Applying for benefit when you have been working abroad
Sweden`s membership of the EU enables employed persons to transfer insurance and work periods between EU/EEA countries and/or Switzerland.
You can also be credited for employment periods in Sweden when applying for unemployment benefits in another EU/EEA country or Switzerland.
In some cases you may also be entitled to credit the time spent running your own business in other EU/EEA countries when you apply for unemployment benefits in Sweden.
You may even, in some cases, be entitled to claim unemployment benefits for time spent running your own business in Sweden when you apply for unemployment benefits in EU/EEA countries.
How you apply for benefits
In addition to following the steps outlined in the "If you become unemployed" section we will also need additional details about you and your previous employment.
- The employer"s name and address and an employment contract or certificate showing the period during which you were employed in a country must always accompany your application.
- Send in the form Underlag för fastställande av bosättningstat. This is necessary for us to assess your eligibility for insurance.
- Some countries will require additional information. Our case workers can provide you with details of the exact information required by the various countries.
- If you want to apply to join us you should submit the form "Application to join". You can also apply for unemployment benefits from us under basic insurance without having to join.
Right to join and eligibility to claim benefits
The main rule is that you must have worked in Sweden to be eligible to join Alfa-kassan. This applies both to those who have moved here for the first time and to those who have previously lived here and are deemed to have emigrated. To be able to credit time spent working abroad for the purpose of meeting the working and membership conditions, your most recent work period must have been carried out in Sweden. In other words, to be granted benefits you are required, as a rule, to have worked in Sweden after moving here.
Those who have worked in an EU/EEA country or Switzerland but lived in Sweden and returned here at least once a week are deemed to be frontier workers. If you, like frontier workers, live in one EU/EEA country and work in another but return to your country of residence less than once a week, you may be deemed to be a "non-genuine frontier worker". This could apply, for example, if your central interests remain in Sweden or if you are a seasonal worker. Alfa-kassan makes a judgment whether to deem you a non-genuine frontier worked based on the information you provide.
Whether deemed to be a genuine or non-genuine frontier worker, you have the right to join Alfa-kassan if you are unemployed and qualify for unemployment benefits. When Alfa-kassan assesses whether you are eligible for benefits you can credit the time you have spent working abroad without first working in Sweden.
Special agreement for those who move within Nordic countries
Under a Nordic agreement there are special rules that apply to those who move within the Nordic region and return home again within five years. You are entitled to join Alfa-kassan if you have previously been a member of a Swedish unemployment insurance fund. In determining whether you are entitled to benefits, you may also be entitled to credit the time you have worked in the Nordic region, without first having worked in Sweden. The application must be received within eight weeks of the termination of the insurance in the previous country of residence.
Points to consider when returning to Sweden after working in an EU/EEA country or Switzerland
If you withdrew from Alfa-kassan before going abroad, you should apply to rejoin upon your return to Sweden. It is imperative that the application to join is submitted to the unemployment insurance fund as soon as possible as it can impact your eligibility for income-related claims when applying for unemployment benefits.
To qualify for income-related benefits you must, among other things, have 12 consecutive months of membership in an insurance fund, i.e. there should be no gap between your membership in an insurance fund in the previous country of residence and membership in a Swedish unemployment insurance fund.
You can apply to rejoin Alfa-kassan even if your application is not related to your stay abroad. You will, however, not be granted membership earlier than the month you sent your documents.
Points to consider when seeking work in another EU/EEA country or Switzerland while receiving Swedish unemployment benefits
If you plan to look for work abroad while still claiming from a Swedish unemployment insurance fund, you should complete the form Ansökan om intyg U2 which you can print out from the IAF website. Follow the instructions provided on the form. It is the Unemployment Insurance Board (IAF) that decides if you have the right to claim Swedish unemployment benefits during your time in another EU/EEA country of Switzerland. Visit the IAF website for more information on the application process.
You must continue to submit your benefit card (tidrapport) as usual during your time abroad. Alfa-kassan pays out your benefits. Alfa-kassan therefore recommends that those who plan a job-seeking trip to use Mina sidor.
To qualify for benefits during a job-seeking trip you must notify the relevant public employment office of the country to which it has been agreed you will be travelling. Carefully follow the information sent from IAF in connection with the decision.
Points to consider if you plan to apply for unemployment benefits in an EU/EEA country or Switzerland subsequent to working in Sweden
If you want to apply for unemployment benefits in another country after having worked in Sweden, you should get in touch with the appropriate institution in the country in which you are seeking to claim.
The institution in the country concerned may request information from Alfa-kassan regarding the periods you worked here. You can also request this information from Alfa-kassan yourself. However, we recommend that your first allow the authority in the country you are seeking benefits from to request the information from us. If you have been a member of another unemployment insurance fund in Sweden, this fund will provide the necessary information.
Points to consider if you start working in another EU/EEA country or Switzerland
When you start to work abroad you are covered by the new country"s unemployment insurance fund and subject to its laws. You can only be insured in one country (the country in which you are working). Please note that Denmark and Finland have voluntary insurance schemes that you can apply to join.
You do not need to take any documents from your Swedish unemployment insurance fund as long as you are not planning to seek unemployment benefits in the country in which you are working. You should also contact the Swedish Social Insurance Agency and notify them that you have started working in another country.
Important information for you who have worked abroad and plan to apply for benefits
The rules that apply to those who apply for benefits after they have been working in a EU/EEA-country or Switzerland are many and can be difficult to understand. Send an e-mail to email@example.com so that we can help you with your application. If you want us to call you, please state your telephone number in the message.