A temporary work permit in connection with study

A temporary work permit may be granted to a foreign national who is pursuing studies here in Iceland (student permit), per Article 13 of The Foreign Nationals’ Right to Work Act, no. 97/2002. The conditions, amongst others, are as follows:

  • The foreign national has entered into a contract of employment with an employer.
  • The foreign nationals’ employment ratio is not higher than 60%, except during school vacation periods or in vocational training.
  • The foreign national has been granted a student residence permit under the Act on Foreigners.


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 in connection with study.
  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 of the with the employer.
    • 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 numbers.
  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 reviews 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.

Vocational training and workpermits for traineeships

In instances of formal vocational training and traineeships, the student may apply for a work permit that exceeds the 60% employment ratio. The condition for such a permit is that the traineeship is a part of the student’s studies and will be recognized as a requirement for completing their studies. Vocational training and traineeships must always be paid in accordance to the relevant collective bargaining agreements and regulations in Iceland, and permits will not be issued on the grounds of unpaid internships or training of any sort. The applicants will need to submit a confirmation form their school on the recognition of their employment as astudy requirement. 

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? 

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

That 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.

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.

Student employment ratio

In general, students are not permitted to work at more than 60% employment rate during the semester. The directorate may, in exceptional circumstances, grant work permits in excess of the 60% employment rate when the work is directly related to the student's studies, such as vocational training. Students are also permitted to work at a full-time employment ratio during study holidays, such as summer and Christmas holidays with the employer where a work permit is valid.

Termination of employment

If the employment is terminated before the permit expires, The Directorate of Labour must be informed of the termination. An email to workpermits@vmst.is is considered a sufficient notification.

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

The right of a foreign national to stay in Iceland after graduation

The residence permit of a foreign national who has completed university studies in Iceland may be renewed for up to three years from the date of graduation to seek employment on the grounds of their expertise. Further information can be found on the website of the Directorate of Immigration.

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