Living in Sweden

Relocating to another country for several years is a big step. Feelings of excitement are often mixed with concern of the unknown. We want to help to make this transition as smooth as possible.

This guide introduces you to the things worth considering before moving and setting up a new home in Gothenburg, West Sweden. 

When you have decided to move to Sweden, below you can find useful information about everything from residence permit to culture and activities.

If you would like to know more facts about Sweden, please visit the country’s official site. 

Or just talk to us. 

Residence permit

Before moving to Sweden, you must apply for a residence permit from the Swedish Migration Agency (Migrationsverket). You will apply for “Participation in contract or specialisation studies” which is explained here: Parti­ci­pate in contract or speci­a­li­sa­tion educa­tion - Migrationsverket.

More information on how to apply can be found here: How to apply for a residence permit for contract or specialisation education - Migrationsverket

We will supply you with a certificate explaining that you have been accepted to specialisation education with us. Complete the application form and submit the other requested documents for you and your accompanying family members.

You must pay an application fee for each person. For further details, contact Migrationsverket or the Swedish Embassy in your home country.

Upon receiving your residence permit, please send a copy to us. We will help remind you when it’s time for renewal and provide you with the required certificates from the hospital.

Civil registration at the Tax Agency

Upon arriving in Sweden, you will register as a resident and receive a personal identity number (personnummer). We will accompany you to the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket) where you will be asked to fill out the form “Moving to Sweden” and submit the following documents:

  • Passport
  • Residence permit card
  • Address in Sweden (including the 4-digit apartment number)
  • Marriage certificate (if you are or have been married)
  • Divorce certificate (if you are divorced)
  • Birth certificates (if you have children)


If you forget something, you can always submit additional documents at another time.

More information can be found at:
Moving to Sweden - Civil registration | Skatteverket
You are a citizen of a non-EU or a non-EEA country | Skatteverket

The decision will take a few weeks up to a few months. Don’t forget to put your name on your mailbox, as the decision will be delivered by mail.

After receiving your personal identity number, you can apply for an ID. Schedule an appointment with Skatteverket and pay the application fee before your visit. You can find more information about ID here: ID card | Skatteverket and the online booking service here: Statens Servicecenter - online booking. We will help you if you want to!


Once you have a personal identity number, we recommend opening a Swedish bank account to get access to services such as BankID for online identification and Swish for quick money-transfer and payments, as many shops in Sweden are cash-less these days. The largest banks that offer these services are:


Finding centrally located, affordable accommodation in Gothenburg is hard. Standard of houses is typically good, but can vary from  We offer one relocation agent service for all SMTP doctors. A relocation agent will help you find accommodation that suits your needs. You can use the service before arriving, or start with something temporary on eg Airbnb. It might be easier to find the perfect accommodation when you are here.

Some information on housing in Sweden: Housing in Sweden | Nordic cooperation (


Websites to look for long-term or short-term accommodation:

Blocket Bostad is by far the largest website for finding accommodation. Be Resident, Företagsbostäder, Home Rental and West Coast Stay are all for corporate customers. We at SIC can verify that you are here through Sahlgrenska, which is often sufficient to sign a lease.

First hand contracts

Since you will be here for several years, it might be an idea to sign up for Gothenburg’s official housing queue Boplats, for a chance at a first hand lease. The wait list is long! But it might be worth a try. Find information on how to sign up here: Boplats Göteborg - Sign up

You can also register at HomeQ which offers a chance at a first-hand lease by private landlords.


Each apartment has a 4-digit number to it (usually starting with 1). Make sure you have the number before registering your address at Skatteverket.

Home insurance

In most accommodation, you are required to take out a home insurance. We recommend contacting your Swedish bank for an insurance offer.


Rent is normally paid monthly and in advance. There might be a refundable deposit of one or two months to pay before moving in. When leaving an apartment, there is usually a three-month cancellation notice.


Environmental sustainability is a growing priority, and Sweden is aiming for zero waste by 2045. In each household, it is mandatory by law to sort and dispose of your waste. All packaging shall be sorted into each material: paper, plastic, glass or metal. Batteries, light bulbs and electrical waste is sorted separately. Food, eggshells and household paper go into organic waste. And so on. Each city council has information about their waste and recycling management on their official website. Here is Gothenburg’s (Swedish only).

For beginners, you might want to start with this expat guide: Sweden and Sustainability: Waste Sorting and Disposal - The Newbie Guide to Sweden

Moving out

When moving out, you must not forget to cancel subscriptions for electricity, internet or TV and cancel your home insurance and other possible insurances.

Cleaning the apartment is always required.

If using a cleaning service or moving company, you need to make sure to pay the full price and don’t use the RUT-deduction. The deduction can only be made when paying taxes in Sweden.

Every time you move, you must notify Skatteverket in advance: Reporting a change of address | Skatteverket

Moving from Sweden

Upon finishing your training and leaving Sweden for good, you must notify Skatteverket at least one week before moving. Download the form and send it to the address mentioned on it. Children’s forms must be signed by both custodial parents: Civil de-registration | Skatteverket



As a registered resident in Sweden you are automatically included in the national health insurance and entitled to subsidised healthcare (free for anyone under 23 years). You are automatically listed on a primary healthcare center (vårdcentral) based on your address, but you can change to any healthcare center of your choice. Children up to 6 years of age are listed at a children’s health center (BVC – barnavårdscentral).

Search for more information on the national healthcare info website 1177 and choose Region Västra Götaland.

1177 also serves as a national healthcare advise telephone line where you can talk to a nurse at any time of the day. Simply dial 1177 on your phone.

Since you do not pay taxes in Sweden, you are not eligible for social benefits from the Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan).



In case of an emergency, dial 112. You will be put in touch with a relevant emergency service.

For further information, see: 112 Sweden - SOS Alarm or

When you need healthcare - Sahlgrenska University Hospital


Other emergencies

Krisinformation is a governmental website that gathers emergency information on risks and hazards, disasters and other events that command caution:


Public transport

Public transport in West Sweden is operated by Västtrafik. Download the app “Västtrafik To Go” to search your trip and buy tickets. You can buy period tickets and single tickets. Gothenburg and its neighbouring towns are all located within zone A, so that is what you will use most of the time. For a single ticket within zone A, you can also tap your credit card.

Traffic that is included in the Västtrafik tickets are buses, trams, boats and commuter trains.

It is mandatory to have a valid ticket before boarding. If you are caught in an inspection without a valid ticket, you may have to pay a surcharge of at least 1 500 SEK. Inspections take place randomly.

Good to know 1: Always make way for exiting passengers before boarding.

Good to know 2: Some busses have an arrow at the front door, indicating that you should enter there and show your ticket. However, the most frequented bus services and all trams let you enter through any door, without showing your ticket.



Walking is encouraged throughout the city. However, always make sure you do not walk in the bike lane! The bike lane is usually marked with painted bicycles and arrows in the street.


You can drive using your domestic driver’s license for up to a year. After a year you must apply for an exemption to use your driver's licence for a longer time period. The application is made to the Transport Agency (Transportstyrelsen) and should include a translation of your driver’s license made by an authorised translator.

Read more about applying here: Do you have a driving licence from a non-EEA country and plan to stay in Sweden for a limited period but more than one year? - Transportstyrelsen

When driving in the city, remember that trams always have right-of-way (they are heavy and can’t stop), pedestrians have right-of-way on crosswalks and bicycles have right-of-way on bike lanes. Some streets (see picture above) have paving stones with an asphalt lane in the middle; the middle lane is meant for bicycles and cars must adjust their speed to bicyclists.

Confusing? Yes, even to locals. If you are unsure, make way and drive safe!

Congestion taxes are a way of reducing traffic in the cities of Gothenburg and Stockholm. All cars driving into and out of the city will be charged a fixed amount between certain hours of the day. There is a maximum amount per day, no matter how many times you pass the city border. Find more information here: Congestion taxes in Stockholm and Gothenburg - Transportstyrelsen

Some more tips:

Driving in Sweden: What You Need to Know (

Driving in Sweden - Sixt Car Hire Magazine

Your complete guide to Swedish parking signs (and avoiding eye-watering fines) - The Newbie Guide to Sweden

Public Holidays

Major holidays in Sweden are Easter (March/April), Midsummer (June) and Christmas + New Year’s (Dec/Jan). For a full list of public holidays, follow this link: Public holidays in Sweden | Nordic cooperation



Children aged 1-5 have the right to attend preschool at a subsidised cost. You can choose any preschool you wish, either a public one in your neighbourhood or an international bi-lingual if you prefer. Note that there can be a wait list for preschools and new places are usually offered at the beginning of each semester. Information in English can be found at: Preschools and schools | Move to Gothenburg

Information on preschools from the City of Gothenburg: Welcome to preschool (

Children aged 0-5, that are not enrolled in a preschool, can attend an open preschool with their parent. Open preschools are usually open a few hours/day and are free of charge. Read more about the concept here: Open preschool (

Open preschools from the perspective of an expat mother: Open Preschools in Sweden: the perfect hangout for you and your baby, toddler or preschooler - The Newbie Guide to Sweden



At the age of 6-7, children attend a preschool class for one year. At 7 the real school begins.

Culture and activities

Libraries (bibliotek) are fun for both children and adults. Apply for a library card, take part in open events or visit language meet-ups: Bibliotek - Göteborgs Stad (

The Gothenburg City Museum: Museum of Gothenburg - Explore 12 000 years of dramatic history (

The Maritime Museum and Aquarium: Maritime Museum and Aquarium (

The Gothenburg Museum of Art: Göteborgs konstmuseum (

The Museum of World Culture: Världskulturmuseet - Världskulturmuseet (

Alfie Atkins Cultural Centre (a Swedish children’s book character): Home - Alfons Åbergs Kulturhus (

Gothenburg Tramway Museum: Spårvägssällskapet Ringlinien

Note! Many libraries and museums have event calendars only in Swedish. If you want to check them out, change the website language to Swedish and look for “kalendarium” or “aktiviteter”.

Liseberg opened in 1923 and is Sweden’s largest amusement park. It’s open during three seasons: summer, Halloween and Christmas. In 2023 they opened The Grand Curiosa Hotel to mark the 100th anniversary.

As part of the anniversary, the water world Oceana was scheduled to open in the summer of 2024. However, in February 2024 an extensive and tragic fire broke out on the near-finished construction. It is currently unsure when it can be rebuilt.

Good to know

A few tips that might help you along the way.

  • Being on time is crucial in Sweden. If you are running late to an appointment, let them know! If you miss an appointment at your dentist or hairdresser, you will most likely have to pay a fee.
  • If you know you will not make it to an appointment, cancel it as soon as possible. It is considered polite and respectful of other’s time to notify of any changed plans.
  • If you need to take time off or a day off from the clinic, make sure to notify your manager as soon as you can.
  • If you want to take a few weeks off from the clinic, talk to your immediate manager at least a couple of months ahead, or when the schedule is being planned out.
  • Do ask if there is anything you do not comprehend! For most locals, it is a regular day and they might not understand the novelty of your experience.
  • Working in Swedish healthcare means working as a team. Every team member has something important to contribute, regardless of their profession, age or previous experience. Listen to your colleagues and discuss with them to find the best solution.
  • Treat patients as an expert at their own health and listen to their story. Make sure to talk in a way that they understand – try to use inclusive and understandable language more than medical terms that might be hard to understand for anyone outside of the profession.

Useful links

There is plenty of useful resources online. We recommend starting with these websites:

Hej! Welcome to – the official website of Sweden
The official website of Sweden

Info Norden | Nordic cooperation
Gathers all sorts of info on moving to and living in Sweden

Gothenburg’s Official Visitor’s Guide –
The official tourist guide to the Gothenburg metropolitan area

Experience West Sweden and Gothenburg (
The official tourist guide to West Sweden

Welcome to Move to Gothenburg! | Move to Gothenburg
The complete guide for anyone about to relocate to Sweden and Gothenburg

International House Gothenburg | Move to Gothenburg
A meeting place for international talents in the city

The Newbie Guide to Sweden - We explain Sweden
A guide to Sweden by expats, for expats