Emigrating abroad

A person who emigrates abroad and ceases to have legal residence in Iceland must, under the law, notify Registers Iceland of such eventuality before leaving.

Moving between countries

  • There are a number of issues that must be addressed when an individual or a family decides to emigrate abroad.
  • Check whether passports are valid and apply for new passports if necessary. Notify Registers Iceland that the legal residence will be moved and provide a full overseas address.
  • When emigrating to one of the other Nordic countries you will have to register yourself and your family with the appropriate authorities in the municipality to which you are moving, due to a number of rights that transfer between the countries. Personal identification documents or a passport must be shown and the Icelandic identity number given.
  • If emigrating to a country outside the Nordic countries, it is necessary to find out exactly what rules apply to residence permits and employment permits in the country and to investigate whether a visa is necessary. Obtaining information on the changes that occur to personal rights and obligations on moving one's legal residence from Iceland is recommended.
  • Check what personal identification documents and certificates apply in the country in question, apply for new ones if necessary, and obtain the requisite permits and certificates that you will need to submit in the country, i.e. relating to:
  • employment
  • education - own studies and that of children
  • housing
  • healthcare
  • social security
  • taxes and other public levies
  • driving licence
  • If children and adolescents emigrate with their parents, it is necessary to thoroughly examine the structure of the education system in the country in question. Particular attention should be paid to the manner in which language education for foreigners of all ages is arranged.
  • Icelandic schools, intended for children and adolescents, operate in several countries. Information on these may be found on the websites of Icelandic embassies and the Icelanders' Association in each country.
  • Iceland and various foreign countries and confederations of countries have entered into international agreements regarding the mutual rights and obligations of citizens who emigrate between countries. 
  • A range of information on emigration overseas may be found on the websites of Icelandic embassies in the countries in question, and also from the Icelandic associations that are operated in many parts of the world.
  • Customs duties must be paid on household goods and cars that are transported between countries. Further information may be found on the websites of foreign customs authorities.
  • Icelandic citizens retain their right to vote in parliamentary and presidential elections for 8 years after their legal residency has been moved abroad.
  • The right to vote in municipal elections lapses once legal residency has been transferred to a foreign country.

Links of interest