A child acquires Icelandic citizenship at birth if its mother is an Icelandic citizen or if its father is an Icelandic citizen and married to the child’s mother. The child of an Icelandic father and a foreign mother who are not married will automatically acquire Icelandic citizenship at birth if it is born in Iceland and the paternity is confirmed under the Children's Act.
If the child is born abroad, the father may apply to the Ministry of the Interior for the child to acquire Icelandic citizenship. Children who are twelve years of age or older should be consulted on this matter. If a child has not already acquired Icelandic citizenship on any of the grounds listed above, and its parents subsequently marry, the child gains Icelandic citizenship with the marriage of the parents. However, this applies only to children born after 1 October 1988. Further information can be obtained from the website of the Ministry of the Interior, and the applicable law can be found on the website of the Directorate of Immigration.
Applying for Icelandic citizenship
Applications for Icelandic citizenship are made to the Directorate of Immigration. The general requirement for granting Icelandic citizenship is that the applicant has been domiciled in Iceland for seven years. Nordic nationals are an exception, however, as they only need to have had a legal domicile in Iceland for four years. The applicant must have resided continuously in Iceland during the last years preceding submission of the application for citizenship. Exceptions to the requirement for continuous residence are possible, however.
The following requirements are also set:
- The applicant may not have received living assistance from a municipality during the past three years.
- An applicant must not have been fined or received a prison sentence, whether in Iceland or abroad, nor have any issues outstanding in the criminal justice system where he/she is suspected or accused of a criminal offence under Icelandic law. Deviations may be made from this, however, after a certain time has elapsed.
- As of the beginning of 2009, applicants must have passed an examination in Icelandic. The Directorate of Education prepares and assesses the examinations, while Mímir Continuing Education holds the examinations. Exceptions are permitted in certain cases.
- A special application fee is charged, and there is a participation fee for the Icelandic exam.
When a foreign national is granted Icelandic citizenship by act of law from the Althingi, there is no requirement that the person give up his/her previous citizenship in order to obtain Icelandic citizenship. However, the law of the state where the person is a citizen may stipulate that citizenship there will be terminated.
Icelandic nationals may keep their Icelandic citizenship even if they apply for citizenship in another state. Icelandic citizens who apply for foreign citizenship, however, may have to give up their Icelandic citizenship if the law in that state does not permit dual nationality.
Further information can be obtained from the Directorate of Immigration.
If you have any questions, please fill in our contact form.
NB! If you have questions regarding the processing of a specific case or application, or other personal matters, please contact the relevant authority directly.