Iceland Rating from Being Digital Nomad
Iceland is a Nordic island nation in the North Atlantic with a rich and captivating history. The country is known for its dramatic landscapes, which include glaciers, lava fields, and hot springs.
Despite its small population, Iceland’s vibrant culture is steeped in history, folklore, and the arts, and its people are known for their friendly and welcoming nature.
Discover the magic that has captivated travelers for centuries at your own pace through this comprehensive guide for becoming a digital nomad in Iceland.
- Iceland Digital Nomad Visa
- Iceland Digital Nomad Visa requirements
- How to apply (steps)
- Why Iceland?
- Being a Digital Nomad in Iceland
- Cost of Living in Iceland
- Wrapping up
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Iceland Digital Nomad Visa
As per UTL, The Directorate of Immigration, the remote worker is “the organization and delivery of work utilizing information technology, where the applicant will deliver their work to an operating location outside of Iceland.”
Iceland requires employees to earn at least $7,760/month to qualify for the digital nomad visa, one of the strictest in the world.
Iceland does not allow digital nomads to work for local employees or the Icelandic labor market.
The visa is valid for 180 days (six months) and allows applicants to stay in other Schengen countries for up to 90 days over 180 days.
Note: If you apply for the Iceland Digital Nomad Visa from within the Schengen Area, the visa validity would be only 90 days (compared to 180 if applying outside the Schengen Area).
Furthermore, you can apply for your spouse’s and child’s visas. Nomadic families who move no more than twice or thrice yearly could find this option a great fit.
According to Iceland’s Directorate of Immigration, individuals who fall under the following category are eligible to apply for the Iceland Digital Nomad Visa:
- Foreign nationals willing to work remotely for foreign employers while in Iceland
- Foreign nationals willing to work as self-employed
- Spouses and children of remote workers
Most countries ask for proof of work. To strengthen your applications, it’s recommended that you obtain a statement of earnings or a certificate of employment from your employers.
Unaccounted money appearing without a source might not look good on all records.
Iceland Digital Nomad Visa requirements
The requirements for a long-term visa for remote workers are:
- Applicant must be a resident of a non-EU/EEA/EFTA country
- The applicant will work remotely from Iceland
- The applicant intends to stay for a short term
- The applicant has not been issued an Iceland long-term visa within the last 12 months
- The applicant’s monthly income should about $7,760
- Should be earning $9,500/month if applying for additional dependent.
As you can notice, Iceland’s high cost of living reflects in its requirements for a digital nomad visa.
How to apply (steps)
Here are the steps you must follow to apply for Iceland’s digital nomad or long-term visa for remote workers:
Step 1: Gather all documents required for your visa
Ensure that you have access to all the documents for your visa.
Here are the regular documents you would need for Iceland’s digital nomad visa: Passport, payment receipt, application form for a long-term visa, health insurance certificate, criminal record, income details, the purpose of stay, latest pictures, and identity documents.
Step 2: Double-check the information on your visa application form
Double-check information on forms to ensure everything is correct. Ensure that you update all information and do not hide any necessary details.
Step 3: Pay the required application fee
The processing fee (about $90) can be found in the last step of the digital application process. If you are applying for a spouse, cohabiting partner, or children, fill out an application form for each individual and pay the corresponding fee.
Other applications must be sent in paper form by regular mail to the Directorate of Immigration or delivered to a drop box in the Directorate’s lobby. You must first pay the processing fee by bank transfer and submit the payment receipt with the application for confirmation.
Step 4: Submit the visa application
Iceland’s Directorate of Immigration notes that it only receives applications in paper form.
Applicants can do this by either dropping the application in the drop box in the lobby or by using regular mail to send the application to the below-mentioned address:
Directorate of Immigration
Step 5: Await response
Once the form has been submitted, the applicant will be notified by the Directorate of Immigration if their application fulfills the required conditions for Iceland’s long-term visa for remote workers.
Due to applications being done via mail, Iceland’s Digital Nomad Visa could take a few weeks to a month to be processed.
You must contact the Directorate of Immigration (email@example.com) after arriving in Iceland for the visa to be issued. The visa shall be valid from the date of its issue.
Cost of application
The cost of an individual long-term visa for remote workers is around $90. If applying for a spouse and child, you must pay an additional $90 each. More details are available on UTL.
Iceland’s natural beauty has been attracting tourists for a long time.
The Icelandic tourist board notes that the total number of foreign overnight visitors was just under 700,000 in 2021, a 44% increase from the number of foreign visitors in 2020. Iceland’s natural beauty makes it ideal for digital nomads.
Many films and shows such as ‘Game of Thrones,’ ‘Batman,’ ‘James Bond,’ and ‘Oblivion’ have been shot here, which shows how picturesque the place can be.
Land of volcanoes and waterfalls
Iceland welcomes your curiosity about volcanoes. It has many active volcanoes and inactive volcanoes — Iceland averages one volcanic eruption every four years.
It’s reported that since the last ice age — about 10,000 years ago — a third of all lava produced on the earth’s surface has erupted on Island. You could also explore some of the non-active volcanoes in Iceland.
Multiple travel agencies offer tours of Iceland’s volcanoes — something you could figure out once you reach there unless the primary reason for your Iceland trip is exploring volcanoes. In that case, preliminary research is not just advised but highly recommended.
Iceland’s hot springs are equally famous. There are many hot springs and geothermal pools that you can take a dip in. It’s a relaxing feeling, especially after a day spent outdoors. And if you’ve been walking, then it’s a lovely thing to do.
Iceland from September through March is the ideal time for watching Aurora Borealis, aka northern lights. Here’s what they look like:
The above gif is a mere representation of the miracles Iceland’s skies behold. Iceland’s latitude makes it a perfect spot to view surreal phenomena — simply looking at the night sky is indescribably fulfilling.
Book lovers’ paradise
Public benches are installed where you can read books in your leisure time. Iceland’s book club scene is fascinating too. It could inspire you — at least give you a setting — for your next book. For digital nomads who are book lovers, Iceland could be the place to read books in naturally soothing spaces.
Since we mentioned book clubs, here’s something to get you started.
Iceland’s latitude enables it to experience long, dark winters while neverending summers. It’s a unique phenomenon, but many people may find it disturbing to experience days as long as 21 hours.
However, this might work for you if you are a workaholic and have insomnia. Note that we do not encourage working extended hours and insomnia.
On that note, before traveling to Iceland, you might have to work out the time zones and how this factor might impact your life. You could also research how it could affect your body and mind to find the experience less surprising.
A happy place on earth
Iceland is the world’s third happiest nation with the lowest rate of criminals, per the United Nations World Happiness Report. Iceland’s comfortable living standards, better health structure, and strong social ties make for a robust framework for this index.
Iceland could provide an ideal space for self-growth — if that’s a journey you actively and mindfully want to participate in. It can be challenging as a digital nomad, you might wonder, but the very fact that traveling is as much about life as “finding happiness” makes it thought worth dwelling in.
Being a Digital Nomad in Iceland
It’s disappointing to finally have a great spot to check your emails, only to realize that the internet sucks. One of the essential requirements for a digital nomad is good internet. According to Trading Economics, Iceland is among 20 countries with good internet speed.
Like its neighbors, Iceland is web-savvy and well-connected. If you wish to purchase mobile data, operators could charge you as much as $26 or 100 GB of data. Most places have good wifis but remember to double-check while booking a place through platforms like Airbnb or Booking.
A Reddit user — now a deleted profile — even posted three years ago that they traveled around in a campervan “a few years ago and worked from all sorts of “remote” spots on the side of the road.”
“But there are coffee shops and restaurants where you can connect in the larger towns too,” the user said.
Digital nomad hotspots and coworking spaces
Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, is the main destination for most tourists and digital nomads in the country. It is home to over 60% of the entire country’s population and is known for its unique blend of modernity and traditional Icelandic culture.
It is one the best places in the world to see the Northern Lights, and its location on a volcanic island means it has many geothermal pools and spas.
Reykjavik has an well-connected and efficient bus system which offers daily and monthly passes starting at about $65/month.
Some of the country’s most noteworthy coworking spaces include (prices shown are for hot desks):
- Regus (Reykjavík):
- $300 / week
- $500 / month
- The Ocean Cluster House (Grandagarður):
- $73 / day
- $300 / month
- Quarter (Reykjavik):
- $38 / day
- $260 / month
- The Blue Bank (Westfjords):
- $28 / day
- $110 / week
Taxation for digital nomads in Iceland
You are not obliged to pay any taxes during your stay in Iceland. However, you must pay taxes in your country of residence/employment.
Cost of Living in Iceland
The currency in the country is the Icelandic Krona ($1 USD=135 ISK at the time this article was written).
Iceland isn’t a cheap country. Given below is the average cost of living in Reykjavík.
|Furnished studio in city center (one-bedroom)||$1,600|
|Furnished studio outside center (one-bedroom)||$1,340|
|Furnished flat in city center (three-bedroom)||$2,200|
|Furnished flat outside center (three-bedroom)||$1,890|
|Food and Groceries||$500 – $1,000|
|Transportation||$200 – $400|
|Utilities (water, electricity, gas, internet)||$250 – $500|
|Coworking space||$200 – $700|
|Health insurance||$150 – $375|
|Miscellaneous expenses||$500 – $1,000|
|Total average monthly expenses (excluding rent)||$2,000 – $4,000|
Several countries offer digital nomad visas, but Iceland’s long-term visa for remote workers stands out — not just because it’s a great place to be but also because it’s expensive. Digital nomads earning regular income (not high enough for Iceland) might still find it a distant dream.
Another great opportunity is that digital nomads can take their families to Iceland — great for established employees who may have started working remotely during the pandemic.
Happy places make people productive, and Iceland could just be trying to provide a space for that.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Iceland’s long-term visa for remote workers, or the digital nomad visa, costs around $90
Per the government body, remote work refers to the organization and delivery of work utilizing information technology, where the applicant will deliver their work to an operating location outside of Iceland.
Holders of these visas can not contribute to Iceland’s labor market or work with local employers, as it requires a work and residence permit.
If applicants apply from their home country, the visa is issued for up to 180 days. Applications from Schengen zones limit the stay duration to up to 90 days.