Living in Iceland as an EU Citizen: All You Need to Know

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Are you an EU citizen thinking about living in Iceland? Perhaps you’ve been inspired by the stunning landscapes, the geothermal hot springs, or the unique culture of this small island nation. Living in Iceland as an EU citizen is certainly possible, but there are some things to keep in mind before you make the move.

Residency in Iceland

As an EU citizen, you have the right to live and work in Iceland without a visa. However, if you plan to stay in the country for more than three months, you will need to register with the Icelandic Directorate of Immigration and obtain a residency permit. This permit will allow you to stay in the country for up to six months, and can be renewed as needed.

It’s important to note that finding housing in Iceland can be a challenge, particularly in Reykjavik. The city has a growing population but limited housing options, which has led to a high cost of living. Before you make the move, research the housing market and be prepared to spend a significant portion of your income on rent.

Work in Iceland

EU citizens are eligible to work in Iceland without a work permit. However, finding work can be difficult, particularly if you don’t speak Icelandic. The job market in Iceland is small and competitive, especially in certain industries such as finance and technology. Be prepared to network and make connections in order to increase your chances of finding work.

Alternatively, if you are self-employed, you can apply for a residence permit as a self-employed person. This will allow you to work in Iceland and run your own business.

Language and Culture

Icelandic is the official language of Iceland, and while many Icelanders speak English, it’s important to be prepared to learn some Icelandic if you plan to live and work in the country. Not only will this make it easier to communicate with locals, but it will also help you to feel more integrated into Icelandic society.

Cultural differences can also be a challenge when moving to Iceland. Icelanders are known for their reserved nature and can be slow to make friends with outsiders. It’s important to respect Icelandic customs and take time to get to know the culture. This will not only help you to adjust to life in Iceland, but will also make your time in the country more enjoyable.

Cost of Living

As mentioned earlier, Iceland is known for its high cost of living. While salaries can be competitive, expenses such as rent, food, and entertainment can be expensive. It’s important to factor in these costs when deciding whether or not to move to Iceland. It may be helpful to create a budget and research the average cost of living in Iceland to make sure that the move is financially feasible.


Living in Iceland as an EU citizen can be a unique and rewarding experience, but it’s important to be prepared for the challenges that come with making such a move. From obtaining residency permits to finding work to adjusting to a new culture, there are many things to consider before making the decision to relocate. However, if you’re willing to put in the effort, Iceland can be a wonderful place to call home.

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