The Directorate receives many inquiries from applicants and their agents with respect to renewal of residence permits and whether the applicant can travel abroad while waiting for renewal of his/her permit.
Travelling abroad without a valid residence permit card may cause problems at borders. A residence permit card is the only valid confirmation of having a residence permit in Iceland. The Directorate cannot issue any other kind of document ensuring that the individual can travel abroad without problems while a permit application is being processed at the Directorate.
A so-called „to whom it may concern“ letter, confirming that an application is being processed at the Directorate does not guarantee that the applicant can cross borders. It is recommended that applications be lodged in a timely manner. It is further recommended that travel be postponed until a residence permit has been granted and a new card has been issued. The validity of a residence permit is indicated on the card.
Travel abroad and accelerated processing
The Directorate receives many requests for accelerated processing of applications from persons asking that their applications be prioritized as they intend to travel abroad. The Directorate processes applications in the order of dates they are received. Accelerated processing is only granted in exceptional cases due to unforeseen circumstances. Travel abroad cannot be the grounds for accelerated processing of applications.