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We describe some essential issues that newcomers might consider. Some information is only valid for PhD students. Most of the information is not KTH related.


KTH related introduction

Susanna is responsible for introducing newcomers to the department.

Mobile SIM Card

There are several Mobile providers, and each one has its own plans and rates. But for a quick set up of a Swedish phone number, you can go the THS office and ask for their welcome kit (international office, 1st floor, opens 12.30-14.30), which contains a pre-paid SIM card from Comviq. (Update: As of 2015, you can get an "I have landed" sim card from the relocation service. You have top up a credit of 50 SEK once to activate the card. After that, you will get a credit of 50 SEK and a 3G connection for 12 months.) Later you may change the mobile company and keep the same number. Other providers are Telia, Tele2, Telenor and Tre.


WARNING - The housing market in Stockholm is very competitive. Unfortunately scammers have tried to take advantage of this over the last years. In the usual scam they announce vacant apartments. After you show interest, they claim that they're living abroad and can not show you the apartment. But they send some picture from the alleged apartment. Then they ask for money deposits as a guarantee, promising to send the keys to the apartment by mail. This scam is very common, so NEVER make any deposit before seeing the place with your own eyes, or without having a guarantee that it even exists and belongs to the claimed landlord. KTH has put together a guide on avoiding housing frauds.

With that in mind, you can start to search for a place in the following links. If you have any question, or is not sure of how to proceed, please contact someone from the TCS group.

  • KTH Relocation is a service for new KTH-employees that may be able to provide you with temporary housing (until you find something more permanent).
  • Stiftelsen Stockholms Studentbostäder (SSSB) is the largest student's accommodation company. Make your subscription to SSSB as soon as possible. Probably you won't get a place immediately from there. But the sooner you subscribe you start counting days on the queue. This is the criteria to apply for a place. Notice that you have to be member of THS (student's union) to be on the queue and to apply for a place.
  • Moving to Stockholm is an official website from Stockholm City with general information and some links.
  • The Wenner-Gren Foundations offers accommodation to Post-Docs only. Apply for it as soon as possible, since the waiting time can be more than one year.
  • Akademisk Kvart is the initiative from SSCO (Stockholm's Federation of Students Union) to intermediate subleasing of private accommodation to students. There people advertise their available places, and also students may create a profile describing themselves and the type of accommodation they are looking for.
  • KTH Accommodation provides accommodation for some kind of students, like Erasmus. Its rules varies when it comes to PhD students and type of financing. In any case send a message to explaining your entitlement, or go directly to their office inside KTH's main library.
  • Lappkärrsberget (a.k.a Lappis) is a student's neighborhood in the Universitetet subway station. It is close to KTH main campus and it is usually cheap to live there. The website has a forum where people advertise available rooms, or announce they are seeking for a room.
  • Blocket is the virtual flea market of Sweden. Everybody buys, sells, trades or advertises things in there. You can use it to search for available places. Experience showed that there are many outdated ads. However you can submit one payed advertisement (around 150 SEK) describing yourself and what kind of place you want, then landlords may contact you. Examples can be found here. Such ads have proved to be very effective. Most of the website is in Swedish, but you may go through using Google Translator.
  • Studenthemmet Tempus is a student house driven by a non-alcoholic organization (therefore there are restrictions about bringing alcohol and parties). Registration in the queue is free. The homepage is in Swedish only.
  • Campus Solna is renting out cabins in camping-like houses.
  • Kollektiv 24 is a forum for shared accomodation ads - most of it in Swedish, but there are ads in English once in a while as well (and it should be perfectly fine to post a search ad in English).
  • The Local notice board has accommodation ads as well.

Getting your personal number

To be able to get your salary, open a bank account, register yourself to insurance companies and lots of other things you need to get a personal number or civic registration number or personnummer is Swedish. You don't exist without it. The personal number is given by the Skatteverket Swedish tax agency. For getting a person number, you need to go to one of the tax offices close to you.

Health Care and Social Insurance

  • You have access to health care as soon as you have your personal number.
  • You can find some brief information about social insurance in Sweden here.
  • As soon as you receive your personal number, you should register to Försäkringskassan. You basically need to fill-in the registration form and attach the documents that are mentioned in Section 9 of the form and send all to Försäkringskassan. You need to live in Sweden for 6 months to get into Försäkringskassan, but it might take another few months to get you registered.
  • KTH covers all prescription medication and partially visits to the doctor. You can also get glasses for free. More information can be found in Welcome to CSC brochure.

Getting money for doing sport

You can get reimbursement for your gym/swimming pool/... membership.

Getting your Swedish ID card

You can find information for applying for Swedish ID card in tax office ID card section. It costs around 400 SEK and is quite quick if you are an EU citizen. Life is much easier with a Swedish ID, since some people will not like your passport and it's much easier to carry around.

If you are not an European citizen, still you can easily ask for the Swedish ID. You simply have to pay the card fee, and way at least one working day, so the payment can be processed. Next, go to Skatteverket in Södermalm with your passport, receipt of the payment, and your living visa.

Visa Renewing

Foreign students that come from outside the EU have to renew their living permit in a regular basis. Currently this period is every year. Surely it may change in the future, and also may vary on your country of origin. So, always stay tuned about the expiring time of your visa.

Moreover, apply for the renewing with good advance. We had previous experiences in our department of people that had trouble to travel because their visa was expired / about to expire. The Migrationsverket, The Swedish Migration Board, usually requests your application for renewing with two months before the expiration date. But our experience shows that almost never the renewing is granted within this interval. The "average" time is around 4 months, so we advise you to apply for the renewing with this interval.

Computers and Resources

See Computers for information about how to setup e-mail, printers, ssh, etc.

There are several different systems that need to keep information about you in order to allow you booking equipment, log in to computers, enter computer rooms, borrow books and also get your salary. Usually, you should not need to think about them, however...

Issue regarding logging into KTH-RES, the travel booking and administrating system: Once a year, PhD and postdoc contracts are renewed. For PhD students, this happens around first week(s) of March. If, when trying to log in to KTH-RES, you get a message saying "You are now logged out of KTH webplace", this "error message" means that you are currently not in the payment system, which is waiting for someone to look at your new contract. Talk to the HR administrators, in order for someone to manually enter you into the payment system, or ask for a paper form that was used prior to KTH-RES.

Usage hints:

  • do not shutdown the net-tops, just log out (so that updates and maintenance can be performed e.g. at night)

Opening a bank account

Opening a bank account demands primary that you already have a personal number. Once you have it, you can go to a bank office of your choice and open an account. The account taxes and required documentation to open it are dependent on the bank you chose. As a general rule, you should go to the bank office and bring your personal number, a letter from KTH declaring your income and an identification document (passport for foreigners). Moreover, most banks have special account and credit card taxes for students. So by the moment you are at the bank office, remember to state that you are a student.

Here are some suggestion of banks, agencies and account plans. Ask another students what they suggest, so you can make a conscious choice:

  • Handelsbanken: its office is 200 metres from KTH on Vallhallavägen. Their internet banking is in English and you get a Maestro card for free.
  • Nordea: they offer for students an account without fees, which provides a Visa Electron card. One possible agency is inside the Hötorget subway station. The handicap it that their website is in Swedish only, which may be a problem for new foreign students.
  • SEB: they offer a free account but an ATM card costs 15 kr/month (as of Jan 2015). One possible agency is nearby the Östermalmstorg T-bana. You will have to wait for a few months before you can use their internet banking. What you need: A passport, a letter (with your personal number) that Skatteverket sends to your home when they accept your application, and your work contract. If you have paid tax in USA before, you will also need your US social security number (just the number is fine).
  • Swedbank

Some documents you might have to bring:

  • Passport (a German ID card was not enough in one Handelsbank office, in one Nordea office it was accepted however)
  • Swedish ID card (a passport was not enough in one Handelsbank office; in one Nordea office a passport was accepted; in an SEB office at Östermalmstorg T-bana a passport was accepted)
  • personbevis (birth certificate) from Skatteverket (an registerutdrag stating only the personal number was not enough in one Handelsbank office; it was enough in an SEB office at Östermalmstorg T-bana; at one Nordea office only the personnummer (even without the letter) was enough)
  • employment contract

Access to facilities

  • Meeting rooms, massage chair and video projectors can be booked via Meeting Room Booking System. Obviously you need a KTH account as an employee to be able to use the system.

Registration to students' union

The student's union in KTH is THS (Tekniska Högskolans Studentkår). Its head-office if located at Drottning Kristinas väg 15.

Since the autumn of 2011, the registration to the Student’s union is optional. You will get a Mecenat Card (student card) from KTH even if you don't join THS. This card suffices to prove that you are a student (e.g, in one of the SL random checks on the subway) and you will be eligible to all benefits listed in Mecenat' s website [1].

Although it's optional to join the student's union, it is mandatory if you want to stay on the SSSB queue (see Housing). Moreover, you will eligible to some extra benefits, such as use THS facilities, discounts, free entrance to some events, or either be able to join some of the non-free events, such as trips. To join THS you have to pay their annual fee, either on-line or at office in KTH campus. For more information, see THS's website [2]. If you decided to join the student's union you will receive a second student card, which completely replace the previous Mecenat one.

Setting up your homepage

It is important for every employee to have a homepage and we strongly recommend to newcomers to set up their homepages as soon as possible.


This is your main personal homepage. You can set it up by copying html (or php) files to the public_html subfolder in your AFS home directory. Here's instructions on how to copy files to that folder using WinSCP: You also need to set the AFS ACLs to give the webserver rights to read and list these files: Login (eg. with PuTTY) to and run:

   fs sa public_html httpd rl

When your homepage is set up, you can mail to Marc <> so he can add a link from

Then there are two more places where people might search or find information about you. It's good to fill them with content as well (or at least set up a forwarding to your main personal homepage) because they can show up in search results:


You can follow these instructions on how to set it up. For some people the default page seems to contain an automatic forward to the profile page (next bullet).


 Note: in all the links above replace <your-username> with your KTH username, i.e. the first part of your KTH e-mail address.


You should be registered in the following mailinglists:

  • tcs-staff and tcs-seminar,
  • tcs-doktorander and doktorander_cs_phd if you are a PhD student, and
  • tcs-faculty if you are a permanent professor or researcher.

All addresses are at See Mailing lists for more information and whom to contact for adding you.

For PhD students, there exists another lists on CSC school level:

  • (for all PhD students at CSC, also those not in the CS-PhD-program). Tell Francisco Viña (HT2014, might change every year) to add you.

Study Plan and selection of classes to attend to

See course lists.

Study Plan forms:

Swedish course

There are different Swedish courses given by different organizations. Here you can find a short list of those. But for registration and more information you should visit their website.

  • Courses at KTH for employees. These courses take place once a week and are quite slow. But they are a good start. Your project or TCS should pay for it.
  • SFI is one of the organizations that provide FREE Swedish language courses. To register you need to pass a placement test which is taken in one of the SFI branches and then specify which branch you want to take you classes in. One of the branches close to KTH main campus in ABF branch which is very close to Rådmansgatan metro station.
  • THE UNIT FOR LANGUAGE AND COMMUNICATION at KTH is also providing some Swedish courses (also courses for some other languages as well). These courses are FREE but you need to register in advance.
  • Folkuniversitetet is offering some Swedish courses as well but it is NOT FREE. For the information about the registration you need to visit their website.

Summary of Rights as a PhD

The following document (click here) was prepared by SULF-KTH, and distributed at their presentation held in May 16th 2011. It contains a summary of the rights for the PhD students, according to its funding source. If you want more information, we strongly advise you to contact SULF directly.

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