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Checklist: What you need to do when leaving Sweden for good

Checklist: What you need to do when leaving Sweden for good
You might be heading off on new adventures, but don't forget the admin. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT
So you've decided to leave Sweden. Maybe home was calling, you found an exciting study or work opportunity abroad, or just wanted a new adventure. Either way, there's quite a significant list of admin tasks that you shouldn't forget in the planning.

Here’s your checklist of things to do when leaving Sweden long-term.

Housing

If you’ve been renting an apartment in Sweden, make sure you’ve left it in good shape, taken photos, got your deposit back, and handed back all keys. It’s surprising how easy it is to take your forgotten spare key, or the key to a storage room or laundry room, back home with you!

If you owned your apartment or house, you may have decided to sell. If this is still ongoing after you’ve left, make sure you’ve given your estate agent all the relevant details both about the house and your new contact details, since the Swedish housing market can move fast.

If you’ve completed the sale before leaving, be aware that there’s a capital gains tax on any profit you make. You can defer this indefinitely if you use the proceeds to buy another home in Sweden or within the EU/EEA, but this requires buying your new property within a year and staying in regular contact with the Swedish Tax Agency.

Or you might be keeping your property, either to sublet or come back to for visits. In this case, you’ll want to ensure you’ve left everything in working order – and be aware that this usually means you’ll be subject to taxes in Sweden for the future.


Photo: cottonbro/Pexels

Bills

Don’t forget to terminate your bills and contracts. That might include: electricity, internet, phone, water, home insurance, other insurances, and recreational things like gym memberships or other club memberships. You may need to do this in advance if there’s a notice period, so start planning at least three months before your move.

If there are fees you do want to keep paying – for example newspaper or streaming subscriptions – make sure to update your address and payment details, as well as making any other changes (perhaps you need to update from a print to digital subscription). 

In many cases, it won’t be enough to simply close your bank account to stop being charged. If you’ve signed up for recurring payments and don’t actively cancel, this could result in your account going to debt collection. That can be more complicated to resolve after moving overseas, so make sure you tie up all those loose ends.


Photo: Aline Lessner/imagebank.sweden.se

Work

We’re assuming in this case that you’ve quit your job, instead of changing to working remotely from your new country. Get copies of at least your last three months’ payslips, preferably as many as you can. Don’t forget to ask for references, and give potential referees your new contact details.

If you work in an industry where you’ll need to provide examples of past work, for example as part of a portfolio, check with your manager whether you’re allowed to use your work in this way and get copies.

And make sure you’ve handed in all relevant keys, ID cards, work property such as company phones or laptops, and any key documents. 

If you have any outstanding vacation days, remember that you are entitled to get them paid out as salary. A good employer will keep track of this and pay you back automatically, but it’s worth keeping an eye on.


Photo: Lieselotte van der Meijs/imagebank.sweden.se

Money

Close all your bank accounts and cancel any recurring payments. But think about timing; you need to make sure you receive your final salary, and in Sweden you often receive your salary a month after earning it. If that’s the case, consider speaking to your bank in advance and working out with them a plan of how to close your account after moving.

Your bank will give you an option of what to do with any cash in the accounts, and if you have a significant amount of money, it’s worth investigating the options. Different fees of transfer services, and fluctuations in currency exchange rates, mean that choosing the right time and method to transfer your money to your new country could save you a lot. If you’ve got savings accounts or funds in Sweden, your bank can also explain your options for after your move.

You’ll also need to tell the Swedish Social Insurance Agency, Försäkringskassan, about your move if you receive any state benefits, including for example long-term sick pay or parental leave. There are different forms to fill out depending on whether you’re moving abroad for work, study, or another reason, and the agency will assess whether you’ll be insured in Sweden or in your new country. 


Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Pension

If you’ve worked and paid tax in Sweden, good news: you’ve been working towards a Swedish pension, and you’re entitled to that even after leaving the country.

Make sure to inform the Swedish Pensions Agency, Pensionsmyndigheten, about your move, and keep them updated each time you change your address. In most countries, you’ll receive a ‘life certificate’ each year after your move, which you need to fill in and send back to the agency to confirm that you’re still alive.

When you’re starting to think about withdrawing your pension, you’ll need to contact either the Swedish Pensions Agency or your local pensions authority (if you live in the EU/EEA or another country which Sweden has an agreement with – see a list here) at least six months before you want to start receiving it.


Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Taxes

You’ve told your family, friends and colleagues about the big move, but don’t forget the Swedish Tax Agency, Skatteverket. If you’re registered with the Tax Agency (which is the case if you have a personal identity number) and plan to leave Sweden for at least a year, you need to tell them. You can do that by filling out a form called Moving Abroad Notification and sending it in.

Be aware that leaving the country doesn’t necessarily mean leaving your Swedish tax obligations behind.

Swedish citizens, as well as foreign citizens who have been resident in Sweden for at least ten years, are considered to have close ties to Sweden for five years after moving abroad. That means you’re still considered a resident, and if you want to change that, it’s up to you to prove you have no close ties to the country.

Some of the things that factor into this assessment are whether you own a year-round property (not a summer-only home) in Sweden, whether you’ll continue to run a business in Sweden, and even whether you still have close family (such as children or a spouse) in Sweden.


Photo: Isabell Höjman/TT

Residence permits

If you have a permanent residence permit (PUT) in Sweden, you can leave the country for up to one year and retain your permanent resident status, meaning you can move back without having to apply for a new permit.

If you’re going to leave the country for between one and two years and wish to keep your residence permit, you need to notify the Swedish Migration Agency, Migrationsverket, at least a week before your move by submitting this form, Notification of desire to retain permanent residence permit. If you stay out of Sweden for more than two years, or more than one year without notifying the agency, your permit may be revoked. 

If you have a temporary residence permit in Sweden, you can travel in and out of Sweden while it’s valid. 

In both cases, if your permit expires before you intend to return to Sweden, you’d need to apply for a new one at a Swedish embassy or consulate-general in the country where you live.


Member comments

  1. Check forsakingskassa form 5459 and 7665 for the tax office. Think on your car registration/ insurance as well. If you move, your kids or dog insurance is normally valid abroad as well and you can keep it untill you will find another solution in final destination. If you rent a house, usually your landlord wrote a professional cleaning in the contract. Flyttstandning. You can maybe get this with RUT if you pay taxes here…

  2. What happens to the personal number if you have a temporary work visa and you get fired? Can you still get payments (from insurance) if your visa expires?

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