All You Need to Know About Moving to Iceland – A guest post by Jenna Gottlieb

One of the questions I hate the most that I get through this blog is “How can I move to Iceland?“.  Especially when it is followed by “How can I find housing in Iceland?” and “What’s the best way to get a job in Iceland?” I don’t hate these questions because there’s anything wrong with them per se, I totally understand why people would ask me that,  but rather because I don’t have any answers to them. I am a local and I’ve never gone through this process. I also haven’t been on the rental market or had to look for a job in years. So I hate them because I just don’t know.

Thankfully there’s a group on Facebook where you can get questions about living in Iceland as a foreigner answered. So in order to help those of you who have been getting my apologetic “I don’t know” replies I reached out to the friendly folks in the group and asked if they had any first hand experience to share. This guest post is the result of my plea. 

Jenna Gottlieb is a New Yorker and journalist that moved to Iceland in 2012 to be with her Icelandic husband.


All you need to know about moving to Iceland


So, you just got back home from your trip to Iceland and you’re convinced you want to move here. And, who could blame you? Iceland is beautiful, chock full of waterfalls, glaciers, hiking paths, pools and hot springs.  And then there’s Reykjavik—ground zero for art, culture and killer nightlife. Before you pack your bags and buy a one-way plane ticket, there are several things to consider. For the purpose of this blog post, let’s separate potential immigrants into two groups: EEA/EU citizens and everyone else.

First up are EEA/EFTA citizens. If you’re European, you’re in luck. You will have an easier time navigating the immigration process and moving to Iceland. Indeed, citizens from the EEA and EFTA states do not need a special residence permit to stay in Iceland, but must register with Registers Iceland after arriving.

After arriving, you can apply through a bank to receive a “kennitala” which is essentially Iceland’s social security number. It’s essential to have this number for everything from renting an apartment to getting a job. If you have a signed work contract before you arrive, your employer can help you obtain your kennitala.

As part of the immigration process, you have to show that you can support yourself while in Iceland. The amount of money an individual is expected to earn to support oneself is ISK 180,550 per month, and ISK 270,825 per couple (these figures are current as of 2018).

For additional information on immigration requirements, please visit the Directorate of Immigration’s website at

As for everyone else, the bad news for you non-EEA folks is that there are only three ways for you to secure a residence permit in Iceland.

  • Be married to an Icelander. This is pretty straightforward.
  • Attend a university. If you are accepted into a university in Iceland, you will likely be granted a residence permit and possibly a limited work permit. However, you will have to prove that you have enough money to support yourself while in Iceland.
  • Secure a work permit for a job. This sounds good, but it’s not so easy. It has to be for a specialized, desirable work skill like computer programming. A prospective employer has to show that you are needed for the job, one that they can’t find an Icelander or EEA citizen to fill. So if you’re looking for a job as a restaurant worker, journalist, wedding planner, teacher, or just about anything else, you’re basically out of luck. There’s a very short list of potential jobs for you. Also, you will have to have a signed work contract before you move to secure the permit. You cannot move to Iceland and look for work like EEA citizens can. I’m sorry to be a buzz kill, but it’s very, very difficult to obtain this kind of permit. For more information, check out the Directorate of Immigration website at

Now, if you are still interested in moving to Iceland, here’s some practical information:


The ability to secure a job as an EEA citizen depends on your expectations. If you want to come to Iceland as a seasonal worker in a hotel, guesthouse, or restaurant, your best bet is during the high season (the summer).  Restaurants and hotels are always looking for extra staff in the summer. If you are after a more professional job, it’s much more difficult to obtain if you don’t speak Icelandic. The exception is the computer programming/gaming industries, where loads of immigrants work, or the tourism industry. If you are interested in working on a farm, there are opportunities to do so in the countryside. Below are a few job websites:


Be advised that the rental market in Iceland is tough. It’s not easy to secure an affordable room in central Reykjavik. There are single rooms that can go for 70,000ISK. If you’re looking for a studio or one bedroom apartment, the going rates could be shocking. It’s very, very expensive to live in Iceland. Below are a couple of websites where you can check out available rooms. Also, because Reykjavik is more popular than ever, there is a lot of competition for rooms. Locals, exchange students and new immigrants are all after the same rooms/apartments.

Language Learning

If you want to give learning Icelandic a go, and why wouldn’t you? It’s a fun language! Check out this free online course offered by the University of Iceland:  After you arrive, there are a number of language schools that teach Icelandic including the “Icelandic for Foreigners” program at the University of Iceland (, and schools like Mimir ( and the Tin Can Factory (


If you had your holiday in Iceland during the summer, you saw just a small slice of Icelandic weather.  You may have experienced some rain and wind, but if you were lucky, you also saw long days with lots of sunshine and blue skies. It’s pretty easy to love Iceland in the summer. The winter, however, is a different story for some people. Days are short, the wind is brutal and the lack of sunshine can drive some people nuts. Don’t get me wrong, Iceland is great, but it’s not always the easiest place to live, especially for those that don’t have a network of friends and family. Before you move, it’s a good idea to experience the winter, especially during December or January if possible. Be sure you know what you’re getting into. The winter can be lovely with Northern Lights and cozy days with friends, but it can also be challenging.

I moved to Iceland about three years ago from New York City and it’s been the best, yet most challenging move of my life. Iceland is undeniably a beautiful and special place, but it’s important to do you research before you move to give yourself the best shot at success. Best of luck!


A small note from Auður – the owner of I Heart Reykjavík: 

I have decided to close the comments on this post as I was astonished and appalled at the comments left on it (the worst ones were moderated out). Although I firmly believe in everyone having the right to their own opinion:  name-calling, racism and vulgar language will not be tolerated here. 

Spread the word


164 thoughts on “All You Need to Know About Moving to Iceland – A guest post by Jenna Gottlieb”

  1. Eleanor says:

    Thank you for a very informative article!

    We’re a couple that fell in love with Iceland (in the wintertime too!) and have been very seriously considering moving there. Would you be able to give us an idea of wages and rental costing? perhaps in relation to each other. We’re both in our thirties and established in our careers, in Marketing and Finance, so we’re trying to find out if we can make a comparable living in Iceland.

    Also, are there any better areas to look for housing, that might be a bit cheaper outside of the city centre?

    1. mm Auður says:

      Like I mentioned at the beginning of the post I haven’t been on the rental market for years and I have worked for myself for a few years too so I don’t have a feeling for these prices. I think you would have more luck joining the group and ask your questions there.

      Areas like Breiðholt tend to be cheaper than the downtown area and it’s fairly easy to use the public transport.

      1. Nick T. says:

        It’s most likely Americans asking questions that were already addressed in your blog post or asking questions that, frankly, are common sense. They’re mostly too lazy to be bothered to read anything more than a paragraph long or use common sense (and Google) to get answers/info that should take literally 10 seconds to find. Iceland is a highly communal place where people are devoted to looking after the group rather than just themselves. So, not a good place for most Americans to move.

        I am American myself. So, I don’t enjoy saying the above…but it’s the sad truth. Anyway, moral of the story is don’t waste time responding to questions that clearly show its author hasn’t even bothered to read your post or is too lazy to perform even the simplest legwork.

        1. mm Auður says:

          I’m not a fan of such generalizations and I don’t think Americans are any more lazy than anyone else.

          1. Aube1 says:

            Thank you for not being brain washed by the media mess the us has created.

          2. Laura says:

            Thank you! As a self made American that works often 17 hours a day and gives back remaining time and money to those less fortunate. Most of those I graduated college with, all paid our own way by working nights and weekends while carrying a full load. Never heard of underemployment as I carried 3 jobs upon graduating college during a recession. I’m outraged by these statements and am embarrassed for you that are them.

          3. Michelle Pressley says:

            I love your resonse. I am not a fan of generalizations. Rather, i am a US citizen by birth, with european blood flowing through my veins.
            I love the idea and morals of Iceland and am a widow of 6 years I would love to ‘run away and hide’ while supporting myself to this beautiful country.
            Thank you for all of the great information.

        2. Aube1 says:

          Rude!…not all Americans are douch bags. But keep watching you tel LIE vision. And yes we have a serious political and cultural problem. How do you fix this corruption? I think it’s just time to leave.

        3. Larry Germain says:

          Gross generalizations can tend to get one in trouble, friend. There are plenty of Americans who do not fit your stereotype.

        4. Melissa says:

          Wow. How’s that superiority complex working out for you? I bet you are a millennial. Entitled for no reason at all. You probably wrote this piece wearing an ascot and smoking a pipe. Even your cat rolls his eyes when you talk. Please, by all means, let me just say how much it I don’t enjoy saying that. (Insert crying emoji here)
          Forgive us. I beg you. We are just simple cavemen. We never were much for your books and such. Run. Run away from the stupidity as fast as you can! It’s rubbing off on you.
          Here you are blasting the very country that made you into the pompous world-class douche you are. Tsk, tsk!
          We’re not perfect, but you need to step down from your high horse. I doubt Iceland needs anyone like you there either.

          1. Michelle Pressley says:


        5. Nick T. says:

          Wow, reading comprehension here is quite low. I never said all Americans are XYZ (e.g., lazy or stupid). Only that most often when I read a reply asking a question that was clearly answered in the body of the text, it is usually an American. I can’t believe those above who listed their strong work habits as proof my sentiments were wrong. They realize that one person does not make a representative sample group, right?

          PS – I loath millennials, SJWs, etc. along with their counterpart on the right. So, these stabs at guessing where I fall in the political spectrum or the cultural demo I belong to, are hilarious and inaccurate.

          1. Joe O. says:

            Lmao r/iamverysmart

        6. Jessica says:

          I don’t know why you are stereotyping Americans this way, because we are not all the same person. It’s interesting that you are saying this when you are American, you would think that you would know this. Many Americans work very hard, harder than you would know. Also I was googling and doing my own research and this blog popped up, so you’re saying I am too lazy to google this, when that is how I got here? I am sure I am not the only one either. It just seems like a whole lot of unnecessary hate to me.

        7. DT says:

          Wow. Well the posts below yours covered what I felt and wanted to say about your attitude. So I’ll leave it at that.

        8. l says:

          as a lazy american, your answer was the first i read in my brand new search of seeing what social work is like in other countries. my son is almost 18, and i am ready to go out in the world. but as i suspected, im to be judged by shit i only have a controlled vote over. but its cool, i get it. embarrassed and everything. just another thing i will try to overcome. we dont all act like americans you know. [edited due to language used]. 😉

          1. mm Auður - I Heart Reykjavík says:

            Please refrain from name-calling! 🙂

    2. N. Pollock says:

      I read alot of these posts and Im going to very honest. I am half Icelandic half American born in Iceland grew up in both places and I have a huge family in Iceland.
      Unless you have strong family ties in Iceland I would not recommend moving there. The population is small and has been somewhat isolated until humm..I would say it started getting kick started in the eighties. Anyone not Icelandic will have a very hard time going about things. To really do well there you need family ties and connections And Im sorry to say and it might not be good for tourism but according to my family there they are already experiencing a housing crisis especially in 101 because of the huge influx of foreigners. The tourist business is all well and fine but a nation of 330,000 has to pay host to 1.5 million people per year, it can be stifling. Im moving back home soon to Iceland where I was born where my family is where my mother is buried but I come there and I know how it is..from the inside so it is very easy for me but will be very difficult for you. Come and visit but truthfully if you try to stay especially with no family ties at best you exsist on the fringes of society never fully excepted and may experience resentment. There’s a big difference visiting a place and living there.

      1. thank you for this; it is more important to have the truth than rosy-coloured touristy reports. I still would love to visit, but not a move.

        1. Natalie says:

          Thank you..truth is always better than illusion. Enjoy your visit to Iceland : )

      2. Tracy says:

        Well that’s not nice at all people not accepting other people and resentment in this day and age people should accept other people and be diverse and accept difference sounds to me like you don’t want us foreigners moving there as you don’t accept them either …and you’re not sending out a good message or image of the Icelandic people

        1. Margot Gorske says:

          A small unique country wants to preserve its pristine wilderness and homogenous population. Versus the strife, tension, pollution of those who wish to emigrate. Jee I just might have to side with ICELAND on this one!
          Iceland, stay pure small and isolationist. Save yourselves!

          1. mm Auður says:

            Just for the record – this is not how I see the world as an Icelander and neither do those around me. This may be Margot’s opinion (and she’s very much entitled to one) but it+s certainly not mine. I don’t believe in isolation.

        2. Bridget says:

          He is simply telling you how it is. Its simple really…a very small population, isolated for many years, Grandparents and great grandparents can remember when there were only 50,000 living there, and no mail road. An influx of foreigners all looking for the good life, in a tiny country with overcrowding, how can you blame them for feeling isolationist…..their lifestyle is perfect because they have worked hard to keep it that way.

        3. James says:

          See this is how the new trump America is going to be and should be help your true friends and neighbors and block out people here to invade our benefits and dwindling jobs. We can all take a lesson from Icelanders I think

        4. Gregor says:

          It was not explained in the way that you are taking it, Tracy!

        5. Gladys Torres says:

          I agree Tracy, sounds to me like they enjoy making money off the tourist but then they want them to leave and return home to the states. Not a very welcoming statement to say the least. How would immigrants from other countries feel if they were told the same when trying to come to OUR “land of the free”, I wonder? Not very warm and fuzzy I bet, huh?

          These comments made from Iceland locals and this (racist of his own kind -American) are not friendly at all! It’s a crying shame! We are all brothers and sisters, God’s children under one GOD! How would they like it if we did not welcome them to live in the USA? Yes, our president and leader “TRUMP” is an “ASS” but that however is not the fault of the American people. Since, I personally do not believe minorities especially poverty strikebound communities have their votes counted anyway. I despise politics but this all sounds so politically incorrect tom e and cruel. Live and let live and accept wit open arms. Anyone should have the right to live wherever they choose. Have a blessed day!

      3. TZO2k15 says:

        As a wanderer myself I can relate, ironically I have received a lot of resentment from Seattle’s locals, and this is in our very own nation!

        I believe in general people that move into a town/small nation that largely ignores the culture, religion and traditions while offering nothing for the town/nation and instead, take advantage of it’s resources without reciprocation, should expect no less than becoming alienated and relegated to that town’s/small nation’s fringes!

        No, if you bide your time and learn and adapt in a small town/nation while offering/making yourself a valuable asset for that town/nation it really does not matter in the slightest whether you were born there or not, the only people who would still take issue will be the xenophobic, as they forever remain a permanent fixture in any town/city/nation!

        The only difference is how well you provide them with the evidence that they so badly crave from you in order to prove them right and validate their well-established attitude they have cultivated for themselves.

      4. Jessica says:

        Thank you for this truthful and honest opinion and sharing your experience with us. This is very helpful 😀

      5. Peter says:

        Thank you for such a compassionate, empathetic, and intuitive post. I am looking for a North Atlantic or Scandinavian home for my retirement. I am at that age, and have a good retirement income, unlike so many Americans. I have years to learn the language, which I sense is the barrier to social assimilation. Given that I would not need a work permit, how would that affect my residency application?

        1. mm Auður - I Heart Reykjavík says:

          As explained in the post, it’s not really possible to move here for retirement, even if you have money. But you should contact to get answers to any specific questions regarding immigration.

      6. Raj says:

        Thank you for the excellent and honest reply, I am planning to move to Iceland, I have been accepted in paid 4 years PhD studentship.

        I was in US for 15 years, migrated from Asia, then I read all rosy rosy things about Finland, written everywhere, even Forbes magazine, it is best place to live, best social life, best education, best economy and best opportunity to work. So I moved to Finland, giving up my US citizenship, now after 10 years in Finland, realized it is all false, it is extremely difficult for foreigner to get anything here, work, housing, even making friend is asking for too much, no body looks at you even, forget about saying Hi or Hello, lived at a place for 5 years and nobody talked any further than Hi. Finnish people just puts you down as long as you are not Finnish and your skin is darker, they believe with arrogance, they are the most educated, most intelligent and the best race on this planet earth. Honestly, they believe that, it shows on their tv, newspaper all the time.

        Anyways, moving on to Iceland, I really want to know more about Iceland as I am going to make yet another life changing decision, and I honestly wants to think very carefully. I have paid PhD admission in UK also, so I am little bit thinking.

        I only read online and I know Iceland has many plus, regarding health, environment, but being Asian, it might be difficult to find work after completing PhD, isn’t it?



        1. mm Auður - I Heart Reykjavík says:

          Hi Raj,

          If you have problems finding a job after your PhD it would not be because you’re Asian – the biggest obstacle is the language. However, if you have a PhD in a field where we need more specialty workforce the language issue usually becomes a non-issue.

          If you are going to be doing a PhD here, you will without a doubt build relationships during your 4 years that will help you find a job after it. Iceland is a very close-knit community, and in certain fields it’s even more like that so it almost becomes more about who you know than who you are.

    3. Hope says:

      I have read your comment to Jenna Gottlieb post on i heartreykjavik i was just curious if you already got a chance to live in Iceland? And do you know someone that is renting a plot? Because me and my husband were planning to move in to iceland this march and he went there just last year and he said the only problem is the housing ” its hard to find a not expensive plot”.

  2. Zita Zádory says:

    Dear All,

    I totally agree with Audur and do not understand people who are asking others to help in these question. Below is my story:
    We are a Hungarian couple with 3 kids and moved to Reykjavík last November. We decided that we move in January and planned it all by ourselves. We came for a short visit in May – for two weeks – to check out things, went to every office which turned out to be very important. My husband came in August, found a job, an apartment, school for the kids and in November I came with our kids. I found a job in December and now we are living happily together in Reykjavík. I think – as far as I can think now – it was the best decision to make for ourselves and for our children. I do not say it was easy and straigt but I think it worth it. We love winter, the snow, the seaside and the folks are just great.

    If you are planning to move, do not ask others! Do it yourselves! You can find every information on the websites and if you speak English (you should if you do not speak Icelandic) you will find your way!

    Some say we are lucky but I think we are just adventurous and brave 🙂

    Best wishes and luck to everyone who wants to live in this beautiful country. Zita

    1. D. Poe says:

      So what you’re telling me is if one is deciding to venture into the unknown they shouldn’t seek advice from anyone in the know? Just jump right in head first? Great advice! Just do it yourselves! Don’t ask stupid questions like “what’s the best way to go about searching for the basic necessities of life in a strange land”.

      1. Zita Zádory says:

        No, that is not what I am telling. You probably misunderstood what I was suggesting. I have experienced that many people are waiting for other people’s advice and they do not even try to do it themselves. I am always the one who is helping others if they ask me, but when I asked people living abroad they were just not willing to help.
        Sorry to say but it happens a lot. Fortunately we had some Hungarians who helped us but in the basic questions like work, finding an appartment, school, we had to find out ourselves.

        Do ask for advice but do not wait for other people to solve your problems, and search for things instead of you if you once decided 🙂 That is my advice and I think it is great!

        Regards, Zita

        1. Diana says:

          2017… Years later and in retrospect I have found Zita’s comments enlightening. I grew up in the Pacific, lived and worked all over the world and now reside in a sleepy 1200 people community on the tip of the Sunshine Coast in Australia, with my beautiful 22 year old son whom I have raised completely on my own- no family. From fabulous cities such as Hong Kong, Barcelona, Melbourne, Paris, New York and Tokyo… to a tiny community led spot in the middle of nowhere but surrounded by nature and water (particularly useful in this Chinese year of the fire rooster!) I’ve travelled mostly alone.

          As a woman, being brave comes naturally, as does common sense and compassion. With these fundamental skills you may be free to travel. The TV, the media, the white washing, 2008!, none of these ‘places’ make is easy or comfortable or even clear what is and what is not “the go” with regards to travelling in general. It is far better to decide for oneself. Perhaps courage and bravery are born from compassion and understanding foremost…but not for most. ?

          I have a Dutch father to my son and he has escaped paying child support by leaving Australia and hiding in Spain for 18 years while his son grew up. The bravery I found when travelling with my son was quite different (born from fear that is). Either way, what I have discovered is quite feminine…….love and understanding will protect us from each other and only then – as a far reaching and far broader community (the very real global one) evolves in compassion- might the need to escape from our own once loved homes subside. I am convinced Iceland could be the only place in the world for my son and I because its essentially hearalded by woman + men, not the other way around. The subtlety is what makes your place so, so special. Tin Can It and send it global! Clearly, We All❣️Iceland xox

      2. If that is what you picked up from her article, you are not ready to move to a country with a small population that you will need to interact with. You’re better off alone …

    2. BAPM says:

      Which type of Job your husband & you are doing there? Can you tell me?

    3. Naphegyi says:

      I would like to keep in touch with you, Zita.

    4. amna says:

      Is it easy for an asian girl to move iceland and settled easily , use english language,and is it easy to get a job to fullfil basic requirements?i am a pakistani college student and always wish to move to iceland but just because of lack of imfo i am confused by my wish…so i want you to guide me for this☺

      1. mm Auður says:

        I suggest you contact for more information.

        1. Bec says:

          You are so patient responding to people who clearly seem to be asking a question that you already addressed (or that you obviously can’t answer because you are not the immigration office). I appreciate your example of kindness and maturity. Maybe I will try to be a little more patient too with people who ask me questions that seem obvious (which has formerly been a pet peeve and point of judgment for me). My friend Ricky told me once “I take issue with people saying ‘if I were in his shoes, then I would have done _________’, Because if you were in someone else’s shoes you would have their upbringing, their IQ, their genetics and obviously you would have done exactly what they did.” It was a “duh” and “aha” moment for me.

  3. Tota says:

    I would love to move to NY! I wish I do it in 3 years. I am living in Iceland and hate it with all my heart 🙁

    1. Timothy Davenport says:

      I’m an American living in Washington State and want to try living in Iceland because I visited Iceland for 8 days and loved it. What do you hate about Iceland?

    2. kamaal says:

      i want and plan to move to Iceland , can you please advice why you hate Iceland ?

    3. bushareb says:

      just please tell me how come u hate it cuz im currious

    4. deepak says:

      why do you hate Iceland…its so beautuful…

    5. Gerry says:

      Just curious, I realize your post is going on three years old, but is Tota a female first name? I live in New York state by the way.

      1. mm Auður - I Heart Reykjavík says:

        Tóta is a nickname – often short for Þórunn or other female names starting with Þór-

        1. Gerald says:

          Ok, thank you Audur. Looking forward to visiting Iceland when I get the chance.

  4. Pippi says:

    A single room in Reykjavik can go for 70,000 ISK and you present that as shocking. That’s 500 USD.

    I’m a New Yorker in Los Angeles. In both cities, single rooms rent for $1600-2300 all the time. To be clear, that’s 150,000-370,000 ISK.

    1. Megha says:

      I’m in Toronto and live in Community Housing and spend what Google tells me is the equivalent to 125828ISK a month. Two bedroom mind you. But still. Iceland doesn’t sound so bad as far as housing goes lol

    2. toni says:

      hello zita i am living in debrecen.and i want also move from here.can you help mi in some ways.such like how is life there.expencive life is there?and so on.that will helpfull if aou touch us.we are coupel and move to iceland—-our e-mail is– name is toni ,and wife tunde

    3. Micah says:

      For comparison: I pay $1,800 USD/Month for a tiny apartment in northern California.

  5. Rahul Sasidharan says:

    i lke iceland

  6. Cheryl says:

    “Secure a work permit for a job. This sounds good, but it’s not so easy. It has to be for a specialized, desirable work skill like computer programming. A prospective employer has to show that you are needed for the job, one that they can’t find an Icelander or EEA citizen to fill.” – But what if you have a job with a US employer that you can do from anywhere with phone and internet connection? Does anyone here know where I could find information about that? 🙂

    1. Jenna says:

      Unfortunately, that is not an option for non-EEA citizens. In order to be granted a work permit, you need to be sponsored by a company in Iceland.

      1. Gheorghe Daniciuc says:

        So… allow me to rephrase that: if one is a citizen of a European Union country, one does NOT need sponsorship from a local company? One would like.. just travel there, stay in a motel for a while, while browsing for a job – and just switch from motel to a rent, after finding one (job, that is)? Did I get it right?

        George from Laval
        Montreal’s northern suburb

      2. Sawaid ahmad says:

        Hello could you please help me in order to immigration from pakistan to Iceland please

        1. mm Auður says:

          I would recommend you contact

      3. Aube1 says:

        That is shitty

  7. Very useful article. I love this country. Unfortunately I can`t do it right now. My husband wanted to live there actually but it is really hard to go there if you are not married to Icelander. Thank you for sharing your article. Greetings!

    1. mm Auður says:

      It’s not difficult if you have a EU passport though.

  8. Caroline says:

    Jenna & all- spouses of citizens of any EEA member country (not just spouses of Icelandic citizens) are eligible for a family-based visa to live and work in Iceland.

  9. Savanah says:

    I am spanish and I am planning to visit Iceland. I was wondering how it to work as a physical doctor there!

  10. Wendy Jordan says:

    Lovely post! It’s great to read from someone who’s been through all this, lived in Iceland, felt it’s spirit. I’m moving to work in Iceland in the middle of the next year and I’m so glad I found your information. Thank you for sharing your experience!

  11. Really great post! My best friend is planning to move to Iceland. She wants to go there since we were kids and finally she has decided to move there! I am very excited for her and I will be happy to help her in any way that I can. I will definitely share this article with her! There is so much information about what to do in order to move to Iceland. Thank you for sharing!

  12. mark thorpe says:

    ok so an EU passport holder, myself, with a Japanese wife and joint nationality son. How would that work for her and the boy, 3yrs old.

    1. Freddy says:

      Spouse of EU citizen enjoys same rights as EU citizen when accompanied by EU citizn (spouse)..

  13. Farhana Mustapha says:

    Thanks for the post! May I find out the skill that successfully got you to Iceland?

  14. Isabelle says:

    Jobs for pharmacist from USA? Work on a horse farm? Only have US passport.

  15. wanderinjoe says:

    I am a UK national and so are my kids but my wife is from the Philippines. If I got a job in Iceland how difficult would it be for my wife to accompany us?

    1. mm Auður says:

      I am not 100% sure about this but I would think if you are married she would be able to accompany you. But you can find more info through

  16. Franc says:

    Hmm,… you didn’t say anything about starting a business there. Jobs may be difficult to get, but can I start a business instead?

    1. mm Auður says:

      It can be difficult for you to start a business if you don’t have a permit to stay here – which you often can only get through an employer. You can contact for more information though.

      1. Franc says:

        Hey, great! Thanks for the info 🙂

  17. Mario says:

    All of you EU/EEA citizens who have partners/spouses that are not EU/EEA citizens have nothing to worry about because they can move with you to any other EU/EEA country. Same goes for children of course. They will have to register, and based on that will get a residency/work permit.

  18. Michelle says:

    Hi there

    My husband is a Swedes,we want to move to Iceland and interesting in farming business ,do you guys have any links or place where we should looking up for information ? Any info would be grateful 🙂

    Thank you

  19. damilola says:

    I live in Nigeria and i need get out of here. .

    1. richard says:

      i’m stuck in canada and need to get out of here!

    2. biyi says:

      No time

    3. Gerry says:

      I’m stuck in the USA, and I need to get out of Trumpanzee Bizzaro World. Someone please save me! /s

  20. damilola says:

    Starting a new life elsewhere is mostly a difficult move. But determination is what makes it achivable . Some of you are trying to move from US and Canada to Iceland??? Well , different strokes for different folks. I once applied to the university of iceland but the application wasnt granted due to reasons best known to them. But i’ll love visit first before i conclude on relocating . I’ll advise anyone planning on moving to any part of the world to visit first and find out the situation by yourself . @zita made the right move thats why it seem easy for her and her family.

  21. Dinesh says:

    HI, im an architect i will be graduating next year in india with a professional licence. i fell in love with the iceland beauty and architecture. im thinking to work there as a professional, i have 1 year of time by the way i’m good at learning so i think i can learn those skills which are needed to work there as a professional architect. i am expecting someone help me through this, if there is any firm that is ready to give me a job then i will be so glad. few things to say
    1) i am ready to learn any skills or software they demand.
    2) i have good management skills too.
    3) i have a capability of working long hours with good efficiency either in team or individually.

  22. OZER says:

    Is gay marriage legal in Iceland?

    1. mm Auður says:

      Yes it is and has been for a while already.

  23. korab says:

    im a kosovar-albanian living in nyc , i just want to wish to everybody in iceland the best of luck in EURO 2016 , u guys made the history , congrats 😉

    1. mm Auður says:

      Thank you 🙂

  24. Carlos says:

    could we use your picture from this post for a Facebook group? to help immigrants?

    1. mm Auður says:

      Please don’t.

  25. Maria says:

    Hey! I wanna study History or Geography (tourism) in Iceland. What do you think? It will be difficult for me to find a job and to be able to live there?

    1. mm Auður says:

      Hi Maria,

      It might be difficult for you to study history and tourism in Iceland if you don’t speak Icelandic because the classes are mostly in Icelandic. I would suggest you contact the international offices in the Universities that teach these subjects in Iceland and have a chat with them about your options.

      If you don’t have a EU passport you’ll still need a work permit even if you are here on a student visa.

  26. Chelsey Bjornson says:


    I’m seriously considering on moving to Iceland.. My family descends from there and from everything i’ve seen it looks like somewhere i want to be. I’m just wondering on the laws of bringing your pets and how would moving your vehicle there work?

    1. mm Auður says:

      I can’t tell you anything about moving your vehicle here but you can information about pets here:

  27. C says:

    I love how there are alot of up-to-date information on this blog regard work and housing.

    Ill be getting married to an Icelandic and moving to Iceland this year and this blog is really helpful.

    Thanks 🙂

  28. Lori says:

    I’m scottish-french-mexican, and I moved to Canada 7 years ago. I love winter and cold weather, and I adore the Canadian outdoors. I’ve learned by my own experience that being an immigrant is always challenging.
    Before you take the decision of moving countries, ask people, do lots and lots and lots and lots (not enough) of research, and live there if possible for more than a month. As a tourist you will probably surround your idea of the country with an aura of magic and a number of myths, which will disappear abruptly within the first couple of months of living already there. As a tourist, you don’t see the litter in the streets, the drug dealers in the shady part of town, the health system flaws, the attitude of the locals towards the immigrants. Think that you will start a new life from the scratch and will not ( and shouldn’t ) be able to keep your traditions intact. You will now have the moral obligation of adopting the local traditions and their preservation (you can also share yours, but it wouldn’ be fair to try to create a micro-country of your own).
    As you see, there are lots of considerations to make before you take that big and life-restarting step.
    Moving countries is not for the faint-hearted, and the real immigration process starts once you arrive to your new country…

  29. Adams says:


  30. Susan says:

    To the author thank you so much for all of these wonderful links and this information. I am planning on spending about 4 months in Vienna but while there I want to make several trips to Iceland I was there last summer.

    You must have had an amazing unique experience if you moved from New York 3 years ago and yet have not had to find a rental place or find a job when moving to Iceland. I think many people ask you these questions because they assume that since you moved from New York to Iceland you did need to find somewhere to rent and to find a job and perhaps you have family there and own the house?

    And this is why you have never dealt with these topics personally on your own?
    But anyway you must have a very unique experience I would love to hear how you have not dealt with any of these topics and yet you are new to Iceland? 🙂 thank you

    1. mm Auður says:

      I think you are misunderstanding this post. Me (Auður) am a native Icelander who has lived in Iceland almost my life. I own my apartment and I work for myself (writing this blog). Jenna (who wrote the information in this post because I had never gone through any of this myself) is from New York.

      1. Susan says:

        Oh, I see, so can the lady who moved from New York explain or speak to these questions? Or perhaps she is long gone and just wrote one article and isnt around to respond – but thansk for explaining (you are native,ha!)

        1. mm Auður says:

          No, because she didn’t write the preface you are referring to in your first comment – I did. She doesn’t speak at all about her own experience.

          Jenna doesn’t monitor the comments here – she was just providing useful information. You can join the Facebook group that is linked in this posts and ask your questions there.

  31. KARWAN says:

    Hi im in IRAQ how can i move ICELAND to stay there pleas answer me because im looking for a place to become my dream have some one to help me ?

  32. Patrick says:

    Hello, how about a person who owns a company in a country like Nigeria can he get a residence permit, a house in Iceland, live and gain other skills in web design etc while living in Iceland, using his/her income from his/her company as source of living without getting a job there. Thanks.

    1. mm Auður says:

      Since the residence permit for no EU/EEA residence is usually tied with a work permit I doubt that would work. You can find more info here:

      1. Patrick says:


  33. Mila says:

    PS Your Housing links are both broken

  34. Mila says:

    Actually, all your links are broken. They are parsing within your site.

    1. mm Auður says:

      Thanks for the heads up – it wasn’t actually all the links but too many none the less. The issue has been fixed now.

  35. Veliu says:

    Hi , I want to study law school in Reykjavik , for a master degree in háskólinn í reykjavík and I wanted to ask how is the student life there? Also I’m from Albania and I need a student visa. Also my family wants to join me too … Do I have a way to get them and work there … we have never been there but I think we would really like.

    1. mm Auður says:

      I would recommend you contact them directly with your questions:

  36. Raquel says:

    Hey, I just wanna say that everyone commenting should be thankful for Auður responding and being super helpful after a very honest article.

    I’m portuguese, my husband is american, and we’re thinking about moving to Iceland in a couple of years. We went there last year and we’ll go there again next year before making a final decision.

    My only suggestion is to plan ahead, by yourselves or through other people, just make sure your idea of moving doesn’t change. Allow yourself some time… to read, research, learn and go. As someone else said before, it is very challenging to be an immigrant anywhere in the world.

    Best of luck!

  37. Hisham says:

    Hi ‘ I want to learn the Iceland language then study physical education school in Reykjavik how can I do this . thanks.

  38. Shelley says:

    Hi Auder
    My son has just started a Business degree in Nottingham would he be able to come to Iceland to study or gain work experience at any time during his studies?

    1. mm Auður says:

      If he’s a UK citizen (and before Brexit comes into effect) he should be able to do that. He could look into programs like the Erasmus program.

  39. mary says:

    Wow! Moving to Iceland as a US citizen sounds very difficult. My dreams are shattered. =(

    1. Aube1 says:

      My thoughts exactly

  40. FUNSHO says:

    Nice work Auður…
    I’ll have to check this site everyday;cos i’ve learnt alot.

  41. Uncle Sammy says:

    What about someone from the USA who wants to retire there? Or is independently wealthy? As long as you can prove you are not a burden on the system and invest money into the country, can you emigrate then?

    1. mm Auður says:

      I don’t believe you can. But should be able to answer these questions.

      1. Leana says:

        Iceland does not have a retirement visa available, regardless of income.

  42. Juan says:

    I currently have a job that pays me more than the minimal income for a single person and allow me to work from any place on earth, as long as I have an internet connection. Would I be able to apply for a visa in Iceland? Or do I need to have a job there? I’m not a EU citizen, btw.

    Also, nice article.

    1. mm Auður says:

      According to my understanding, this would not be enough. But I suggest you contact if you want to know more.

  43. laurie adkins says:

    It seems like a lot of inquiries on permanently moving to Iceland. I suggest you visit, check out the place from the locals, and learn Icelandic language. I plan to visit this spring. I love the geology of Iceland and I hope things work out for me. I am also taking language courses before I visit. Start there if you are serious.

  44. Nawar Akawi says:

    So pretty much, as an Arab, I can go f*** myself, excuse my French. On the bright side though, I have a Dominican passport so I guess that should come in handy.

    1. mm Auður says:

      It’s not because your an Arab though – just if you don’t have a EU or EEA passport 🙂 I’m not sure the Dominican passport is going to help much though…

      1. Natalie says:

        Family ties my ties. I have neices and nephews mixed with black and another on mixed with Vietnamese. The one thing they have in regards to Iceland is they have a large family there..period.
        Has nothing to do with race or put that card back in the deck.

  45. Jay W says:

    Halo Auður, you are amazingly patient, kind, informative and wonderful with your responses. You provide website links to people that are looking for answers you don’t have and yet they continue to ask them. I started reading from the beginning up to the end/present here. People want the easy answers rather than doing the research and probably only read the latest posts. I don’t normally do this, but I had to post this reply. Good Job, and thank you for your service here.

    My wife and I are in Maine, I’m retiring from the army guard in two months, and will be visiting in May to celebrate this occasion. We can’t wait to get away. Vacations are few and far between. Sitting on a beach in the Turks and Caicos isn’t for us. There’s so much out there to experience, and we won’t see it by sitting in a beach chair. Cairo and Alexandria, Egypt was the last trip we had. Time for something different.

    Take care

    P.S. Nawar, your rude.

  46. Jay W says:

    The only other research I’m doing is figuring out how to get my DJI drone over there with us safely. There’s potential for some great shots and video for me.

    Reminds me that European outlet converters might be needed to power up things?

    1. mm Auður says:

      Yes, we use the European system 🙂

    2. Kay says:

      Most sites don’t allow drones, and are forbidden at most nature tourist sites! So unless you’d like to upset the local government and get yourself in trouble, you should leave the drone at home. Don’t you think thousands of others would do the same if it was allowed?

  47. Anuj says:

    I would like to know.. for those who have no clue of Local Language how difficult is it to settle down.. is English widely spoken and understood in Iceland ?

    1. mm Auður says:

      Not speaking Icelandic is not a problem. Learning the language will help you integrate better but everyone speaks or at least understands English in Iceland.

  48. Kadir Tasdelen says:

    Thank you for this blog!
    I am married with an EU citizen, we have two sons and currently i am holding working and living permit in Poland. I received an offer from a travel company at a manager position. I am confused with the income tax.
    -USD 100.000 gross salary, how much the income tax will be?
    -Before paying the income tax, are we dedicting the cost of living such as renting fee, then pay the income tax or we pay income tax from the gross salary?
    – what would be the approximate renting fee in the capital?
    – how is the climate? How long is the winter etc.
    – is the public transportation reliable?
    Thanks so much for your help!

    1. mm Auður says:

      You can find all the info about taxes here: If you have more questions about the tax system in Iceland I suggest you direct it to the Directorate of Internal Revenue.

  49. Sigrid says:

    What if I have a dual citizenship between the U.S. and the U.K.? Could I then get a residence permit?

    1. mm Auður says:

      I would think so, at least until Brexit will be implemented.

  50. kossi duvor says:

    I am dutch citizen leaving in the uk fully resident and working as a lorry driver but now will surely like to move fully to Iceland.
    Now my biggest problem is I am mortgage which is nearly done with payment in few years to come like 3years what should I now do since I am really in demand to leave for good and also how can I find a job as a lorry driver since I left my lovely job as a radiographer more then 20years ago.

    1. mm Auður says:

      I suspect you should contact companies that offer such employment. It’s usually best to come here and apply for jobs as most people would want to meet you before they offer you anything.

  51. Eli says:

    I’m an American nearing retirement. I’m less interested in looking for work than in retiring (and yes, I looked up the exchange rates and my pension will pay me more than what is required to live there.)

    I had always assumed that I would retire in the U.S. but recent changes and what I see as an alarming move towards fascism have me thinking that it would be prudent to get myself and my family out of the country if things keep going in this direction.

    1. Aube1 says:

      Well said….I want out as well!

      1. Eli says:

        Aube, I’d prefer to stay and fight (and in fact am doing so.) I’ve been an outspoken political activist since I was a teenager (one reason I love Iceland, the society they have is what I wish we had in the U.S.) So if things here do get to the point of outright fascism, I’m smart enough to know that I’d be among the people they would want to shut up.

        I’m HOPING it doesn’t come to that. But if it did get so bad that I felt I had no choice except to leave I’m pretty sure I’d have plenty of documentation available on the internet and elsewhere as to why I would probably qualify for some kind of asylum.

  52. Viktor says:

    Hello Auður
    Thank you very much for your kind attention to our questions here.
    I’m interested about ratio of average salaries and expenses in Iceland. With expenses I mean cost of living, first needed things like food, transport, housing and utilities payments, taxes, insurance etc. I have a big job experience in travel and hotel industry and wonder if it’s possible to cover all living expenses for family of 3 people working in Iceland

    Thank you for reply

    1. mm Auður says:

      I’m sorry Viktor but I just don’t have the answers you need. Salaries in tourism in Iceland tend to be low but a three-person household that are all working should be able to get by on those wages. The biggest problem is housing, which is scarce and very expensive.

  53. says:

    Great posting!! I think this is one of the most vital information shared via this blog”need to know about moving to iceland”. And i am very happy while reading your article. Your site style is really nice, the articles is really very nice and very Informative for me. Thanks!

  54. Ajay says:

    Me too from India love Iceland but want to settle I m in 50s and from IT industry. Can you help me to get job in Iceland as applying online no one is replying. Learning Icelandick and rest work will not be any issue to me

    1. mm Auður - I Heart Reykjavík says:

      Unfortunately, we cannot help you with that.

  55. afik says:

    hi, i am not an eu citizen i live in the midle east and i always dream’d of moving there.
    if i get a european cidizenship, would that solve my problem? if so, is it hard to get a european cidizenship?

    1. mm Auður - I Heart Reykjavík says:

      I would say it’s fairly difficult to become EU citizen – you need to live somewhere in the EU for a certain amount of time to get citizenship I would think

  56. Jorge says:

    Thanks for this article i found very interesting, im a Mexican with US kids and we all live in Mexico, im having a hard time finding a website or a direction of what is the process for latin people, also i dont know if my profession is listed in some skill workers program (Financial/Economics MBA), i dont know if you know some consultant that can help me with this.

    Im just trying to keep my kids out of the Mexican violence and Trump goverment in the US.

    All information is highly appreciated.

    1. mm Auður - I Heart Reykjavík says:

      The best way is to read – you have all the information you need.

  57. Fernando says:

    Hi, I have perment residence in germany, i like to know can i work in iceland? Pls tell me if someone know,,,,

  58. D says:

    oh, reading this post a few years later makes me even sadder about Brexit – making my ‘imaginary, probably never would happen anyway’ move to Iceland even less possible. 🙂

  59. Jessica says:

    Thank you very much for this blog post!! It was very helpful, as I was considering moving there!
    I do have to confront one issue, however; the comments. No matter what you post, there will always be people commenting and being jerks for no real reason. I was looking for comments from people who have moved there or have some related experience, and I did find one comment with this, but mostly the comments are all hating on people for asking questions, specifically Americans. A lot of commenters seem to think that Americans are “too lazy” to google these things, but that’s how I, an American, found this blog post to begin with is by researching this online. Some of you also seem to be very anti-asking questions, saying to not ask other people for advice or about their experience and to rather “do it on your own,” but what is wrong with asking for advice from people who have experience? This just seems like unnecessary hate to me. Let’s just try to turn this comment section around to be a supportive one 🙂
    Thank you to the author for writing this and giving us all advice based off of your experience, and to all the friendly supporters commenting!! This is very helpful!!

  60. question says:

    I would like to have a jo as a seasonal worker in Iceland, where can i applz for jobs, I need to get a contract in hand before taking the risk and move there. any help?Thanks

  61. Linda Chudej says:

    I’m amazed at the literary culture I’ve read about in Iceland. I would love to live in a country where literature is valued & respected but I also love my home state of Texas so I understand why the government of Iceland makes it difficult to become a resident. But how about being a tourist? Is Iceland tourist-friendly if the tourist is a senior citizen, a woman, loves literature, doesn’t party or care about nightlife & would simply like to visit Reykjavík for a week? I wish Texas were as discriminating in the people we allow to move here.

    1. mm Auður - I Heart Reykjavík says:

      Yes – Iceland is tourist friendly but xenophobic attitudes are generally not popular – even though our government has their own way of doing things.

  62. khadar says:

    Thank you very much for this blog post

    I am Somali citizen
    want to study in Iceland
    Did Iceland universities except Somali citizens as student?

    1. mm Auður - I Heart Reykjavík says:

      If you fulfill all their requirements I don’t see why they wouldn’t. It’s best to contact the University directly:

  63. Oliver James says:

    Hello. I am James and from Southeast Asia. My girlfriend and i wanted to migrate and live there. We are both medical doctors. Do we have any chances or luck? Hope to hear from you. Thanks

    1. mm Auður - I Heart Reykjavík says:

      As mentioned a few times above – if you’re from outside the EU this will be very tough. Also, medical professionals cannot automatically get a job in Iceland – I believe there are language requirements and if I remember correctly you need to take some sort of exam to get your license. The National hospital can maybe help you with that part:

  64. Matt Nowlan says:

    Hi Jenna, I read through your blog and found out a lot of information about weather, jobs and how to maintain residency. But, one thing I am interested in is what do people do in the free time outside or work besides of course enjoy the beautiful landscape Iceland has to over?

    1. mm Auður - I Heart Reykjavík says:

      The same things they do everywhere else. Spend time outdoors, watch Netflix, spend time with friends and family…

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