First steps after being given refugee status

  • Put your name on your post-box to be sure of receiving post, including important letters from the Directorate of Immigration (Útlendingastofnun, ÚTL).


  • Photograph for your residence permit card (dvalarleyfiskort)
    • Photographs are taken at the ÚTL office or, outside the metropolitan area, at the local District Commissioner’s office (sýslumaður).
    • ÚTL will send you a message (sms) when your residence permit card is ready and you can pick it up.


  • Open a bank account as soon as you have your residence permit card.



  • Apply for basic financial assistance (grunnfjárhagsaðstoð) from the Social Services (félagsþjónustan).


  • Apply for refugee’s travel documents
    • If you cannot show a passport from your home country, you must apply for travel documents. They can be used in the same way as other personal ID documents like a passport which you need to apply for things like electronic identification (rafræn skilríki).


  • Book an appointment with a social worker
    • You can apply for special assistance (help) with finding a place to live, arrangements for your children and other things. Book an appointment (meeting) to talk to a social worker at the Social Service Centre in your area.
    • You can find information about the local authorities (municipalities) and their offices here: https://www.samband.is/sveitarfelogin/


  • Book an appointment with a counsellor at the Directorate of Labour (Vinnumálastofnun, VMS) to
    • Get help with finding work and other ways of being active
    • Registering for a course (lessons) in Icelandic and learning about Icelandic society
    • Get advice about study (learning) together with work.

Finding a place to live

  • Finding a place to live
    • After you have been granted refugee status you may go on living in the accommodation (place) for people applying for international protection for only as long as two weeks more. Therefore it is important to look for somewhere to live. 


  • Apply for housing benefit

https://www.husbot.is and https://hms.is/husnaedisbaetur/housing-benefit/


  • Apply to the social services (félagsþjónusta) for assistance with rent and buying furniture and equipment
    • Loan to pay a deposit on rented housing (leiguhúsnæði; apartment, flat)
    • Furniture grant for essential furniture and household equipment
    • Special housing assistance grant. Monthly payments on top of housing benefit, intended to help with renting an apartment.
    • A grant to cover the first month’s expenses (because housing benefit is paid out retrospectively – afterwards)

Other assistance you can apply for through a social worker

  • Study grants for people who have not finished compulsory school or upper senior school


  • Part-payment of the cost of the First Medical Check in out-patients infectious diseases departments of hospitals


  • Grants for dental treatment


  • Specialist assistance from social workers, psychiatrists or psychologists


  • NB all applications are judged individually and you have to meet all the conditions set for receiving assistance.

For your children

  • You will have to register in the on-line system of your municipality (local authority), for example: Rafræn Reykjavík, Mitt Reykjanes, and Mínar síður on the Hafnarfjörður website to be able to register your children for school, school meals, after-school activities and other things.


  • You must have had your First Medical Check at the out-patients department of a hospital before you will be granted a residence permit and your children can start school.


  • Apply through a social worker for assistance for your children
    • A grant, equivalent to full child benefit, to carry you through to the time when the tax office will start paying full child benefit.
    • Special assistance for children, to cover costs such as pre-school fees, school meals, after-school activities, summer camps or leisure activities.


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