Icelandic words explained 

Selected Icelandic words explained in various languages. 

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Here we have highlighted questions and answers regarding information we receive frequent requests for. If you can not find answers to your questions, do not hesitate to contact us or chat to our team of consultants.

Accordion Content

To check if your foreign study certificates are valid in Iceland and to have them recognized you can consult ENIC/NARIC. More information on http://english.enicnaric.is/ 


If the purpose of recognition is to acquire rights to work within a regulated profession in  Iceland, the applicant must apply to the appropriate competent authority in the  country.

If you lost your job, you need to register at the website of Directorate of Labour – Vinnumálastofnun by filling in an online application. You will be required to have an electronic ID or Icekey to log in. When you access ‘My Pages’ you will be able to apply for unemployment benefits and look for available jobs. You will also need to submit some documents regarding your last employment.  Once you are registered your status is an unemployed person actively searching for job. This means that you can start working at any time. Please note that you must confirm your job search through ‘My pages’ between the 20th and the 25th each month to ensure payment.


Further information you will find on the website of Directorate of Labour.

If you are having issues with your employer, you should first contact your labour union. It is important to report any cases of human trafficking and labour exploitation. The labour unions are divided by employment sectors or industries. You can verify which labour union you belong to by checking your payslip where it should state the union you have been making payments to. 


Talking to the union is confidential and they will not contact your employer unless you give your permission. More about worker´s rights in Iceland.


Please contact New in Iceland if have more questions or need individual assistance. 

Workers’ unions represent workers and guarantee their rights. It is not obligatory to belong to a determined union, but the workers can make payments to a definite union if there is one.


To register as a member of a workers´union and be able to enjoy the rights associated with its membership, you need to apply for written permission.


There are numerous workers unions, and there are classified depending on the occupation. Each union implements its collective agreement in representation of the profession it represents. More about Icelandic Labour Market

When looking for a job in Iceland it is best to start looking online – there are different websites where jobs are advertised. You can also register at Vinnumálastofnun, Directorate of Labour which is responsible for public labor exchanges, the registration of jobseekers and the calculation and payment of unemployment benefits.


When looking for and applying for a job, it´s important to be organized, to set goals and to think about the next steps so that your job search is more effective and the objective is reached as soon as possible.


Here you can find more useful information on our website.

There are numerous unions of workers, and there are classified depending on the occupation. The role of unions is first and foremost to negotiate, on behalf of their members, wages and other employment terms in – collective wage agreements and to protect their interests in the labour market.


On the website of The Icelandic Confederation of Labour (ASI) you can find a summary of labour law and trade union rights in Iceland.

If you lost a job you have to apply for unemployment benefits at Directorate of Labour (Vinnumálastofnun). All information about benefits: www.vmst.is  Email address: postur@vmst.is.


More useful information on our website here.

Work related rights

Video about  labour market rights in Iceland, looking at some useful information about the rights of workers, and the experiences of people who have received international protection in Iceland.

If you are in urgent financial need you can search for financial support from your municipality. You might be eligible for financial support if you are not receiving unemployment benefits. In this case you need to contact your municipality directly.

Here you can select your municipality and find a phone number and e-mail address

Here you can find several NGO’s in Iceland that provide aid to people in difficult situations.


  • Icelandic Church Aid (Hjálparstarf kirkjunnar) provides emergency aid, in consultation with priests and social workers.
  • Red Cross Clothes Distribution – If you need clothing assistance you can apply for clothing cards at the Red Cross that can be used in the Red Cross shops.
  • Fjölskylduhjálp (Iceland Family Aid) provides food aid in Reykjavík and Reykjanesbær, but people from any other municipality can apply.
  • Mæðrastyrksnefnd (Subvention for mothers and single women)
  • Pepp – Association of People Experiencing Poverty open to everyone who has experienced poverty ad social isolation and who want to be involved in changing the conditions of people living in poverty.

Electronic certificates (also called electronic IDs) are personal credentials used in the electronic world. Identifying you with electronic IDs online is tantamount to presenting personal identification. Electronic ID can be used as a valid signature, it´s equivalent to your own signature.


You can use the electronic IDs to authenticate your self and sign electronic documents. Most public institutions and municipalities already offer login to service sites with electronic IDs, as well as all banks, savings banks and more.


Please visit this part of our site to get more information about electronic IDs.

EEA citizens who move to Iceland from an EEA country or Switzerland are entitled to health insurance coverage from the date that their legal domicile is registered with Registers Iceland – Þjóðskrá, provided they have been insured by the social security system in their former country of residence. Applications for registration of domicile are submitted to Registers Iceland. Once it has been approved, it is possible to apply for registration in the Insurance Register of Icelandic Health Insurance Sjúkratryggingar Íslands. You will NOT be insured unless you apply for it!


If individuals do not have insurance rights in their previous country of residence, they will have to wait 6 months for health insurance coverage in Iceland. 


Citizens outside EEA must buy health insurance – called medical expense insurance / Sjúkrakostnaðartrygg­ing, from an insurance company that is licensed to operate in Iceland. The insurance must be valid for at least six months from the date on which legal domicile has been registered, or until the right to be medically insured in Iceland has been acquired.

More about health insurance in Iceland

Healthcare centers first and foremost serve the residents of the municipality or neighborhood in question. It is recommended that you register yourself and your family at the nearest healthcare center or healthcare facility and apply for a GP. Once the registration has been confirmed, you will need to grant the healthcare center permission to access any past medical data. Only healthcare employees may refer people to hospital for treatment and medical assistance.

Anyone can encounter abuse especially in close relationships, regardless of gender, age, social position, or background. The violence can be in various forms. The most common forms are mental, physical, sexual and financial violence where the aim of the perpetrator is to gain complete power over the spouse´s life. More about forms of violence. No one should have to live in fear of those they love and admitting to violence towards yourself is the first step in seeking help. 


You can always call112. 


Here is a list of the places and organisations that offer help, information and counselling. 


Please contact New in Iceland if you have more questions or need individual assistance. 

If your fixed residence is in Iceland or you are planning on making Iceland your fixed residence you should register your address in the Registers Iceland / Þjóðskrá.  Fixed residence is the place where the individual has her/his belongings, spends his/her free time, and sleeps and when she/he is not temporarily absent due to vacation, work trips, sickness, or other reasons.

To register a legal domicile in Iceland one must have residence permit (applies to citizens outside EEA) and an ID number – kennitala (applies to all). A domicile must have a definite address in a street or in a house with a name. This address should be up to date.  To register an address and to notify a change of address, you can do so here through the Registers Iceland.


Setting up Legal Domicile as an Immigrant

It is always a big step to move to another country. You can find a lot of information on our website Multicultural and Information Centre www.mcc.is


It is fairly easy if you are a citizen of EEA country. You need to register your stay with Registers Iceland. You will need to have a job contract of sufficient amount of money to support yourself for the first three months.


More information on the website of Registers Iceland.


If you intend to stay in Iceland longer than three months and you are a citizen of a country that is not an EEA/EFTA member state, you need a residence permit. The Directorate of Immigration issues the residence permit.


Main types of residence permits are based on:


Family reunification for the closest relative of a person residing in Iceland


Special ties

Au pair



Legitimate and special purpose


More information you can find on our website

You might be entitled to receive housing benefit if you use social-assistance housing or rent housing on the open market. This can be done online or on paper, however you are strongly encouraged to provide all the information online. Once application is received you will receive an email confirming your application. If further information or materials are needed, you will be contacted via “My pages” and the e-mail address you give in your application. Remember that it is your responsibility to check any incoming requests.


Detailed information and prerequisites: 





When moving away from Iceland there are certain things that have to be taken care of. Doing the appropriate paperwork right, makes everything easier. And importantly, doing it while still in Iceland.


  • Notify Registers Iceland that you will be moving abroad
  • Think about possible transfer of your insurance and/or pension rights. Also keep other personal rights and obligations in mind.
  • Check if your passport is valid and if not, apply for a new one in time.
  • Be sure to know about what rules apply to residence and work permits in the country you are moving to.
  • Make sure all tax claims are fully paid
  • Don´t rush to close your bank account in Iceland, you might need it for some time.
  • Make sure mail will be delivered to you contacting the mail service or having a representative to receive your mail.
  • Remember to unsubscribe from membership agreements before leaving.


We advice you to check out the following links for more information:


Registers Iceland

Health Insurance Iceland


Info Norden

Here you find rental lease agreements in various languages:







A rental agreement is an agreement which a tenant enters into with a landlord on the amount of rent and other issues.


It is important to enter into a written rental agreement with the landlord when renting a flat. You must make sure that you have a good understanding of the terms of the agreement, such as rules on insurance, notice of termination and other issues.


The purpose of publicly registering agreements is to guarantee and protect the rights of the parties to the agreements.

Frequently asked questions by The Consumer’s Association of Iceland

All you need to know about housing in Iceland

To find the most current information from the Icelandic authorities you should visit it´s information page on island.is website. Here is a direct link to that section.

An Icelandic Identification number is the key to utilizing various systems in Iceland.  When an identification number has been issued you will have access to most all the same rights and obligations as any other resident in Iceland.


  • You can open a bank account and apply for an electronic access ID by providing your passport.
  • You will have the same right as other residents here in Iceland to social welfare advisory and social financial assistance in the municipality you reside in.
  • If you are offered work, you can apply for a work permit at the Directorate of Immigration. More information here: Residence permit on humanitarian grounds (utl.is). You will need to provide them with a signed contract for work.
  • Minimum wage in Iceland for adults with 100% work is 368.000 kr. a month.
  • Social financial assistance varies between municipalities and is dependent upon if you are a single individual or a couple, and if you have a rental agreement for your housing. Social financial assistance usually ranges between 150.000 and 348.000 kr. a month.
  • If you find rental housing you can apply for housing benefits, a loan for initial prepayment/insurance and home furnishings.
  • If you are unable to find housing it is possible to utilize temporary housing through the Multicultural Information Centre.
  • You will have health insurance meaning you have the same rights as other residents in Iceland to utilize healthcare services. Healthcare in Iceland isn´t free but the Icelandic Health Insurance agency pays for a portion of your healthcare costs.


Important things to know:



Checklist for first steps after receiving statutory protection on humanitarian grounds here.


We have received questions like this from Ukrainians with temporary protection on humanitarian grounds currently in Iceland. In some instances, people would like to return shortly to Ukraine and then come back to Iceland, for example to pick up personal items, visit relatives or something else. Naturally people need to know what happens to their current protection status and existing rights they have here in Iceland. There are also questions from people who might decide to move away from Iceland and to another European country, regarding the loss of benefits and rights or if they will receive the same rights and benefits again in the other country.


Regarding leaving Iceland and coming back, the standard rule of a maximum of 90 days applies. Meaning people can travel to Ukraine, or any other country for that matter, return in 90 days or less and nothing should have changed. It is however important to inform social services if you are leaving so they can contact you if needed.


Regarding moving completely from Iceland to another country, things are less certain. There is a mandate between European countries to make it possible for Ukrainians to apply for temporary protection in all of the countries and not necessarily to be sent back to the country they initially received protection in. This said, it´s only a mandate, so it is difficult for Icelandic authorities to give any guarantee that people will not be sent back. The other country might possibly decide to send people back siting the Dublin agreement that normally applies.

Yes they can.


For general information about school enrollment of children from Ukraine please visit this government information site:  Ukrainian  –  English  –  Icelandic


If you are 16-20 years old and want to attend upper secondary school in Iceland (or if you are taking care of 16-20 years old individuals), please read this information brochure:  Ukrainian  –  English

It’s possible to make an appointment for an interview with a consultant at the Directorate of Labour to get help with making a CV, applying for a job and other things related to the job search.


Refugees from Ukraine need to be issued a work permit to be allowed to work in Iceland, as they are issued a residence permit on humanitarian grounds.


Employers have registered jobs with the Directorate of Labour in which counselors mediate to refugees. You can request an interview at flottamenn@vmst.is


For detailed information about this issue, please have a look at this document from the Directorate of Labour (In English and Icelandic).

112 is the emergency number in Iceland.
Calling 112 or visiting the website 112.is gets you in contact with the right people to deal with every case, depending on what it is about. The agents at 112 are always available to help.
If any kind of an emergency arises, an accident or illness, you experience abuse or witness abuse to others, theft, fraud, or something else, there are ways to deal with that in a safe and confidential way.
If you think you are experiencing abuse of any kind, please have a look at our section about Violence, abuse and negligence.

There are many things to do and see in Reykjavík. There are for example social houses, libraries and swimming pools. Take a look at the PDFs here to find out about some of the things you can start with: Ukrainian / Icelandic

The Red Cross in Iceland runs clothing stores where people can get very reasonably priced clothes. It also distributes “clothes cards” that can be used to pay for clothes in the stores.


You can read more about this in the two PDF documents below:


Clothes Distribution (PDF)

Social Support for Asylum seekers (PDF)

Here below you find information about what you need to do if you like to import pets (dogs and cats) to Iceland from Ukraine:

(For information in Ukrainian and Russian, download this document.)



From MONDAY 30 MAY 2022, MAST will start accepting applications to import pets (dogs and cats) for Ukrainian refugees living in Iceland


  • To apply for the import permit for your pet, send an email to petimport@mast.is and you will be sent a DCU application form to complete
  • The completed DCU application form and documents on the pet´s identity,  photo of the pet and pet´s health must be emailed to petimport@mast.is
  • Applications are processed in the order in which they are received by MAST
  • MAST determines the length of time the pet must stay in quarantine, taking into account what health requirements the pet has fulfilled prior to arrival to Iceland
  • If information or supporting documents are missing, the permit will not be processed until all the requested documents/information is provided
  • MAST will aim to answer emails/applications within 5 working days


For more information, visit this page by MAST.


If you have more enquiries about this, you can contact MAST directly here.

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