Personal Identification Number (Swedish: Personnummer)
Okay so you might be thinking why is this in the first place and why bank account has moved below! Trust me this is the first thing you need to acquire when you arrive here. Every citizen in Sweden is registered by Swedish Tax Agency (Swedish: Skatteverket) and is given a Personal Identification Number. It is also regarded as Swedish population register. This ten digit number is divided into two parts, first six digits indicate your birth year, month and date and last four digits are unique for every person. You will require this number for any authority contacts and other benefits like seeking membership to any store.
Depending on your length of study, you may or may not be entitled to have personnummer. If your study is less than two years, unfortunately you will not be eligible to apply for one. In such case, you will be given a coordination number. But if your program has two years duration, you are required to apply for it.You will need to book an appointment and bring the following documents to Skatterverket to apply for personnummer:
- Residence permit
- University admission letter (Notification of selection)
- Marriage certificate (if you are married)
- Rental contract/address information
After filling out a form and submitting these documents, you will have to pay a fee of 400 SEK. This can be paid online or via any bank. Note that if you pay through a bank, they will charge 50 SEK extra. After payment, book an appointment again and bring the proof of payment. This time your biometrics will be collected which includes fingerprints and photo.Make sure you prepare your best look for the day because it will be printed on your new cool ID Card! After few weeks, you will receive a letter instructing you to head to Skatterverket to sign and collect your card. Usually, staffs from Skatteverket come to Chalmers in one of the day during welcome week and you will be notified of the time by Chalmers mail. If you miss out on this occasion, don’t worry; you can always go to Skatteverket office directly and ask the officer to help you.
Soon to be a cashless society, you will feel the urge to obtain a debit/credit card as soon as you arrive in Sweden. In Chalmers, every payment is processed by card transaction. It is better if you already have a credit card that can be used in Sweden. Nevertheless, it is quite useful if you apply for a bank account earlier.
Having a personnummer makes it quite easy to open a bank account. If you don’t have one, fret not! You can still open an account,but the process will take longer as they will verify information about you. There are several banks in Gothenburg that you can choose like SEB, Nordea, Handelsbanken, Swedbank, ICA Banken, Forex Bank, Danske Bank etc. Before you visit their office, it is possible to book an appointment by calling them. You can find contacts on their respective websites.
Opening hours of banks are usually from 9 to 15. Depending on the bank, some branches close at 13, some remain open until 18. On the weekends, every bank is closed. Apart from the above documents that you require to apply for personnummer, you may need to bring a certificate of registration which you can easily obtain via student portal or by visiting student centre. US citizens have to fill an additional tax paper document supplied by Swedish banks when you visit one. After all the procedures, it takes one to few weeks until you get an account number and a debit card. Some banks also send code box to your mail address which is used to sign into your account online. All banking activities can be easily operated by their respective mobile apps. Most banks charge a monthly fee for maintaining your account and payments which range from 20 to 40 SEK. Some banks do not charge any (for example Danske bank).
If you have dollars or Euros, you can exchange them only at Forex bank. Some banks do not have any physical branch,and all financial activities are performed over the internet (for example ICA Banken).
Now that you have acquired your personnummer and opened an account, you are all set to open your Bank-ID and Swish account. Bank-ID is a personal e-ID or a legitimation app that you can use to authenticate and conclude agreements with individuals online. Along with your codebox, you can use Bank-ID to log into your bank account or finalise payment while Swish is a favourite mobile app that is used to transfer money instantly and securely using phone numbers without any charge. To setup an account, you need to connect your phone number with your bank account.
Phew!!!!! With all that being said we do hope that we have made it a tad easier for you. We hope your stay in this Viking land will be pleasant with our little tips and guidelines.
Text by Raihan Abir