Student Visa Process for Iceland

You will need to obtain a student residence permit for the program to which you are applying. More information about the visa process will be provided to you once you have been accepted, and you cannot apply for the visa until you have been accepted into a program.  

It is very important that you complete your application for the API program quickly so that you can begin applying for your residence permit as soon as possible. API is not able to provide refunds for students who are unable to obtain a residence permit prior to their program start date. We will do our best to advise you when we receive your application if we feel that you do not have sufficient time to obtain the visa.  

Important notes about the visa process: 

If you hold a passport from a country on this list,,  you will need to complete your visa process in advance of your departure to Iceland. If your home country is not on this list, you can travel to Iceland while your residence permit is being processed. However, you must have your application lodged with the Directorate of Immigration prior to your departure to Iceland.

Your FBI background check can be emailed to the Directorate of Immigration. The rest of your completed residence permit application will need to be mailed to the Directorate of Immigration in Iceland.   

If you do not have a passport, apply for one immediately. If you do have a passport, check the expiration date to ensure that the expiration date is at least 6 months after the end of your program. You will need to renew your passport immediately if it expires too soon after your program end date.

The gender reflected on your passport must match the gender and/or gender pronouns provided on the acceptance letters issued by the host institution abroad as well as your student visa application. Please contact the API office if you have any questions or concerns.

Documents to be Submitted:

  1. Payment receipt (if the application has been paid for at a bank). The name of the person for whom payment is being made must be clearly stated. List the name of the applicant and their date of birth as a reference.
  2. Application for residence permit for students. (Please download and save this form before filling out. It is important that the applicant states their place of residence in Iceland. If the address is not stated when the application is made, the applicant must notify their place of residence within two (2) weeks from the applicant’s date of arrival in Iceland (for example when being photographed).
  3. Passport photo (35 mm x 45 mm).
  4. Photocopy of passport. The period of validity must be at least 90 days beyond the period of validity of the residence permit. This must include photocopies of the passport’s personal information page and the page containing the applicant’s signature.
  5. University admission certificate or university acceptance letter. General students – full study is defined as 30 ECTS units per term.
  6. A copy of criminal record certificate issued by country of residence. A criminal record must not be older than 12 months when submitted and must be issued by the highest authority competent to issue such certificates in the respective country. This FBI background check should be emailed to the Directorate once it has been finalized and sent to the applicant. 
  7. Translation by an authorized translator of the criminal record certificate. Applies only if the foreign certificate is in another language other than English or Nordic languages. Note that the translation must be authenticated if the translator is not an authorized translator in Iceland.
  8. Health insurance. A confirmation must be presented from an insurance company, licensed to operate in Iceland, stating that the applicant has taken out (purchased) health insurance, valid for six months and covering medical costs of ISK 2,000,000 as a minimum. API will provide this document. 
  9. Documents on support, confirming secure support during the period of residence. Students must be self-supported, if a bank statement is provided as proof of financial means it is important that the bank account is in the applicant’s name. Joint bank accounts are not accepted. For students using financial aid, a statement or award letter from your home university can be used to fulfill this requirement.