In Sweden, many aspects of life are linked to your personal identity number. Here’s everything you need to know about personal identity numbers – including how to get one.
What is a personal identity number?
A personal identity number (personnummer) is a twelve-digit number used to identify people living in Sweden. It is unique to you, and based on your date of birth plus four extra digits. For example, if you were born on 25 May 1992, it might look like this: 19920525-1045.
Your personal identity number will be an important part of your life in Sweden. You’ll often need it, for example when dealing with authorities or accessing non-emergency healthcare. It can also make many everyday tasks easier, like borrowing books from the public library, collecting bonus points for grocery shopping, picking up a parcel at the post office, … The list is endless. In some cases, you might struggle to fulfill certain activities (like opening a bank account) without a personal identity number.
How do I get a personal identity number?
Personal identity numbers are assigned by the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket). One of your very first steps after settling in should be to register at your local Tax Agency office.
If your programme is longer than one year (and your residence permit is valid for at least 12 months from the day you arrive in Sweden), you should be able to get a personal identity number. Visit the Tax Agency’s website for more information on how to apply for a personal identity number and what documents to bring with you when applying.
What if I cannot get a personal identity number?
If you are studying in Sweden for a shorter period than 12 months, you will probably not be able to get a personal identity number.
In some cases, however, you might be given a coordination number (samordningsnummer) instead. This can happen when you need to deal with certain government agencies, like when you have a part-time job and need to pay tax to the Tax Agency. To get a coordination number, a government agency needs to request it on your behalf; you cannot do so yourself.
I’m still confused..
If you have more questions about your specific case, contact the Tax Agency.