Driving licences in Iceland
Under Art. 58 of the Traffic Act, no one may drive a car or motorcycle unless they have a valid driving licence issued by the National Commissioner of Police.
District Commissioners are in charge of issuing driving licences on behalf of the National Commissioner of Police.
Issuance of driving licences
The District Commissioner (Sýslumaður) issues a driving licence after examining whether the driver satisfies the requirements for its issue. The driving licence shall show, among other things, information on the licence holder’s category of authorisation and additional information, conditions and restrictions concerning the licence holder.
Driving licences are either provisional or valid for 15 years.
Provisional licences are issued to beginners and are valid for three years from the date of issue. Other driving licences are issued for up to 15 years, depending on the category of driving licence and the age of the applicant.
Permanent licences for categories A, B and BE (driving licences for passenger cars) are issued for 15 years.
Permanent licences for categories C, CE, D and DE and for commercial passenger transport (higher category authorisation) are issued for five years. After that period of validity, such licences continue to be valid for driving passenger cars.
Requirements for issuing a driving licence
The general requirements for issuing a new driving licence are:
- The applicant must meet the age requirements for the relevant category of vehicle.
- The applicant must have adequate sight and hearing and be otherwise sufficiently mentally and physically fit.
- The applicant must have been instructed by a certified driving instructor and have taken a test to prove that he/she has sufficient driving skills and the necessary knowledge of the vehicle and traffic legislation.
- The applicant must have a permanent residence in Iceland.
An applicant for a driving licence for a category for which he/she has not previously held a driving licence must have received instruction from a driving instructor who is certified for that category. This instruction must comply with the curriculum set by the Icelandic Transport Authority on driving instruction for the category in question. Driving instruction may begin up to 12 months before the student is old enough for a B-licence.
Driving lessons with an instructor
A student may practice driving a vehicle with a supervisor instead of a driving instructor, provided that the student has received minimum training and the supervisor has received permission from the District Commissioner. Before practice driving is permitted, the student must apply for a practice driving licence (learner’s permit).
No person may be authorised to act as supervisor unless he/she:
- has reached 24 years of age;
- has a valid driving licence to drive the category of vehicle on which the student will be practice driving and has at least 5 years of experience of driving such a vehicle;
- has not been without a driving licence during the past 12 months after having being deprived of it or been punished for dangerous driving.
An application for a practice driving licence is submitted to the District Commissioner. The application must be accompanied by a certificate from a driving instructor stating that the student has acquired sufficient knowledge of traffic rules and training in handling and driving a vehicle. The District Commissioner issues a practice driving licence in the name of the student and supervisor for up to 18 months.
Vehicles used for practice driving must be marked with a special shield with the words “practice driving”. Note that the supervisor is considered the driver of the vehicle during practice driving.
A driving test cannot be taken until the student has received authorisation for the test from the District Commissioner and the driving instructor has confirmed in writing that the student has received adequate driving instruction.
The driving test is in two parts, a theoretical test (written) and a practical test. The practical test is twofold: an oral test and a practical test. The practical test cannot take place until the student has passed the written test. The written test cannot be taken more than two months before the applicant meets the age requirements to be issued with a driving licence. The practical test cannot be taken more than two weeks before the applicant satisfies the age requirements.
Exchanging a foreign driving licence for a corresponding Icelandic driving licence
An application to obtain an Icelandic driving licence on the basis of a similar foreign licence may be submitted to the District Commissioner, regardless of where the applicant resides, provided that he/she has a permanent residence in this country.
An Icelandic driving licence can be issued to replace a valid foreign driving licence. Holders of driving licences issued in countries outside the European Economic Area must take a theoretical B test and a practical test for each category of driving licence to which the application relates.
Requirements for foreign nationals
In addition to the general conditions that must be met in order to obtain a driving licence, the following conditions must be met when foreign nationals are involved:
- that they meet the residence requirement;
- that it is confirmed that they hold a valid driving licence in their home state.
International driving licence
District Commissioners and the Icelandic Automobile Association (FÍB), are authorised to issue an international driving licence.
An international driving licence can be issued to a person who has a valid Icelandic driving licence and has reached the age of 18. The licence is valid for one year from the date of issue and only applies to vehicles that the person in question has the right to drive according to his/her Icelandic driving licence.
An international driving licence does not grant the right to drive a vehicle in Iceland.
Digital driving licence
A digital driving licence is available to everyone who has a driving licence and a smart phone. The licence proves that the person in question has a valid driving licence and contains the same information as a traditional driving licence.
Digital driving licences are only valid in Iceland.
A digital driving licence serves as proof of the right to drive to the police.
Who should I contact if I have questions?
For more information see the website of the District Commissioners (Sýslumenn).
Please fill in our contact form if you have any questions or if you have encountered an obstacle in another Nordic country.
NB! If you have questions regarding the processing of a specific case or application, or other personal matters, please contact the relevant authority directly.