No Dark Magic

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Changing your name in Sweden

Posted at — Jul 20, 2020

According to Skatteverket’s rules, it’s possible to change your name even if you’re not a Swedish citizen but just a resident. Skatteverket doesn’t care since it knows everything about everyone anyway and keeps track of people by their personnummer and not such fleeting things as names.

I’ve gone through the process for both a simple first name change and a more complicated last name change (these can’t be a single application). Here’s how it went.

Simple change in first name

There’s an online service for people who are at least 18 years of age and have BankID[1], 250 SEK, and Swish. The confirmation came within a couple of minutes on a weekend — so I assume some very simple changes are completely automated.

Change of last name

There are several routes for changing the last name in Sweden:

  • adding or removing a second last name (to include your spouse’s or parent’s last name, with a ‘-’ or without) — free for all cases except one which costs 1800:-

  • changing to your spouse’s last name — free

  • changing to your parent’s last name (or their previous last name not gotten through marriage, or a last name built like ‘parent’s first name + son/dotter’) — free

  • changing to a last name you’ve had previously — 1800:-

  • changing to a last name a direct ancestor had (within four generations, counting the parents) — 1800:-

  • changing to a common last name, defined as “at least 2000 people have it” and collected in a list — 1800:- (payment is not a guarantee for getting the name)

  • changing to a new last name that nobody in Sweden has — 1800:-, payment is not a guarantee for getting the name; married people and their children under 18 can all be on one application but sambo:s get to pay twice

  • changing the last name of an adopted child — free

  • changing the spelling of the last name slightly, so that it’s still pronounced the same — free

  • changing the gender of a foreign last name (Rosinski to Rosinska) — free.

There’s no online service for this, just paper forms. In my case (changing to a common name) it took less than three weeks to be processed, which was well within the 1–2 months estimate given on Skatteverket’s website.

Aftermath

What happened after Skatteverket sent me the decisions:

  • BankID continued working even though it showed the old names

  • one bank automatically re-issued my card with the ‘final’ name on it, while the other only applied the first name change (the accounts are in the fully correct name though)

  • getting the new ID card and the new passport was smooth, I didn’t even need to show the confirmation of the name change, just identify myself

  • Transportstyrelsen sent me a form for renewal of the driving license, but only with the first name change (they sent another one after I contacted them)

  • mail arrived just fine since I kept both old and new names on the door

  • I asked my employer to update my contract in case I need to prove my employment to a bank or similar

  • some online services didn’t have the functionality to update the name, and I left it as is.

Overall, I didn’t have any problems with proving my identity. I carried the confirmation letters from Skatteverket with me for a while just in case, but I did not need them.


1. or Freja eID or other eID Skatteverket recognizes

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