Residence permits for students

Foreign nationals from a country outside of the EEA and/or EFTA, who plan to stay in Iceland for more than three (3) months, must have a valid residence permit.

Students’ residence permits are granted to

  • Individuals 18 years or older intending to engage in full time studies at a university in Iceland,
  • Post graduate (doctorate) students from foreign universities collaborating with an Icelandic university,
  • Exchange students from acknowledged exchange-student organizations,
  • Interns, when working in Iceland is a part of the applicant’s studies.

A residence permit may be granted for as long as one (1) year. A residence permit for the autumn term should be applied for not later than June 1st, in order to ensure that the application will be processed before the school term begins. An application for a residence permit for the spring term must be submitted not later than November 1st.

Residence permits for study are not granted to individuals intending to study at Icelandic secondary schools (except for approved exchange programs), attending courses in the Icelandic language or who study at foreign universities and stay in Iceland 

Residence permits for study are granted based on Art. 65 of the Act on Foreigners No. 80/2016.

You might have the right to a student residence permit if all of the following requirements are met, as well as others

  • You are older than 18 years,
  • you are enrolled in full study at an Icelandic university in undergraduate, graduate or post graduate (doctorate) studies; you are a post graduate (doctorate) student at a university abroad collaborating with an Icelandic university; you are an exchange student or in internship in Iceland,
  • you can prove that you are able to provide for yourself during your stay,
  • you have a valid insurance with an Icelandic insurance company (in the field Insurance Companies) or a foreign insurance company authorized to operate in Iceland (in the field Foreign Insurance Companies),
  • you have not served a criminal sentence abroad during the last five (5) years or been sentenced by a court of law for an offence which would be punishable by more than three (3) months imprisonment according to Icelandic law, and
  • you have a passport valid for at least 90 days beyond the estimated validity of a residence permit.

You may not

  • be in Iceland if you need a visa to Iceland, when the residence permit is applied for and while it is being processed. Such an application will be refused. (An applicant who does not need a visa may be in Iceland when the application is submitted and while it is being processed provided the stay in the Schengen Area does not exceed 90 days in the current 180 day period),
  • work without a work permit,
  • work for an employer other than the one on which the work permit is based,
  • work more than 15 hours per week except when working is a part of your study or takes place during a study break according to the curriculum,
  • stay in another country longer than three (3) months in every 12-month period of the residence permit period; otherwise the residence permit may be cancelled or revoked.
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