Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions 


Icelandic words explained 

Selected Icelandic words explained in various languages. 

Childrens rights and bullying

Children's rights

Children have the right to know both of their parents. Parents are obliged to protect their children from mental and physical violence and other threats.


Children should receive education in line with their abilities and interests. Parents should consult their children before taking decisions regarding them. Children should be given a greater say as they grow older and become more mature.


Children often get into accidents, and adults must be aware of their children’s surrounding environment. When the causes of accidents are analysed, it often emerges that the accident could have been prevented by precaution and education.

The office of the Ombudsman for Children

We all have human rights: Rights of children

Video about the rights of children in Iceland, looking at the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and other international and national laws, as well as the experiences of people who have received international protection in Iceland.


Made by Amnesty International in Iceland and The Icelandic Human Rights Centre. More videos can be found here.

Child Protection Act

The aim of the Child Protection Act is to ensure that children living in unacceptable conditions or children jeopardising their own health and development receive the necessary help. The Child Protection Act covers all children within the territory of the Icelandic state.

Children <12 years out in public

Children aged twelve or younger should only be out in public after 20:00 if they are accompanied by adults.


From 1 May to 1 September, they may be outside until 22:00.


Age in this case is based on the year in which the child is born, rather than their birthday.

Young adults

Young adults aged 13-18 should obey the instructions of their parents, respect the opinions of others and observe the law. Young adults acquire legal competence, i.e. the right to decide their own financial and personal affairs, at the age of eighteen. This means that they are responsible for their own property and can decide where they want to live, but they lose the right to maintenance by their parents.


Children and young adults aged 6-16 must be in primary education. School attendance is free of charge. Primary study ends with examinations, after which it is possible to apply for upper-secondary study. Enrolment of upper-secondary students in the autumn term is done online and the deadline is in June each year. Enrolment of students in the spring term is done either at the school in question or online.

Various information on special schools, special departments, study programmes and other study options for disabled children and young adults can be found on the Menntagátt website.


Children in compulsory education may only be employed in light work. Children under the age of thirteen may only take part in cultural and artistic events and sporting and advertising work and only with the permission of the Administration of Occupational Safety and Health.


Children aged 13-14 may be employed in light work which is not deemed to be dangerous or physically challenging. Those aged 15-17 may work up to eight hours a day (forty hours a week) during school holidays. Children and young adults may not work at night.


Most large municipalities run work schools or youth work programmes for a few weeks every summer for the oldest primary-school pupils (aged 13-16).

Children 13 - 16 of years out in public

Children aged 13 to 16, unaccompanied by adults, may not be outdoors after 22:00, unless on their way home from a recognised event organised by a school, sports organisation or youth club.


During the period from 1 May to 1 September, children are permitted to stay outdoors an additional two hours. The age limits for this provision refer to the year of birth, not to the date of birth.


Bullying is repeated or continual harassment or violence, whether physical or mental, by one or more persons against another. Bullying has serious consequences for the victim.

Bullying takes place between an individual and a group or between two individuals. Bullying can be verbal, social, material, mental and physical. It can take the form of name-calling, gossip or untrue stories about an individual or encouraging people to ignore certain individuals.

Bullying also includes repeatedly mocking somebody for their appearance, weight, culture, religion, skin colour, disability, etc.

The victim of bullying feels unwelcome and excluded from a group, to which it has no choice other than to belong; for instance, a school class or a family.

Many primary schools have set up action plans because of bullying, as there is a duty to react when it happens. The schools also work on preventive measures.

Bullying can also have permanently damaging consequences for the perpetrator.

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