Exemptions of work permit requirement due to short-term projects

According to Article 23 of Foreign Nationals‘ Right to Work Act, no. 97/2002, certain foreign nationals are exempt from requiring a permit to work in Iceland for up to 90 days per calendar year. As this is an exemption of the Act’s general principle, it is necessary to notify the directorate about the foreign national’s intended employment in Iceland before it commences to be able to determine if it fulfils the conditions of Article 23 of the Act. It is essential that the notification is accompanied by a confirmation regarding the foreign nationals’ shot-term project, by attaching a copy of the service agreement, research declaration or information about a concert to be held. This is necessary to be able to confirm that the project conforms to the exemption rule of the Act on short-term work

Please note that although the foreign national may be exempt from requiring a work permit, the Icelandic labour market’s legislation and regulations still apply to the foreign nationals’ terms and conditions of employment while working in Iceland and shall be in accordance with valid collective agreements. Furthermore, the employer and the foreign national are obliged to provide the Police and The Directorate of Labour with all necessary information to ensure that the Foreign Nationals’ Right to Work Act is not breached.

Notifications are to be sent electronically here 

Please note that to be eligible for the exemption, a notification must be submitted for each period of work.

Instructions regarding filling out the electronic notification form can be found here.

The following foreign nationals are covered by the above exemption. Please note that the directorate is unable to provide a comprehensive list of circumstances falling within each category and circumstances will be assessed by the directorate in all instances. For questions and further guidance please contact the Directorate via email or during the listed call hours.

Scientists, Lectures and Scholars:

This applies to scientists, lecturers and scholars, which includes doctors and interns, in relation to teaching, academic, scientific and other alike activities. It is necessary for the foreign national to hold a university degree in the field of the profession concerned. Please note that if the duration of the assignment exceeds the limits of Article 23, the parties in question should look into whether the assignments falls under the scope of Article 15 as a temporary work permit on the grounds of a service contract or a cooperation agreement.

Artists, excluding musicians employed to perform in catering establishments:

This applies to, amongst others, actors, photographers, film production crew, multimedia artists and musicians, excluding those employed to perform in catering establishments. This paragraph may also include artists in residence of various sorts, even tattoo artists engaged as visiting artists.


Athletic coaches:

This applies to foreign nationals who enter Iceland to coach athletes at sports clubs or associations. Athletes who intend to train or play on behalf of Icelandic sports teams are not covered by the exemption.

Business representatives:

This particularly applies to foreign nationals entering Iceland to promote goods and services and to attend business meetings.

Bus Drivers:

This applies only to drivers of passenger coaches registered in foreign countries, providing that the vehicles are carrying foreign 
tourists to Iceland. 


Journalists and reporters from foreign media agencies :

This applies to foreign nationals employed by foreign news agencies, regardless of whether it is broadcast, internet or print media.

Employees, consultants, and instructors who are specialised in the assembly, installation, and repair of equipment:

This applies first and foremost to circumstances where equipment is sold into Iceland of which the vendor is responsible for installation, testing and temporary supervision by specialised employees or others approved for the task. Installation of software does not fall under this exemption, Installation of furnishings and fixtures such as windows, plumping or any prefabricated house units do not qualify under Article 23. A temporary work permit must be obtained for such work.

Travel Guides and Group Leaders from countries outside of the European Economic Area, EFTA or the Faeroe Islands

Please be informed that Travel Guides and Group Leaders, from countries outside the European Economic Area are prohibited from working in Iceland without having first obtained a temporary work permit in accordance with Act No. 97/2002 on Foreign Nationals Right to Work.

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