Essential Employment Paperwork in Iceland



Under EU laws, EU/EEA citizens may work in Iceland without any requirement other than an employment contract. Non-EU/EEA citizens, on the other hand, are required to secure a Schengen visa, valid for up to 90 days, and a residence- and work permit.

As mentioned above, citizens of the EU/EEA (except Bulgaria and Romania) and Nordic countries are not required to secure a work permit in Iceland. However, citizens of the EU/EEA, Nordic region or not, that are intending to stay for more than three months must go to The Directorate of Immigration (Útlendingastofnun) to register and apply for a residence permit. Non-EU/EEA citizens should secure a Schengen visa and a valid residence- and work permit. Schengen visas come in two kinds: a 90-day C-Visa for tourists and a D-Visa for expats needing a residence permit.

Qualified Professionals Permit

An employment contract is an essential requirement to work legally in Iceland. Aside from having an Icelandic employer, expats also need a job contract which specifies that his/her future job position has to require a specialised skill and can not be downgraded to a short-term project. The Qualified Professionals Permit must be obtained in the applicant’s home country and usually takes around 90 days to be processed and approved. Some of the documents required for this permit are:

  • Passport valid for at least three months
  • An employment contract
  • A criminal record check issued by the applicant’s country of residence (for the last five years)
  • Proof of medical insurance
  • A housing certificate as proof that the applicant has a secure place to live while working in Iceland

The qualified professionals permit is can be renewed so expats must not forget to apply for renewal at least one month before the expiry date because one it expires, holders will need to leave the country while the renewal application is being processed.

Shortage of Labourers Permit

Expatriates who are not eligible to apply for the ‘Qualified Professionals Permit’ can still seek employment in Iceland by applying for the shortage of labourers permit. It is ideal for foreign

workers who do not want to reside permanently in the country and is honoured not just in Iceland but also in the entire European Union. This type of permit will only be issued to an individual if there is a shortage of local labourers for a particular position. The shortage of labourers permit can only be renewed once and can not be used as a basis for permanent residency. Important documents that must be brought when applying are:

  • Passport with at least three months of validity
  • An application form for the Shortage of Labourers Permit, signed by the expat and his/her prospective employer
  • An employment contract
  • Passport sized photos
  • Criminal record check
  •  A housing certificate