Guide: Move to the sun – and save the money



• The reasons for moving abroad after retirement may vary. But an advantage can be the tax. Sweden has a reasonably high tax level, which means that Swedes can get more money left every year than if they stayed in Sweden.

• Although it may be easier to move to an EU country, the different countries still differ in terms of tax and law. How much you tax on your pension depends on which country you are moving to.

• Sweden has signed double taxation agreements with more than 100 different countries. The purpose is to avoid double taxation. The agreement sets out rules for where one’s pension should be taxed. It can be in Sweden, in the new country or in both.

• Swedish pensioners who have chosen to live abroad can get what is called zinc tax. It is 20 percent. But it is also not in all countries that the zinc tax applies, depending on how the double taxation agreement is designed.

• In order to be counted as a “foreign pensioner”, one must also have cut all bands to Sweden. One must not have a permanent residence left and all infants must move with. In that case, one must also not retain his company or sit on a Swedish corporate board. However, it is good to own a holiday home.

• The Swedish Tax Agency also requires that you do not stay too long in Sweden. You must spend the majority of the year in the new country. In practice, at least six months and one day are required, preferably more days to be on the safe side.

• It is not always easy to know what applies to one’s self and one’s move. Therefore, it may be helpful to get help from someone who is familiar with this, such as a lawyer. Lectures and seminars are also organized on the subject. Keep in mind that the Swedish Tax Agency assesses your application individually.


• The person who has retired in Sweden is entitled to healthcare in EU and EEA countries, even if moving to a new country.

• To be able to take part in healthcare in the new country, a special certificate is required, called E121 / S1. You can order it from Försäkringskassan’s overseas office located on Gotland. You must then submit the certificate to the new country’s counterpart to the Swedish Social Insurance Agency.

• To obtain the certificate, you must take out an old-age or premium pension. If one’s spouse, spouse or registered partner moves with, but does not take out a pension, then it can apply to be insured via the other partner’s certificate.

• If you reside in an EU and EEA country, you may be entitled to care for the same patient fee as those who live in Sweden. But then you also need the certificate “Right to healthcare in Sweden”, which you order from Försäkringskassan.

• If you move to a country outside the EU / EEA, you will usually pay for your healthcare yourself. This applies, for example, to the USA and Thailand.

Source: Thrifty tax / EU information / Insurance Agency


• Just because you moved, you do not need to cancel your Swedish citizenship. You still have the right to vote in the Riksdag and European Parliament elections. But you must not vote in the election to the county council and city council.

• You automatically retain your voting rights for ten years. Then you have to register yourself for a new ten-year period in order for it to be extended.

Inger Söderlund, Portugalmäklarna

• The best way to explore Portugal is during the “winter season” December-February.

• Rent a car and drive around on your own and discover Portugal, do not look at homes for the first time without trying to get a feel for Portugal.

• Keep in mind that when moving to Portugal you will have your daily life there and no longer be a tourist. It is important to find areas that live all year round.

• Have open minds when you look, find out as much facts as you can before coming down to Portugal.

• Always hire an authorized brokerage firm in Portugal for home purchase. An authorized broker costs you no extra.

• Once you have found a good broker – stick to it. All brokers have the same items for sale when exclusive rights do not exist in Portugal

• Get help from knowledgeable advisors when moving to Portugal.

• Always contact a broker well before you go down to Portugal. So you, together with the broker, can go through your particular conditions, book in time to be seen in Portugal, select housing, make a viewing program. The last thing is particularly important if it is the first time you are down here, since there may be several areas you want to see and then you need careful planning so you get the best out of your visit.

Carl Florman, French Riviera real estate brokerage

• Be prepared for the buying process to take a long time, up to two months.

• The purchase agreements are often long and complicated. Please help to ensure that everything is right.

• Impressions are not organized in the same way as in Sweden. Instead, you go around with the broker yourself and look at different objects.

• Keep in mind that the French do not “stylize” their homes before viewing. So be prepared for the laundry and scrubber to be in front.

• Bidding is not organized in the same way as in Sweden. Instead, it is often a case of haggling downwards.