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Moving to Sweden

Your guide to expat life in Sweden. Get the balance right in family-friendly Sweden

Want to move to Sweden?

If you’re moving to Sweden, you can look forward to high living standards in a progressive country that values family life.

Swedish society is founded on equality and the idea that it’s the state’s duty to look after its people. It may take you a while to adjust to the weather. Only the far north gets the long, dark winters that people often associate with Scandinavia. Making friends can take a while but will be easier if you learn the language and get involved in your community.

Ultimately, expats are drawn to the country’s generous social security programmes and stable economy. A family-oriented culture makes it a good place to advance your career while raising children.

Basic info about Sweden

  • Population: About 10.2 million
  • Capital city: Stockholm (also the largest)
  • Main languages: Swedish, but English is widely understood and spoken
  • Main religion: Christianity. Other religions include Islam
  • Political system: Parliamentary democracy
  • Time: GMT+1 (GMT+2 from the end of March to the end of October)
  • Electricity: 220V, 50Hz. European-style plugs with two round pins are used
  • Currency: Swedish Krona (SEK)
  • International dialling code: +46
  • Internet domain: .se
  • Emergency number: 112
  • Road traffic: Drives on the right

Weather in Sweden

Sweden can be divided into 3 climate zones.

The southern zone, including Gothenburg and Malmö, has mild winters with temperatures rising to between 15˚C and 25˚C (59˚F and 77˚F) in the summer.

The middle zone, including Stockholm, is cooler. Snowfall is more common in this region and temperatures often fall below freezing in January.

In the far north, winters are long and cold and temperatures can stay below freezing for months. Summers are short, with temperatures hovering around 15˚C (59˚F).

Key phrases in Swedish

  • Hello God dag
  • Good evening God kväll
  • Goodbye Hej då
  • How are you? Hur mår du?
  • Thank you Tack
  • Yes Ja
  • No Nej
  • Do you speak English? Talar du Engelska?
  • Can you help me? Kan du hjälpa mig?
  • Sorry Förlåt

Shipping to Sweden

If you’re from outside the EU, you’ll have to complete tax-relief and declaration forms if you want to ship your belongings to Sweden. Many expats get help from a customs agent – or buy new items when they arrive.


If you’re from an EEA country, you can take a year’s personal supply of medication to Sweden. Expats from outside the EEA are limited to a supply of 3 months.


There aren’t any restrictions on importing food from EU countries. You’ll need a health certificate to import products such as meat and milk from countries outside the EU – and they may be inspected by customs when you arrive.


All pets must be microchipped and vaccinated against rabies, and you’ll need an up-to-date vet certificate. Pets travelling from EU countries must have a pet passport.

Top tips for Sweden

See what people responding to our Expat Explorer Survey think about living in Sweden.

Even though the Swedes talk perfect English, learning the language helps you a lot more in normal encounters. IT workplaces often have English as the working language so it's easy to fit in there.
Ask your firm to help you find a good childcare... and if in Stockholm, ask for help regarding accommodation. The rental and housing market here can be difficult.

All Expat Explorer survey data and all tips (in quotation marks) are provided by HSBC.

All other content is provided by, Globe Media Ltd and was last updated in September 2021. HSBC accepts no responsibility for the accuracy of this information.

This information is purely for orientation and to inspire further research, it does not constitute advice and no liability is accepted to recipients acting independently on its contents. The views expressed are subject to change.

Always remember to ensure you're aware of and comply with any laws in your host country or country of origin that apply to gift giving and bribery.

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