As the number of applications for residence permits has increased substantially, the Directorate has decided to extend the estimated processing time from 90 days to 180 days. Furthermore, the estimated processing time for applications for Icelandic citizenship has extended from six to eight months to twelve months.
Please note that applications are always processed as quickly as possible and the majority is and will be processed within the estimated processing time.
Processing time for residence permits
There has been a great increase in residence permit applications in recent years. The total number of applications for first permits and renewals increased by 25% in 2016 and another 25% in 2017. This is an increase from 3735 applications in 2015 to 5850 in 2017. During this period of time, the Directorate has not been able to employ additional staff in the department as needed to maintain the speed of processing. As a consequence, the waiting period for applicants has increased. In 2017, 85% of all applications were processed within 90 days, but so far in 2018, the number has decreased to 70%. Applications waiting to be processed are now over 1770.
In view of the above, the estimated time for processing first applications has been increased from 90 days to 180 days. Applicants who are submitting their first application for a residence permit, may therefore expect to wait for up to 180 days from the date an application has been submitted and paid for until it is processed. The criteria for processing renewal applications will remain 90 days. Seasonal permits (e.g. student permits) will be prioritized.
Please note that the processing of applications is only accelerated in exceptional cases. For a case to be expedited, there must be a serious unforeseen reason. Applications submitted late or planned trips abroad, whether for work or pleasure, do not qualify for accelerated processing.
Accelerated processing for a service fee - applications for permits based on work
Since early 2018, it has been possible to pay a service fee for accelerated processing of applications for residence permits based on work. There has been a high demand for this service. However, the Directorate has not yet received funds to support this service and this has affected handling of general applications. Therefore, the processing time for accelerated processing for a service fee has been increased from 10 working days to 30 days from the date of payment for application and accelerated processing.
Processing time for applications for Icelandic citizenship
The number of applications for Icelandic citizenship processed by the Directorate has increased in recent years and was about 1100 in 2017. However, the number of applications to be sent to the Parliament for granting citizenship has increased substantially, from 12% in 2015 to 28% in 2017. So far, these applications have been processed and prepared by the Directorate for the Parliament. The processing of applications for citizenship which are sent to the Parliament takes longer time than processing applications decided on by the Directorate. This keeps the staff in that department busy for part of the year. This results in slower processing of other applications in the meantime. At this time there are about 155 applications pending which were submitted more than six months ago.
As a result, the estimated processing time for applications for Icelandic citizenship has been increased from six to eight months to twelve months. Applicants for citizenship may therefore expect to wait for up to twelve months for their applications to be processed.
We hope that the Directorate’s clients show patience and understanding of these changes. All applications will always be processed as quickly as possible.