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The Paperwork

Finally! You found that exciting job in Iceland. Now it is time for some of the tedious but necessary paperwork. Many forms are now available online. While the Icelandic government has set an ambitious target of having all administrative documents online by 2020, there will undoubtedly be some old fashion forms to fill out. 

To live and work in Iceland, you will first need a personal ID number (kennitala) and an electronic ID (rafræn skilríki) connected with the SIM card in your mobile phone for authentication purposes. An IceKey is very convenient and similar to the electronic ID but is issued by Registers Iceland and is used for municipal services. 

To calculate what NET salary you will receive, you must deduct from your actual (gross) salary, taxes, and the mandatory payments to your union and pension fund. For three years, foreign experts can apply for a tax discount and an expedited review of their work permit application.

Personal ID number

Your personal ID number (kennitala) is your key to Icelandic society. Kennitala numbers are widely used and are not secretive, like social security numbers in the USA. Composed of ten digits, the first six digits are your birthday, and the last digit will be 9 if you were born before 2000 and 0 if you were born after 2000. From joining a gym, tax returns to banking, you will be asked for your kennitala.

Apply for your kennitala at Registers Iceland (Þjóðskrá). You must present yourself in person with valid ID at Þjóðskrá to apply for a kennitala. A kennitala will be essential for signing a legal contract in Iceland, both for your job and for your housing. The application process takes about 10 days, and the requirements differ depending on your nationality. Registers Iceland (Þjóðskrá) provides the necessary information.

System ID number

A system ID number (Utangarðskennitala) can be useful for people staying 3-6 months in Iceland. Your company can apply for you, but this will not give you any rights in Iceland, for example, health insurance. If you intend to work in Iceland, you should apply for a kennitala, even if you are staying for less than half a year. You can open a bank account with a system ID number. It is usually used by companies that are importing workers from abroad for a specific project. Most commonly for work in construction, such as builders, electricians, plumbers, etc. 

You will find more information about postings in Iceland through the Directorate of Labour.

Nordic nationals

Moving between the Nordic countries is easy. Nordic nationals simply have to register their move to Iceland and if they intend to stay for more than six months.

Here is the form from Registers Iceland that you must fill out to move from another Nordic country to Iceland. Bring the form and your passports to National Registers Iceland and hand it in in-person (all members of the family must be present). Further details.

  • This applies to citizens of Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, the Aland islands, the Faroe Islands, and Greenland.

Read here for more information on Nordic co-operation.

UK nationals

Post-Brexit there have been some changes for British citizens seeking to work and live in Iceland. The UK Government has put together its Travel to Iceland for work web guide to streamline the process. 

European nationals

Nationals from a member state of either the European Economic Area (EEA) or the European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA) are allowed to stay in Iceland for up to three months without registering or seeking employment for six months. 

Here is the form that you must fill out when moving from an EEA or EFTA country to Iceland. More Details.

Documents from the Directorate of Immigration that you need to fill out to apply for residency.

  • This applies to citizens of Austria, Belgium, Britain, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Switzerland.

Electronic Identification

Electronic identification (Rafræn skilríki) is used to verify your identity online for sensitive information. For example, when filing your tax report or for online banking. Requests for electronic identification (Rafræn skilríki) are made at your bank or phone company. You must bring your passport and the phone (with the SIM card that you are using in Iceland) to register. They will take a copy of your passport and assign your identity to the SIM card in your phone. You will be asked to choose a PIN number that will be your password to confirm your identity for electronic authentication. 

When you have set it up, you can choose to log in to your bank or the tax authorities' websites using "Electronic ID on a mobile phone." Entering the password is time-sensitive, so be ready! Electronic identification (Rafræn skilríki) is a convenient and time-saving method for verifications

An Ice-key

Once you have a personal ID number and an Icelandic bank account, you may apply for an IceKey (Íslykill). Alternatively, you can have it sent to your registered address by mail. Please note that you must have a proper ID number (kennitala) and not a systematic ID number (utangarðskennitala) to apply for an IceKey. 

IceKey allows you to access information and applications stored on Island.is, the online portal for the Icelandic government, and Registers Iceland

Island.is is where you can access the most common electronic forms from Registers Iceland, the Directorate of Internal Revenue, the Social Insurance Administration, the Financial Management Authority, and your municipality.

On Skra.is, you will find the proper forms to update official information, such as your legal address, what cars you own, if you move, get married, renew a passport, have a new baby, or even change religions!

Please see our pages on a residence permit, work permit, and tax regulations—especially tax reductions for foreign experts working in Iceland—for more in-depth information.