Owing to international agreements, such as those between the Nordic countries and member states of the EEA and EFTA agreements, there are different rules in force depending on your nationality. Those who are not nationals of a Nordic country or of states that are members of the EEA or EFTA agreements must apply for a residence permit if they intend to stay in Iceland for longer than three months. Nationals of Nordic countries or of EEA/EFTA countries need not apply for a residence permit.


Residence permits for employment purposes fall into three categories: residence permits for sportspeople, residence permits for experts and residence permits due to temporary lack of workforce. Residence permits for employment purposes are granted only if you are also granted a work permit in Iceland, and you must apply for both permits at the same time. Work permits are issued by the Directorate of Labour. (See the Directorate of Labour website for further information

Nationals of countries outside of the EEA require a work permit before moving to Iceland to work. Nationals of Nordic countries or of EEA/EFTA countries need not apply for a work permit.

The main difference between permanent residence permits and other permits is that permanent residence permits are not temporary in nature. This means that if the applicant is granted a permanent residence permit, they do not have to apply for an extension for their residence permit as those with a normal residence permit do. Before it is possible to apply for a permanent residence permit, the applicant must meet certain criteria, including knowledge of Icelandic and residence in Iceland.

Whether or not a person needs a visa to travel to Iceland depends on their nationality. Information on who needs a visa, how to apply for a visa, etc.