Moving to Sweden from the US: What You Need to Know

Sweden is a Nordic country that borders Norway to the east and the south, and Finland to the west. The country is also connected to Denmark by way of a bridge that stretches across the Øresund Strait, the body of water that snakes between the two countries. Sweden is perhaps best known by outsiders for its lush forests, its music, and the popular store IKEA; however, there’s far more to Sweden than this! Nearly eight million tourists per year visit this gorgeous country to take it its sights and enjoy the unique culture that Sweden has to offer.

From its gorgeous cities like Stockholm, Lund, and Malmo, to its gorgeous forests which cover around 70% of the country as a whole, there’s no shortage of beauty in Sweden. If you’re looking for a change of pace and want to experience life in a Nordic country with rich history and a lovely culture, then check out Atlas® International’s Sweden Moving Guide.

Stockholm, Sweden sits on the water, its buildings visible against a blue sky.

Stockholm, Sweden

Moving to Sweden From US Guide

Sweden's alluring beauty and attractive lifestyle draw expats from around the world. Moving to Sweden from the USA is possible with extensive planning. That planning becomes more manageable when you choose the right moving partner to help navigate the process of an overseas relocation. Atlas International is well-versed in the process, helping Americans take the plunge and make international moving dreams come true.

Discover Why Sweden Is the Top Choice for Americans

Sweden's culture differs from the US in many ways, but integrating into it is possible. Some of the reasons expats find Sweden so attractive include:

  • Advanced educational systems: Education is free and compulsory for children aged 6 to 16. While higher education is free for Swedish citizens and those from the European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA), students from elsewhere have to pay tuition. However, the world-class higher education here is often taught in English, allowing American students to explore and appreciate the experience without having to learn a new language.
  • Well-Balanced lifestyle: Swedish employees often experience a comfortable work-life balance in a strong, stable economy. The high quality of life, robust health care system and safe environment make Sweden a comfortable place to call home.
  • Cultural experiences: Exploring Sweden reveals cobblestone streets with medieval architecture alongside modern living. Locals embrace sports and recreational activities, and expats are encouraged to join in.
  • Gender equality: Sweden is one of the most egalitarian nations in the world, strongly emphasizing equality between genders. 
  • Family values: In Sweden, the family is considered integral. The nation offers the longest paid parental leave in the world and requires fathers to take at least 3 months off. With free daycare, schools and after-school programs, there's a strong emphasis on helping families raise the next generation.

Planning Your Move to Sweden

To move to Sweden, you must consider several aspects, including visas and residency requirements, budgeting and where you'd like to settle down. Atlas International has over 60 years of experience in global moves. We can assist with the relocation process, ensuring you get it right the first time to help minimize delays.

Visas and Residency Requirements

US citizens can visit Sweden for less than 90 days without a visa. However, if you wish to remain in the country longer, such as if you're relocating for work or school, you must obtain a residence permit through Migrationsverket, Sweden's Migration Agency. To get a permit, you must be relocating to Sweden for a job offer, to study or to reunite with a close family member, such as a spouse. 

Working in Sweden requires a work permit. You must have an employment contract signed by both parties, a valid passport and a salary that meets at least 80% of the area median. The employer must also provide insurance once you start working.

In some cases, if you have an advanced degree, you may be granted permission to move to Sweden to seek work, but this permit is only valid for 9 months.

American students must apply for a residence permit, pay their first tuition fee installment and prepare necessary documentation showing that they can support themselves.

After 5 years of residing in Sweden, you may apply for a long-term residence permit, which provides additional rights within the European Union. Based on the type of residence permit you entered Sweden on, you can also apply for a permanent residence permit, which allows you to remain in the nation indefinitely. However, this permanent residence can be revoked.

Budgeting for Your Move to Sweden

Your move to Sweden will require a certain degree of budgeting before it can happen. In most cases, you must prove that you can financially support yourself in the nation, which may require proof of certain levels of funding. The good news is that Sweden's cost of living is more affordable than the US. Additionally, you'll have to account for application fees, shipping your belongings and traveling overseas.

Choosing Where to Live in Sweden

A significant part of your move is choosing the location for your new home. Sweden has several cities and rural villages to choose from. However, the most welcoming expatriate hubs include:

  • Stockholm: Stockholm is Sweden's capital city, and it has a lot of big-city appeal alongside its historical streets. Nicknamed the Venice of the North, it sits on the Baltic Sea and has several attractive neighborhoods. The city is on 14 islands, leaving you with plenty of beautiful waterfront locations to explore. With high-quality education, green spaces and delectable restaurants in an urban environment hooked up to great public transport, it's a popular choice for expats.
  • Malmö: This coastal city is connected to Denmark, offering easy access to explore the neighboring country. A stunning art scene and modern architectural marvels attract those looking for a robust city life rich in creative arts. Like Stockholm, it also has several medieval buildings to explore.
  • Gothenburg: On the West Coast, Gothenburg is a popular port city with canals that weave through the city. It's known for historic sites and awe-inspiring attractions, such as its Botanical Garden. Thanks to its close access to Norway and easy connections to other Swedish cities, expats with a penchant for traveling like to settle here.

Why Atlas International Is the Best Choice for Your Move to Sweden

With your affairs and logistics in order, you'll need a trusted relocation partner to help make the move happen. Atlas International brings trustworthy, reliable services with a worldwide network of moving partners. 

Thanks to our extensive knowledge of the Swedish immigration and customs process, we've made countless international moves possible. We provide personalized moving services with comprehensive support to create a move that works for you. After discussing what you need, our relocation experts work with you to determine the best solutions for your move that meet your timeline, budget and other concerns.

Your Moving Checklist to Sweden

Developing a moving checklist can assist in managing the months leading up to your move. Our international moving checklist helps streamline this process. Here's what you can expect:

  • About 3 months before moving, you'll need to sort through your belongings to determine what you want to take with you. Review items that may be regulated by customs to help you prepare. At this stage, your Atlas International Relocation Coordinator can help you begin premove planning.
  • Start preparing records, insurance policies, and subscriptions a month before moving. If you're bringing your electronics with you, it's a good idea to purchase plug adapters. Try to secure housing during this time, as accommodations can be difficult to find, especially in major cities.
  • In the weeks before the move, ensure all paperwork is handled and ready. Finish sorting and packing your belongings and send an inventory to your International Relocation Coordinator.

Integrating Into Swedish Society: Tips and Resources

Moving to Sweden requires far more adjustment than simply entering a new country. Once you get there, you'll want to start integrating into society. While many people here speak English, it's important to learn Swedish, as many locals prefer to communicate in Swedish over English. The language isn't always easy, but Swedish for Immigrants (SFI), a government program, can help. 

It's also good to start connecting with locals through learning social norms and rules. Politeness and respect are emphasized, and order is preferred. Punctuality is strongly encouraged, and arriving too early or late is considered rude. Arriving right on time is essential. Fika is a tradition that's a lot like a daily coffee break. It's usually accompanied by a snack, such as a pastry, and rather than drinking your coffee on the go, you'll be encouraged to sit and savor it.  

Be sure to join local celebrations and community events to help you make new friends. Some expats describe Swedes as reserved, which can make it difficult to build a local social circle. However, you'll also find plenty of other expats, especially in the bigger cities. Consider joining expat groups to relate to others who understand the difficulty of integrating into a new culture. 

Start Your New Chapter in Sweden With Atlas International

Your new adventure awaits in Sweden, and Atlas International is here to help you take the plunge. Start planning your expat life with a personalized quote and moving consultation to promote a seamless, stress-free moving experience that meets your needs. Whether you want door-to-door moving services, someone to handle shipping your items or something in between, we're ready to make it happen.

A woman packs her clothes to prepare for her move to Sweden with Atlas® International.

Atlas® International helps people move to Sweden every year.

Resources for Moving to Sweden

Thinking of moving from the US to Sweden? Check out our detailed customs guide for international relocation tips including household goods importing, restricted and prohibited items, moving pets, importing vehicles, and documentation you will need.

Sweden Customs and Import Guide

Plan Your Sweden Move with Atlas® International

With over fifty years of experience helping individuals get started in the next chapter of their lives, Atlas® International can help you at any stage in the moving process. From your preliminary research about moving to Sweden to applying for a visa and even getting all of your possessions moved abroad, our seasoned team is here to support you with anything that you might need.

Ready to get started? Get in touch with an Atlas® International moving expert and begin planning your move today. Give us a call at 206-526-1137 or contact us to receive personalized advice on beginning your move to Sweden.