Swedish toolbox – Why you need a Swedish personal number

When I arrived in Linköping, I did not know how long I was planning to stay in Sweden – to be honest, I still don’t. However, in some cases knowing how much time you are going to spend here is necessary. Getting a Swedish personal number is one of these cases.


Applying for a personal number is not as much as paperwork as it sounds. Copyright: Unsplash/Cytonn Photography.


In this post, I am going to talk from experience and thus only tackle the situation regarding students coming from an EU country.

What is a personal number?

Every Swedes have a personal number from their birth. It is created from their birth date, to which are added four random numbers. Like the following: YYYYMMDD – XXXX. Swedes use this number during their entire life to accomplish the smallest daily things. For example, they need their personal number to open a bank account, for a phone subscription or even to register to the gym. With one number, they have access to all their activities history.

Although it might sound a bit creepy, this number is very useful and you might need it in two cases: if you plan to stay more than a year, or if you plan to work in Sweden. It allows you to be registered into the Swedish population.

However, if you plan to work for less than a year, you will only get a coordination number, which is not similar to the personal number, since it is only temporary.

How to get a personal number

In order to get a personal number, you need to register to the Tax Agency Office – Skatteverket – as soon as you can. If you are studying, you need to prove you will stay in Sweden for more than one year – thus, you have to study a two-year master. (If you need a coordination number to work, then you need your work contract.)

Skatteverket. Copyright: Flickr/Magnus D.

In any case, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Skatteverket’s website and fill in the online form, available here. (You will need to print it afterwards)
  2. Gather all the following documents:
    • The printed form
    • Your passport
    • Your rental agreement (to prove you live in Sweden)
    • Your letter of admission to LiU
    • A certificate from LiU to assert you are really studying there (in my case the student card worked).
    • (A work contract if you are planning to work)
  3. Go to Skatteverket – in Linköping the address is the following:

                             Kungsgatan 27 (hörnet Kungsgatan – S:t Larsgatan)

There you just have to say you wish to apply for a personal number and give them your documents. Skatteverket’s employees are usually very friendly and all English-speaking. If no document is missing, you should receive your personal number within a few weeks.


Posted in Allmän, Toolbox.

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