It has been three months since I have moved to Stockholm and I feel like I’m finally settled in. To be honest, that really depended on the tax office pushing all of my papers through. You see, everything in Sweden focuses around the tax office. If you need a loan, signing up for Swedish classes, signing up for insurance, getting paid, etc. all of these and more can only be done if you have registered with Skatteverket (the Swedish tax office). As a Swedish citizen, this wasn’t too much trouble however I have friends here who spent about a month waiting to hear back from them. Once that is completed though, it is much easier to move through the system compared to the US. The tax office is central here. Because of that, all of you information is easily stored in one place. If for example you were going to buy a cell phone plan, you simply give them your personal number and they can look up who you are, where you live, and how long you’ve lived in Sweden.
I mention that last point about the cell phone because you cannot get a subscription phone plan unless you’ve been registered with Skatteverket for at least eight months. My cousins work for Telia (one of the major phone companies out here) so trust me when I say that if there was an easy way around the system I would let you know. Unfortunately I have not found one. That means that most people have to resort to a pay as you go plan. I have one from Telenor, but I think a lot of students get their plans from Comviq. 300 kronor usually lasts me about a month and a half So these are not all too bad. If anything they are just inconvenient to fill up whenever they are running low.
Another thing you have to worry about keeping filled is you SL card. This is the transportation card and is absolutely necessary in Stockholm! This card should be the first thing you buy when you get into the city. For students, the price is 560 kronor for unlimited use. This means that you can ride the buses, the subway, and the commuter trains within Stockholm county as much as you want. I live all the way in Märsta (by Arlanda airport) so I have to take the pendeltåg (commuter train) to the city then a buss to school so I couldn’t survive without my trusted SL card :).
Until next time