Staff outside the EEA

Citizens outside the EEA / EFTA area must have a work and residence permit. The Directorate of Immigration decides on the issuance of residence permits. The applicant may not start working at all until bot the residence and work permits have been spproved and administered.

Staff members


Work permit

The employee is the applicant, but the employer submits the application together with supporting documents to the Directorate of Immigration before the person arrives in the country

An employer who wants to hire a foreign citizen must have a temporarywork permit issued before the person in question starts working.A temporary work permit must be available before the foreign national arrivesto Iceland. The work permit is usually issued for one year at a time, but never for a longer period than the residence permit or employment contract provides for.The Directorate of Labour receives the datafrom the Directorate of Immigration and grants the work permit.

When the foreign citizen / employee has arrivesd in the country, he or she must attend (show up) at the Directorate of Immigration (a district commissioner outside the capital area) with his/here passport and have his / her photo taken for a residence permit and to complete the registration.

The work permit is conditional on a specific employer, but if an employee wants to change jobs, a new work permit must be applied for.. It is not permitted to start work for a new employer until a new license has been cquired.

Temporary work permit

The employee applies for the work permit with the assistance of an employer who must sign the application and submit it together with supporting documents before the person in question arrives in Iceland.

An application for a temporary work permit together with all the necessary documents must be submitted Immigration Service Dalvegur 18, 201 Kópavogur.

An application for an extension of a temporary working permit must be submitted in the Directorate of Immigration no less than four weeks before the previous permit expires.

Upon extension, all conditions of the temporary work permit must be met and the employer must have paid withholding taxes and social security contributions according to Icelandic law due to the foreign employee's work.

Basic conditions for granting a work permit:

  • Employment contract between employer and employee signed by employer and employee.
  • Review of the relevant union. See box IV in the application

Residence permit

The employee is the applicant, the employer submits the application together with supporting documents to the Directorate of Immigration before the person in question arrives in the country.

An approved work permit is a precondition for the issuance of a residence permit for employment.

To obtain a residence permit, all necessary data must be submitted in the form required.

When an employer intends to hire a foreign national, he/she assists the employee in question in applying for a residence permit. These permits are applied for by filling in special forms at the Directorate of Immigration.

An application may be submitted and paid for at the Directorate of Immigration's service or at the district commissioners' offices outside of the capital area.

The foreign citizen / employee must always come in person to the Directorate of Immigration, Dalvegur XNUMX, XNUMX Kópavogur, after arriving in the country and present her passport.  

Before a residence permit is issued, the applicant's legal domicile must be registered with the National Registry of Iceland. If the applicant does not register her/his domicile on the application for a residence permit, he/she must notify his/her place of residence for registration on a special form before a residence permit can be issued.

Photography for a residence permit card takes place after the residence permit has been granted and the foreign citizen / employee must attend at the Directorate of Immigration in person. An appointment must be made beforehand.

Residence permits for employment are divided into four categories:


Each residence permit is subject to different tights

Renewal of residence permit

The renewal of the residence permit must be made at least four weeks before the validity of the previous residence permit expires.

Volunteer residence permit

Volunteer residence permits are for individuals over the age of 18, who intend to work for non-governmental (NGO) organizations working for charity or humanitarian causes. The NGOs may not be run for profit and shall be exempt from tax. 

It is generally assumed that organizations that fall under this category work internationally. 

Residence permit for au-pair is for individuals aged 18 to 25 who want to work as an au pair in Iceland.

Health examination

The employee is responsible for making an appointment

The foreign citizen / employee must order a special examination and undergo a health examination to complete registration in the country. In the capital area of Outpatient department of Epidemiology, Þönglabakki 1, 109 Reykjavík. Outside the capital area at health centres.

Bank account

The employee opens a bank account

To be able to open a bank account, the person in question must have an ID number. A bank can be opened account with the help of electronic ID or by making an appointment at a branch where you help will be provided applying for an electronic ID.

Ice key - electronic ID

The employee must have an ID number before applying for an ice key.

An ice key is password based and is linked to the individual's ID number. It is important for an employee to have an ice key/electronic ID to be able to log in to the websites of institutions, municipalities, associations and companies with which he/she communicates wirh due to his / her work in Iceland.

An ice key in can be obtained in an online bank or at the National Registry of Iceland, Borgartún 21. You can also order an ice key from a service provider, Digital Iceland

Health insurance

The employee applies

To obtain a residence permit, an employee must be covered by health insurance with an Icelandic insurance company or a foreign insurance company that has an operating license in Iceland (see list on the FME's website).

Confirmation must be submitted from an insurance company that has an operating license in Iceland that the applicant has purchased health insurance for six months with a minimum amount of ISK 2.000.000.

Icelandic insurance companies send confirmation of health insurance directly to the Directorate of Immigration once it has been approved and paid for (see list of companies on the Central Bank of Iceland's website, under insurance companies).If the health insurance has been purchased by a foreign insurance company with an operating license in Iceland, the applicant must submit a confirmation him-/herself. The Central Bank's Financial Supervisory Authority maintains a list of foreign insurance companies (see the list of companies on the Central Bank's Financial Supervisory Authority's website, under  Foreign insurance companies).

When six months have elapsed since the registration of legal domicile, the applicant has earned the right to be covered by health insurance in Iceland according to the Icelandic social security system.

Criminal record certificate from home country

At the request of the employer, the employee must submit a criminal record certificate issued by the home country. A criminal record certificate must not be older than 12 months when it is submitted. A copy of the criminal record may be submitted and is not required to be legally certified. If there is reason to do so, the Directorate of Immigration may request a certified original of the criminal record or that criminal records be submitted from more countries than the country of residence.

Employment contract and certificate of period of employment in Iceland

The employer fills in an employment contract, the employee signs the form

Here you can obtain, on the one hand, a form for an employment contract and, on the other hand, a certificate of employment for the employee when he/she finishes her/his job and requests to have the certificate.

Form of employment contract for foreign nationals who come to Iceland to work is accessible on the website of the Directorate of Labourthe. On the SA markets website, members of the Association of Icelandic Employers can also access various forms of employment in English.

Certificate of employment in Iceland Instructions for completing confirmation of employment.

Workplace certificate

The employer shall prepare or have prepared a workplace certificate for the employees, which contains the information specified in the Act on Workplace Certificates and Workplace Inspections and the agreement between ASÍ and SA.

Further information on the type and content of the workplace certificates can be found on the website There are also forms for workplace certificates and information about parties that offer plastic card printing.

Recognition of foreign professional rights

The employee applies

Applicants for assessment and recognition of foreign vocational education need to turn to the Iðan Education Centre (Inga Birna Antonsdóttir,

Iðan training centre is only responsible for assessing the professional rights of food industries and for service. Applicants must have completed a minimum of three years of study and three years of work experience after graduation to have their rights assessed. Other education, such as hotel management, is assessed by the University of Iceland.

Moving from Iceland

The employee is responsible, but the employer informs the employee.

Relocation from Iceland must be notified to the National Register of Iceland within seven days of departure. See further information on the Multicultural Information Centre's website about what needs to be done while the employee is still in Iceland.

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