A temporary work permit granted in order to reunite families

A work permit may be granted to a foreign national if their closest relative is an Icelandic citizen or if they possess a certain type of work permit here in Iceland, per Article 12 of The Foreign Nationals’ Right to Work Act, no. 97/2002. The conditions, amongst others, are as follows: 

To be able to apply for a temporary work permit under this category the foreign national must:  

  • Have been issued a temporary residence permit as the closest relative of an Icelandic citizen as defined under the Foreign Nationals Act no. 80/2016.  
  • Be a spouse, cohabiting spouse, or a child older than 18 years of a foreign national who has been granted one of the following permits:
  • Temporary work permits connected to residence permits on humanitarian grounds, per Article 11 of The Foreign Nationals’ Right to Work Act.  
  • Permanent residence permits, per Article 58 of The Act on Foreigners, no. 80/2016.
  • Residence permit on the grounds of international protection under Article 73 of the Foreign Nationals’ Act.
  • Temporary residence permit on the grounds of studies, when the studies involved are postgraduate university courses, doctorate studies or research carried out in Iceland, or renewed residence permits on grounds of study as provided for under the Foreign Nationals Act where the foreign national in question has completed the study courses in Iceland.
  • Temporary residence permit for athletes, providing that their residence permit has been granted for at least one year.


When applying for a temporary work permit in this category, the foreign national must have been granted a corresponding residence permit beforehand in accordance with the provisions of the Foreign Nationals’ Act. 


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 granted to reunite families. 
  2. A contract of employment between a foreign national and an employer of which the following must be included: 
    • Information regarding the foreign nationals intended job with the employer, as well as information on the employee's place of work.
    • Information regarding the pension fund to be paid into in respect to the foreign national’s nature of employment. 
    • The foreign national's terms of employment must be in accordance with relative collective agreements. It is essential to clearly stipulate the terms and conditions of employment. This includes the employment ratio, working arrangements and all relevant salary values.
  3. The opinion of the relevant labour union must be obtained before it is submitted (section IV. on the application form) unless the labour union in question is Efling labour union. The DoL obtains opinions from Efling labour union directly.
  4. The application and contract must be signed by both the foreign national and the employer.
  5. Please note that it is not a requirement to use the employment contract template provided by the Directorate of Labour.  


You may find a general info sheet on how to fill out a permit application here. 

You may find a general info sheet on how to fill out an employment contract accompanying a work permit application here. 


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 an employee start working?  

An employee may not commence work before the permit has been granted. 

All work permits are non-transferrable, and a new permit application must be lodged for a new employer. Individuals may hold more than one permit simultaneously if the permit requirements are met.

Application for a permit extension

With an application to extend a work permit, the same documents must be submitted as with a new application. If an application for a renewal is submitted before the prior permit expires the employee may continue working during the processing of the permit.  


It is the applicant's joint responsibility to present the necessary documentation for the application for a temporary work permit. If all required documentation or information 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. 

New employer

All work permits are non-transferrable, and a new permit application must be lodged for a new employment. Individuals may hold more than one permit simultaneously if the permit requirements are met.  Please follow the instructions above for submitting a temporary work permit on the grounds of family reunification.

Termination of employment

If the employment is terminated before the permit expires the Directorate of Labour must be informed of the termination.  It is sufficient to submit a notification via email to workpermits@vmst.is

In instances of termination, the relevant rules of the relevant collective bargaining agreement apply.   

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