How To Move To Sweden Without A Job

How to move to sweden without a job titlecard with a photo of Sweden's buildings on the background

With the best benefits in the world, Sweden is a fantastic place to live, study, and work. You can work and live in Sweden and enjoy various benefits, such as outstanding public services, a relaxed way of life, free education, excellent corporate culture, and a good work-life balance. However, the question is, can you move to Sweden without a job?

Yes, you can move to Sweden while you still haven’t received a job offer from an employer there. You can take different visa routes, such as job seeker and self-employed visas. Also, if you have a relative there who has a working permit, you can apply for residency in the country.

If you are keen on moving to Sweden, even if you don’t have a job there yet, then this article will be helpful to you. We will discuss here the different visa routes that you can take, as well as the requirements and application process.

As a bonus, we’ll also talk about ways to land a job in the country, which will be useful, especially if you have a job seeker visa. Besides, don’t miss our article on in-demand jobs in Sweden, so you can get a job there.

Moving to Sweden without a job offer: can you do it?

Yes, you can move to Sweden without a job offer. Your nationality will determine how easy this process is for you. If you’re an EEU or EEA citizen, you can just travel to Sweden to find work.

However, if you are a non-EU citizen, you need to apply for a job seeker visa, which will allow you to stay in the country for several days until you can find a job offer and apply for a work visa. 

Here’s a more comprehensive view of the process difference between EU and non-EU citizens. 

Flag of the European Union

EU Citizen

You don’t need to deal with the migration agency if you are a citizen of an EU member country or EEA member country. Upon arrival, you only need to register in the national population register and get an ID number from the Swedish Tax Agency.

Non-EU Citizen

It’s much harder for non-EU citizens to obtain a Swedish visa. It’s necessary to apply for a work permit unless you’re moving to study (which requires a separate permit).

The only way to do this is if you have received a firm job offer in your hand. Swedish companies must publish the position in Sweden and the EU before offering it elsewhere, complicating the process.

Also, read our article about living as an American in Sweden, so you know what to expect when moving here.

The process mentioned above is quite a hassle, as we all know that it’s not easy to find a job in a foreign place. Luckily, Sweden issued a new visa for job searchers in April 2022 and processes to allow prospective migrants to move to Sweden without a job.

Moreover, non-EU citizens can apply for self-employed permits, but the requirements are strict. You must have considerable finances, prove your product/service is in demand, and show you have a Swedish network to succeed.

In most cases, family members of those with a work permit can apply for a residence permit as well. It can be done simultaneously or later.

Check out our guide on salaries in Sweden.

How to move to Sweden from the US without a job?

People moving around the subway station

There are many ways to move to Sweden from the US without a job. Here’s a list of the visa routes that we will discuss to make this possible:

  • Job Seeker Visa: for those who don’t have a job offer yet but are planning to work in Sweden
  • ICT Permit: can be applied for by those who are working for a company outside of the EU but are transferring to a branch in Sweden
  • Self-employment Visa: for those who want to start their own business in the country
  • Spouse and Family Visas: available to couples, partners, or children of Swedish citizens

Moreover, you can study bachelor’s or master’s in Sweden and apply for a student visa.

For you to better understand how these visa routes can help you move to Sweden without a job, we will discuss their specific details and processes.

1. Sweden Job Seeker Visa

A Job Seeker visa is a visa and a resi­dence permit for highly quali­fied individuals who want to come to Sweden to look for a job or start a business.

The Job Seeker visa is a new concept for Sweden, which came into force in the summer of 2022. With this visa, you can stay in Sweden and look for a job for between 3 and 9 months.

Before the pandemic, Sweden already had a shortage of manpower. Several skilled professionals are urgently needed in the country, such as chefs, system developers, assistants, healthcare professionals, etc. As the market recovered from the pandemic, the need intensified.

Employers have difficulty hiring workers for many roles, from highly educated professionals to entry-level jobs, such as restaurant waiters. Amid the pandemic, restaurant workers lost their jobs. Several of them have found employment in a variety of fields.

The Job Seeker visa suits non-EU residents who don’t want to come through education or business investment because Sweden needs more qualified workers. With this visa route, you can migrate for a specific period, look for a job, or start a business.

Eligibility criteria:

In order to qualify for a Swedish Job Seeker visa, you must meet the following requirements:

  • A master’s degree or higher is required.
  • The Swedish Council for Higher Education needs a Letter of Consent to verify your credentials with your national higher education authorities.
  • During the application period, you must have enough funds to cover your expenses.
  • Whether seeking employment or exploring business opportunities in Sweden, you must demonstrate a clear plan.
  • For care in Sweden, you must have a valid health insurance policy.
  • A valid passport is required.

How to apply:

A Job Seeker visa application can be submitted in the following ways:

  • Online
  • In-person

Online applications must be submitted through the Swedish Migration Agency’s e-service.

If you don’t apply online, you must fill out an Application for a residence permit to complete your studies or research. Documents that must accompany the application are listed on the application form.

Before you start working in Sweden, read about taxes in Sweden vs the USA.

2. ICT Permit

Expats transferring to the Swedish company branch from outside the EU require an ICT Permit (Intra-Corporate Transfer). Non-EU residents are the only ones eligible to apply. Further, these permits are only issued to managers and specialists.

Applicants must submit documentation from themselves and their employers to be eligible for the ICT Permit.

Fortunately, this residence permit can be extended up to three years if you work as a manager or specialist or up to one year if you are a trainee.

Eligibility criteria:

  • The passport must be valid;
  • Worked for the company in Sweden for more than 90 days as a manager, specialist, or trainee;
  • Possess the skills and experience you need for a manager or specialist job or train as a trainee;
  • You’ve got an employment contract from home;
  • Worked for the company for at least three months without interruption at the time of relocation;
  • Stay within your company or another company in the same industry;
  • If your profession is regulated, you can prove that you’re qualified.

How to apply:

If you are interested in applying, your employer must:

  • Make an offer of employment;
  • Provide compensation that is at least equal to Swedish collective agreements or what is customary in the profession;
  • Maintain employment terms at least similar to those of Swedish employees;
  • Provide you with a job that will allow you to support yourself;
  • Include the following in your employment offer
    • Address and name of employer
    • Beginning of employment outside the EEU
    • The city in which the work/training will be conducted
    • An overview of the employee’s duties
    • Payroll benefits and salaries
    • A trainee’s position title or professional designation

3. Self-employment Visa

Working in Sweden without a permit is possible for self-employed people for up to three months; after that, they can apply for a Self-employment visa. It will take three months for you to obtain a self-employed visa. The same applies to EU/EEA citizens.

Eligibility criteria:

In Sweden, the following requirements apply to Self-Employment visas:

  • A valid passport;
  • An extensive background in your field, as well as previous business experience;
  • Documented and relevant Swedish/English knowledge;
  • Proof you’re running the business, that you’re ultimately responsible, and you own at least half of it;
  • Evidence that the business sells and/or produces its goods and services in Sweden;
  • A sufficient amount of money to support you and, if necessary, your family during the first two years of residence;*
  • Ensure your budget is supported by reliable documentation;
  • Establish a customer network in Sweden or establish contacts with customers;
  • After two years of probation, you must show that your employer can support you and your family (income support is based on the Swedish national income support standard + housing costs).

If you invite children to Sweden, you must present 200,000 SEK for yourself, 100,000 SEK for your spouse and accompanying wife/husband,, and 50,000 SEK for each child.

How to apply:

You must submit everything to the Swedish embassy or consulate in your country of origin if you are applying for the visa for the first time. As with regular work permits, the visa costs 2,000 SEK (200 USD). However, it will take 10 to 15 months to complete the process.

4. Spouse and Family Visa

A residence visa can be applied for by people who are married, partnered, or children of Swedish residents. To apply for a spouse/fiancee visa, you need to be legally married or have lived in a relationship resembling a marriage for a significant amount of time.

Eligibility criteria: 

  • An active passport is required
  • A marriage certificate or the equivalent (applies to married couples and registered partners)
  • If you are married, you should:
    • Show your population registration certificate, tenancy agreement, shared accommodation purchase receipt, or other proof of shared accommodation status.
    • Show evidence you’ve been living together using a tenancy agreement or bills with your names and addresses.

How to apply:

To apply, you must complete the online form, but before you do, check the following requirements:

  • It is necessary for both you and the person you are moving to in Sweden to be 18 years old or older.
  • Visa or MasterCard must pay your application fee.
  • Scanned or photocopied documents must be attached.

Also read why you should not move to Sweden.

Finding a job in Sweden

Finding a job in Sweden is easy. You can browse job listings posted by the government. There is a manpower shortage in the country, which is why the government takes action in sourcing every manpower that they can bring into Sweden.

With that being said, you have a very high chance of landing a job offer! 

People looking for work can get support from the Swedish Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen). It provides information, advice, and support. Furthermore, many privately run job sites that are commonly used to find a job in Sweden.

Typically, these sites include job listings (often in Swedish) and CV-uploading functions. So, don’t miss out on them and check them right away!

Learn about Swedish salaries and current in-demand jobs.

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