Important words

Last updated: 22 3 2018

​​​​​​​​​​This is a list of terms. The entries have been selected by a reference group of new arrivals that we have worked with. We do not claim that the glossary is complete and it is going to be revised continuously as the need arises. The explanations of the entries have been reviewed by various people in a range of organisations. But it is still possible that something has not been described correctly. So please contact us if you discover any errors or want to us to include a term you think is missing.

  • Adressändring (Change of address)

    You have to report a change of address when you move from one place to another. The easiest way to report your move and change of address is with Svensk Adressändring. You can read more about this under Population registration on the Tax Agency's website or under Forwarding of mail, Address change notification and Population registration in this glossary.

  • A-kassa (Unemployment insurance fund)

    ​A-kassa is short in Swedish for arbetslöshetskassa, or unemployment insurance fund. If you become unemployed, being a member of A-kassa, or unemployment insurance fund, provides security. To have the right to benefit you must have been a member of an unemployment insurance fund for at least 12 months without a break. This is why it is important to apply for membership of a fund as soon as you start working. There are different funds for different industries. If you become unemployed without being a member of an unemployment insurance fund, then Alfa-kassan and the basic insurance are what apply in your case.

  • Akuten (Hospital emergency department)

    'Akuten' is short for Akutmottagning, or Accident and Emergency Unit (A&E). Akuten is part of a hospital, and is where you go if you've had a serious injury or are suffering from acute illness, or if your local medical care centre is closed. In most cases, if you have an illness or have had an accident that you need help with quickly, but which isn't life-threatening, you have to go to the nearest out-of-hours medical care centre, which is part of primary care.

    Medical care can be described in three steps. For less serious illnesses and minor accidents during normal working hours, turn to your medical care centre. In the evenings and on weekends, turn to your local A&E or out-of-hours medical care centre. For serious conditions at any time, turn to the A&E. It's always a good idea to phone first so that you know where to go – many places will give you an appointment. That way you don't have to sit in a waiting room for several hours with other ill people, if there are many who need care. Things vary a bit between different municipalities and county councils. If you have questions about an illness or injury, or about where to go, you can call 1177 Vårdguiden (telephone number 1177) or read about it on the 1177 Vårdguiden and SOS Alarm websites.

  • Amortering (Loan repayment)

    Loan repayment means repayment of a loan. When you have a loan you must repay part of the loan every month. You will usually also pay interest and charges in connection with the repayment.

  • Anställningsbevis (Certificate of employment)

    ​A certificate of employment is a written agreement between the employee and the employee containing the terms that apply to the employment. No later than one month after you start working, your employer has to give you written information about the terms that are of importance for your employment. If your period of employment is less than three weeks, your employer is not obliged to provide such information.

    The information must at least include the following details:

    • The employer's name and address.
    • The employee's (your) name and address.
    • The starting date of your employment (the day you will start work) and where you will work - the workplace.
    • A brief description of your work duties and occupational designation or post title.
    • The type of employment, for example if the employment is of unspecified duration (i.e. permanent employment) or is temporary or probationary.
    • If the employment is of unspecified duration: the periods of notice that are applicable.
    • If it is temporary employment: the final date of the employment or the conditions that apply to the termination of the employment and what form of temporary employment.
    • If it is a probationary employment: the length of the probationary period.
    • Starting wage - i.e. the wage you receive when you start, other payroll benefits and how often the wage will paid.
    • The length of your paid annual leave and the length of your normal working day or working week.
    • Collective agreement – whether there is a collective agreement.

    A certificate of employment should be signed by both your employer and you personally.

  • Arbetsförmedlingen (Public Employment Service)

    ​Arbetsförmedlingen (the Public Employment Service) is Sweden's largest employment service. Arbetsförmedlingen is responsible for coordinating the reception of newly arrived refugees. Arbetsförmedlingen is to work to ensure that these people learn Swedish as soon as possible, find a job and are able to support themselves.

  • Arbetsrätten/regler (Labour law/regulations)

    ​Labour law is the system of laws and regulations that regulates our rights and obligations in working life. It includes the Employment (Co-determination in the Workplace) Act (MBL), the Employment Protection Act (LAS) and the discrimination laws.

  • Asyl (Asylum)

    ​A residence permit that is given to a person who is a foreign citizen and refugee or a person in need of protection under the Aliens Act. The rules saying who has the right to asylum in Sweden are set out in the Aliens Act. Sweden has to give you asylum, i.e. a residence permit, if you are a refugee under the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees or are a person eligible for subsidiary protection.

  • Avboka tid (Cancelling an appointment)

    ​When you have been given an appointment at the dentist's, the health centre or the hairdresser's, it is important to keep to the agreed time. If you come too late or do not come at all, you may have to pay for all or part of the visit even though you have not used the appointment. This also applies to things that may be free. For example, children and young people get free dental care, but if you do not come, you have to pay a charge. If you know that you cannot keep an appointment or fall ill, you must cancel the appointment so that you do not have to pay for it. This means that you call and say that you will not come.

  • Avtal (Agreement)

    An agreement is an arrangement between two or more people (or two or more parties). If it is in writing it is generally called a contract. The whole point of it is that one party (the person or company) offers something and says what it will cost and the other party agrees to what has been proposed. It can, for example involve agreeing that a book club will send you books and you promise to pay. It can also be an agreement about work or buying a car. You also sign an agreement when you rent an apartment or order electricity for your apartment. An agreement can cease to apply after a certain period of time or when some special event occurs or when you or the other party terminates the agreement. There can also be notice periods of different lengths.

  • BankID

    BankID is an electronic identity document, and a simple way of providing your ID e.g. when you enter into a contract or make electronic payments on the internet. Using your electronic signature via BankID is legally binding in the same way as a physical signature. You need to have Swedish personal identity number in order to obtain BankID. Banks are the issuers of BankID to private individuals.

    The security code for your BankID is personal. Never reveal the security code to anyone else. Do not log on to BankID if you get contacted via phone or social media. Contacts of that kind are more likely to be attempts at fraud.

    Read more under E-ID and ID cards in this glossary.

  • Bankkonto (Bank account)

    You have to have a bank account in order to be able to manage your personal finances. The account you need can be a lönekonto (salary account), transaktionskonto (transaction account), personkonto (personal account), privatkonto (current account) or a betalkonto (payment account), for example. It doesn't matter what the account is called. The important thing is that it gives you access to the following services:

    • Deposits, such as salaries or benefits
    • Payments in the form of account transfers, brevgiro (payment order by letter) or autogiro (direct debit)
    • Cash withdrawals

    Bank accounts for asylum seekers

    If you are an asylum seeker and you want to open an account you need to show your LMA-kort (Asylum seeker card) to the bank. You also need a certified copy of the identification document you handed in to the Migration Agency. A certified copy is a photocopy with a stamp to confirm that it's a correct copy of the original.

    The bank will then contact the Migration Agency to confirm that the identification document is the same as the one you handed in.

  • Bankkort (Bank card)

    ​A bank card or a debit card is a means of electronic payment issued by a bank. If you use the card to buy something, or to withdraw money from a cash machine, the money will be debited to your account. Bank cards are usually tied to VISA or Mastercard. There are also more basic bank cards tied to Maestro or VISA Electron.

  • Barnavårdscentral, BVC (Child health centre)

    ​The child health centre, Barnavårdscentralen (BVC), offers free health examinations, advice and support to all parents of children of preschool age (roughly 0–6 years) according to the basic programme for child healthcare, which also includes vaccinations. Here you can talk about and ask about everything concerning your child – food, teeth, sleep, accident risks, play, siblings, friends, child-rearing, hygiene and so on. From when your child is born until it has reached preschool age, you have regular contact with the child health centre. The first contact is often the home visit that the district nurse makes to all new parents. After that you go with your child to the child health centre for regular check-ups. The child is weighed and you discuss breast-feeding and other matters involving the child and its parents. In some municipalities and county councils children may belong to the health centre instead of the child health centre after one year of age.

  • Barnbidrag (Child allowance)

    Children who live in Sweden have the right to child allowance (barnbidrag). This is money that is paid from the month after the birth of the child or later if the child moves to Sweden. Child allowance is paid up to and including the quarter when the child reaches 16.

  • Bilförsäkring (Car insurance)

    A car insurance policy always includes compulsory traffic insurance (third-party insurance). This pays for damage you cause with your vehicle (nor injuries to yourself or damage to your vehicle). If you own a motor vehicle you have to have traffic insurance for it from the first day of your ownership. If the vehicle does not have traffic insurance you, the owner, have to pay a fee to the Swedish Motor Insurers (Trafikförsäkringsföreningen). For a normal passenger car the fee is about SEK 100 for every day that the car is uninsured.

    If you add partial car insurance (halvförsäkring) you also get cover for your own vehicle. Partial car insurance includes cover for theft, fire, windscreen and engine damage, rescue and legal expenses. Full insurance covers damage to your own vehicle if you drive in to a ditch, for example.

    Read more on your insurance company's website, on or on Swedish Motor Insurers' website.

  • Bilköp (Buying a car)

    You should never be in a hurry when you are going to buy a car. There are plenty of used cars. Don't be fooled by salesmen who offer you advantages if you decide to buy the car straight away. Check out what is available and what the prices are. Also look at what the most common faults are for the type of car you intend to buy, and consider the service costs of different makes and model years. Read advertisements in daily newspapers, on or on used-car websites or in magazines. Look at a lot of cars and compare prices. Points to bear in mind:

    • Check that the person selling the car is also the owner of it by sending a text message with the registration plate number to the Swedish Transport Agency on 72503. You will get a text message back with information about the car with that registration number. This service is not free. You can also phone the Swedish Transport Agency on 0771-25 25 25.
    • Write a purchase contract
    • Check that the car has been paid for, you can also find that out by sending a text message to or calling the Swedish Transport Agency. You are not allowed to sell a car that has not been paid in full.
    • Both seller and buyer have to notify the Swedish Transport Agency that the car has a new owner. Read more about this on the Swedish Transport Agency's website.
    • Contact an insurance company straight away to get the compulsory traffic (third-party) insurance. If you want more comprehensive cover, opt for a partial or full insurance policy.
    • Check the car's service book.
    • Compare the car with similar cars on car sites on the Internet, for example.
  • Bilprovning (Vehicle inspection)

    Have the car go through a vehicle inspection; they look at traffic safety and the environment. All vehicles have to be inspected, but a new car only needs to be inspected after 3 years. Certain workshops can get a licence to inspect vehicles.

  • Boka tid (Making an appointment)

    You have to make an appointment to do certain things, i.e. you agree on a time and date when you will meet. It can, for example be to see the dentist or to see a doctor at the health centre. It can also be to go to the hairdresser or to meet a lawyer. When you have made an appointment, it is important to be there when you agreed (see Cancelling an appointment).​

  • Bostadsbidrag (Housing allowance)

    You can get help with money for your rent if you are a family with children, you are a young person without children or a pensioner or you have sickness compensation.

  • Civilstånd (Civil status)

    ​Civil status is a collective term for whether you are single, married, a registered partner, a widow/widower or divorced. So if you have to enter your civil status, you have to say whether you are married, a widow or something else.

  • CV (CV)

    ​CV is short for the term 'Curriculum vitae', which is Latin for biography, career, life-course. A CV is a summary of your knowledge, experience and skills. It is sometimes called a personal record or résumé. CV is often used as a collective term for the documents you may need to submit when you apply for a job.

    A CV can contain:

    • A short biography
    • Work qualifications, previous employment and work duties
    • Training and the educational qualifications you have
    • Any board appointments in associations
    • Leisure interests and whether you are a member of any association
    • Your personal details, i.e.: your personal identity number and contact details/address details
    • References with their names and contact details. You have to ask these people in advance if they are willing to be references. Usually a reference is an immediate supervisor with a previous employer. The employer where you are applying for a job can then contact your references to enquire about you as a person and what you have done in the past.
  • Deklaration (Tax return)

    Everyone who has an income and pays taxes has to submit an income tax return to the Tax Agency every year. The Tax Agency will send your tax return to your home address. The tax return states how much you have earned and paid in taxes during the previous year. The information comes from your employer, insurance company and bank. You have to check that all the information is correct.

  • Eftersändning av post (Forwarding of mail)

    When you have mail forwarded it means that letters etc sent to your old address are sent on (forwarded) to your new address. You can request forwarding of mail at Svensk Adressändring, for a fee. Mail will then be forwarded for a specified period of time, usually one year.

    Read more under Change of address, Address change notification and Population registration in this glossary.

  • Egenföretag (Self-employed)

    This is really called a sole trader. As a sole trader, you have a business where you are personally responsible for the company's operations. Generally a self-employed person does not have any employees and works in the business personally.

  • E-legitimation (E-ID)

    An E-ID is comparable to a regular identity document such as an ID card or a driving license. You can use an E-ID to prove your identity securely on the internet. For example, you can log in to government agencies' websites and do things like submit digital applications there. The Tax Agency's ID card also contains an E-ID, which means that when you apply for an ID card you also get an E-ID. You use your E-ID with a pin code. The pin code will be sent by letter to your home address.

    If you don't own a card reader or a computer with a card reader you can visit the service centre at Försäkringskassan, the Tax Agency or the Swedish Pensions Agency and borrow/use a computer.

    Read more under BankID and ID cards in this glossary.

  • Ekonomiskt bistånd (Financial assistance)

    This can also be called, income support, and it used to be called social assistance. Financial assistance is intended to act as a last-resort safety net for a person who has temporary financial problems. Financial assistance is money that you can get if you do not have enough money to manage (for food and rent, for example).

    You must always apply for financial assistance in the form of income support. How much money a person needs to manage has been decided. If you apply for income support the social services look at your particular needs. In the first place people have a personal responsibility for their own lives. This means that you must try to contribute to your upkeep and other needs before you are entitled to assistance. A person who is able to work is obliged to look for work. You are probably not entitled to financial assistance if you have money in the bank or other assets (a car, house, boat and so on).

    In the first place people have to apply for other benefits and allowances that they can get, such as housing allowance and parental benefit. You apply for income support to the social services in you municipality (you will find more information on your municipality's website). The social services need information about all your financial circumstances of importance for you application, for example income, assets and expenditure.

  • Elräkning (Electricity bill)

    Almost irrespective of how you housing arrangements, you will get an electricity bill. This actually consists of two parts and can come from two different companies. One comes from a company that is responsible for the actual network that carries the electricity and the other comes from a company that sells the actual electricity to you. If you live in an apartment, it is common for heating costs to be included in your rent. Then you only pay extra for what is called household electricity (lighting, radio, TV and perhaps your cooker). If you live in a house, you usually pay all the electricity and then your bill may be very high in the winter when it is cold. If your rent does not include heating costs, this means that you pay all for all the electricity on your electricity bill. It is not included in the rent. When you move, you must notify your electricity company so that you do not need to pay for electricity in an apartment you are not using. But also so that you will have electricity in the apartment you are moving to.​

  • Erbjudande (Offer)

    A proposal from a company or person who wants to sell you something can use the word offer to make it sound a bit more inviting. You should read the offer carefully so that you are completely sure about what it means. If you are not sure, ask! You must be completely sure about what you have to give to make use of the offer. In principle this always involves money, even though this may not be stated clearly in the offer. For example, it is common to be offered the chance to join a book club or something similar and then you get several free books and a bag or some other present. The point is that you must always do something to get this, it is not free. Often the idea is that you must buy a certain number of books (or whatever the offer is for) before you can leave the club.​

  • Etableringsersättning (Introduction benefit)

    An introduction benefit is money you receive when you follow your establishment plan. If you have children you may be entitled to more money. The introduction benefit is the same for everyone, regardless of where you live. To receive the full benefit you have to pursue the activities in the establishment plan full-time. If you are entitled to an introduction benefit you may also be eligible for a housing allowance, if you live alone in your own home.

  • Europeiska sjukförsäkringskortet (European Health Insurance Card)

    This is called the 'European Health Insurance Card' in English. When you are temporarily in another EU/EEA country or Switzerland, you are entitled to necessary healthcare on the same financial terms as people living there. To get this, you need a European Health Insurance Card, On trips in the Nordic region you do not need a card. In countries outside the EU/EEA and Switzerland you are, with some exceptions, not entitled to healthcare. To get compensation for medical costs in those countries you need private travel insurance. (It is not unusual for travel insurance to be included in your home insurance.)

  • Facket (The Union)

    There are many different trade unions, simply called Facket in Swedish. They are linked to different industries so as to be better able to help their members. Being a member of a trade union can be a good idea in several ways. You have someone who can help you if you have problems at your workplace. Instead of having to monitor your own rights, negotiate your own wage, make sure by yourself that dangerous workplaces are made safer and doing something by yourself if you are harassed, for example, you then have an organisation behind you that can help you out in all these situations. A trade union can offer you expert assistance in many different areas, everything from safety issues to legal matters. A trade union also has more chance of having demands accepted since they are backed up by a whole organisation, while it is much easier for an employer to disregard demands and wishes that come from individuals.

  • Fakturor (Invoices)

    ​An invoice is really the same thing as a bill. An invoice is a written demand for payment. When you buy something, but do not pay for it right away, you get an invoice (bill). Generally it comes with the mail delivery. You can get invoices for everything from your housing rent and electricity bill to hire purchase payments for the TV. Invoices must be paid on time. Otherwise you risk having to pay even more or being referred to the Swedish Enforcement Authority. The invoice states which date is the due date, i.e. the last date by which you must pay in the money. The best thing is to be able to pay bills via your bank using the Internet (called an 'internet bank'). This is absolutely the quickest and cheapest way to pay bills. It is also possible to pay at the bank or a post office but they take a charge per bill and then it can be really expensive.

  • Flykting (Refugee)

    ​A person who is covered by the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and who is entitled to asylum under international law. Under the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees a refugee is a person who feels well-founded fear of being persecuted in their country of origin for reasons of race, nationality, membership of a particular social group or religious or political opinion. Many countries, including Sweden, also give protection to individuals who are not covered by the Convention. These are, for example, people who risk capital punishment, torture or other inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in their country of origin.

  • Flyktingkonventionen (Refugee Convention)

    The Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees regulates the obligations of states in relation to refugees. The Convention also defines which persons are counted as refugees and which are not counted in this category.

  • Flyttanmälan (Notification of a move)

    ​When you move you have to make an address change notification to the Tax Agency, so that you become registered at your new address. There is no charge for making an address change notification, and the easiest way to do it is with your E-ID, such as Mobile BankID, on the Tax Agency's website. Once you have made the notification, the Tax Agency will communicate your new address to many government agencies, municipalities and county councils. Companies such as banks and insurance companies will also receive your new address. You yourself may need to inform private individuals, associations and organisations you are a member of, publications you subscribe to etc, of your new address.

  • Folkbokföring (Population register)

    ​The population register contains a basic registration of each person living in Sweden, with information about who they are and where they live. Many of the rights and obligations you have are dependent on your being registered and on where you are registered. These include the right to child and housing benefits, where you have to pay tax and where you vote. The population register also contains other personal information such as marital status and data on children.

  • Fordonsskatt (Vehicle tax)

    Vehicle tax is a tax on motor vehicles like private cars, trucks, motorcycles and so on. You must pay tax for the vehicle before it can be used on the public road network. Vehicle tax does not depend on how much the vehicle is used. Some private cars that meet certain environmental requirements are exempt from tax for the first five years.

  • Försäkring (Insurance)

    The idea of insurance is that many people share the risk that something will happen. It is possible to insure yourself against accidents, damage and injuries. and have cover for both people and property (possessions, houses, cars and so on). The amount you pay for insurance is called a premium or insurance premium. When you have a home it is, for example, important to have home insurance in case something happens to your home (theft, fire or the like) If something happens and it is covered by the insurance, you will receive compensation (money or an equivalent good).
    Read more at or go to your insurance company's website.

  • Försäkringskassan (The Swedish Social Insurance Agency)

    Försäkringskassan (the Swedish Social Insurance Agency) is a government agency that is responsible for parental benefit, housing allowance, child allowance and maintenance support, for example. Försäkringskassan can also pay money if you fall ill. It is Försäkringskassan that pays introduction benefit.

  • Försörjning (Upkeep)

    ​Upkeep means that you can satisfy your basic needs. That you can support yourself, i.e. you have enough money to buy food and clothing, and other necessities, and rent a home.

  • Försörjningsstöd (Income support )

    ​This can also be called financial assistance, and it used to be called social assistance. Income support is intended to act as a last-resort safety net for a person who has temporary financial problems. Income support is money that you can get if you do not have enough money to manage (for food and rent, for example). You must always apply for income support. How much money a person needs to manage has been decided. If you apply for income support the social services look at your particular needs.

    In the first place people have a personal responsibility for their own lives. This means that you must try to contribute to your upkeep and other needs before you are entitled to assistance. A person who can work is obliged to look for work. You are probably not entitled to financial assistance if you have money in the bank or other assets (a car, house, boat and so on). In the first place you have to apply for the other benefits and allowances you can get, such as housing allowance and parental benefit.

    You apply for income support to the social services in you municipality (you will find more information on your municipality's website). The social services need information about all your financial circumstances of importance for you application, for example income, assets and expenditure.

  • Gratis (Free)

    ​Free is when it does not cost anything. Advertising often includes the word free. An advert is only allowed to say that something is free if that thing can be released without any cost linked to the offer. For example, if you must buy two books for the third book to be free, then it is not free. Then it has to say that the third book comes without any extra cost.

  • Hemförsäkring (Home insurance)

    Home insurance often contains several different insurance policies. They are parts that can, for example, pay for damage to you things or give you compensation if you are injured or become liable to pay damages. Home insurance usually includes:

    • Property insurance – can give you money for damage to things you own, rent or borrow for your own use.
    • Liability insurance – can pay compensation to someone to whom you become liable, as a private individual, to pay damages.
    • Personal assault insurance – can provide financial compensation if you receive personal injuries after being the victim of an assault or rape, for example.
    • Legal expenses insurance – can pay your costs for a legal representative (lawyer) if you get involved in a legal dispute with someone.
    • Travel insurance – is included in most home insurance policies and gives you better protection when you travel. In most cases it is applicable for 45 days.

    There are also several other insurance policies that you can add to your regular home insurance. The best idea is to talk to your insurance company so that you have the right insurance cover if anything should happen.

    Read more at or on your insurance company's website.

  • Husdjur (Domestic animals)

    Pets are animals that live with people and that are tame. The most common pets in Sweden are cats, dogs and rodents like guinea pigs and rabbits, but birds, lizards and snakes can also be pets.

    Many pet owners in Sweden consider the animal to be a member of the family. Pets usually live indoors and many people let their cat or dog sleep with them in bed, for example. Stray dogs and cats are very unusual in Sweden.

  • Hyresavtal (Tenancy agreement)

    When you rent a home, you must have a contract or agreement about your obligations and rights concerning your housing.
    When you sign an agreement to rent a home it has to contain information about:

    • the tenant and landlord
    • the rent
    • the rental term (term of the agreement)
    • any right to use other areas (attic store, garage or similar)
    • other details, such as furniture, cleaning, refuse collection and insurance.
  • Hälsovård (Preventive healthcare)

    ​Healthcare can be everything from looking after your teeth at the dental hygienist's so that you do not have problems with your teeth to doing relaxation exercises. Often healthcare is associated with preventive health and preventive care. So it is about looking after yourself, both body and soul, to avoid getting ill.

  • Id-kort (ID card)

    ​ID card is an abbreviation of identity card. You use your ID card as proof of your age and as proof of your identity (to show who you are), e g when you collect medicine at a pharmacy, use a credit card to pay in a shop or to do bank business. You can apply for an ID card at some of the Tax Agency's service centres.

    Read more on the Tax Agency's website or under BankID and E-ID in this glossary.

  • Inkomstskatt (Income tax)

    ​When you are employed you pay tax out of your salary. This tax is known as income tax. Your employer will deduct tax from your salary before paying it to you. Your pay slips state how much tax you are paying. Your employer pays your tax to the Tax Agency every month. Everyone who has an income and pays tax has to submit an income tax return to the Tax Agency every year.

  • Introduktionsersättning (Municipal introduction compensation)

    This is a payment that new arrivals used to be able to receive it they took part in an introduction in their municipality. Introduction was extra temporary support that Swedish society offered refugees and newly arrived immigrants during their initial period in Sweden. Municipal introduction support has been replaced by introduction benefit. New arrivals who began their introduction before 1 December 2010 will receive compensation from the municipality under the old law until their introduction has been completed.

  • Konsument (Consumer)

    A consumer is someone who buys goods or services from a company. If you have any questions about purchases you have made or want to make, or about anything else to do with you as a consumer, you can visit the Swedish Consumer Agency's information service, Hallå konsument. The website has information in different languages, and you can also have webchats with the agency's guidance officers. You can also phone 0771-525 535 and speak to a guidance officer.

  • Konsumentombudsman, KO (Consumer Ombudsman)

    The Consumer Ombudsman (Konsumentombudsmannen in Swedish, abbreviated KO) works to ensure that companies observe the law in e g marketing and contracts. KO can also represent consumers in a court of law. If you buy goods and services from companies, you are a consumer. The makers of the products are producers and those selling them are salespeople.

    KO is part of the Swedish Consumer Agency, which is a government agency working on your behalf as consumer. You should report salespeople or producers who break the law to the Swedish Consumer Agency.

    You can get information from the Swedish Consumer Agency and ask questions via its information service Hallå konsument. You can either phone 0771-525 525 or visit Hallå konsument. On the website you can also chat to the agency's consumer guidance officers.

  • Konsumentvägledare (Consumer adviser)

    ​The consumer adviser in your municipality can give you advice about buying goods and services, assistance in making complaints and advice and support relating to household finances and debt. Read more on your municipality's website.

  • Kreditprövning (Credit check)

    Before you can take out a loan, the bank runs a credit check to make sure you can repay the loan.

    When the lender (the bank) runs a credit check on you,
    it usually means they obtain a credit report on you and ask questions about your finances. That means you will be asked questions about your income, your monthly expenses and whether you have any other loans and, if so, how much these cost each month.

    The credit report is obtained from a credit reporting firm and contains, for example, information from the Swedish Debt Enforcement Service (Kronofogdemyndigheten). You will always receive a copy of your credit repot after a few days. Companies that you make contracts with can also run a credit report on you, if you set up a telephone service account, for example.

    Before you can take out a loan or make a contract, you should look over your finances and, based on your circumstances, figure out whether you will be able to repay the loan or pay future bills.

  • Kronofogden (Swedish Enforcement Authority)

    ​The Swedish Enforcement Authority is a government agency that works with debts. The Swedish Enforcement Agency helps people who have money to claim to collect it, i.e. to get the money from the people who owe them money. So if you do not pay your bills you may be referred to the Swedish Enforcement Agency. The Agency will then help the person you owe money to. The Swedish Enforcement Agency is also responsible for applications for debt relief and supervises the work of receivers in bankruptcies.

  • Kvällskurs (Evening course)

    ​Many educational associations offer evening courses in various subjects. Evening courses came about to enable people to study but still continue to work during the day. You can use them to study everything from languages to dancing and photography. You can often get help from an education association if you want to take a course that they are not offering. Usually you have to gather 5–8 participants. Then the education association can help out with premises and an instructor. You can read more about this on the websites of the various education associations.

  • Körkort (Driving licence)

    The Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket) is responsible for knowledge tests and driving tests for driving licences. The Swedish Transport Agency (Transportstyrelsen) is responsible for driving licence permits.

    ​To drive a car in Sweden, you must be 18 years old or above and have a driving license. If you have a driving licence from your country of origin, there is no guarantee that you will be allowed to drive a car in Sweden.

  • Legitimation (Identification)

    An identity document with a photo of the holder and a signature is also known as an identity card or an ID card, and the most common types are passports and driving licences. In other words it is a document (a card) that you use to prove who you are. Read more on the Tax Agency's website or under ID card in this glossary.

  • Migrationsverket (Swedish Migration Board)

    The Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket) is responsible for matters concerning immigration. For example, if you want to move to someone in Sweden, become a Swedish citizen or apply for asylum or a residence permit.

  • Misshandel (Assault)

    ​Assault is when someone or some people harm a person intentionally. Assaulting someone is hurting that person; it can be either physical or mental assault. A person who has inflicted bodily injury, illness or pain upon another or has rendered him or her powerless or in a similar helpless state is guilty of assault. If you have been the victim of an assault or seen someone else who has been assaulted you can report the matter to the police.

  • Mödravårdscentral (Maternity clinic)

    A maternity clinic (Mödravårdscentral, MVC) can also be called a midwife clinic (BM-mottagning). At an MVC you can have a pregnancy test for example. You can also get contraceptive advice (contraceptive pills, mini-pills, spirals, day after-pills, injection, implants, etc.) The MVC also carries out pregnancy checks during pregnancy and prepares the parents for the birth. They also have parental training that prepares the future mother and father for their parenthood. The MVC also does gynaecology heath checks (smear tests as screening for cervical cancer).

  • Nystartsjobb (New start jobs)

    If you have been away from working life for a long period of time, a 'new start job' can be a possibility. An employer who hires you in a new start job gets financial support. This is intended to make it easier to hire people who have been unemployed for a long time. The employer gets support for the same length of time as you have been unemployed.

  • Oskrivna regler (Unwritten rules)

    ​Unwritten rules can also be explained as what is socially accepted or as social codes of conduct. That is, how you are expected to behave together with other people. An unwritten rule is a rule that is not described in any law but that people are expected to follow. A person who does not follow the unwritten rules can be regarded as 'abnormal' since that person is then breaching the norm. Examples are that you have to reply when someone addresses you, have to say hello back when someone says hello to you and that you have to behave politely to other people.

  • Passa tid (Keeping appointments)

    ​In Sweden it is very important to keep appointments. This applies to both private meetings with friends and meetings with people in authority. Not keeping an appointment is regarded as ill-mannered. Despite this, it is obvious that all Swedes are not good at keeping appointments. If you are late for a job interview, for example, there is a big risk that you will not get the job for that very reason.

  • Pension (Pension)

    ​People generally talk about pension when they mean old-age pension. You get old-age pension when you leave working life because you have reached retirement age, become old enough. Old-age pension is paid through taxes to the government, by employers paying into pensions for their employees (compulsory) and through your own pension savings. Pension can be seen as deferred pay and old-age pensions systems often contain an insurance component. For example, by paying for the rest of your life even if you live longer than average or by paying to survivors after a death. There are also other types of pensions, such as sickness pension and disability pension.

  • Personbevis (Population registration certificate)

    ​You may need a national registration certificate when you are going to:

    • Get an identity card (but not when you apply for an ID card from then Tax Agency)
    • Apply to study programmes or schools or for grants
    • Apply for Swedish citizenship
    • Apply for divorce
    • Have a foreign passport, alien's passport or a similar document.

    A national registration certificate shows the information that is registered about you in the Tax Agency's population register database. A national registration certificate is not valid as an identity document.

  • Personförsäkring (Personal insurance)

    ​Private personal insurance is a complement to social insurance and occupational insurance. Personal insurance consists of several smaller insurance policies. Usually the basic ones included are accident insurance and medical costs insurance. It is your needs and your financial situation that decide whether you choose to take out private insurance. You can often take out group insurance through membership of a trade union but your employer may also have group insurance for those who want to be covered. You can also take out your own personal insurance.

    You can read more about this at Hallå konsument, or contact your insurance company.

  • Personnummer (Personal identity number)

    Every person who becomes registered in Sweden's national population register receives a personal identity number. Once you have been given a personal identity number, you retain it throughout your life. This means that the number won't change even if you move abroad, for instance. Personal identity numbers are issued by the Swedish Tax Agency. In order to become registered in the national population register and receive a Swedish personal identity number you have to notify the Swedish Tax Agency that you wish to live in Sweden.

  • Rattfylla (Drink-driving)

    In Sweden the limit for drink driving is 0.02 per cent blood alcohol content (0.1 mg per litre in exhaled breath). This means that, in practice, it is safest not to drink anything containing alcohol if you are going to drive a car. Aggravated drink-driving means having a blood alcohol content of 0.1 per cent (0.1 mg per litre in exhaled breath) or more, and the penalty is imprisonment for up to two years.

  • Reklam (Advertising)

    ​Advertising is information that has been produced and spread to show and draw attention to ideas, products and services. The idea is to influence and change other people's opinions, values or actions to make them change what they buy and how. Often the sender is a company and the recipient a consumer. The consumer can be a private individual or another company. The point of advertising is often to market a company's products or services. The idea is to increase sales.
    You can say no to both addressed advertising and advertising via telemarketing.

  • Reseförsäkring (Travel insurance)

    ​Travel insurance is insurance you take out in case you fall ill when you are abroad. EU citizens are entitled to tax-financed emergency healthcare in other EU countries. Emergency care also includes costs for pregnancy and childbirth in hospital (European Health Insurance Card) If you have home insurance that includes travel cover, this only gives you good cover for 45 days. If you are away for longer, you may need to supplement this with travel insurance. Försäkringskassan has information about what rules apply to the country you are going to travel to.

    Read more at or on your insurance company's website.

  • Räkningar (Bills)

    A bill is really the same thing as an invoice. A bill is a written demand for payment. When you buy something, but do not pay for it right away, you get an invoice (bill). Generally it comes with the mail delivery. You can get bills for everything from your housing rents and electricity bill to hire purchase payments for the TV. Bills must be paid on time. Otherwise you risk having to pay even more or being referred to the Swedish Enforcement Authority. The bill states which date is the due date, i.e. the last date by which you must pay in the money. The best thing is to be able to pay bills via your bank using the Internet (called an 'internet bank'). This is absolutely the quickest and cheapest way to pay bills. It is also possible to pay at the bank or a post office but they take a charge per bill, and then it can be really expensive.

  • Sjuklön och Sjukpenning (Sickness pay and Sickness benefit)

    You are eligible for compensation if you become ill or get an injury. This is paid as sickness pay instead of the normal salary from your employer (for the first two weeks) or as sickness benefit from Försäkringskassan (if you are away from work for more than two weeks). You have to report sick to your employer on the first day you are unable to work due to illness or injury. You will not receive any compensation on the first day, but from the second day your employer will give you sickness pay for the next two weeks, after which sickness benefit may be paid to you by Försäkringskassan. To be eligible for sickness benefit you have to have had a salaried job.

  • Sjukhus (Hospital)

    A hospital can also be called a lasarett in Swedish. Hospitals provide care for people who are ill or injured. An emergency department is generally at a hospital. The healthcare provided at a hospital can be either out-patient care or in-patient care. Out-patient care means that you are not admitted to a ward, but are examined and treated at a hospital out-patient clinic or a health centre. The other form of care, in-patient care, refers to care of a patient who has been admitted to a hospital ward. To come to a hospital clinic or ward you have to have a referral from a doctor. Hospital care focuses mainly on patients with serious illnesses and life-threatening conditions. Many hospitals have both emergency and planned care in several different specialties, such as internal medicine, surgery, orthopaedics, ear, nose and throat, gynaecology, paediatric medicine and elderly care, etc. If you need to go to the emergency department it may be best to call first and let them know that you are coming. Call the healthcare information service (telephone number: 1177) for advice or read more at

  • Skatteverket (Swedish Tax Agency)

    ​The Swedish Tax Agency is the government agency responsible for collecting taxes and maintaining a population register. Politicians in the Riksdag, municipalities and county councils determine what types and levels of taxes we are to pay, but the job of collecting taxes is carried out by the Tax Agency.

  • Snabblån (Payday loans)

    A payday loan is a small loan that has to be paid back within 30 days. Getting a payday loan is expensive, and the total cost of the loan can be very high. A payday loan is usually called a snabblån in Swedish, but it can also be called SMS-lån, mikrolån, telefonlån, internetlån or korttidskrediter (short-term credit).

  • Socialbidrag (Social assistance)

    Now the term income support is used instead. Income support consists of the national standard and reasonable costs outside the national standard. The national standard includes costs that are roughly the same for everyone. For example, it includes costs for food, clothes and hygiene. Income support is a form of financial assistance intended to act as a last-resort safety net for a person who has temporary financial problems. Income support is money that you can get if you do not have enough money to manage (for food and rent, for example).

    You must always apply for income support. How much money a person needs to manage has been decided. If you apply for income support the social services look at your particular needs. In the first place people have a personal responsibility for their own lives. This means that you must try to contribute to your upkeep and other needs before you are entitled to assistance. A person who can work is obliged to look for work. You are probably not entitled to financial assistance if you have money in the bank or other assets (a car, house, boat and so on). In the first place you have to apply for the other benefits and allowances you can get, such as housing allowance and parental benefit.

    You apply for income support to the social services in you municipality (you will find more information on your municipality's website). The social services need information about all your financial circumstances of importance for you application, for example income, assets and expenditure.

  • Socialstyrelsen (National Board of Health and Welfare)

    The National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) is a government agency that governs, guides, maintains statistics on and evaluates the social services, health and medical care and dental care. Socialstyrelsen issues regulations (which apply as laws), provides recommendations and compiles facts and knowledge for staff and managers in nursing and care. Some of the information is also directed towards patients and users. Socialstyrelsen also issues certificates and licences for health and medical care staff.

  • Stöld (Theft)

    ​Theft is a crime. Theft is when someone takes something belonging to someone else without permission to keep it or to pass it on or sell it. The sentence for gross theft is imprisonment for at least six months and at most six years. If the crime is petty (not of such great value) theft can be called shop-lifting. If someone steals something from you, it is the police you have to contact to report it.

  • Svartjobb (Undeclared work)

    ​When you do undeclared – informal – work ("work under the table"), you do not pay taxes on what you earn. Society is based on everyone who works paying taxes. The taxes are used for healthcare, roads, care for older people and other welfare services available to all citizens. If you work under the table, it can be difficult for you to get a rental agreement for a flat or buy things on hire-purchase (credit). Landlords and companies will often want you to show an employment contract.

    If you do undeclared work:

    • You will not have an employment contract, which means you can be cheated out of your pay
    • You will not get any unemployment insurance if you should lose your job
    • You will not receive and sickness compensation or holiday pay
    • You will not receive any sickness or parental benefit
    • You will receive a lower pension
    • You will not be insured if you happen to injure yourself or someone else, or accidentally break something when you are working.
  • Tandvård (Dental care)

    Dental care is looking after your teeth. By, for example, going to check-ups at the dentist's and brushing your teeth properly you can avoid getting holes in your teeth. Everyone who lives in Sweden is entitled to dental care support from when they reach 20 years of age. If you are younger, dental care is completely free. In Sweden we have both the Public Dental Service (the county council) and dental care provided by private dentists.

  • Telefonräkning (Telephone bill)

    A bill you have to pay for your telephone use. There are several different telephone companies in Sweden that compete with one another. Most of them have discounts if, for example, you have both a landline and a mobile phone on the same subscription or perhaps also a broadband connection. So it may be a good idea to compare the different companies to find a subscription that suits the way you use the phone.

  • Trafikförsäkring (Traffic (third-party) insurance)

    If you own a motor vehicle (e g a car, motorcycle, Class 1 EU moped or a bus) you have to get traffic insurance for it from the first day of your ownership.

    If your vehicle causes an accident, your traffic insurance will pay compensation if the driver, any passenger or other person is injured. The insurance also covers damage to anyone else's property.

    However, traffic insurance will not cover any damage to your own vehicle or property inside the vehicle. You need to get further car insurance if you want those things covered.

    Bear in mind that:

    • It is a legal requirement that motor vehicles have traffic insurance.
    • The traffic insurance policy has to apply from the day you become the owner of the vehicle.
    • You, as the owner of the vehicle, have to obtain a traffic insurance policy from an insurance company.
    • The vehicle must have traffic insurance even if it is not working, has been stolen, is banned from driving or is not being used.
    • If you don't have traffic insurance for your vehicle you have to pay a fee to the Swedish Motor Insurers (Trafikförsäkringsföreningen) for each day that the vehicle is uninsured.
    • This fee is much higher than an insurance premium.
    • If you are not using the vehicle, have it deregistered with the Swedish Transport Agency.


  • Underhållsbidrag (Child support)

    Money that a parent, who is not living with their child, has to contribute to the child's maintenance. This applies both if you have joint custody and if one of you has sole custody. When the child lives about the same amount with both of you this is counted as alternating residence and neither parent is obliged to pay child support. It is the child that is entitled to child support. But it is the residential parent who receives the money on behalf of the child. Parents normally have a maintenance obligation until their child reaches 18 years of age. For children who are still attending upper secondary school or a similar institution, the parent has a maintenance obligation until the day their child reaches 21 years of age.

  • Underhållsstöd (Maintenance support)

    Maintenance support is money that can be paid by Försäkringskassan. The money is paid to the parent who is a custodian and is living alone with the child or children. Maintenance support can only be paid if the other parent is not paying child support or is paying less than SEK 1273 per month.

  • Validering (Validation)

    ​The word is used here in the sense of 'make valid, confirm'. The word validation is used to describe a process of checking that something is valid (for example a diploma). Validation is part of work on quality assurance. The validation of qualifications is used for the assessment, valuation and recognition of the knowledge and qualifications that a person has.

  • Volontär (Volunteer)

    A volunteer is a person who works voluntarily or offers their services without asking to be paid. Voluntary work can also be called "ideellt arbete" or "frivilling arbete".The work is usually organised through a voluntary organisation (frivilligorganisation or ideell förening), such as the Red Cross, a sports club or a cultural association. Voluntary work for an organisation is very common in Sweden. Outside Sweden, these organisations and associations are called "non-profit organisations" or "non-governmental organisations".

  • Vårdcentral (Health centre)

    The health centre (vårdcentralen, VC) is part of primary care, just like young people's clinics and duty clinics, child health clinics and maternity clinics. People go to the health centre if they have illnesses and complaints that are not really emergencies. Moreover, the doctors at the health centre often have overall coordinating responsibility for their patients. If needed, you can get a referral to other specialists for investigation and treatment. Health centres also deal with laboratory examinations, blood pressure checks and other minor or relatively routine treatment and examinations.

  • Vårdnadshavare (Custodian)

    The person or persons who have the legal custody of a child (i.e. who are legally responsible for it) are called its custodians or guardians. This can be either one parent or both parents or a person appointed by a court. A child has a custodian until it reaches 18 years of age and becomes legally competent.

  • Överklagan (Appeal)

    ​If you think that someone has taken an incorrect decision, it may be possible for you to appeal it. Say what you think is wrong and why. You have the opportunity to get a new decision. The decision may be the same as before, but it may also turn out that you were right. You are able to appeal against many decisions taken by government agencies and municipalities. A decision must always be in writing. Don't be satisfied with oral information given at a meeting or by phone. You are entitled to help from the agency that has taken the decision you think is wrong so that you appeal in the right way.