Missionaries

Foreign nationals from a country outside of the EEA and/or EFTA, who plan to stay in Iceland for more than three (3) months, must have a valid residence permit.

Residence permits for missionaries are for persons older than 18 who come to Iceland with a religious purpose for a religious society or the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland.

Residence permits for missionaries are granted based on Art. 67 of the Act on Foreigners No. 80/2016.

You may have a right to a residence permit on grounds of special ties if

  • You are older than 18 years;
  • have a written formal confirmation of an invitation to come to Iceland for a religious purpose to work with a registered religious society or the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland,
  • the work you will carry out is in conformity with the activities of the religious society,
  • you will work with or the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland,
  • you are able to prove your ability to provide for yourself during your stay in another way than by wages earned in Iceland,
  • you have a valid insurance with an Icelandic insurance company (in the field Insurance Companies) or a foreign insurance company authorized to operate in Iceland (in the field Foreign Insurance Companies),
  • you have not served a criminal sentence abroad during the last five (5) years or been sentenced by a court of law for an offense which would be punishable by more than three (3) months imprisonment according to Icelandic law, and
  • you have a passport valid for at least 90 days beyond the estimated period of a residence permit.

You may not

  • begin working for a religious society or the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland until a residence permit has been granted,
  • be hired to a paid position on the Icelandic labor market during your stay,
  • stay in another country longer than three (3) months in every 12-month period of the residence permit period; otherwise, the residence permit may be canceled or revoked.

An application for a residence and work permit and supporting documents shall be submitted to the Directorate of Immigration or at the offices of the district commissioners outside of the Reykjavík Metropolitan Area.

An applicant who does not need a visa may stay in Iceland when submitting an application and while it is being processed, provided the stay in the Schengen Area does not exceed 90 days in the 180 day period. An applicant who needs a visa may not stay in Iceland when applying for the permit and while it is being processed. Such an application will be refused.

If an applicant does not fulfill these requirements and the requirements discussed below, the application for a residence permit will be refused and the applicant must leave Iceland. An applicant who does not leave the country may be subject to expulsion or a re-entry ban. A re-entry ban for Iceland is also a re-entry ban into the Schengen Area for a specific period of time or for a minimum of two (2) years.

Generally, renewing the residence permit is not permissible; however, in special instances, this is permissible (for example, in the instances of nuns or reverends). In instances where renewal of a residence permit is permissible, it is the applicant’s responsibility to apply for the renewal of his/her residence permit at least four (4) weeks before the residence permit expires.

If this is done the applicant is permitted to stay in Iceland while the application for renewal is being processed by the Directorate of Immigration. If a renewal of the residence permit is not applied for before the period of validity expires, the application will be processed as if this were an application for a first permit, not a renewal. An application that is received after the period of validity of the older permit has expired will be refused if the applicant does not have a permission to stay in Iceland during the application process.

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