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Iceland visas, citizenship and information on moving to Iceland
Why live in Iceland?
A mere 350,000 people have Iceland citizenship. But this number is climbing steadily, and their reasons are clear. Living in Iceland has some significant advantages. The economy of Iceland is expected to continue growing. This growth is excellent news for those who are looking to start a life in this winter wonderland. Employment, salaries, tourism; everything in Iceland is on the rise and now is a great time to grab an opportunity. Iceland immigration offers a number of pathways to potential Expats.
Living and working in Iceland
Iceland is one of the most developed countries in the world and many surveys, it’s in the top three happiest places on earth. A lot of important things are free in Iceland: health care, (higher) education and there is a low rate of income tax. It is also quiet and peaceful, clean and spacious. There is a stunning landscape waiting for you to explore: northern lights, snow, volcanoes, hot springs, geysers and waterfalls. Iceland offers plenty of adventurous options for the weekends and holidays.
Most Icelanders speak English very well and finding a job in a larger (international) company doesn’t require you to learn Icelandic. However, speaking some basic phrases will get you a long way. Icelandic folk are often fluent in other languages. Danish, German, Spanish and French are also commonly spoken fluently. A large part of the small population lives in the capital city Reykjavik. Despite this, Reykjavik has a much smaller feel compared to many other capital cities. The pace of life is generally slower, and though Icelanders work hard, they value their free time. It is common to take long holidays in summer to travel and enjoy their beautiful country.
There are downsides. Winter is long. Cost of living is high, with some imported items especially expensive. These downsides don’t seem to matter to the many people who have become Iceland citizens and now call this beautiful country home.
Iceland Visas and Permits
Iceland is part of the EEA – the European Economic Area but not part of the EU. What this means is that they are part of the European area that allows the free movement of persons, goods, services, and capital. This means that if you are lucky enough to hold a passport from one of the other EEA countries, you can travel to, live and work freely in Iceland.
For others there are options which we will outline below.
Iceland Tourist Visa
If you are thinking about moving to Iceland, it may be worth a visit first. This allows you to speak to Expats in Iceland for a first-hand report. They’ll be able to fill you in on the realities of living in Iceland.
Iceland is a party to the Schengen agreement. This is a treaty in Europe of 26 countries where internal border checks have largely been eliminated for short-term tourism. Depending on the country you come from there are different requirements for the Schengen visa. To find out if your requirements for a tourist visa to visit Iceland, please use the iVisa tool to the right.
Long Term Visas for Iceland
Iceland Family Visa
If your spouse is a citizen or permanent resident of Iceland, you are probably eligible for residency. If you are married and your spouse is a citizen, you can apply for citizenship. But only after living together in Iceland for 3 years following the marriage. If you are living in a registered cohabitation union, the requirement is different. Your spouse needs to be an Iceland citizen. Also, you need to have lived together in Iceland for five years following the registration of your union. In both cases, your spouse needs to have held Icelandic citizenship for not less than five years. Please note that Iceland must recognise the status of your spouse.
Citizens of Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark and their immediate family are free to enter, reside, study and work in Iceland. They do not need a visa, residence or work permit. After 5-7 years of living in Iceland, you can apply for citizenship. Please note that Iceland must recognize the status of your spouse.
Here are some of the ways to get citizenship in Iceland
Citizenship through your family
If your mother was a citizen of Iceland when you were born, you are a citizen of Iceland.
Similarly, if your father was a citizen of Iceland when you were born, you are a citizen of Iceland if your parents were married. If they were unmarried, your father needed to apply for your citizenship before the age of 18.
Citizenship through Nordic nationality
Citizens of Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark do not need a visa, residence or work permit. After 4 years of living in Iceland, they can apply for citizenship.
Citizenship through refugee status
Recognised refugees can apply for citizenship after 5 years.
Citizenship through marriage
If you are married and your spouse is a citizen, these are the rules. You can apply for Iceland citizenship after living together in Iceland for 3 years following the marriage. If you are living in a registered cohabitation union and your spouse is a citizen, there is another requirement. You need to have lived together in Iceland for five years following the registration of your union. In both cases, your spouse needs to have held Icelandic citizenship for not less than five years. Please note that Iceland must recognise the status of your spouse.
Iceland does not currently have a formal Residency by Investment or Citizenship by Investment program.
Do you have a story about your time as an Expat in Iceland? Contact us to have your story featured here. Tell us about your experience of living and working in Iceland. Share details of how you accessed Iceland citizenship, residency, or a passport.
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