Swedish ID and Personnummers, the trauma!

I am going to reproduce the following article from The Local

I am laughing here as I have had to go through similar experiences as this Italian chap. The Swedes certainly dont make things easy for foreigners.

Is Italy in the EU? – A Swedish ID card farce

Published: 13 May 08 13:11 CET
Online: http://www.thelocal.se/11732/

Getting an ID card might not seem like rocket science but Riccardo Bevilacqua from the Division of Applied Nuclear Physics at Uppsala University has found splitting atoms easy by comparison.

Is Italy in the European Union or have I just imagined the last fifty years of my country’s history? This unusual question has sprung to mind on several occasions recently when I have been in contact with Swedish customer service.

A few months ago I applied for an Ica card at my local supermarket. The girl at reception stared for ten long minutes at my Italian national ID card searching for the Swedish personal identification number, unwilling to understand that she was never going to find it on a non-Swedish document.

She was greatly surprised when she asked to see my passport and I answered that I did not have it with me.

“And how did you enter Sweden without a passport?” she wondered.

I did not know if it was better to explain to her that it is possible to travel from Italy to Sweden with just a national ID, or if I had to tell her that actually I did not come directly from Italy to Ica, but have in fact lived in Sweden for a year and had just come from home where there is no passport control at the door.

Recently I tried to buy a bed at Ikea in Uppsala. There was an offer for payment over 12 months without interest. This time I came prepared: I had with me both an official document stating my personal identification number and my Italian passport.

But the guy at the customer service desk refused to let me apply for the offer.

“You do not have a valid ID”. Referring to my Italian passport, he stated: “This is not a valid passport, since it does not have the personal identification number”.

Of course I tried to explain him that a foreign passport will never include a Swedish personnummer, to which he retorted: “If you do not have it in the passport, it means that you do not have it, thus you are not eligible”.

So I showed him, again, my ID document from the tax office and his answer was: “Well, if you have a personnummer, just go and get a Swedish passport”.

At this point I asked to speak to a supervisor. The guy phoned his supervisor and told him he had a problem with a customer (me) who had a passport “that he claims to be from Italy”.

Finally I was able to talk to the supervisor. But he had some bad news for me.

“I am sorry, we cannot offer you the 12 month rate since you are not an EU citizen”. Try as I might I could not convince him that Italy actually is a member of the EU.

I decided there and then that it was finally time to get a Swedish ID card.

Since I am a customer of Nordea bank I decided to call their customer service to find out how to get the card. A nice woman told me to take the following with me to my bank: an ID document from the tax office, a personal picture of specific size and features, my Italian passport and 350 kronor.

Along I went to my local branch and presented all the requested documents. The first answer I got was: “We do not provide this service anymore”.

Not being in the least surprised at this stage, I informed them that the customer service had expressly told me, just a couple of days before, that they do provide this service.

The second answer was quite funny: “Do you have a Swedish ID? You’ll need one to get a Swedish ID.”

“Of course not, I am here to get one.”

The third answer brought me right back to Ikea: “I am sorry, you have only an Italian passport and you are not an EU citizen. We cannot provide this service to non-EU citizens”.

The front page of my passport bears the words: “Unione Europea, Repubblica Italiana”. On the second page this is translated into all 27 languages of the Union.

Despite this, I had to explain once more that Italy was one of the founders in 1957 of what today is the European Union and that Sweden joined it only 38 years later (in 1995).

However it took another half hour, the advice of a supervisor, and the signature of my Swedish-citizen girlfriend (with her ID), to fill out all the forms necessary to obtain the elusive ID card.

They told me that I should receive it in a couple of weeks. I really hope so. Meanwhile I have now been waiting five months for my Ica card.

And I haven’t bought that Ikea bed yet.




10 Responses

  1. This is too funny. Stackars er!

    And I wonder what business DID he have, stopping on his way from the border to Ica?!

  2. Well I’ve been Migrationboard trying to get myself the right to reside and it didnt go too bad although I had to wait nearly 2 hours to be seen as they only had one consultant for EU and about 12 for non-EU.

    I’ve got my fingers crossed that I will get this but the only problem being is that I don’t have any proof that I live where I live (we are going down the co-habitee route).

    The last date for anything to support our case in anyform is 8th June so hopefully not long after then I will know and be able to get my personnummer.

  3. As I txt you I managed to get my personnummer within 10 minutes of asking despite not having the right to reside yet, but it didnt go too smoothly when trying to open a bank account.

    Swedbank wouldnt open one for me because I didnt have Swedish ID, but they wont give me a Swedish ID card because Im not a Swedish Citizen.

    SEB have told me I can get a bank account if I proved not just X,Y and Z but also A,B,C and E :S
    But they wont give me an ID card for 6 months and Ive heard as my UK ID doesnt have my personnummer on it I will have issues using my card as they cant link the card and ID together.

    So this is bureaucracy gone mad!

  4. Welcome to Sverige mate!

    Am surprised with SEB. They gave me the cold shoulder at first but as soon as I had my pn they were good as gold.

    Maybe you should get that residents permit as well as a job contract?

    Pain in the arse but when it works it works well. I applied for a credit card on the Friday and had it by Weds!

  5. Hi folks!
    I need to say that I have been a finnish citizen – also a foreign country as well included in EU – living in Sweden for 20 years without ANY fuzz around my citizenship. But that of course required my personnummer and ID-card…
    Well. Just to balance it up a little – it isn’t always THAT bad. Only when you are struck by idiots… 🙂

  6. Hi, guys!
    What requirements is needed to obtain a personnummer. Is just a residence permit enough. I can stay in sweden without permit up to three months, but what after that?

  7. Hi Peter

    Take as much info as you can with you as I think it depends on the person. Do you have an employment contract? Contract with landlord? I would take all that stuff with you.

  8. Hey guys…

    Well I pretty much expected the same when i tried applying to an id card..

    The frst day I went to the bank on my open and decided to opan an account there and apply for an id card as well.. Just my luck.. they refused me saying I needed additional documents etc from my home country.. I called up my “sambo” who happens to be a member at the same bank.. and well he spoked to the attendant.. maybe yelling at her a bit.. she seems to be somewht irraited..
    Then the assistant’s Manager came over to us.. and looked over my Documents and said, all I eeded was to bring along someone to verify my identity..

    2 days after, My sambo and I went back to the bank, together this time.. and well everything went smoothly…
    Luckly for me I guess was tha maybe my sambo was also a member of the bank…

  9. I am happy to read that I was not the only one to go through all of these problems! However finally I got my swedish ID and now my life in Sweden is much easier!

  10. At least you obtained one after all, I heard of many ex-patriots/foreigners are still working on this sort of problems even today, It is always better to have a Swedish sis Id card so long as you are remaining in Sweden, honestly.
    But it is weird to be looked at that.
    How is it possible to apply an Id card with an Id card for the new in-border?
    Namely, why should we apply an Id card while we are already holding an Id card?

    Nasty and Doomed System.

    Once again, Italian Passport is certainly applying as an EU Passport.



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