Guide: Moving to Iceland

Flyvende måke
Karin Beate Nøsterud/
Various things need to be considered when moving to Iceland from one of the other Nordic countries. Below is a list of useful things to keep in mind. Remember, though, that this list is not exhaustive and that it varies from one person to the next which of the items apply.
Employment and residence permits in Iceland

Nordic citizens do not need a work or residence permit to live and work in any Nordic country. However, they need to follow the rules of the state in question regarding registration in the National Registry. 

Importing household effects

To be entitled to an exemption from customs duties, the person moving to Iceland must have lived abroad for at least twelve months. The household goods must be used and have been owned by the person in question for at least one year. In addition, no more than six months may pass from the time an individual moves until the household effects are transported to the country.

No more than 30 days are to elapse between the arrival of the person moving to Iceland and the vehicle he/she intends to import.  The Directorate of Customs then grants a temporary registration for one month, during which the owner must register the car with the Road Traffic Directorate (Umferðastofa).

Registering with the National Registry

Persons who move to Iceland from one of the Nordic countries, and live and work in Iceland for more than 6 months, must transfer their legal domicile to Iceland. To do this you can either visit Registers Iceland in Reykjavík or the office of your local authority and submit a notice of your move.

Bank account and electronic ID

Commercial banks in Iceland can have different requirements for opening accounts. As a general rule, however, if you want to open a bank account in Iceland you need to have both an Icelandic Id. No. and be domiciled in Iceland.

Everyone who intends to use online banking services must have an electronic ID. With electronic IDs you can prove who you are, sign agreements and payments with public agencies and private companies and confirm who you are or your purchase with a password. You have to apply for electronic ID specifically. 

Postal service

Contact the post office in the country you are moving from about the possibility of having your mail forwarded to Iceland. 


You can choose from many different forms of residence in Iceland whatever suits you best. 

Driver's licence in Iceland

To obtain a driver's licence you need to have a permanent residence in Iceland. 


Once you have moved to Iceland and registered with Registers Iceland, you should contact the Icelandic tax authority, the Directorate of Internal Revenue (Ríkisskattstjóri). An individual who is registered as resident in Iceland and works there must pay taxes. The Directorate of Internal Revenue's website contains information on taxation of income, pensions, shares, securities, benefits and the sale of assets.

As a general rule, you pay tax in the country where you work and earn income. You do not have to pay taxes in two states for the same income. Double-taxation conventions that apply between Iceland and most EEA countries cover this.

Health insurance

Individuals who move to Iceland from an EEA country or Switzerland and have been insured in a social security system in their previous country of residence are entitled to health insurance coverage from the date they register a legal domicile in Iceland. Please note that an application for health insurance must be submitted, see here, in order to be able to obtain health insurance right from the time of registration in the National Registry. 

While the application is being processed, individuals are uninsured. If you need medical services while your application is being processed, you can present your European Health Insurance Card from the previous country of residence, if you have such a card, and then pay as a person with health insurance, or pay as a person without health insurance and apply for reimbursement from Icelandic Health Insurance one your health insurance has been approved with retroactive effect. You then need to submit an application for reimbursement of the Icelandic healthcare costs.

Old-age pensions

The Social Insurance Administration assists persons who have lived in other Nordic countries to apply for their entitlement. Note that different rules apply between countries as to when you can start taking old-age pension.

You must apply to the Social Insurance Administration (Tryggingastofnun) for an Icelandic old-age pension.


Rules on the import of animals to Iceland are quite strict, which makes it important to start preparations in good time before the move. 

Voting rights in Iceland

Icelandic citizens who have reached the age of 18 and are domiciled in Iceland can vote in parliamentary and presidential elections, as well as municipal elections. 

Citizens of other Nordic countries who have reached the age of 18 have the right to vote in local elections, provided that they have been domiciled in Iceland for three years or more.

All Icelandic citizens who have been domiciled abroad for less than 8 years (as of 1 December of the year before the election) are automatically entitled to vote in Iceland. They must have turned 18 on election day and have been domiciled in Iceland at some time.

Icelandic citizens who have been domiciled abroad for more than 8 years (as of 1 December of the year before the election) must apply to the Registers Iceland to be registered to vote. 

Ask Info Norden

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.

Info Norden is the information service of the Nordic Council of Ministers. Here you can find info and tips if you wish to move, work, study, seek support or start a business in the Nordic region.