New in Sweden

Here you can find information on what to prepare before you leave and after you arrive in Sweden. We list the most relevant steps for a PhD student in this page. Additionally you can find more general info for planning your move to Sweden here. Also take a look at MAU student guide.

What to think about before your departure?

Residence Permit

As a PhD student if you are a non-EU or Swiss citizen you require a residence permit to stay in Sweden during your study. Note that non-EU citizens cannot enter Sweden before a visa or the permit has been granted.

The Migration Agency (Migrationsverket) is the authority, which considers the application for your residence permit. Read more about the application process here. Once the decision is made you will receive a temporary resident permit card for a period of one year which you need to renew every year during your study.

Arrived in Sweden, what to do next?


Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket) – Civil Registration
Personnummer: the key required to enter in any system in Sweden!

Everyone living in Sweden for one year or longer must be registered with the Tax Agency. You will receive a personal identity number (personnummer, PN) which is the requirement to register and access to most important services in Sweden such as the payroll system to receive your salary.

Note this is the first priority after your arrival since it can take up to 8 weeks to receive your PN. Read about the application process according to your citizenship here.The application needs to be submitted in person to the nearest Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket) office.

Malmö University

You need to present following documents applying for the civic registration number

  1. Passport
  2. Visa/permit of residence
  3. Contract and information about Malmö University’s corporate identity number, 202100-4920
  4. Name of contact person at Malmö University
  5. Your Address– street name, number, apartment number, postal address ( take your housing contract if you have one)

Swedish identity card: the most important ID proof!

After receiving your PN you will be eligible for a Swedish identity card (id-kort) which is considered valid identification document in Sweden. Here you can find information about the application process. Remember in Sweden your resident permit is not accepted as a valid ID document and you need to provide your id-kort as an ID proof.

Please note that before going there you should make your payment, 400 SEK online and submit that alongside other requested documents in person to the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket). Normally it takes about two weeks to obtain your identity card

Payroll System at MAU

What about your salary?

Once you received your PN you can get registered with the payroll system at MAU to receive your salary. The payroll is prepared in the middle of the month, and will be transferred to your bank account by the 25th each month.

Open a Swedish bank account:

After receiving your PN and ID card you can open a bank account. The process can take up to 5 working days depending on the bank policies.

Some major Swedish banks are:

Nordea, Swedbank, Handelsbanken, Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken (SEB)

Malmö University uses Nordea for the payroll, so if you open an account there you only need to send that account number to your payroll administrator. If you open an account in another bank, you need to fill in a special form for the bank transfer. Contact your payroll administrator for this form.

In case your bank account was not set up in time, make sure your payroll administrator knows your Swedish address in order to send out a bank check instead.

Swedish Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan)

After civil registration, you are entitled for the social benefits that make up the Swedish welfare state. Remember in order to be eligible for many of these benefits, you must register with the Social Insurance Agency using this form.

Unemployment insurance fund (a-kassa)

Everyone working in Sweden is covered by unemployment insurance at a basic rate. If you want to receive comprehensive unemployment compensation based on your income, you can join Akademikernas a-kassa. For the detailed information about the benefits and application check here.

The page will be updated by more information about starting and living a PhD life in Sweden. We Suggest also reading a guide about living in Sweden.

Help your fellow doctoral students by sending us other steps that you know of and we’ll publish the information.