Expats in Iceland are not very numerous. The country is quite isolated, not well known, and most people ignore that its climate is mild and potentially attractive. Plus, it offers interesting job opportunities and good quality of life.
Since it’s not a popular destination for expatriates, it can be hard to find reliable information that explains how to move to Iceland.
To make your life a bit easier, we have created this article.
How to Move to Iceland?
The administrative procedures are quite simple if you are coming from the EU. Although the country is not part of it, it is a member of the European Economic Area.
So, if you are coming from the EU, you only need a valid passport or identity card to enter the country. To settle in Iceland for more than 3 months (6 months for job seekers), it is not necessary to apply for a residence permit.
If you are not an EU citizen, you will have to apply for a visa.
After entering the country, it is imperative to register at the Iceland Registers or the town hall of your place of residence, within 7 days following your arrival. The procedure requires an address (even temporary) and can be done remotely.
The registration certificate gives an identification number which is essential for expats in Iceland. I will allow them to:
- Access to social rights
- Opening a bank account
- Renting or buying a property
Iceland Customs Rules You Should Know
When arriving in Iceland, customs rules apply to your personal effects. You have to observe the following restrictions:
- Medicines: forbidden except in very small quantities
- Food products of animal origin: prohibited when raw
- Electronic equipment: subject to quantity restrictions
- Fishing equipment: forbidden unless a certificate of disinfection is presented
- Riding equipment: strictly prohibited
- Live animals: prohibited
On the other hand, it is quite possible to move to Iceland in your car, as long as you respect these conditions:
- All its documents are in order
- You have a valid driving license
- You have an international vehicle insurance
- It will be re-exported at the end of the expatriation in Iceland.
What Is the Cost of Living in Iceland as an Expat?
One of the main advantages of this destination is the exceptional living environment that it offers. The island has a low population, little pollution, and awesome landscapes. You will find volcanoes, hot springs, and glaciers.
All of that is very attractive during a tourist stay, but it comes with a price when you think about moving there. The cost of living in Iceland is very high. The fact that it is an isolated and remote island makes everything very expensive.
The vast majority of consumer goods are imported. The choice of available products is more limited than on the mainland, and prices are higher for food as well as for household appliances and clothing. Shipping costs and taxes applied to the reception of packages are also prohibitive.
Finding a place to live in Iceland is also expensive. The rental stock is limited, and it is more common to own your own home. But in both cases, housing is expensive: count 1500 euros of monthly rent for a small apartment in Reykjavik.
Also, going back home on a holiday or to visit friends and relatives can have a high price even if you are from Europe.
What Are the Most Popular Jobs in Iceland for Expats?
EEA nationals who decide to live in Iceland do not need a permit to work. And they do not need to complete any formalities other than their registration. It is best to start your search before you move because finding a job here can take time.
Some of the sectors that might offer more jobs in Iceland for Expats are:
- Information technology.
Knowing the local language offers an undeniable advantage to living and working in Iceland. But mastering English is considered an essential prerequisite to finding a job.
The Need of Private Health Insurance in Iceland for Expatriates
All Icelandic towns are equipped with at least one dispensary. So it is possible to find a health care facility on site.
All foreigners in a legal situation can benefit from the Icelandic health insurance (Sjukratryggingar Islands) 6 months after settling in the country. You must fill out a form and register with a general practitioner in your area.
However, this insurance does not cover all medical expenses and applies deductibles on care. For example, the insured must pay 90% of the cost of a consultation with a specialist. And dental care is almost always at the patient’s expense.
To be well covered during your expatriation (including the first 6 months of residence), it is strongly recommended to subscribe to private health insurance in Iceland. The most popular options are supplementary policies and insurances at the 1st euro.
To find the most suitable one for your situation and budget, you can use an online insurance comparator. It will help you to screen among the many offers available on the market.
Make sure the option you choose covers:
- Health expenses in Iceland and worldwide (including your home country)
- Repatriation, which is very useful when you go so far away due to the complexity and cost of the operation.