Residence permits for parents of a child under the age of eighteen

Subject to certain conditions, the custodial parent of a child under the age of eighteen and resident in Iceland may be granted a residence permit to live in Iceland. These conditions depend on whether or not the applicant intends to live with their child:

If the applicant intends to live with their child, a residence permit may be granted if:

  • the applicant has full or shared custody of the child; and
  • the child is an Icelandic national; and
  • the applicant is not married to or cohabiting with the other parent of the child; and
  • it is necessary in order for the child to continue living in Iceland.

If the applicant does not intend to live with their child, a residence permit may be granted if:

  • the applicant has full or shared custody of the child; and
  • the child is an Icelandic national or has a residence permit to live in Iceland; and
  • the applicant was legally resident in Iceland when the application was submitted; and
  • the applicant has held a residence permit to live in Iceland which they cannot renew on the previous basis; and
  • the applicant has visitation rights with the child on the basis of a certified agreement and it is evident that visitation is taking place in accordance with this agreement; and
  • it is necessary in order for visitation of the child to be maintained.

You may be entitled to a residence permit as a parent if you meet all of the following criteria (and others):

  • you have a child in Iceland under the age of eighteen;
  • you have custody of the child and certified visitation rights;
  • you can demonstrate that you can support yourself during your residence period;
  • you have health insurance with an Icelandic insurance company (see under ‘Insurance companies’) or an overseas insurance company licensed to operate in Iceland (see under ‘Foreign insurance companies’);
  • you have not served a court sentence over the last five years or been sentenced to imprisonment for a period longer than the equivalent of three months’ imprisonment under Icelandic law;
  • you have a passport which is valid for at least ninety days after the expected validity period of the residence permit;
  • the family member in Iceland authorises the issuance of a residence permit.

You may not:

  • be married to or cohabiting with the other parent of the child;
  • begin working before a residence and work permit has been granted;
  • work for a different employer from the employer to whom the work permit is granted;
  • be away from Iceland for longer than ninety days in any twelve-month period while you hold a residence permit to live in Iceland.

Applications for a residence permit (and work permit, where appropriate) should be submitted to the Directorate of Immigration or to district commissioners outside Greater Reykjavik.

For more information, see the website of the Directorate of Immigration.

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