Guidance

Living in Iceland

Official information British people moving to and living in Iceland need to know, including residency, healthcare and driving.

Brexit: what you need to know

There will be no change to the rights and status of UK nationals living in Iceland while the UK remains in the EU.

While the government continues to negotiate Brexit, you should:

Before you go

See our travel advice for Iceland and sign up for up-to-date information on local laws and customs, safety and emergencies.

See moving or retiring abroad.

Visas and residency

See entry requirements for Iceland in our travel advice.

You must register with Registers Iceland and apply for a national identification number (kennitala). You’ll need your identification number to register your residence in Iceland, get a tax card, open a bank account and apply for a home telephone and internet connection. See EEA and EFTA citizens applying for an identification number.

You need to also apply for a residence/work permit from the Directorate of Immigration.

Healthcare

See our travel advice for Iceland.

The NHS has information about healthcare for British people living in and visiting Iceland.

You need a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to get emergency medical treatment during temporary stays in EU countries. You also need comprehensive travel insurance to cover anything not covered by your EHIC.

Once you’re resident in Iceland for 6 months, you automatically become a member of the Iceland social insurance system.

You can find English-speaking doctors in Iceland.

You should also check your prescriptions are legal in Iceland. You can bring personal prescription medicine for 100 days without a customs declaration, although a formal doctor’s note may be requested by Icelandic customs officials.

S1 form – healthcare paid for by the UK

You may be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK if you live in Iceland and get an exportable UK pension, contribution-based Employment Support Allowance or another exportable benefit.

You need to apply for a S1 form – contact the Department for Work and Pensions’ International Pension Centre. When you get your S1 form, register it with your local social security office before you register with your GP surgery and get a medical card.

Working in Iceland

See working in another EU country.

Some jobs may require a UK criminal records check (known as a DBS check).

Tax

See tax if you leave the UK to live abroad and tax on your UK income if you live abroad.

We recommend you get professional advice on paying tax in Iceland.

See paying income tax in Iceland and taxes in Iceland.

You’ll be issued a tax card when you register with Registers Iceland.

See Icelandic Directorate of Internal Revenue.

You may be able to pay National Insurance while abroad in order to protect your State Pension and entitlement to other benefits and allowances.

Pensions

See State Pension if you retire abroad and new State Pension.

If you’ve worked in Iceland, you should claim your pension through your pension fund – see Icelandic pensions.

If you haven’t worked in Iceland, you should claim your UK state pension by contacting the International Pension Centre.

If you’ve worked in several EU countries, see state pensions abroad.

Life certificates for UK state pensions

If you get a ‘life certificate’ from the UK Pension Service, you need to respond as soon as possible – your payments may be suspended if you don’t.

Benefits

See claiming benefits if you live, move or travel abroad.

Find out which UK benefits you might be able to get while you’re abroad and how to claim them.

Many income-related benefits such as Pension Credit and Housing Benefit can’t be paid if you’re abroad for more than 4 weeks.

You may be eligible to claim some Icelandic social security benefits – see Icelandic social security benefits.

Driving in Iceland

See driving abroad and road travel in Iceland.

Once you’re resident, you can apply for an Icelandic driving licence – see driving licence renewal and exchange – Iceland.

See taking a vehicle out of the UK.

Voting

British citizens living abroad can vote in some UK elections – you’ll need to register as an overseas voter.

If you’re resident in Iceland, you can vote in local municipal and European parliamentary elections.

Births

See register a birth abroad.

Deaths

See what to do after someone dies.

See also:

Getting married

See getting married abroad.

Renewing passports

See overseas British passports applications and get an emergency travel document (sometimes called an emergency passport).

Pets

See travelling with pets.

Emergencies

Iceland uses the European emergency number 112.

If you need urgent help, contact the British Embassy Reykjavik.

Accommodation and buying property

See buying a property abroad.

Other useful information

Returning to the UK

You must tell Registers Iceland that you are leaving Iceland.

To move your pension to the UK, contact the International Pension Centre.

See tax if you return to the UK.

See bringing your pet to the UK.

Disclaimer

Please note that this information is provided as a guide only. Definitive information should be obtained from the Icelandic authorities. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office will not be liable for any inaccuracies in this information.

Published 29 April 2016
Last updated 23 July 2018 + show all updates
  1. Updated July 2018 with new wording about driving licences in Iceland
  2. Complete revision of guidance to ensure it's up to date and accurate.
  3. First published.