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. As it is an exception of the Act’s precept, 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 the foreign national fulfils the requirements of Article 23 of the Act.

Please note that although the foreign national may be exempt from requiring a work permit, the Icelandic labour market’s laws and regulations still apply to the foreign national’s terms and conditions of employment while 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.

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.

Furthermore, individuals who are citizens of countries outside the EEA are prohibited to work in Iceland as self-employed contractors, per Article 6 of Act No. 97/2002 on Foreign Nationals Right to Work.

Foreign nationals commencing employment before they have been granted a work permit according to the above legislation, may result in their work permit applications being declined and such actions may lead to the foreign national or the employer being imposed with fines or imprisonment for up to two years. This is applicable regardless if the intended period of employment in Iceland is short or long-term.

Notifications are to be sent electronically 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.

Scientists, Lectures and Scolars

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.

Artists, excluding musicians employed to perform in catering establishments

This applies to, amongst others, film producers, multimedia artists and musicians, excluding those employed to perform in catering establishments.

Athletic coaches

This applies to foreign nationals who enter Iceland to coach athletes at sports clubs or associations.

Business representatives

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

Passenger coach drivers

This applies only to foreign nationals who enter Iceland with a passenger coach carrying tourist groups. Drivers who enter Iceland without a coach and passengers are not included in this provision.

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,

supervision or 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.


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