Limited work permits
Danish, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish citizens do not need any work permit in Iceland. The same applies to citizens from countries within the European Economic Area (EEA).
Under EEA agreements, the Icelandic government is under obligation to give workers from member states priority on the domestic job market.
The following are member states of the European Economic Area:
Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Great Britain, Holland, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Portugal, Poland, Spain, Slovakia, Slovenia and Sweden.
Swiss citizens have the same rights in Iceland as citizens of states in the EEA.
Citizens of countries outside the European Economic Area.
Citizens of countries outside the EEA must obtain a limited work permit before arriving to work in Iceland. If an individual is already in Iceland when applying for the first time for a limited work permit, s/he is normally required to leave the country. The Directorate of Labour is able to provide further information.
Applications for limited work permits
The employer applies for a limited work permit, not the employee. The employer submits to the Directorate of Immigration her/his application for a limited work permit, along with the prospective employee’s application for a residence permit. The Directorate of Immigration then sends the work permit application to the Directorate of Labour, which assesses whether every condition is fulfilled for issuing a limited work permit.
What documents must accompany the application for a limited work permit?
- A written employment contract between the employer and the person for whom the work permit is requested. Wages must comply with current wage contracts. In Iceland the minimum wage is dictated by law.
- Proof of medical insurance, which the employer must provide for the individual for whom the limited work permit is requested.
- An adequate medical certificate from a doctor, stating the medical condition of the individual for whom the limited work permit is requested. Medical certificates must be in either Icelandic or English.
Extensions on limited work permits
- Applications for extensions on limited work permits must arrive at the Directorate of Labour no less than one month before the current permit’s expiry date.
- The employer sends her/his application for an extension of the work permit, along with the foreign employee’s application for an extension of the residence permit, to the Directorate of Immigration. The Directorate of Immigration then sends the application for extending the limited work permit to the Directorate of Labour.
- The employer is responsible for sending applications for limited work permits early enough to the Directorate of Immigration.
Limited work permits are usually granted for one-year periods, although never past the validity of the residence permit.
Work permits from other European Economic Area countries have no validity in Iceland.
Vinnumálastofnun (Directorate of Labour)
Tel.: (+354) 515-4800
European Employment Services
Tel.: (+354) 554-7600