Iceland may not be the best digital nomad destination for warm-weather travelers, but this island has so much to offer remote workers. Of course, the Northern lights is the first thing that comes to mind, but unlike Alaska, the weather in Iceland is not all that miserable. Although the cold season lasts on average 4.9 months, there are many advantages to living and working in Iceland.
Iceland is one of the safest countries in the world in terms of crime and war. Though a small population of 364k, Iceland has a vibrant cultural scene, fun nightlife, and entertainment for all ages. The island boasts natural wonders like black sand beaches and geothermal spas like the famous Blue Lagoon.
Most travelers stay in the beautiful capital city of Reykjavik. Moreover, Icelanders are genuinely polite and mind their own business. It already sounds like heaven!
There are a few disadvantages of course, like the expensive cost of living, the language barrier, costly and slow public transport, and a few others. But if you have already decided to spend some time in Iceland, here is the big news.
The Land of Fire and Ice is looking to attract as many remote workers as possible and has, for that reason, introduced a digital nomad visa. Moreover, the government has made amendments to the Law post-pandemic, allowing Americans and other foreign nationals who don’t need a special visa to stay in the country for 90 days.
In October 2020, Iceland became one of the first countries in the Schengen area to introduce a digital nomad visa. The visa allows remote workers to stay and work remotely from Iceland for up to 6 months, but only if employed by a foreign company or as self-employed workers. Although with a short duration, this digital nomad visa has already proven effective, with many digital nomads visiting the country over the past few years.
Here is everything you need to know about the Iceland digital nomad visa.
Who can apply for Iceland digital nomad visa?
All remote workers, whether working for themselves or foreign employers, can apply for Iceland digital nomad visa. The good news about this permit is that families (spouses and children) of the remote worker can also apply for a long-term visa (with the same duration as the digital nomad visa) as family members of a digital nomad or remote worker.
Note: Like other digital nomad visas in the world, the Iceland digital nomad visa doesn’t allow visa holders or family members of visa holders to engage in the Icelandic labor market or to work for local employers. If you wish to stay and work in Iceland for a local employer, you must obtain a residence and work permit.
Requirements to apply for Iceland remote work visa are as follows:
- Applicants must be from a country outside the EEA/EFTA
- Applicants do not require an entry visa to enter Iceland
- Applicants do not need a visa to enter the Schengen area
- One year before the application, applicants have not been issued a long-term visa by the Icelandic authorities
- Applicants need to work remotely
- Applicants need to show proof of a minimum of $7,412 monthly income or 1.000.000 Icelandic Krona (ISK) (the highest income requirement for a remote work visa in the world); In the case of a spouse or a partner, this amount increases to $9,732 per month or 1,300,000 ISK.
- Applicants need to present proof of travel and health insurance coverage for the duration of the visa
- All applicants need to present a clean criminal record check
- Applicants need to pay a non-refundable application fee of 12,200 ISK or $90.24 (paid via bank transfer to the following account:
- Account number: 0515-26-410424
- Icelandic social security number/ ID number: 670269-6399
- IBAN: IS05 0515 26 410424 670269 6399
- Swift Code: GLITISRE
- Name of bank: Íslandsbanki hf.
- Bank address: Suðurlandsbraut 14, 108 Reykjavik, Iceland
While some of the conditions to apply for Iceland remote work visa are pretty reasonable, the one that could prevent many digital nomads from applying is the proof of a nearly $8,000 monthly income requirement.
When applying for the Iceland remote work visa, you must follow the steps accordingly. You need to know beforehand that you can not apply for Iceland digital nomad visa online.
Once you have gathered all of your documentation, including a signed visa application form, payment receipt for the processing fee, copies of your passport, bank statements, and a few other required documents that I will mention below, you need to mail them in a paper form to the Directorate of Immigration of Iceland or personally deliver to the drop box in their lobby. The address is Directorate of Immigration, Dalvegur 18, 201 Kópavogur.
The Directorate of Immigration authorities will notify you whether the application has been successful, or they can ask you to send additional documents.
When you get your visa
There are a few things to keep in mind before and when you get the visa. First, you will receive your visa upon entry to Iceland, but you should keep your approval confirmation handy. Upon arrival, you should email firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain your visa.
The visa starts expiring from your entry date. Therefore, it is recommended to travel to the Schengen area or enter Iceland after your visa is approved, as any time you spend before that is deducted from your visa.
Iceland is part of the Schengen zone, but you can stay in other Schengen countries for up to three months over your six months stay in Iceland.
Note: It is recommended to apply for the Iceland remote work visa from your home country. If you apply from a Schengen country, the duration of the visa will only be 90 days.
Unfortunately, you can not extend your stay once your digital nomad visa expires. Read below to find out what other visas you can apply for to stay in Iceland long-term.
Documents required to apply for Iceland digital nomad visa
The following documents are required to apply for Iceland remote work visa:
- Copy of valid passport (valid for at least three months beyond the duration of the stay)
- Passport photo (35×45 mm) not older than six months
- Purpose of stay/proof of employment contract if employed with a foreign company or proof of projects you will be working on if you are self-employed
- Health insurance policy from an insurance provider in Iceland or other that is valid for Iceland or the Schengen area
- Criminal Record Check
- Proof of income from remote working ($7,412/month)
- Payment receipt for the processing fee (You should place the applicant’s name and birthday (DD.MM.YYYY) in the subject line).
Documents required when applying for a spouse/partner or your children
In addition to the documents above, you must provide a marriage certificate copy for a spouse or, in the case of a partner, proof that confirms you have lived together for at least one year.
Documents needed to apply for your children
In addition to the documents listed above, you are required to provide the following documents:
- Birth certificate
- Custody documents (Custody Documents, Divorce Papers, Death Certificate)
- Documents regarding your child’s education – for children aged 6-16, you must confirm that:
- The child receives remote instruction from a school in your home country
- The child is enrolled in a school in Iceland
- Child receives homeschooling
Duration of the visa process
Unlike other digital nomad visas, when applicants can apply online, the Iceland remote work visa is sent through the mail, making the process a bit longer, anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. For this reason, it is best to plan accordingly and apply ahead of time.
What other types of visas can I obtain to stay in Iceland?
Here are a few other types of visas that allow a stay in Iceland:
- Iceland Transit Visa. It is required only when you arrive in Iceland by plane and need to catch your connecting flight or get on board a cruise ship or other kind of vessel to your non-Schengen destination country.
- Iceland Tourist and Visitor Visa. This short-term stay visa allows travel throughout the Schengen area for 90 days within a period of six months.
- Iceland Business Visa. This short-term visa allows a stay of no longer than 90 days for business travelers attending conferences or business meetings.
- Iceland Cultural, Sports, and Religious event visa
- Iceland Medical Treatment visa
- Iceland long-term visa (valid up to 180 days, for which you can apply only once every 12 months)
Iceland visa extension
Suppose you wish to extend your stay past the maximum 180-day period. In that case, you can only do so if you show proof that you cannot leave Iceland due to force majeure or other valid reasons that have incapacitated you, preventing you from leaving the country.
Iceland was the first country in the Schengen zone to introduce the digital nomad visa. Other countries in the European Union that joined the club of digital nomad visas are Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, and Spain, with a few more announcing the implementation of remote work visas in the near future.
The Iceland remote work visa is considered a long-term visa, even though it is only valid for up to six months. Once it expires, it can no longer be extended.
There are a few requirements that stand out from other Schengen country conditions. Such as the proof of a minimum of $7,412 monthly income, which for some remote workers is unthinkable, especially when that number increases to $9,732 per month if they want to bring their spouse or children with them.
If you are lucky enough to make that much money per month, you will have a great time in Iceland for those six months without worrying about rent, transport, expenses, or other costs. You can simply enjoy the beautiful island has to offer, all the while being with the people you love.
For more details on the Iceland visa, check the official website of the Iceland Directorate of Immigration.