Temporary work permit for athletes

A temporary work permit may be granted due to the work of athletes at sports clubs within the Icelandic Sports and Olympic Federation, per Article 10 of The Foreign Nationals’ Right to Work Act, no. 97/2002. The conditions for granting a work permit according to this provision are amongst others: 

  • That the foreign national has entered into a contract of employment with a sports club to engage in a specific sport or to be a trainer for a specific sport at the club where the contract of employment includes information about the pension fund to be paid into with respect to the foreign nationals’ employment. The foreign national must be hired as an employee of the sports club and not a self-employed contractor.
  • That the sports club will, in certain instances, pay for the return travel of the foreign national upon the conclusion of their period employment.


If you need further information you can contact us by email workpermits@vmst.is or during call hours of the department. Information regarding call hours can be found here.

Necessary application supporting documents:

  1. Original copy of the application for a temporary work permit for athletes
    • The application and the contract of employment must be signed by both the foreign national and a representative from the sports club.
    • The application form must specify adequate information regarding the applicants in fields I. and II. This includes addresses and email information.

  2. A contract of employment between a foreign national and the employer of which the following must be included:
    • Information regarding the foreign nationals intended job of the with the employer.
    • The duration of the employment. For athlete’s, this is usually the upcoming season.
    • Information regarding the pension fund to be paid into in respect to the foreign national’s nature of employment.
    • The foreign nationals’ terms and conditions of employment, monthly salary and other perquisites.
      1. Salary must be specified in ISK.
      2. Salary numbers must be stipulated before tax and other deductions.
    • Confirmation that the employer will pay for the foreign national’s return travel at the end of the period of service if the contract of employment is terminated due to causes not the fault of the employee, or if the foreign national becomes disabled long-term due to illness or accident. Information regarding to which country the return travel extends must be stipulated.
  3. It is not mandatory to use the contract template available on the Directorate’s website, but please make sure that the contract includes all the necessary information stated above.

It is the applicant's joint responsibility to present the necessary documentation for the application for a temporary work permit. If all required documentation is not submitted with the application, it will result in a delay in the processing of the application, or the application being declined. The Directorate of Labour may request additional documentation, should the directorate deem it to be necessary.

Where should the application be submitted

Applications should be submitted to the Directorate of Immigration, Dalvegi 18, 201 Kópavogur or alternatively to your local District Commissioner offices if you are located outside of the Capital Region.

When can the athlete start working for the sports club?

When the work permit has been granted by The Directorate of Labour.


A work permit for athletes granted for the first time is not granted for more than one year, and never longer than the period of employment according to the employment contract. Generally, athletes’ work permits are granted for the current season. Work permits for athletes can be extended for up to two years. With an application for an extension of a temporary work permit for athletes, the same documents must be submitted as with a new application.

When processing an application, the directorate may examine how wages and withholding taxes have been settled, as well as social security contributions in accordance legislation, for other work permit holders who have worked for the association or club.

Salary payments

The employment contract must specify the athlete’s salary, in ISK. The corresponding salary amount may also be specified additionally in another currency.

The salary should be specified before tax and other deductions, as the directorate may inspect the payments to the athlete during or after the term of employment to verify that the terms and conditions of the employment contract and the work permit have been met.

In addition to monthly salary, the player may receive perquisites and per-diem allowance payments.  The monthly salary stipulated in an employment contract, accompanying an application for a work permit for an athlete, must meet at least the minimum amount of subsistence as determined by the Directorate of Immigration each year. It is prohibited to use perquisites to meet the threshold for minimum amount of subsistence.

The club may not pay the athlete as a contractor or self-employed individual as this constitutes a violation of Article 6 of the Act.

What work does a work permit for an athlete cover?

The permit only extends to employment with the sports club the permit was issued with, and only for the work described in the submitted contract and application papers, or tasks that are in direct relation to that work. This includes all sports activities such as competition and coaching on behalf of the club. A sports club may however not engage the employee in non-sports related work that may be considered unrelated to his or her employment contract. The club may also not loan the athlete to another employer, be it another club or a non-sports related business.

Application for a permit extension

With an application to extend a work permit for athletes, the same documents must be submitted as with a new application. Please refer to the conditions specified above. Furthermore, the sports club must have must have paid tax deductions at source and social security tax regarding the foreign national’s employment in accordance with the legislation.

The foreign national is generally permitted to work while the application for the permit extension is being processed. It is however a condition that the application for an extension be submitted to The Directorate of Immigration at least four weeks before the previous permit expires.

The foreign national would like to work for a new sports club

If the foreign national who has been issued a work permit for athletes would like to change sports clubs, they are required to apply for a permit with the new sports club. The foreign national is prohibited to commence employment with their new sports club before the permit has been granted. In other respects, the application is the same as when applying for a work permit for athletes for the first time. Please refer to the conditions specified above.

The foreign national is loaned to another sports club

All work permits are issued to a specific employer and are non-transferrable. As a result, it is necessary for the new club and the athlete in question to submit a new application for a temporary work permit. The athlete cannot commence employment for the new employer until the required permit has been issued.

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