This article is the ultimate guide to living in Iceland. Located in the North Atlantic Ocean; Iceland is one of those exotic Nordic countries. Iceland is considered as one of the top countries for human development according to United Nations Human Development Index 2020. Iceland presents a varied topography, demography, cuisines, fashion, automobiles, housing, leisure, and sports which are quite diverse. Iceland is situated amid two continents which are Europe and North America thus we can find an amalgamation of culture from these continents.
1. How to Get Residency in Iceland
There are various ways in which a person can live and reside in Iceland. Some of the most popular ways in which you can move to Iceland are listed below.
Young adults can pursue their higher education in Iceland. The presence of various colleges such as Reykjavík University, the University of Akureyri, and the Agricultural University of Iceland provide various career opportunities for students.
If you can marry an Iceland citizen then you can get residency in Iceland. You can also commit to a live-in-relationship with an Icelandic citizen to get residency status. This way you can not only get your life partner but also get exotic Iceland as your home.
If you can find employment in Iceland, then you can get to reside in Iceland. For instance, you can apply for jobs of various categories in Iceland. Some of the popular job opportunities in Iceland are Professors, Doctors, Athletes, Trainers, Corporate officers, and Merchant Navy. You can take the help of LinkedIn or Facebook groups to search for jobs in Iceland.
If you are an immigrant from European Economic Area (EEA) or European Free Trade Association (EFTA) then you can reside in Iceland for a maximum of 6 months. If you intend to stay longer then you have to apply for a 10-digit personal identification number called kennitala.
If you are a non-EEA/EFTA person and intend to stay for longer than 3 months then you have to apply for a residence permit before arrival to Iceland. Once you get a residence permit you can apply for kennitala.
2. What is Kennitala?
Kennitala is like an identification card for all residing citizens and foreign residents living in Iceland. Kennitala helps in ensuring that you pay your taxes on time, get your health care benefits, and get your social benefits and various other government amenities.
To apply for kennitala, you have to visit the local registration office. The process of getting a kennitala could take upto 9 weeks so apply as soon as you can.
3. What is the Weather like in Iceland?
If you are coming for a tropical region or equatorial region then obviously you will find the weather a bit chilly in Iceland. The subarctic climate ensures that there are cool summers and cool winters. The temperatures stay almost constant throughout the year due to the presence of the Gulf Stream. That being said, the weather can fluctuate daily. For instance, you may get caught off-guard by a sudden onset of freezing rain when in the previous 10 minutes it was warm and sunny.
However, layered clothing is a must in Iceland to protect you from the cooler winds and freezing temperatures on some occasions. Ensure that you have weatherproof clothes, rain boots, and windbreakers in your wardrobe.
4.What Are the Languages Spoken in Iceland?
Fortunately, almost all native people speak almost perfect English and some speak several other languages too. Iceland is famous for strangers to interact openly with others. So you can feel free to ask for any help if you are a new resident living in Iceland.
The Icelandic language is a bit difficult for new residents. However, as time progresses, you will gradually learn the Icelandic language. If you want to adjust and get to know the local culture more privately, many schools offer classes in Iceland to take your language skills to the next level.
5. What is the Culture in Iceland?
Trapped between the new and old world, Icelandic culture is an amalgamation of Western Europe and Scandinavia mixed with some North American influences. The small population of this nation spends a lot of time doing outdoor activities, reading, attending cultural and museums, and soaking in geothermal pools. The lifestyle is pretty much laid back and there is decent scope for pursuing leisure activities.
People of Iceland are courteous and affectionate towards strangers. They will make you feel at home and help you out with any needs that may arise during your stay in Iceland. Iceland is very aware of global events but also works hard to keep its old traditions still alive
6.What is the Cost of Living in Iceland?
Iceland’s currency is called Króna (plural krónur) or ISK. You will not see a lot of paper currency floating because everyone pays almost everything with a card. As of June 2021, 1 ISK is equal to $0.0083.
Don’t let the exchange rate fool you to think Iceland is a cheap goal. Living in Iceland can be expensive, mostly because of the remote location of the island. Many goods have to be shipped across the sea and air to Iceland and hence the high prices. The supermarket is quite reasonable. You can find a frozen pizza of around 650 ISK ($ 5) and bread applies to around 375 ISK ($ 3). Typical beer is around 1,200 ISK ($ 10)! Going out for food and drinks can be expensive, although there are several places to eat cheap.
7. What Are the Means of Transportation in Iceland?
Traveling around Reykjavik is easy because of the small size of the city and a solid public transportation system. Most residents walk or prefer cycling in the warmer months. The bus is clean, running on time, and can take you wherever you have to enter the city.
Outside the capital city is another story. Buses and aircraft will take you to various cities and villages throughout the island. To explore all the extraordinary qualities of living in Iceland, you will need a car (or find friends with one and carpool). Be prepared for a much slower trip in winter.
8. What are the Housing Options in Iceland?
Accommodation is a challenge in Reykjavik! There is a lack of housing and you will always compete with locals, students, and other immigrants. Everyone wants to stay in 101 districts (downtown) where all bars and restaurants are available. So if you are willing to pay the higher price you can get accommodation in the 101 districts (downtown). You have to be active in searching for an accommodation that suits your budget for living in Iceland.
This island is small and empty housing is rare to find. With more immigration every year, many residents have decided to rent out their property through services such as Airbnb.
To get an idea of what things in Iceland, you can expect to pay around 130,000 ISK ($ 990) a month for a 1-room apartment in Reykjavik.
9. How is Personal Safety in Iceland?
Iceland has an excellent reputation for safety. Violent crime is an incredibly rare occurrence, and when it happens, it is generally the result that tourists hit each other after too many pints. living in Iceland is considered to be safer than other countries.
To put it another way, from the years 2000 to 2009, violent crime events never increased more than 1.8 per 100,000 people. Consider the United States, which witnessed 5 to 5.8 per 100,000 people during the same period. Statistically, Iceland is the third country in which it is less likely to be killed; a comfortable fact if there was once one.
Pickpocketing has been reported in popular tourist attractions but does not seem to be a major problem. However, with more and more visitors arriving each year, it is recommended that you have a close eye on your valuables while walking through the city or visiting some of the natural outstanding points of Iceland. Be careful that pickers tend to work in groups.
10. How is Spirituality and Religion in Iceland?
Statistically, Iceland seems to be a pretty religious country. There are 41 registered religious groups, the largest of which is the National Church of Iceland, an organization with 250,000 members (the Icelanders register at birth, hence the great figure). The national church is organized under a diocese, administered by the Bishop of Iceland, Agnes M. Sigurðardóttir, the first woman to maintain the position.
Take a quick look online, and you will see that today, approximately 80% of Icelanders are Lutherans, while most of the rest are from other Christian denominations, namely Roman Catholic. You can find the test of Iceland’s historical commitment to Christianity in the large number of churches sprinkled around the field.
11. What are the Holidays in Iceland?
Iceland has numerous public vacations throughout the year to mark national celebrations. Some of the popular holidays are Good Friday, Easter Monday, Day of Labor, White Sunday, Day of independence, Christmas day, Boxing day and New Year eve.
My Final take on Living in Iceland
We hope that this guide to living in Iceland will be of great use to your journey to Iceland. Even after organizing the visas, a place to live, and a company to work, you must overcome the mental obstacle to avoid doubt and face the darkest realities of living in other places.
Seeing the extended family, no doubt will be more difficult, just like visiting old friends, performing routine activities and habits. You can easily feel isolated by the native or lonely and confused on a cold and endless winter night. Perhaps initially, the food is not for your taste, nor to a little inaccessible humor.
Nothing can shake the wildness of daily life, such as moving to a new country, and living in Iceland is nothing less than an emotion.