Special ties to Iceland

Please note that the information on this website is being updated in accordance with a new Act on Foreigners that will take effect January 1st 2017You can find the Act on Foreigners in Icelandic here.

Application for a residence permit on grounds of special ties to Iceland must be submitted at the Directorate of Immigration along with applicable supporting documents. Further information on application procedure can be found here.


A residence permit on grounds of special ties to Iceland may be granted if the applicant does not fulfill the requirements of Article 12 – 12 e. of the Act on Foreigners and has special ties to Iceland.


Such permits are only granted in exceptional cases and circumstances in every case are assessed. It is always required that the applicant show that he/she fulfils the basic requirements, but the Directorate may make some exemptions if the applicant has special ties to Iceland. If the applicant is unable to fulfil the basic requirements for a residence permit, he/she must submit a written statement and request an exemption.


The application should be submitted before the applicant arrives in Iceland. If the applicant arrives in Iceland as a tourist before the application is approved, he/she can ask for permission to be present in Iceland while the application is being processed. Whether such permit is approved depends on the circumstances in each individual case. The same applies if the applicant has had a residence permit on other grounds when applying for a permit on the grounds of special ties to Iceland.


Note that if the applicant is residing in Iceland and has held a residence permit, he/she only needs to submit the documents listed for renewal of a residence permit.


The following circumstances are considered when residence permits are granted (see further information here). This is not an exhaustive list of reasons:

  1. Legal residence in Iceland for the past ten years.
  2. If the applicant has close relatives legally residing in Iceland.
  3. Ties to Iceland because of work, social network and/or cultural relations.


It is recommended that the applicant read the guiding principles of the Ministry of the Interior with respect to this type of a residence permit before applying.


If a residence permit is granted, procedures from the time a permit is granted until a residence permit card is issued are explained here.
If a residence permit is not granted, information on appeal procedure is explained here.


Useful information:

General information on residence permits

Basic requirements for residence permits

Detailed requirements for residence permits

Information on application process and processing time

Processing fee, an application will not be processed until the fee has been paid.

Rights associated with residence permits

FAQ


Documents to be submitted by applicants:

  1. Checklist for basic requirements and checklist for specific requirements. Print both checklists and check them when gathering documents. Please include the completed lists with the application.
  2. Receipt for payment of processing fee (if the fee has been paid by bank transfer). The receipt must state clearly the name and birthdate of the applicant.
  3. Application for a residence permit, form must be original, completed and signed by the applicant.
  4. Passport size photo (35mm x 45mm)
  5. Copy of passport (does not need to be confirmed). The validity of the passport must be at least three months beyond the validity of the residence permit. The copy should be of the main page and the page with the applicant’s signature.
  6. Confirmed original of a foreign criminal record certificate. The criminal record certificate shall not be older than six months. Criminal record certificates shall be submitted from all the states where the applicant has resided for the past five years. Note the requirement of the certification of the criminal record certification, i.e. apostille certification or double authentication, see here.
  7. Housing certificate or rental agreements, unless the applicant owns the property.
  8. Medical insurance. Applicants must submit a confirmation of insurance that is valid for at least six months, minimum coverage ISK 2,000,000, from an insurance company that is licensed to operate in Iceland, see here.
  9. Support must be secure for the residence period, see here. Applicants wages may be sufficient support if the applicant is authorized to work, see here.
  10. A written statement showing the applicant’s ties to Iceland. The statement must show how/why the applicant has special ties to Iceland.
  11. Supporting documents for the written statement, as applicable. Documents supporting the applicant’s claim, such as visitation agreement for the applicant’s child, birth certificates, etc.


Documents that may be submitted:

  • Request for exemption from basic requirements for a residence permit. The request must be in writing along with justification for the request and supporting documents, if applicable.
  • Power of attorney, original, witnessed by two adult witnesses. Note. A power of attorney needs not be submitted unless the applicant wants someone other than him/her to receive information about the processing of the application by the Directorate.
  • Application for a work permit and employment contract. Application for a work permit and the employment contract must be signed by the applicant and the employer.


It is the applicant‘s responsibility to submit the documents on the checklist. If all the required documents are not submitted with the application, this could result in delays in processing the application or in a denial. The Directorate of Immigration may request additional documents in some cases.


Renewal

An application for a renewal must be submitted at least one month before the current permit expires. If the application is submitted later, it is not considered to be a renewal, but a first permit.


Applicant must apply personally at the Directorate’s office or at the offices of District Commissioners. The applicant will be photographed and he/she must bring his passport.


If the applicant has had a residence permit in Iceland on other grounds, these documents are sufficient for a first application for a residence permit on the grounds of special ties to Iceland.


Documents that must be submitted:

  1. Checklist for renewals. Print the checklist and check it when gathering documents. Please include the completed list with the application.
  2. Application for a residence permit, form must be original, completed and signed by the applicant.
  3. Copy of passport (does not need to be confirmed). The validity of the passport must be at least three months beyond the validity of the residence permit. The copy should be of the main page and the page with the applicant’s signature.
  4. Support must be secure for the residence period, see here.
  5. A written statement showing the applicant’s ties to Iceland. The statement must show how/why the applicant has special ties to Iceland.
  6. Supporting documents for the written statement. Documents supporting the applicant’s claim, such as visitation agreement for the applicant’s child, birth certificates, etc.


Documents that may be submitted:

  • Request for exemption from basic requirements for a residence permit. The request must be in writing along with justification for the request and supporting documents, if applicable.
  • Power of attorney, original, witnessed by two adult witnesses. Note. A power of attorney needs not be submitted unless the applicant wants someone other than him/her to receive information about the processing of the application by the Directorate.
  • Application for a work permit and employment contract. Application for a work permit and the employment contract must be signed by the applicant and the employer.


It is the applicant‘s responsibility to submit the documents on the checklist. If all the required documents are not submitted with the application, this could result in delays in processing the application or in a denial. The Directorate of Immigration may request additional documents in some cases.