15 things you can (and should!) do once you get a personnummer
If you are reading this I am guessing you are a proud owner of a personnummer. Congratulations! 🎉 Whether getting it was a breeze or you ended up going through hell and back (like me) to get one, you are probably wondering what are the next steps in getting settled in Sweden. Worry not, for I am here to share with you a list of 15 things that helped me get settled in Sweden.
Having a valid Swedish ID card is not only a prerequisite for doing things 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 on this list but also a huge time saver when it comes to everyday situations such as picking up letters and/or packages from your local post office. Picking up mail with my Serbian ID card used to be quite a challenge because the postal workers couldn’t seem to to wrap their heads around why my personnummer wasn’t on it. The fact that all personal data on my Serbian ID card is printed in Cyrillic alphabet certainly didn’t make things easier.
2) Open a bank account and get a credit card
Once you have gotten your Swedish ID card issued by Skatteverket you will be able to open a bank account. While you probably won’t have any trouble using the credit card from your home country, having a Swedish bank account and credit card will save you a lot of money on conversion rates and ATM withdrawals. It goes without saying that you will need a bank account if you intend on getting a part-time job or a paid internship during your studies.
Banks like Handelsbanken have special offers for students between the ages of 18 and 26 – open up a bank account for free and get a Mastercard for a yearly fee of 300kr.
3) Get a mobile banking app
If you think that queuing in banks to pay your bills is a thing of the past and that it should stay there, remember to inquire about this once you are setting up your bank account. Most (if not all) banks in Sweden have their own mobile banking apps.
4) Order a Mobilt BankID through your bank and install the app on your smartphone
Bank ID is an electronic ID comparable to physical IDs such as passports and drivers licenses. It is used by various service providers (e.g. mobile banking apps, online shopping sites, government websites) as an electronic personal identification system for mobile phones and tablets.
Swish is a free of charge smartphone app that connects your (Swedish) phone number to your bank account, and allows you to transfer money in real time. It is a true life saver on those occasions when you manage to forget your wallet or you have to split a bill amongst a group of friends.
Tink is a free of charge smartphone app that collects data from your mobile banking app and provides you with a clear overview of your finances using easy to read graphs and charts. It categorizes your expenses and supports in-app budgeting, making it a worthy ally in getting your spending habits under control.
7) Register your SL card free of charge and get insured in case of loss or theft
By creating a free account on SL’s website and registering you SL card you are guaranteed the right to be compensated in the event of loss or theft. SL will send you a replacement card with the exact amount of credit or days that it had once you have deactivated it using your online SL account. However, this only works if you register your SL card BEFORE you lose it!
8) Apply for a CSN scholarship if you are an EU citizen working at least 10h/week*
I will be posting a separate blog on this soon so just bear with me for a while.
The EHIC entitles you to medical dental care while you are in an EU/EEA country or Switzerland. You receive care that can’t wait until you return to Sweden under the same conditions as those who live in the country. Do it before your next vacation and save a bunch of money on health insurance.
11) Apply for a loyalty program at your local supermarket
All big supermarket chains in Sweden (ICA, Coop, WILLY:S and Hemköp) have loyalty programs and some even have special student discounts. Become a member online or at your local supermarket and let the savings begin!
I often refer to February 27th 2017, the day when I finally got registered in the Swedish population registry, as “my Swedish birthday”. The reason being that, much like my actual birthday when I first laid my eyes upon the world, it opened the door to a whole new world of opportunities, making #MySwedishExperience much richer!
I hope you enjoy checking off these 15 things as much as I did,