The main difference between permanent residence permits and other permits is that permanent residence permits are not temporary in nature. This means that if the applicant is granted a permanent residence permit, they do not have to apply for an extension for their residence permit as those with a normal residence permit do. Holders of a permanent residence permit can receive a permanent work permit, which is consequently not linked to a specific employer
The Directorate of Immigration is responsible for issuing permanent residence permits. Applicants for a permanent residence permit must submit an application to the Directorate of Immigration at least one month before their previous permit expires. It should be borne in mind that if the holder of a permanent residence permit moves away from the country, or spends eighteen or more consecutive months residing abroad, their permanent residence permit will be cancelled.
The estimated processing time for permanent residence permit applications is ninety days from receipt of satisfactory documentation.
Conditions for permanent residence permits
  • The applicant must have attended a course in Icelandic for Foreigners (see the Directorate of Immigration website for more information).
  • There must be no grounds for deporting the person concerned.
  • Secure means of support
  • The applicant must have held a residence permit on the same grounds for the four years preceding the permanent residence permit application, and the criteria for this permit must still be met (n.b. not all types of residence permit count towards permanent residence – see the Directorate of Immigration website for more information).
  • The applicant must not have any outstanding cases in the criminal justice system in which they are suspected or accused of criminal conduct.
  • The applicant must report to the Directorate of Immigration or to their district commissioner in person to have photographs taken for their permanent residence permit application.
Documentation that must accompany applications
  1. Permanent residence permit application – properly filled in and signed by the applicant (original)
  2. Photocopy of passport/travel document – it is important that the passport has not expired
  3. Certified copy of the applicant’s tax returns for the last four years
  4. Certificate (original) confirming that the applicant has completed an Icelandic course or a certificate (original) confirming their level of Icelandic
  5. Employment contract (if the application is for an unrestricted work permit)
  6. Payslips for the past three months/confirmation of means of support
  7. Certificate from the municipal authorities regarding maintenance support over the last four years

The applicant is informed when processing of their application has been completed.