working

Work Permit

Work permit

Work permits are issued by The Directorate of Labour (Vinnumálastofnun).

All work permit applications should be submitted to The Directorate of Immigration, which will then forward your application to the Directorate of Labour which is responsible for processing all work permit applications. To avoid delays in the processing of your application, please ensure that all the requested information and supporting documents are included in the original application package. Also ensure that your documents are of good quality 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 for this work permit are that you have expert knowledge, that your potential employer was unable to find someone within the EEA, EFTA states and Faroe Islands with your education, skills and expertise, that you have a signed contract with your potential employer and that your knowledge is essential to the company.

The documents you will have to provide

  1. Your application for a temporary work permit for a job that requires expert knowledge. Please ensure that the application form is sufficiently filled out and the relevant trade union here in Iceland has confirmed that your terms and conditions of employment conform to Icelandic collective agreements in section IV of the application form. Please also ensure that the application has been signed by you and your employer.
  2. A contract of employment between yourself and your employer which includes information about your job title and description and which pension fund you will be paying your obligatory contributions to. Your terms and conditions of employment must be similar to those of 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 lengthy work experience, you must include information and confimations from previous employers regarding your duties and length of employment at earlier workplaces. and and how long you worked at each place. Please note that generally you will need at least seven years of relevant work experience to match a university degree.
  5. Information about your employer’s attempts to hire an Icelandic, EEA, EFTA or Faroese nationals before hiring you. This information is to be submitted by your employer.
  6. Confirmation that your employer will pay for your return travel if your contract is cut short due to reasons beyond your control or if you become disabled due to illness or accident. It must be specified to what country you would return in this event.

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 servicesor design, applications  for the accreditation of your professional title should be submitted to the Ministry of Industries and Innovation:

If you are a medical professional, you will apply for this at the Directorate of Health.
Names of medical professions that require a legal professional title, in Icelandic.

Tax discount for foreign experts

If you qualify as a foreign expert, you can apply for a special tax discount whereby only 75% of the income of foreign experts is taxed for the first three years they work in Iceland if certain conditions are met.

More information about the tax discount offered to foreign experts and the conditions for being granted such a discount can be found at the Directorate of Internal Revenue.

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 on all weekdays. The phone number is +354-515-4800. Please note that they are only able to answer your inquiries regarding your work permit application when the Directorate of Immigration has forwarded it for processing. Their email isworkpermits@vmst.is.