International Protection

Applications for international protection are made at The Directorate of Immigration or a police station. When the police have registered basic information, taken fingerprints, checked travel route and identification, the police sends your application to The Directorate of Immigration for further processing and decision making.

While an application is being processed at The Directorate of Immigration, The Directorate of Labour provides housing and basic services. Basic services include, for instance:

  • Medical assistance,
  • Schooling,
  • Public transport/buses within the municipality.

Contracts have been made between The Directorate of Labour and the social service authorities in Hafnarfjörður, Reykjanesbær and Reykjavík to provide housing and basic services on behalf of the directorate.

The Directorate of Labour is not involved in the application process for International protection at The Directorate of Immigration, and can therefore not provide any information on the status of an application or its process in any way.

Questions and answers 

Service interview 

If you need information or assistance then you can attend a service interview.  Information on when to attend service interviews will be provided in your residential resource division.

In a service interview you will receive, amongst other things:

      • Financial support card
      • Assistance in booking a doctor's appointment
      • Assistance in booking an appointment with a psychologist
      • A ticket for public transport
      • Answers to questions to various matters


At first, The Directorate of Labour provides temporary residence for all applicants unless they want to decide for themselves where to live. Most of The Directorate of Labour’s residential resource divisions are located in the Capital Region and in Suðurnesja. You will be received by a security guard who goes over the house rules and gives you the keys to your room.  Security guards in The Directorate of Labour’s residential resource divisions work around the clock, and it is always possible to ask them for assistance in emergency.

The Directorate of Labour's house rules can be found below.


Financial support

Applicants for international protection are entitled to a weekly meal allowance. The requirements for payments of meal allowances to applicants are, among other things, that their place of residence does not provide food, they attend interviews and appearances and are present where they are required to, and accept to follow the rules of conduct that apply in the residential resource division.


Meal allowance is paid on a weekly basis into a payment card which will be in the applicant’s possession. The amount varies depending on family size.

No family receives more than 28.000, irrelevant of family size.

Health services

As applicants for international protection, you are entitled to necessary health services and necessary medication while your case is being processed by Icelandic authorities. Other medical services, such as dental services or other operations which are not urgently needed are not included and will not be provided without an assessment from The Directorate of Labour’s consultant physician.

The Department of Epidemiology at Egilsgata 3, 101 Reykjavík conduct the first medical examination for applicants for international protection. The services include, among other things, necessary health service, screening for infectious diseases and post-traumatic stress disorder, psychological services and vaccinations.

General medical service, and mother and infant care is available at the local health care center close to your place of residence. After your first medical examination, you should attend The Directorate of Labour’s service interviews to request a doctor's appointment.

First medical examination

The chief epidemiologist’s guidelines stipulate that all applicants for international protection must be medically examined after entering the country. The first medical examination is conducted during the first weeks after arrival, for both children and adults. The Directorate of Labour will make an appointment for your first medical examination. Please be informed that The Directorate of Labour is permitted to reduce services if you do not attend your first medical examination.

During the first examination, a doctor will assess your state of health and provide the relevant treatment if needed. Emphasis is also placed on screening for infectious diseases and other diseases as well as testing for post-traumatic stress disorder. Blood tests are performed and vaccinations provided.

Psychological services

Applicants for international protection are entitled to psychological services. Applicants who experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety are especially encouraged to seek the assistance of a psychologist. You can ask for psychological services by attending a service interview at The Directorate of Immigration and also at The Directorate of Labour.

Most psychological interviews are conducted at outpatient services at Egilsgata 3, 101 Reykjavík but in some cases they are conducted by other professional bodies if deemed appropriate.

The Red Cross

The Red Cross provides applicants for international protection with services which involve social support and social activities. Social support is meant to reduce isolation, increase people’s activity, and encourage their participation in Icelandic society while waiting for their matters to be resolved.

Social support

The Red Cross offers weekly interview appointments for applicants for international protection. The purpose of the interviews is to create a platform for discussions about matters that applicants need to talk about, whether that concerns social factors, mental well-being, or relations to a family in a home country. Service from interpreters is offered during interview hours by phone so that everyone can speak unhindered. The service is provided based on the applicants’ needs and it has been made available close to the people’s residential resource division with emphasis on easy access.


Available interview appointments are as follows:

Wednesdays 12.00-15.00
Árskógar 4
Bus station Mjódd

Thursdays 12.00 - 15.00
Smiðjuvellir 8
Bus station Higher secondary school

Phone: 570 4000

Social activities

Social activities for applicants for international protection offer clients and volunteers a platform for organizing events and projects to promote empowerment and active participation. The aim of social support for applicants for international protection is to provide services to clients and offer them to engage in social interaction, become more active and to connect to the local community, and no less importantly, to raise awareness among the public and encourage participation.

The activity is diverse and numerous groups meet every week, including a women’s group and a youth group, but there is also an open house. In addition, both Icelandic and English are taught. You can participate in social activities in Árskógar, at Vitatorg and Smiðjuvellir Reykjanesbær. The schedule changes regularly but you can find it by clicking this link:

Information for Asylum Seekers in Iceland on Facebook

Work permits

If you are an applicant for international protection in Iceland you can apply for temporary residence and work permits while your application is being processed. Such a permit does not form a basis of an unrestricted residence permit, and certain conditions have to be met. The permit is only granted as a temporary resource until a final decision in your case has been made. 
If an application is approved, the applicants no longer have the right to reside in The Directorate of Labour’s residential resource divisions.

To apply for temporary residence and work permits you have to submit:

  1. Application for a temporary residence permit, the original form, sufficiently filled out and signed by the applicant. 
  2. Application for a work permit due to special circumstances, the original form, signed by the applicant and the employer and confirmed by the relevant union.
  3. An employment contract which fulfills the requirements of minimum wages and means of living costs. The contract has to be the original form, signed by the applicant and the employer.
  4. Receipt of service fee, for more information press here
  5. Other things that need to be obtained in order to process an application:
  • Medical expense insurance. An applicant needs to provide a confirmation of insurance from an insurance company with an operating license in Iceland, and the insurance must be valid during the period the temporary residence permit is issued for.

Applicants whose matters are being processed according to the Dublin Regulation need to have been staying in the country for three months before they can apply for work permits. Filled out application forms shall be submitted to The Directorate of Immigration which sends the application to The Directorate of Labour.

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