Registration in Important Systems

Information for people who have just been granted the status of refugees in Iceland


ID number (Kennitala; kt)

  • A social worker or your contact person at the Directorate of Immigration (Útlendingastofnun, UTL) can check to see when your ID number (kennitala) is ready and activated.
  • When your ID is ready, the Social Services (félagsþjónustan) can help you to apply for financial assistance.
  • Book an appointment (meeting) with a social worker and apply for all the assistance (money and help) that you have a right to.
  • The directorate (UTL) will send you an sms message to tell you when you can go to pick up your residence permit card (dvalarleyfiskort) at Dalvegur 18, 201 Kópavogur.


Bank account

  • You must open a bank account (bankareikningur) as soon as you have your residence permit card.
  • Spouses (married people, husband and wife, or other partnerships) must each open a separate bank account.
  • Your wages (pay), financial assistance (grants of money; fjárhagsaðstoð) and payments from the authorities will always be paid into bank accounts.
  • You can choose the bank where you want to have your account. Take with you your residence permit card (dvalarleyfiskort) and your passport or travel documents if you have them.
  • It is a good idea to phone the bank first and ask if you need to make an appointment (book a time to meet someone at the bank).
  • You must go to the Social Services (félagsþjónustan) and give the details of your bank account number so that it can be put on your application for financial assistance.  


On-line banking (heimabanki, netbanki; home banking; electronic banking)

  • You must apply for an on-line banking facility (heimabanki, netbanki) so that you can see what you have in your account and pay your bills (invoices; reikningar).  
  • You can ask the staff at the bank to help you download the on-line app (netbankaappið) in your smartphone.
  • Memorize your PIN (the Personal Identity Number you use to make payments from your bank account). Do not carry it on you, written down in a way that someone else could understand and use if they find it. Do not tell other people your PIN (not even the police or the staff of the bank, or people you do not know).
  • NB: some of the things to be paid in your netbanki are marked as optional (valgreiðslur). These are usually from charities asking for contributions. You are free to decide whether you pay them or not. You can delete (eyða) them if you choose not to pay them.
  • Most optional payment invoices (valgreiðslur) come up in your netbanki, but they can also come in the post. So it is important to know what invoices are for before you decide to pay them.


Rafræn skilríki (electronic identification)

  • This is a way of proving your identity (who you are) when you are using electronic communication (websites on the internet). Using electronic identification (rafræn skilríki) is just like showing an ID document. You can use it to sign forms on-line and when you do, it will have the same meaning as if you signed on paper with your own hand.
  • You will need to use rafræn skilríki to identify yourself when you open, and sometimes sign, web pages and on-line documents that many government institutions, municipalities (local authorities) and banks use.
  • Everyone must have rafræn skilríki. Spouses (husbands and wives) or members of other family partnerships, must each have their own.
  • You can apply for rafræn skilríki in any bank, or through Auðkenni.
  • When you apply for rafræn skilríki you must have with you a smartphone (mobile phone) with an Icelandic number and a valid driving licence or passport. Travel documents issued by the Department of Immigration (UTL) are accepted as ID documents instead of a driving licence or passport.
  • Further information: https://www.skilriki.is/ and https://www.audkenni.is/


Refugees’ travel documents

  • If, as a refugee, you cannot show a passport from your home country, you must apply for travel documents. These will be accepted as ID documents in the same way as a driving licence or passport.
  • You can apply for travel documents to the Directorate of Immigration (Útlendingastofnun, UTL). They cost ISK 5,600.
  • You can pick up an application form from the UTL office at Bæjarhraun 18. This is open Tuesdays to Thursdays from 10.00 to 12.00. If you are living outside the metropolitan (capital) area, you can pick up a form from your local District Commissioner’s Office (sýslumaður) and also hand it in there.
  • Staff at UTL will not help you to fill out your application form.  
  • You must hand your application form in at the UTL office at Dalvegur 18, 201 Kópavogur, and pay the fee there, or to the Bæjarhraun office, showing a receipt for the payment.   þarf eyðublaðinu í afgreiðslu Útlendingastofnunar á Dalvegi 18, 201 Kópavogi og greiða þar, eða í Bæjarhraunið ásamt kvittun fyrir greiðslu.
  • When your application has been accepted, you will get a message calling you in to have your photograph taken.
  • After your photograph has been taken, it will take another 7-10 days before your travel documents are issued.
  • Work is in progress at UTL on a simpler procedure for the issue of travel documents. 


Passports for foreign nationals

  • If you have been given protection on humanitarian grounds, you can get a foreign national’s passport instead of temporary travel documents.
  • The difference is that with travel documents, you can travel to all countries except your home country; with a foreign national’s passport you can travel to all countries including your home country.
  • The application procedure is the same as for travel documents.


Sjúkratryggingar Íslands (SÍ; Icelandic Health Insurance)

  • If you have just been given the status of a refugee, or protection on humanitarian grounds, the rule requiring 6 months’ residence in Iceland before qualifying for health insurance will not apply; in other words, you will have health insurance immediately.  
  •  Refugees have the same rights with SÍ as everyone else in Iceland.
  • SÍ pays part of the cost of medical treatment and of the prescription medications that meet certain requirements.
  • UTL sends information to SÍ so that refugees are registered in the health insurance system.


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