How to Move to Iceland from US

How to Move to Iceland from US

Iceland may sound cold and uninhabitable, but the country is one of the most wonderful places to live. Iceland’s natural surroundings are incredible and fun to explore while residents are welcoming to those who decide to move there. Icelanders enjoy the best of both worlds since the capital city is a busy urban center, one that features a small-town feel where you can socialize and experience a little nightlife. If you’re ready to become an Icelander, here’s how to move to Iceland from the US.

How to Apply for Lasting Residency

If you are currently an EU (European Union), EEA (European Economic Area), or EFTA (European Free Trade Association) citizen and want to live in Iceland, then you can move to the country without requesting a special permit. It is legal for you to move there and work for up to three months before registering for a legal domicile.

Moving to Iceland from the US is not as easy, but it is doable. Just as people can in the United States, if you marry an Icelander, the country will allow you to move there to live with your spouse.

You can also apply for a student visa if you want to advance your education by attending a university in Iceland. The United States allows people from other countries to attend its universities with a student visa too. Younger adults often choose this method when they want to live in another country. A student visa comes with the benefit of obtaining additional knowledge, the possibility of an enhanced life purpose, and an easy way to make friends in a foreign place.

The third way to acquire residency in Iceland is to apply for and receive a work permit. This option comes with challenges due to the bureaucratic chain of steps that are integrated with Article 12 of the Act on Foreigners.

About Article 12

How do you move to Iceland? Be sure to apply for a work permit before traveling to the country. In Iceland, the Directorate of Immigration processes the residence cards and permit applications. This department also manages ID requests. After the Directorate of Labor has sent you an approved work permit, moving to Iceland from the US is possible.

Once a person receives a work and a residency permit, they are able to legally enter the country. Getting a work permit can be tough. Iceland has laws that give current residents and EEA citizens employment priority over immigrants. You can get around this by obtaining specialized skills.

Work Permits for U.S. Citizens

How do you move to Iceland? To move, apply for one of the country’s four work permits. The four Icelandic work permits for U.S citizens include:

  • Qualified professionals
  • Athletes
  • Worker shortages
  • Qualified professionals based on business service contracts and collaboration

Qualified Professionals

To apply for long-term residency in Iceland under the category of qualified professionals, you’ll need to show that you have university-level vocational education or a technical standard of training that the Icelandic council has approved. The employment opportunity must be applicable to a permanent job field that lacks Icelandic workers. Along with this, the American citizen who is applying for the job in Iceland must show that they have the skills to perform the job better than a local or an EEA citizen.


Iceland will issue work permits to coaches and athletes who are a part of a sports organization that’s included in the National Olympic and Sports Association of Iceland. When an athlete or a coach receives a residence permit from the country, it comes with the right to family reunification. This means that you can apply for your spouse or partner to receive a residence permit after a year of living together. You can also request a residence permit for your children if they are under 18 years old and you have custody of them. Iceland even allows athletes and coaches under this work permit to request a residence permit for their parents if they are 67 years old or older.

Worker Shortages

Moving to Iceland from the US is possible during worker shortages. If a particular field doesn’t have enough local or EEA workers, then the country may issue work permits to Americans who are qualified to work in that field. This type of work permit is issued on a temporary basis. Iceland will only permit you to renew it once. If you want to try living in Iceland temporarily, check with the Directorate of Labor. This department has a list of temporary jobs.

Business Services Contracts and Collaborations

How do you move to Iceland? The country may issue a residence permit for employers who specialize in a particular field but have their main operations located in a different country. This type of permit would be issued based on a service contract between the employer and the Iceland organization that would like to hire the company.

Request Your Kennitala

Once you receive approval to move to Iceland, be sure to request a kennitala. This is basically the same thing as a social security number. You’ll need it to do certain things in Iceland, things like rent a place to stay, register for healthcare services, or open a bank account.

A kennitala is 10 digits long. It includes your birthdate and four random numbers that will be listed at the end. You can live in the country for as long as three months without this number, but you will need to apply for one if you’re staying longer.

Consider learning the Icelandic language once you arrive. It’s a bit on the tricky side, but the language features English letters combined with a few Icelandic ones. With time, you’re sure to catch on.

How to Move to Iceland from the US

How to move to Iceland from the US is complicated but possible. If you don’t want to marry an Icelander or attend a university in the country, then you’ll need to apply for a work permit. It may take you a while, but once you move to this amazing country, you’ll be glad to be there.