Iceland is a member state of the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention (UNHCR). The Icelandic Act no. 80/2016 on Foreigners addresses the case procedure regarding applications for international protection. The Directorate of Immigration processes the applications at the first administrative level but applications are to be submitted to the police.
Who has the right to asylum or international protection?
According to the provisions of the Act on Foreigners, which reflects the UN Refugee Convention, persons who are subject to persecution in their home country or face the risk of capital punishment, torture or inhumane or degrading treatment or penalty have the right to asylum as refugees in Iceland. An asylum seeker, who is not deemed to be a refugee, may be granted residence permit on humanitarian grounds provided strong arguments recommend this, such as serious illness or difficult circumstances in the home country.
Iceland has adopted the Dublin Regulation, according to which the member state, where an asylum seeker arrives first, is responsible for processing his/her application. Hence, all applications in Iceland are first considered with regards whether another member state is obligated to process the application and to receive the applicant again.
Applications submitted by people from countries that are defined safe are subject to accelerated case procedure by the Directorate of Immigration.
The welfare authorities in Reykjanesbær, Reykjavík and Hafnarfjörður provide service to asylum seekers and the Icelandic Red Cross provides them with legal assistance regarding their application for asylum.