Everyone who has been legally resident in Iceland for six months automatically becomes a member of the Icelandic social insurance system, regardless of nationality. This applies unless intergovernmental treaties say otherwise.
Residence generally means domicile as defined in the Act on Domicile, and length of residence is therefore based on registration in Þjóðskrá (Open in new window) (The National Registry).
Before the six month period is over it is therefore necessary to purchase private insurance if intergovernmental treaties do not apply to you.
What is considered a student?
A person other than employed or self-employed person who studies or receives vocational training leading to a qualification officially recognised by the authorities and is insured under a general social security scheme or a special social security scheme applicable to students.
Agreements with the EU and the Nordic countries
The EEA agreement (European Economic Area) is in force between Iceland (and Norway and Liechtenstein) and the EU member states. The EEA Agreement includes regulations on social security which are mainly applicable for citizens of these states.
There is also an agreement on Social Security between the Nordic countries, and Switzerland (EFTA). These agreements and regulations include rules regarding social security when staying temporarily or moving between the member states.
Temporary stay in Iceland
All insured citizens from member states of the EEA must bring the European Health Insurance Card or EHIC for use in Iceland. This does not apply to persons from the other Nordic countries.
Insured citizens of EEA countries are entitled to benefits which become necessary on medical grounds during a temporary stay in Iceland, taking into account the nature of the benefits and the expected length of the stay.
They must present the EHIC, personal identification papers and documents proving their citizenship (i.e. passport). A fee, to be paid for each consultation, and other services, is fixed by a regulation. EEA nationals presenting the EHIC will be charged the same fee as persons insured in Iceland. If these documents are not presented they will be charged the full costs of the treatment according to tariffs.
Students from other Nordic countries
A confirmation of insurance in another Nordic country is sufficient. For example some kind of card which a competent institution issues in the country of insurance.
Legal residence in Iceland and change of insurance coverage
All insured citizens from member states of the EEA that take up legal residence in Iceland or start working in Iceland and their insurance coverage in the member state of origin is terminated should bring the form E104 from their last state of insurance stating completed periods of insurance. The form must be registered with Icelandic Health Insurance.
Legal residence in Iceland but unchanged insurance coverage in another EEA state
If residence is transferred to Iceland during the studies and the insurance coverage continues in the EEA state of origin on the basis of the EEA regulations the student should bring the form E106/E109 for registration with Icelandic Health Insurance.
Students from other countries
Other persons than mentioned above, who are not insured or not covered by the EEA regulations can obtain medical assistance but must, of course, pay in full. They can then seek reimbursement from their own insurance in their country of origin or from their private insurance, according to rules and regulations applicable in their insurance country.
- Tengt efni List of EEA countries in English. Icelandic Directorate of Immigration