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Work permit

All work permit applications should be submitted to The Directorate of Immigration, which will then forward your application to the Directorate of Labour, where all work permit applications are processed and issued. To avoid processing delays of your application, please ensure that all the requested information and supporting documents are included in the original application package. Ensure that your documents are in order and that both you and your employer have signed your application.

Temporary work permit for a job that requires expert knowledge

As a foreign expert from outside the EEA, EFTA or Faroe Islands, you are required to apply for a work permit on these grounds in Iceland. The prerequisites to obtaining this work permit are:  

  • You have expert knowledge 
  • The potential employer was unable to find someone locally, or within the EEA, EFTA states, and the Faroe Islands with your education, skills, and expertise 
  • Your experience is essential to the company
  • You have a signed contract with your potential employer

The documents you will have to provide

  1. Your application for a temporary work permit for a job that requires expert knowledge. Please check that the application form is completely filled out and that the relevant Icelandic trade union has confirmed the terms and conditions of employment conform to Icelandic collective agreements in section IV of the application form. Please ensure that the application has been signed by you and your employer.
  2. A contract of employment between yourself and your employer that includes information about your job title, description, and the pension fund you will be contributing to. The terms and conditions of your employment must be similar to other experts in your sector.
  3. A certified copy of your diploma(s) in Icelandic or English. 
  4. If your expert knowledge is based on extensive experience, you must include evidence on previous employment regarding your positions, duties, and employment duration. Please note that generally, at least seven years of relevant work experience matches a university degree.
  5. Information regarding your employer's attempts to hire an Icelandic, EEA, EFTA, or Faroese national before hiring you is to be submitted by the employer.
  6. Confirmation that your employer will pay for your return travel to a specified country if your contract is cut short due to reasons beyond your control, or if you become disabled due to illness or accident.

When you apply to extend your expert work permit, only items 1 and 2 must be provided. Temporary work permits for a job that requires specialist knowledge can be the basis for an unrestricted work permit.

More details.

Legal professional title

If your job requires a legal professional title, you must also apply to have your qualifications accredited in Iceland by the relevant authorities. 

If you are a professional in technical services or design, applications for the accreditation of your professional title should be submitted to the Ministry of Industries and Innovation:

  • The application
  • Information in English
  • Useful information and appropriate links in Icelandic

If you are a medical professional, you will apply for this at the Directorate of Health. Here is a list of medical professional names that require a legal professional title, in Icelandic.

Tax discount for foreign experts

Only 75% of your income earned as a foreign expert is taxed for the first three years of work in Iceland as long as certain conditions are met.

Additional information about the tax incentive and the current provisions can be found on the Directorate of Internal Revenue webpage. You can apply for this tax discount through the Icelandic Centre for Research. Your application must be submitted no later than three months from the date you start working in Iceland.

Useful Information

The telephone hours for inquiries regarding work permits at The Directorate of Labour are between 10 – 11 AM GMT weekdays. The phone number is +354-515-4800. Please note that they are only able to answer questions regarding your work permit application once the Directorate of Immigration has forwarded it. Their email is workpermits@vmst.is.