Rights

A residence permit as applied for shall be in conformity with the purpose of the applicant’s stay. Different rights are attached to every type of residence permits and furthermore the rights a residence-permit holder may earn are different. The Directorate of Immigration urges applicants and others who are involved in residence-permit applications to carefully study what rights are entailed in the residence permit being applied for.

The main rights that are attached to every residence permit are stated in the tables below, i.e. a permission to stay when an application is submitted, permit to work, the right to permanent residence permit and the rights regarding family reunification.

Clarification of rights

Permission to stay when an application is submitted

Different rules apply to whether an applicant is permitted to stay when an application for a residence permit is submitted and while the application is being processed by the Directorate of Immigration. If the table below states that an applicant who is not required to have a visa is permitted to stay for 90 days, this means that the applicant may stay for a total of 90 days in the current 180 day period in the Schengen Area. This means that a stay in Iceland is added to the stay in other Schengen member states, unless the applicant has a residence permit in the Schengen state where he/she has stayed.

Those who must have a visa and are permitted to stay in Iceland when an application is submitted are only permitted to stay in Iceland for as long as their visa is valid. When the visa expires the applicant must leave the Schengen Area if his/her application for a residence permit has not been accepted.

If an applicant for a certain residence permit has an unlimited permission to stay during the application’s processing by the Directorate of Immigration, the relevant box in the table, “permitted” is checked, however, if the applicant is not permitted to stay in Iceland while his/her application is submitted and being processed, the box “not permitted” is checked.


Permit to work

Different rules apply regarding a permit to work for an applicant for a residence permit. Some residence permits entail a right to work without a work permit, in other instances a special application must be made for a work permit. Certain types of residence permits do not entail a right to work and conclusively a work permit may in some instances be the bases for the issuance of a residence permit. 

A permit to work is either based on a certain employer to whom the permit is granted or the permit is not based on any particular employer. If a permit to work is based on a certain employer this means that the holder of the permit may only work for that employer. If an applicant may work without a work permit he/she may work for any employer.

The general rule, however, is that an applicant for a residence permit may not begin to work until a residence permit has been granted.

Further explanations of individual factors regarding a permit to work are in every table.


Permanent residence permit

Different rules apply to whether a residence permit can be the basis of a permanent residence permit and what time requirements apply. In some cases the right to a permanent residence permit depends on the right held by a relative of the residence-permit holder whereas in other cases the right to a permanent permit is subject to the holder having had a residence permit on other grounds than the permit he/she has now. In such instances the box to be checked is “in certain instances”.

Further explanations of individual factors regarding permanent residence permits are in every table.


Family reunification

Different rules apply to whether a residence permit of a permit holder includes a right to family reunification and which family members may apply for a residence permit on grounds of family reunification.

Family reunification applies to the next of kin of residence-permit holder, i.e. next-of-kin as defined by the Act on Foreigners, i.e. the permit holder’s spouse or cohabiting partner, a child under the age of 18 who is provided for and in the custody of the relevant residence-permit holder, and his/her parents aged 67 or older.

The parent of a child under the age of 18 who resides in Iceland may apply for and obtain a residence permit “in certain circumstances” as stated in the table, however, certain requirements must be met as stated in the Act on Foreigners. Further information regarding the requirements is in the text about residence permits for parents.

If the relevant table states that the right to family reunification is “subject to circumstances when…”, such right exists, however, may not become active until the holder of a residence permit has stayed in Iceland for a specific period of time. Further information is in the text about residence permit regarding family reunification.

Further explanations of individual factors are contained in every table.


Overview of rights

  Regarding work

  • Shortage of workers
  • Specialists
  • Atheletes
  • Specialized employees on grounds of collaboration or service contracts



EDUCATIONAL AND CULTURAL EXCHANGES

  • BA/BS degrees
  • MA/MS degrees
  • Doctorate students
  • Internship
  • Regarding agreements with foreign states
  • Regarding au-pair placements

International protection, humanitarian views and human trafficking

  • International protection
  • Humanitarian views
  • Human trafficking

 

OTHER RESIDENCE PERMITS

  • Special ties to Iceland
  • Lawful and special purpose

 

RELATIVES – SPOUSES

  • Spouse of an Icelandic citizen
  • Spouse of a student in advanced studies
  • Spouse of another residence-permit holder who has the right to family reunification

 

RELATIVES -  CHILDREN

  • Child of an Icelandic citizen or his/her spouse
  • Child of a student in advanced studies
  • Child of another residence-permit holder who has the right to family reunification


RELATIVES – PARENTS

  • Parent of an Icelandic citizen or his/her spouse
  • Parent of another residence-permit holder who has the right to family reunification

TABLES AND EXPLANATIONS

Regarding work

1 work permit en



Educational and cultural exchanges

2 educational and cultural exchanges en

  1. In certain instances… means that a permit holder may apply for a permanent residence permit if he/she had a student residence permit for at least two (2) years and then held a residence permit that may be the grounds of a permanent residence permit for at least two (2) more years before submission of an application.

 
International protection, humanitarian views and human trafficking

3 intl protection humanitarian andhum trafficking en

  1. May work without a work permit… means that a permit holder does not have to apply for a special work permit in order to work.
  2. Yes, depends on the circumstances when…means that the right exists, however, the right to family reunification may not be obtained until the permit holder has stayed in Iceland for a certain period of time. See further the information on residence permits regarding family reunification.
  3. Not applicable…means that an applicant cannot apply for a residence permit unless he/she is already in Iceland.


Other residence permits

4 other residence permits en

  1. Yes, depends on the circumstances when…means that the right exists, however, possibly the right to family reunification does not become active until the permit holder has stayed in Iceland for a certain period of time. See further the information on residence permits regarding family reunification.

Relatives – spouses

5 relatives spouces en

  1. May work without work permit… means that the permit holder does not have to apply for a special work permit in order to work.
  2. In certain instances… means that a spouse or a cohabiting partner of a student may have the right to a permanent residence permit if the student has the right to apply for a permanent residence permit



Relatives – children

6 relatives children en

  1. May work without a work permit until the age of 18… means that a child may work without a work permit until the age of 18 and this authorization is not based on any particular employer. After reaching the age of 18 the applicant must apply for a work permit and the permit is then based on a certain employer, i.e. he/she may only work for the employer for whom the work permit is granted.
  2. In certain instances…means that a child may have the right to a permanent residence permit if the student (child’s parent) has the right to a permanent residence permit.
  3. In certain instances two (2) years… means that generally an applicant, who has a child- residence permit, may apply for a permanent residence permit after four (4) years. If the parent of a permit holder has been an Icelandic citizen for five (5) years, the applicant may receive a permanent residence permit after two (2) years of consecutive stay in Iceland.
  4. In certain circumstances…means that a child may get a permit for its parent provided certain requirements are met. The principal requirement is that the child is under the age of 18. Information about other requirements is in the text on residence permits for the parent of a child under the age of 18.

 

Relatives – parents
7 relatives parents en 01