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THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE MOVING TO ICELAND

Introduction

Iceland, the island country, with its breathtaking beauty is located just below the Arctic circle. This country is best known for its stunning geothermal activity. The treeless landscapes are starkly beautiful. The clear water, mountainous highlands and the various epic views are worth a feast to your eyes.

The majestic beauty surrounding the entire landscape of this island country is a must visit place while moving to Iceland. Life takes a different turn in Iceland. You witness and experience life in a peaceful and happy way. The warm neighborhoods around the country are so polite and loving that you will fall in love even more with this country.

Iceland with its small population is ranked as one of the safest countries in the world. Living in Iceland is glorious. If you are planning to move to Iceland from the US, this is your call, pack your bags and get ready to begin a simple yet beautiful life in Iceland.

Moving to Iceland from US

Iceland, the second happiest country in the world, is one of the best choices to move in and explore the beauty and opportunities residing in here. From moving costs to the places you wanted to travel and live, here is everything you should know before moving to Iceland.

If you are thinking about moving to Iceland from America, you have reached the right place. Here is an ultimate guide to taking you through the whole process of life in Iceland.

1. Visa

If you are not an EU/EEA citizen, you will need a work permit or residence visa, depending on your nature of stay in Iceland. The various types of visas available in Iceland are listed below.

Types of Visas in Iceland:

  • Tourist Visa
  • Working Visa
  • Immigrant Visa
  • Business Visa
  • Student Visa

Iceland Visa Requirements

It is always best to prepare your planning and registration process for an Iceland visa one month prior to your scheduled date of travel to avoid any kind of delay. The general steps to follow for a Visa to Iceland are listed below :

  • Find a nearby convenient place to apply for your visa
  • Choose the best and right time for your travelling and visa processes
  • Collect the documents required for your visa application
  • Make a visa appointment
  • Attend the visa interview and pay the Iceland and pay the visa fee
  • Wait for your official Iceland visa.

The most important part while applying for an Iceland visa is the documents required for the visa application process.

Documents required for visa application process

  1. Iceland Visa application form, filled and printed twice and signed both copies at end.
  2. Two identical photos not older than six months, with a photo size of 35x445mm.
  3. Valid passport with minimum three years or beyond expiry date from the one last date before moving into Iceland.
  4. Valid color passport copies
  5. Proof of your current legal residence
  6. The receipt for your payment
  7. Travel Medical Insurance
  8. Proof of financial support to enter into the territory
  9. Your accommodation document for your stay in the form of agreement, booking or an
  10. Birth Certificate

Can US citizens enter Iceland?

Currently, US citizens can enter Iceland with a certificate of full vaccination against COVID. The US is listed under the Schengen-visa-free countries, therefore citizens can stay up to 90 days without any visa in the Island country.

Do Icelanders hate American tourists?

Icelanders do not hate American tourists, they are rather welcoming and encouraging tourists or visitors to explore and enjoy their time in Iceland.

Iceland is known as the most gender equality country in the world making life and opportunities easier and available to every person moving to Iceland. Life in the Island country is easy and cheap, hence living in Iceland is always a better option for your savings at the same time enjoying the beauty all around.

2. Taxes

The tax payments on an individual in Iceland depend on their status and the source of income. From income tax, business tax to property tax there are several taxes one should be aware of while moving to the US. While relocating to Iceland, the person shall receive personal tax credits according to their period of residence in Iceland.

Nonresidents, who work and gain an income in Iceland are subjected to a national tax rate of 20 percent and municipal taxes during their stay. The various tax amounts to be noted while moving to Iceland from the US are listed below :

Income tax37% – 38%
 Financial activity tax5.5% – 6%
Property tax22%
Sales tax24%
Consumption tax32% – 35%
Individual taxes (according to the earned income)39% – 40%}

 Are Taxes in Iceland High?

The taxes in Iceland are lower compared to other European countries. According to the 2021 budget, Iceland states a lower tax burden compared to the taxation in 2017. This would benefit the low-income families, boost the domestic economy and also help in achieving the environmental goals to be implemented within the country. The general Value-Added Tax (VAT) rate is 24%, which includes the services of food, accommodation, newspaper, fuel and electricity.

3. JOBS

Job Market in Iceland

If you are looking for a job before moving into Iceland, there are various opportunities to look through for a perfect role. Iceland is one of the best countries to move into and find what your heart truly deserves. Finding employment can be quite a task, but most of foreigners end up staying in Iceland due to the peaceful atmosphere and epic beauty within the country. The culture, people and nature are so stunning and kind that people who newly move into Iceland will fall in love with their new work-life balance in Iceland.

Iceland Jobs for Americans

There are various job opportunities available for Americans in Iceland. Icelanders speak the language English making finding a job easier. Even though a small portion of the population in Iceland speaks Icelandic, learning the native language will let you know more about the people and places. While moving to Iceland from the US, it is always better to move with a job in Iceland due to the high expenses to be met while living in Iceland. Americans can live and work in Iceland without a work permit or visa, making job hunting simpler for them.

Can foreigners work in Iceland?

Foreigners can definitely work in Iceland. The EEA citizens do not require a work permit or visa while moving to Iceland from the US. However, while arriving as a job seeker or planning to stay for six months or longer, the individual should register as a resident under Registers Iceland, the country’s national registry. The non-EEA citizens can only enter with a valid residence permit in Iceland. The residence permit is of three types :

  • Workers filling temporary labour shortages
  • Workers with expert knowledge
  • Athletes

What kind of jobs are in Iceland?

The main industries which are available in providing employment in Iceland are :

  • Medical/Pharmaceutical field
  • Tourism and travel
  • Fish processing
  • Geothermal power
  • Aluminium smelting process
  • Construction
  • Healthcare
  • Hydropower
  • IT

Can you work in Iceland if you speak English?

99% of the people in Iceland speak English and only a small number of people speak Icelandic. Hence, you can work in Iceland if you speak English. Learning the Icelandic language will let you explore the culture and native side of Icelandic diversity.

4. HEALTH

Health care in Iceland

The health care system in Iceland is the second-best in the world. The quality index of the healthcare system was rated upon the number of deaths that could have been avoided with effective health care and Iceland scored 94 out of 100 on the qualitative index. The health care benefits offered after living in Iceland for six months are liberal and applicable to both residents and nonresidents in Iceland. There are also sickness benefits that can be claimed from your workplace while living in Iceland.

Health insurances in Iceland

Iceland with its universal health care system will provide you the best health services while moving to Iceland from the US. Regardless of nationality, one who stays in Iceland for a period above six months will automatically be a member of the Icelandic social insurance system. You can register for health insurance once you are a legally registered resident in Iceland. The Icelandic health insurance will include :

  • Medicine
  • Dental and orthodontic treatment
  • Nursing in the patient’s home
  • Transport costs and travel costs
  • Physiotherapy
  • Hospitalization abroad
  • X-ray examinations and radiation
  • Hospitalization
  • Maternity clinics
  • Cash sickness benefits
  • Accidental and occupational disease coverage.

Healthcare in Iceland for tourists

Iceland is a safe country to visit without any serious health conditions associated with the country. The European citizens can use their Health Insurance Card [EHIC] for reduced or free general treatments. However, for additional treatments or medications, the given amount has to be paid. Tourists who are non-EEA citizens can obtain medical assistance but must pay in full. The public healthcare system provides a high standard of care to everyone.

Is healthcare free in Iceland?

Iceland maintains a universal healthcare system, where it is largely paid by taxes enabling people to have good access to healthcare services. The majority of outpatient services are free of cost in Iceland.

Does Iceland have a good healthcare system?

Iceland has one of the best healthcare systems in the world, with 24×7 good General Practitioners and specialists available to the public. Iceland’s national health service provides for all, therefore the country has no private health insurance.

5. EDUCATION

The education system in Iceland

Iceland is a developed country that is ranked as the third most literate nation in the world. The equality endeavors in Iceland are evident in the educational structure followed in the institutions in Iceland. The educational system is a four-level system in Iceland. Homeschooling is not an option in Iceland.

First levelPreschool: between 1- 6 years of age
Second levelCompulsory education: between 6 – 16 years of age
Third levelUpper secondary education: between 16 – 20 years of age
Fourth levelHigher education at a university

Education in Iceland for International Students

Education is made simpler and easily accessible to international students willing to study in Iceland. There are several top great universities providing the best education under the selected field with scholarships. There are various courses available to be chosen according to the student’s area of interest. There are two semesters and the tuition fee will depend on whether the institution is private or state-owned. Public colleges provide the best education without any tuition fees to be paid by the student in Iceland.

Top 5 Best Universities in Iceland

  1. BIFRÖST UNIVERSITY
  2. ICELAND UNIVERSITY OF THE ARTS
  3. REYKJAVÍK UNIVERSITY
  4. THE AGRICULTURAL UNIVERSITY OF ICELAND
  5. UNIVERSITY OF ICELAND

Higher Education in Iceland

The higher education system in Iceland is students attending their preferred degree courses in universities. Students around the world are eligible to enter into a master’s or doctoral degree with a diploma from any other country. Higher education in Icelandic University is divided into three categories beginning from :

  • Bachelor’s program – It is a three to four year programme.
  • Master Program – It is obtained following a bachelor’s degree, the duration of master’s is from one to two years.
  • PhD – The third higher education is a doctoral program that lasts from three to four years and ends with research and publications.

How much does it cost to study in Iceland?

Private colleges situated in Iceland will require payment of both tuition and registration fees, whereas the public colleges will require a non-refundable registration fee, to begin with, higher education in Iceland. About ISK 60,000 to ISK 75,000 will be required for the registration fee alone in a college in Iceland.

Is University free in Iceland?

Public universities in Iceland do not charge any tuition fees for higher education. However, there is a nonrefundable registration fee to be paid. There are several scholarships available to help students with the registration fees as well in Iceland.

How long is schooling in Iceland?

Schooling in Iceland is completed when the student graduates from upper secondary education. The education system in Iceland is a four-level system, beginning from preschool following compulsory education and upper secondary education.

6. LIVING

Living in Iceland

Iceland with its magnificent beauty, high salaries and widespread nature is one of the best countries to move into and begin a peaceful life. However, there are several pros and cons to living in this small island country. The detailed list given below will give you an idea of Iceland and the things to consider while moving to Iceland from the US.

On thinking about how to move to Iceland from America, you must book for a reliable and professional moving company one month before your moving in. Now bear in mind that the moving charges are too expensive in Iceland, therefore do not choose the peak seasons for your relocation.

PROSCONS
The breathtaking nature Isolated island
Pure fresh air and atmospherePublic transport services are costly and hard to get around             
High salaries with good life qualityDriving can be hectic or confused for the immigrants       
Extremely high water quality   Difficult to make friends
Vegan-friendly marketNative language is quite difficult
Safest countryUnstable market
Sustainable energy sourcesLimited range of products
Gender equalityThings are expensive
Internet connection everywhereLow-quality food and vegetables
Welcoming and polite neighborhoodUnpredictable weather

Cost of Living in Iceland

The cost of living in Iceland is comparatively higher. This is because of the limited products available within the country. Iceland is an island situated far away from the North making it difficult to reach products to this small island country along with the high custom taxes.

Accommodation and other utilities>100,000 ISK/month
Food and daily expenses>50,00p ISK/month
Public transportation>6000 ISK/month
Books and other study materials>50,000 ISK/month
Leisure activities>30,000 ISKmonth

Cost of Living in Iceland vs US

If you are thinking about how much does it cost to move to Iceland, it will cost around $2000 – $4000 depending upon the distance of relocation. The cost of living in Iceland is higher compared to living in the United States. Here is a comparison on the cost of living between Iceland and the US.

ICELANDUS
Basic meal$16.49$14.25
Food expense$400 – $450/month$300 – $400/month
Accommodation$1,433.87/month$1,225.46
Internet connection$72.22$67.11
Public transportation expense$104.10/month$63.05/month
COST OF LIVING IN ICELAND VS US

Is Iceland a good place to live?

Iceland is one of the safest places in the world to live and earn. The low crime rates, fresh air, a diet rich in fish and with cleanest water on the planet, Iceland is rated as one of the safest places to live. While moving to Iceland from the US, pick a good neighbourhood giving easy access for transportation, services and groceries.

Is it expensive to live in Iceland?

It is very expensive to live in Iceland compared to the US. The goods and products that are brought to the island are very expensive to buy because of the high custom taxes for exporting goods into the island country.

How much does it cost to live in Iceland in US dollars?

 For a single person, it will cost around $1,200 – $1,500 per month to live in Iceland. Regarding, how much does it cost to move to Iceland, it ranges from $2000 – $4000 depending upon the distance of transportation and moving.

7. BEST PLACES TO LIVE IN ICELAND 

There are so many places to move into and enjoy your life in Iceland. The polite and warm neighborhoods all around the island country are the reason the country is listed under the low crime rates of the world. Some of the best places to live in Iceland are :

Reykjavik

The capital and the largest city of Iceland is bound with endless opportunities for fun and adventures. From Hallgrímskirkja Church to exploring the beauty of the city on bike, there are various outdoor activities to explore and enjoy in this capital city.

Hafnarfjörður

The cozy hangout spots with restaurants serving mouth-watering dishes are worth experiencing while living in Iceland. With an endless supply of geothermal water, swimming pools and hot tubs are a refreshing part of the Icelandic culture.

Akureyri

This second largest city of Iceland will amuse you with stunning boat tours and with an unforgettable experience of horse ride touring. Akureyri has many local museums and galleries that showcases the local culture of this place.

Kópavogur

The stunning architecture with a number of hiking trails, public parks and water pools to experience, are some of the best things to explore in Kópavogur. It is even home to the largest shopping mall in Iceland.

Hlidarfjall

The best ski resort is located in the Hlidarfjall. The winter turns this place into a magical place and fit for any skier to enjoy their time. The incredible mountains look like a dream in the winter season.

Egilsstadir

This place is surrounded by beautiful landscapes, mountains and waterfalls that will leave you in awe. One of the best features of walking in the town of Egilsstadir is the Icelandic poetry written on the walls and windows of this place.

Hofn

The breathtaking sceneries with museums showcasing the culture and heritage of Hofn will make you fall in love with this city. Hofn makes your dream of living in Iceland one of the best choices of your lifetime.

Vestmannaeyjar

This small island with a lot of beautiful attractions is worth a place to visit in Iceland. You can travel to Vestmannaeyjar via airplane to feast your eyes on witnessing one of the magnificent sceneries in the world.

Hvammstangi

The Kolugljufur waterfall situated in Hvammstangi is a beautiful place to visit during your relocation to Iceland. The Icelandic Seal Center will give you a splendid seal-watching tour while you are planning to move to Iceland from the US.

Ísafjörður

One of the most remote towns in Iceland has a lot to offer with the dramatic scenery surrounding the place. The deep blue fjords, snow capped mountains and sweeping vistas of the ocean turn this place into a stunning destination to spend your time hiking and touring while living in Iceland.

8. CULTURE & TRADITION

Culture in Iceland

Iceland, the island country is located in the North Atlantic Ocean with a rich and varied culture best known for its literary heritage. Iceland is a small country but the Icelandic families are very large. Iceland shows a powerful connection to the ancient Vikings which showcases their strong culture for food, arts and literature. While moving to Iceland, pick a local life to embrace the culture and the incredible features of this unique place.

Iceland Culture Facts

There are several interesting cultural facts on the island country, some of them are :

  • Icelanders banned beer in the whole country until the 1st of March 1989
  • Icelanders do not have a surname or family name
  • The people still believe in elves
  • Arctic fox is the only native animal
  • Strip clubs have been banned since 2010
  • Icelandic is the original language of the ancient Vikings.

Primary Language in Iceland

The primary language of Iceland is the Icelandic language. It is the native language of Iceland. However, 98% of the population speak English so you do not have to worry about language while moving to Iceland.

What are some traditions in Iceland?

From Husband’s day, Wife’sday, Bun day, Ash day to Beer day there are various traditions that are continuously practiced in Iceland.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Is it difficult to immigrate to Iceland?

If you are an EU citizen, it is going to be easy to immigrate to Iceland. While if you are not an EU citizen, it is going to be quite challenging to move to Iceland.

Is it expensive to move to Iceland?

It is quite expensive to move to Iceland. As the island country is geographically isolated it is difficult and quite expensive to move to Iceland.

Can foreigners move to Iceland?

Foreigners can work and move into Iceland, there are no restrictions. It can be quite challenging but it is worth it.

What jobs are in demand in Iceland?

Physicians, dentists, lawyers, bank managers and sales executives are some of the jobs that are in high demand in Iceland.

Conclusion

Making a new home at a new place might be exciting but at the same time quite challenging. You might be very well prepared yet might come across some unexpected challenges. Moving to Iceland from the US will be quite tiresome, but it’s all worth it. With the Northern lights, midnight sun, great food and epic views, you will immensely fall in love with this island country.

Now what are you waiting for, begin building your dreams and live the best of your life in Iceland?

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