All students that are staying in Sweden for more than 12 months have the right to apply for a personal identity number, or personnumer as is it called in Swedish. This is one of the most useful things to know about and have when you move to Sweden because having it makes your life much easier! This video by the study in Sweden Digital Ambassadors summarizes very well what is a personnummer and how to get one, check it out.
There are several differences in the applying procedure for a personnummer, for example depending if you are an EU or non-EU student, or if you came alone or with your family. All these differences are explained very well in the Skatterverket webpage.
What is Skatteverket?
Skatteverket is the Swedish tax agency. You will need to go to Skatteverket to get your personnummer and Swedish ID, and might use some other of their services during your stay here. For example, to fill your annual tax form if you work, or to declare a change of address if you move homes.
It would be useful to get a bit familiarized with the Skatteverket webpage, you can access it here.
What is a personal identity number?
The Swedish personal identity number or personnummer is a number that you receive when you register in the Swedish Population Registry. It has two parts: your birth date, in the format year-month-day, and four numbers known as “check numbers”.
Once you get a personnummer you keep the same number for the rest of your life! Even if you leave Sweden and later come back.
Fun fact: there is a shortage of personnummers in Sweden, so some people may receive a personnummer that doesn’t match exactly their birthdate.
Why do I need a personnummer?
As soon as you get your personnummer make sure to learn it by heart, because that will probably be the most useful bit of information you’ll have to memorize during your whole stay in Sweden! You need your personnummer for many, many things, such as:
- Course activities: in some exams you need to write your personnummer. This happened to me a few times during my first year of Master’s.
- Joining an SFI Swedish course.
- Signing a phone contract.
- Opening a bank account.
- Signing up for a gym membership.
So, for basically anything you come up with… you’ll be needing the personnummer. Fortunately, the instructions to get one are very clearly explained in the Skatteverket webpage. If you’re elegible to apply for it I’d recommend to get it as soon as possible.
Once you have the personnummer it’s time to get the Swedish ID
The Swedish ID card is not as essential as the personnummer, but it does make your life easier and it’s a nice memory to get from your time in Sweden. You can get the ID card as soon as you get the personnummer, and it is very simple to obtain although it requires a couple of visits to an issuing Skatteverket office.
As soon as you get the personnummer you can pay the fee for the Swedish ID card (400 sek) and book a time using the online system provided by Skatteverket that is most convinient to you. In the appointment you will need to fill and electronic form and you’ll be photographied and measured. If everything is fine, after a couple of weeks you’ll recieve a notification by Skatteverket saying that you card is ready, yay! Then you can just pick it up in person in the office where it was issued.
How was your experience getting the personnummer and/or Swedish ID? For any questions you can reach me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: this blogpost is just a summarized version of the information that can be found at Skatteverket. For the complete, official, updated and most reliable information visit https://www.skatteverket.se/.
LinkedIn: Inés Rivero García