How to survive in Sweden?

This day is special. I found a small folder among other papers which we got from the postmen. This was my residence permit in Sweden. The beauty of the moment was slightly screwed up with the dates, which the permit had. 11 months. One month less than a year. Why?

Here the story begins.
Sweden is a very special country. People here are beautiful, tall, sportive and… labeled. Each Swede has a special number which helps him o be recognised in the bureaucracy system. Swede goes to the hospital, gives his number and the doctor has the full story of diseases on his computer screen. Swede goes to the library, gives his personal number and he can get any book at any library filial within a couple of days. Cause the library system remembers if he was good boy and gave back books in time or not. Swede decided to be fit and sign up to the gym chain. Here he is! He gives a number, buys subscription and all gyms over Sweden are open to him. Lovely, right?

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The special number called “personnummer” and consist of your birthdate and 4 other digits, which you get from the tax office. Every Swede get his 4 digits together with his/her birth, learn them by heart and remember it till the end of the days. Doesn’t matter whether you are Johan or Johanna, boy or an old lady. You need your four digits. That’s it.

The situation gets more difficult if you were born not in Sweden. And this is my case. There are ‘beautiful’ rule, which says, that if you have a residence permit for less than year, you can’t get the “personnummer”.

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This simply means, that during this entire year, I can’t:

– get the book in the library

– get the discount card in any store (like groceries, clothes, etc)

– open the bank account

– buy the phone (cause you are obliged to sign the phone contract)

– sign up for any gym chain or yoga classes

– get the money transfer

– find any kind of job

– start the free language courses for emigrants

The last is the worst, since almost all the websites and services for emigrants are in Swedish. Somehow the state assume that all emigrants, coming to Sweden know Swedish. Magic! Without the 4 digits, which are supposed to be added to my birthdate, I simply can’t do anything, that all people do.

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Maybe the system works very well for the society. Maybe it’s convenient when your citizens are not Jones and Annas, but 10 digits. But this is a certain humiliation to get the opportunity to stay, but not the opportunity to live.

PS. Here are the links to the websites, which are supposed to help me to:

book a Swedish course

find a job 

All information is only in Swedish.

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