The reason for this is that an EEA citizen looking for work only has the right to reside in Sweden for a maximum of six months.
Family members of EEA citizens with right of residence may themselves have right of residence and, in that case, do not need a residence permit.
More information can be found at www.skatteverket.se.
To be registered in the Swedish Population Register you must have right of residence for at least one year.
You can only be granted right of residence (uppehållsrätt) as a job-seeker for up to six months. You can therefore not be registered in the Swedish Population Register (folkbokförd) as a job-seeker.
Read more about comprehensive health insurance in Sweden.
Please note that if you are moving abroad on a permanent basis, you will no longer be entitled to medical treatment under normal NHS rules. This is because the NHS is a residence-based healthcare system. It is therefore important that you think about health care cover before you move to Sweden.
As of the 1 July 2014, early retirees are no longer able to apply for a residual S1 form based on national insurance contributions. The NHS Choices website has more information about this change.
A European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will enable holidaymakers and temporary visitors to access state-provided healthcare while in any EEA country, and Switzerland. If you are travelling to Sweden on a short break you must have an EHIC card, and take out a valid private travel insurance policy before you go.
Healthcare in Sweden
In case of emergency call 112.
For medical care in Sweden please visit www.socialstyrelsen.se.
In non urgent cases, for example if you are running low on medicine, general enquiries or information on how to find your nearest health clinic or medical care centre (vårdcentral), please call 1177 “vårdguiden” ( this is the equivalent of NHS direct).
Or you can visit 1177.
Many medicines that are available over the counter in the United Kingdom are only available on prescription in Sweden. Please note that medicines (prescription and non-prescription) can only be purchased at authorised chemists (Apoteket).
Pharmaceutical advice line: call 0771-450 450 Poison information line: call 08-33 12 31
The Ministry of Health and Social Affairs has some very useful information on healthcare, health and social issues/insurance.
Social insurance is an important aspect of the Swedish social security system. Swedish social insurance covers everyone that lives or works in Sweden. It provides financial protection for families and children, for persons with a disability and in connection with illness, work injury and old age.
In Sweden, social insurance is individually based and compensates loss of income when individuals are unable to support themselves by working as a result of, for example, illness or caring for a child.
Social insurance includes both universal benefits and means-tested benefits. Universal benefits are paid to everyone at the same rate and include child allowance and adoption allowance. Means-tested allowances include housing allowance, housing supplement for pensioners and supplementary maintenance support.
For enquiries regarding any of the above, please call Försäkringskassan on 0771-524 524 or visit www.forsakringskassan.se.
For information on social welfare benefits please visit www.socialstyrelsen.se.
Education in Sweden is free (from age 6 to 19) and compulsory for all children aged 7 to 15/16, although nearly all start at age 6.
Students who pass exams in at least Swedish, English and mathematics at the age of 15/16 (the vast majority) go on to do three years in gymnasium – upper secondary school (high school) – while the others study educational programmes tailored to their needs.
Most of the responsibility for education rests with local municipalities. The majority of the education budget is financed by local taxes, and approximately half of the municipal budget is spent on education. Sweden is one of the few countries that still provides a free lunch for pupils.
These links may also be useful:
EU/EEA citizens have the right to start working or studying directly after arriving in Sweden. Work permits are not required. To register yourself in the Swedish Population Register, contact the Swedish Tax Agency.
For more information on work in Sweden you can contact the Swedish Public Employment Service, or call their advice line 0771-416416.
Entitlement to Swedish pension
For more information about taxes in Sweden please see the Swedish Tax Authorities website www.skatteverket.se or call 0771-567 567.
Driving licences and vehicles
Driving licence enquiries
Guidance on bringing medication and other personal goods to Sweden
For the latest information, please contact Swedish customs.
Sponsoring family members
If you wish to move in with a family member (EU citizen) who already resides in Sweden, please seek guidance from the Swedish Migration Board.
Social ethics and traditions
To read more about Sweden, its traditions, culture, nature, society, business etc, please see www.sweden.se.
Returning to the UK
When leaving Sweden to move abroad, you must notify the population register at Skatteverket and deregister with them.
We recommend that you follow us on Twitter (UKinSweden) for important consular announcements or information affecting British nationals in Sweden. In the event of a crisis, we will update you via Twitter.
Government offices of Sweden www.sweden.gov.se
Sweden Direct (Portal with information on Sweden in English) www.sweden.se
Tourist information www.visitsweden.com/sweden
Swedish Institute (fact sheets on Sweden in English) www.si.se
Information about Stockholm www.visitstockholm.com
Swedish Embassy in London www.swedenabroad.com/london
This information is provided as a general guide and is based upon information provided to the embassy by the relevant local authorities and may be subject to change at any time with little or no notice. The FCO and the British Embassy will not be liable for any inaccuracies in this information. British nationals wishing to obtain any further information must contact the relevant local authority.
Published: 2 January 2014
Updated: 22 April 2016
- updated information
- updated information
- updated information
- Added an updated Living in Sweden guide
- First published.