Start a business in Sweden

Setting up a business in Sweden
Updated 2018-11-23 14:01

Every year, Sweden attracts thousands of expats looking for new ventures. If you are one of them, you should be aware that the process and the difficulty of starting your own business in Sweden will vary drastically, based on whether or not you are an EU or Nordic national. 

If you are an EU or Nordic national

If you're an EU national or a Nordic national (Finland, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Greenland and Faroe Islands), you have both the right to enter Sweden without a visa and start working right away. However, starting your own private business means you will need to register to the Swedish Tax Agency: this will grant you a Swedish personal identity number (personnummer), which you will need for almost every step of setting up your own business, from registering for social insurance to opening a bank account.

Good to know:

To register as a self-employed person in Sweden, you will need to provide proof (apart from other pertinent documentation) that you have a business in Sweden. This proof can, for example, take the form of your marketing plan, the company's registration certificate, your VAT accounting documents or the deed of transfer (for acquiring an existing business).

Useful link:

Skatteverket: Register as self-employed EU national

If you are a third-country national

If you are a third-country national and you wish to stay in Sweden for more than 90 days (which will be the duration of your initial visa to enter the country), you will need to apply for a residence card at the Migrationsverket. You will need to apply before entering the country, once your visa is approved, as the permit process may take time. To obtain a permit to start your own business, in general, requires the following:

  • a valid passport
  • proof of experience in running a business in your field
  • proof of professional command of the Swedish language (in some case, English may be enough)
  • proof of your position as the decision-maker of your business
  • proof that your business' products or services will be produced in Sweden
  • proof of sufficient funds to support yourself (about 200,000 SEK)
  • a business plan that shows that the business will be able to generate enough profit to support you after the two-year probationary period

Useful link:

Verksamt: Documentation for third-country nationals

The logistics of starting a business in Sweden

Once you've sorted out the paperwork pertaining to your right to start your own business in Sweden (where applicable), you can start planning your next steps. First, you should consider the type of company you'd like to start: there are several types of companies, but the most common ones are the sole trader, limited company and trading partnership. Then you should proceed to register your company with the Swedish Companies Registration Office.

Good to know:

If you chose sole trader as your company type, you are not required to register your company. But you are advised to do so anyway, to ascertain that your company's name will be protected and no one else can register a company by the same name.

The registration process varies depending on whether or not you have acquired a Swedish ID yet. In any case, if you don't yet have a Swedish ID you will have to fill out a printed form at the Swedish Companies Registration Office ' you can browse the relevant forms on their website. Then, you will have to register with the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket) and apply for your F-tax card (a tax card for self-employed persons), register for your business VAT and register as an employer.

Good to know:

Some fields in Sweden may require entrepreneurs to hold an official permit. You will find a list of these fields on the Verksamt website.

You are highly advised to hire an accountant to manage your company's account and assist you regularly. Makes sure, however, that the accountant is well-versed regarding Swedish laws, especially in terms of corporate laws.

Useful links:

Verksamt ' Starting a business in Sweden
Swedish Companies Registration Office (Bolagsverket)
F-tax Brochure ' Information for the self-employed
Association of Swedish Accounting Consultants

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.