Residence permits on grounds of legitimate and special purpose

A residence permit on grounds of legitimate and special purpose is intended for an individual, 18 years of age or older, who does not meet the requirements for other residence permits. The permit is granted in exceptional instances and only when special circumstances exist.


Residence permits on grounds of legitimate and special purpose are granted based on Art. 79 of the Foreign Nationals Act No. 80/2016.

You might have the right to a residence permit on grounds of legitimate and special purpose if all of the following requirements are met, as well as others

  • The purpose of stay is legitimate and special,
  • you are older than 18 years,
  • 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),
  • 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
  • have a passport valid at least 90 days beyond the estimated period of 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, 
  • 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.



An application for a residence and work permit and supporting documents shall be submitted to the Directorate of Immigration or at the offices of the district commissioners outside of the Reykjavík Metropolitan Area.

An applicant who does not need a visa may stay in Iceland when submitting an application and while it is being processed, provided the stay in the Schengen Area does not exceed 90 days in the 180 day period. An applicant who needs a visa may not stay in Iceland when applying for the permit and while it is being processed. Such an application will be refused.

If an applicant does not fulfil these requirements and the requirements discussed below, the application for a residence permit will be refused and the applicant must leave Iceland. An applicant who does not leave the country may be subject to expulsion or a re-entry ban. A re-entry ban for Iceland is also a re-entry ban into the Schengen Area for a specific period of time or for a minimum of two (2) years.

A residence permit on grounds of legitimate and special purpose is granted for one (1) year at a time as a maximum and the permit cannot be the grounds of a permanent residence permit. The focus is on temporary circumstances existing; hence it is not assumed that a residence permit on these grounds will be renewed except in exceptional instances.

The applicant is responsible for applying for renewal of his/her residence permit at least four (4) weeks before the validity of the permit expires. If this is done, the applicant is permitted to stay in Iceland while the application for renewal is being processed by the Directorate of Immigration. If a renewal of a residence permit is not applied for before the period of validity expires the application will be handled as if this were a first permit, not renewal. An application received after the period of validity of the previous permit has expired will be refused if the applicant does not have a permission to stay in Iceland while the application is being processed.

 

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