One thing I have wanted to talk about for quite a while is the burceaucracy and the experiences I have made. I have already written about the personnummer here in Sweden and what a hussle it was to get it, but that was back in February/March. It took me until now, to open a bank account in Sweden and here is how that went.

Before moving to Sweden, but also when I arrived, I learned that the most important thing to have here is the personnummer. It is required for everything, from buying a car to having a job, having insurance or in my case wanting to open a bank account. So of course as soon as I had the personnummer, I went to the bank.

However they couldn’t help me, because for opening a bank account you need an item of legitimation. Which the German card of identity isn’t sufficient for, but only the German passport or Swedish ID card. At this point I wondered why any EU identity card isn’t sufficient EU wide, but okay, I couldn’t show the needed documents so of course I couldn’t open a bank account. However when I got the personnummer, I had also gotten information on what to do before applying for the Swedish ID card, which was also transfer money to Skatteverket. Since they don’t take online banking as a proof, I tried to do that at the bank, I mean I was already there, so why not? And they said it is not possible because I didn’t have a Swedish bank account… I asked how I am supposed to transfer the money then, and learned, that there are certain places that transfer money from foreign bank accounts against a fee. Luckily one of those places was on my way home and it worked well without any further complications.

So after that I went to skatteverket to apply for the Swedish identity card and am told that I need a German passport in addition to the personnummer to show that I am really me. So since my German passport expired in december (I didn’t really notice it at the time, but didn’t pay attention to it because I thought the ID card would be sufficient in the EU. After all I had gone on flights with it to non-EU countries several times and there has never been a problem using it as legitimation…) I needed to go to the ambassy in Stockholm.

I googled the ambassy and couldn’t find information about the passport, so I gave them a call. A very annoyed woman on the phone helped me find the part of the website where I could get all the information that I needed. So I saw that I needed to go to Stockholm personally and book a time for that online. This was around the middle of march and the first free times they had were around the 20th of April… But of course, I can’t just casually drive from Östergraninge to Stockholm in the middle of the week. The drive alone takes about 6 hours, so driving back and forth in one day, just to have one 20-minute-appointment didn’t seam very appealing to me. So I decided to book a time around a weekend (I took the first monday they had free and the earliest appointment I could get – 29.04. 9:00h) and started to plan having a weekend to get to know more of this country I now live in.

Finally the end of April came and so came my appointment at the ambassy. In the meantime I could do nothing but wait for that time to come, so I was all the more happy when I was finally there and was even 40 minutes early. Inside the ambassy I wasn’t allowed to have my cellphone, but the appointment started very punctually and I went out there after around 20 minutes. I was told that I would get my passport via mail in around 3 weeks and that was indeed around the time it took.

So with my new beautiful passport (I’m not kidding. They changed the design and now it looks really much nicer than my old one) I could go to skatteverket and apply again for the Swedish identity card. I was told that it would take 1-2 weeks to get it and I would be notified via SMS when I could pick it up.

Of course I also remembered what the bank had told me months ago, that I could also use my passport as legitimation. So I went there again, but was denied a bank account, because once you have a personnummer, a foreign passport is no longer sufficient, because it doesn’t contain the information about your personnummer.

So after 2 more weeks, in the beginning of June, I could finally open a bank account.

It took me half a year to get a bank account. This is because I did not take care of my passport, because I thought it wasn’t so important to have. So anyone out there considering moving to Sweden: Be warned. Always have your passport updated!!!

So now finally I have everything fixed and can stop worrying about paperwork. Yay! 😀

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