Now that I have been in Sweden for awhile now (almost four months now in fact!), I thought that I should follow up with a Part 2 of the Sambo Visa. Like I shared in Part 1, getting the decision letter for the residence permit is just the first step of the journey and the next few steps to take to settle down in Sweden can be quite confusing. It felt quite daunting to have to make such a big move and “restart” a new life but I am glad that I could refer to both Chris and Hana’s blog for tips and guidance. Hopefully my experience would be helpful for anyone new in Sweden!
And again, if this has no relevance to you, please feel free to skip this post. So here we go…
Making the Residence Permit Card
I was advised by the Swedish embassy in Singapore to make my residence permit card in Sweden because I don’t need a visa to enter Sweden with my Singapore passport. So before I flew to Sweden, I booked an appointment online at the Migration Board website. I chose to visit the Migration board office the day after I landed so that I wouldn’t waste any time getting my residence permit card made. On 27th March, I went to the Solna office, got a queue number and then waited for my turn to get my thumbprint, photograph and signature taken. It was a very speedy process and it is good that I could easily figure my way around the office in English. On 10th April, Jens accompanied me to collect my residence permit card from the same Solna office and it could have been earlier if not for the Easter holiday.
Applying for Personnummer
The residence permit card is not an ID card and only proves that you are legal to live in Sweden for the stated period of time. Hence the next step is to apply for a personnummer to register yourself in Sweden. I went to the Skatterverket office in Sundbyberg because it was close to the Migrationboard in Solna. At the office, I was handed a form to fill out both mine and Jens’s details. Because the form is an “all in one” form, you would have to look out for the appropriate sections related to “person who moved to someone in Sweden”. After completing the form, I took a queue number (as usual) and then waited for my turn to hand over the form to the officer. She took a copy of my passport and residence permit and then told me to wait a few weeks for a letter in the mail. On 20th April, I received the personnummer in my mail box and got really excited because I knew now that I could now 1) Register for SFI and 2) Make an ID Kort.
Making an ID Kort
The first thing I did when I received my personnummer was to head to the nearest convenience store (as per Hana’s advice) and requested for help to make the payment. Do bring along your passport because it is required to complete the process and I had such a good workout walking back and forth because I forgot to bring it along. The store owner was so kind to help me out and I just had to give him my personnummer and the Bank GIRO number which you can find here. I paid about 438sek including taxes for the transaction and left with a receipt. On 22nd April, I headed down to a different Skatterverket office to get the ID kort made and the nearest one was in Kungsholmen.
This is the office to visit if you are in Stockholm. Picture from Google Maps.
I actually went down to the Sundbyberg office only to get redirected so I went on a little joyride. At the office, you get a queue number (yet again…) and I was actually called before I could even take five steps towards the benches. The officer took my passport, residence permit and payment receipt to do some checks, handed them back and gave me another queue number (again?!). I was directed to her colleague to get my height taken and then waited for my queue number to be called.
The next officer was the one who processed all the details and got my picture and signature taken. To be honest I hate taking these photos because I am the worst at taking pictures without showing my teeth and I am sure no amount of retakes would make the picture look better, hahaha. After all of that was done, I was told to wait for a letter to pick up the ID kort from the same office. I got the letter slightly more than 2 weeks after I made the card and I went down to pick up my card right away!
Registering for SFI
Picture of notes from Swedish class.
After receiving my personnummer, I went down to the SFI center near my place to register for classes. They only open for about an hour for registration so do check online before heading down. I filled out a form and was told to wait for classes to start on 18th May and that I would receive a letter with more information. It seems like every SFI in each kommun operates differently so the best thing to do is to check the website or personally visit the school!
I have since completed the beginner’s Swedish course but I guess that would be saved for another post.
Registering on Arbetsformedlingen
Arbetsformedlingen is the place to look for jobs or get work advice. I decided to register my profile and did it entirely online by creating an account and filling in my details since it is much easier and faster. If you are on a Sambo visa, I don’t think the agency can help much. If you are expecting a employment officer similar to the one helping Bruce in “Welcome to Sweden”….please forget it. They are not going to hand you job offers and send you on interviews here. So if you are a serious jobseeker, I think that you are better off searching on Linkedin or The Local Jobs page instead because you are more likely to find something more relevant especially if you are not a native Swedish speaker. Plus it is always good to use Instegsjobb to your advantage!
Opening a bank account
Opening a Swedish bank account would make life really convenient because their credit/debit cards here have a PIN code and they don’t use NETS so foreign bank cards usually face a longer processing time without a PIN. I am still using my Singapore bank card but the only reason why I haven’t open a bank account yet is because…the banks are not open on weekends and are only open between 10am-3pm on weekdays -_-
Anyway I don’t think it is particularly difficult to open a bank account with a Swedish ID but it would be easier with 1) a job or 2) means to transfer funds regularly to the Swedish account. It also doesn’t seem to matter what bank you open an account with because they don’t really have deals here related to bank cards. It seems like Swedbank is quite a popular choice so..that would probably be the bank I would be going for if I can ever make it to the bank during opening hours.
Hopefully this post was useful in one way or the other to anyone making the big move to Sweden. I would say that 3 months is a comfortable amount of time to settle in and get everything sorted out. Now time to make time for the bank Janice…
Till the next time!