Moving to and from Iceland

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 (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.

Know your rights

Before you take up employment abroad, you should know if you will be insured. This is most important not only for the payment of social security contributions, but also for your entitlement to benefits and the acquisition of future pension rights. You are subject to the legislation of only one state at a time.

Applying for public health insurance

Please fill out the form Application for registration at Icelandic Health Insurance and send it with all necessary documents to

Sjukratryggingar Islands (Icelandic Health Insurance), Vínlandsleið 16, 150 Reykjavik. 

EEA citizens

If you are an EEA citizen you are insured in the country where you work. If your employer wants to send you to work in another country for að limited time (less then 12 monthsyou should get a form E101 which certifies that you remain covered by the legislation of the previous state. You or your employer may obtain the form from a competent institution in the country where you are coming from. If the duration of the work to be done abroad exceeds 12 months because of unforeseen circumstances, you can apply for an extension of the posting period of up to 12 more months (form E102).

As a rule, the social security legislation of the country in which you are insured, entitles you to have the same rights and obligations as nationals of that country.

If you are an EEA citizen, periods of insurance, employment or residence in other EEA Member States are taken into account in order to fulfill the six month qualification. These periods are confirmed on form E104.  Persons transferring their residence to Iceland from another EEA Member State should obtain the E104 form confirming these insurance periods (or form E106/E109/E121, as appropriate) from the insurance institution where the person was last insured. These forms should be submitted to the Icelandic Health Insurance or its agencies along with the form Application for registration at Icelandic Health Insurance.

Non EEA citizens

Those who have not been resident in Iceland for six months and are 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.

Benefits in respect of accidents at work and occupational diseases

Occupational injury insurance covers employed persons working in Iceland, with the exception of foreign nationals who hold diplomatic positions with foreign states and the foreign staff of such diplomatic missions..  Work aboard an Icelandic vessel or aircraft or a vessel or aircraft owned or operated by an Icelandic party is equivalent to work in Iceland if the salaries are paid in Iceland. Self-employed persons are also insured.

Those engaged in household work may voluntarily ensure their entitlement to occupational injury benefits with respect to such work by making a request to such effect on their tax return at the beginning of each year.

Unemployment benefits

Employees and self-employed persons resident in Iceland may be entitled to unemployment benefits when they are unemployed.  The main conditions for benefits are:

  • the applicant must be registered at the unemployment office
  • be actively seeking work
  • available for the labor market
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