A residence permit on grounds of au-pair placement is for an individual aged 18 to 25, who is interested in working as an au pair in Iceland.
Please note that it is the applicant's date of birth that is decisive. An application submitted before the applicant's 18th birthday or after his/her 25th birthday will be rejected.
Residence permits on grounds of au-pair placement are granted based on Art. 68 of the Act on Foreigners No. 80/2016.
You might have the right to a residence permit on grounds of au-pair placement if all of the following requirements are met, as well as others
- You are aged 18-25 when your application is submitted,
- you do not intend to take up residence in Iceland,
- you have entered into a contract that meets the set requirements,
- you will live with a family where there is at least one adult person with Icelandic citizenship or a permanent residence permit,
- you do not have family ties (links) with the host family,
- you will receive pocket money for light household chores and caring for children, however, not wages for full work in the home,
- the host family provides you with your own separate room,
- can proof that you are able to provide for yourself during your stay,
- you have a valid insurance with an Icelandic insurance company (in the field Insurance Companies) or a foreign insurance company authorized to operate in Iceland (in the field Foreign Insurance Companies),
- have not served a criminal sentence abroad during he last five (5) years or been sentenced by a court of law for an offence which would be punishable by more than three (3) months imprisonment, according to Icelandic law, and
- have a passport valid at least 90 days beyond the estimated period of validity of the residence permit.
You may not
- be younger than 18 or older than 25 when your application is submitted,
- apply for a work permit,
- work outside of the home, neither paid nor unpaid work,
- work in the host-family’s home for more than 30 hours per week or 5 hours per day,
- care for children with long-term illness or other individuals in similar situations,
- renew the residence permit unless you have received a permit for less than one (1) year, yet wish to remain for a whole year,
- have your family with or to join you,
- apply for a residence permit on other grounds except leaving the country or
- apply for a residence permit on grounds of work until having resided abroad for two (2) years after your residence permit expired.
An application for a residence permit, a contract on au-pair placement and other accompanying documents shall be submitted to the Directorate of Immigration or at the offices of district commissioners outside of the Reykjavík metropolitan area.
An applicant who does not need a visa may stay in Iceland when submitting an application and while it is being processed, provided the stay in the Schengen Area does not exceed 90 days in the 180 day period. An applicant who needs a visa may not stay in Iceland when applying for the permit and while it is being processed. Such an application will be refused.
If an applicant does not fulfill these requirements and the requirements discussed below, the application for a residence permit will be refused and the applicant must leave Iceland. An applicant who does not leave the country may be subject to expulsion or a re-entry ban. A re-entry ban for Iceland is also a re-entry ban into the Schengen Area for a specific period of time or for a minimum of two (2) years.
Further information on residence permit based on grounds of au-pair placement
Au-pair placement is a kind of cultural exchange and is defined in the explanatory notes of the Act on Foreigners as a
“…temporary reception by families in exchange for certain services, of young, foreign individuals who come to increase their language skills and even their professional skills, as well as expanding their cultural horizons by obtaining more knowledge of the country they are in”.
Rights attached to the residence permits are as follows
- The permit may be granted for one (1) year, however, can never be valid for longer than the final date of the contract between the host family and the au pair.
- Renewing the residence permit is not permissible unless it has been issued for less than one (1) year. In such instance renewing the permit is permissible such that its total period of validity is one (1) year.
- If the placement contract is cancelled the au pair may enter into a contract with a new family, however, the au pair’s total period of stay in Iceland may not be longer than one (1) year.
- An au pair is not authorized to work, neither paid nor unpaid work.
- Applying for a residence permit on other grounds is not permissible unless the au pair has left the country.
- An au pair cannot apply for a residence permit on grounds of employment until after two (2) years stay abroad, effective from the end of the permit’s period of validity.
- The residence permit does not contain a right to a family reunification.
- The residence permit cannot be a basis of a permanent residence permit.
A residence permit for an au pair is intended for an individual aged 18-25 and who is interested in learning about Iceland, however, does not plan to settle down in Iceland. An au pair lives with a host family to which he/she has no ties, and engages in caring for children and carrying out light household chores for the family in return for pocket money.
The tasks of an au pair in the host household may be caring for children, accompanying children to and from school, and during leisure activities, and carrying household chores (i.e. easy cleaning of the home, simple cooking and light shopping). An au pair shall not care for children with long-term illness or other individuals in similar situations.
The working hours of an au pair may be 30 hours per week as a maximum, or five (5) hours per day. Longer workdays may not be negotiated and childcare at night is considered as night work.
An au pair has the right to one (1) day off per week and at least one weekend per month off. After 26 weeks of work with a family the au pair has the right to one (1) week off and may spend it elsewhere than at the host family’s house.
A host family must meet the following requirements
- The host family must consist of a married couple or cohabiting partners with a child or children, or a single parent with a child or children.
- Must be Icelandic citizens or at least one of the parties to the marriage or a cohabiting partner must have a permanent residence permit. This means that two individuals who have temporary residence permits cannot be a host family. Single parents without a permanent residence permit cannot be a host family either.
- May not have family ties with the au pair. If such ties exist the application will be denied.
- May only have one person as an au pair at any given time.
- Must provide the au pair with meals and a lockable special room with a window, free of charge for the au pair.
- Must prove sufficient maintenance competence for the au pair.
- Must pay the au pair a minimum of ISK 15,000 per week as pocket money, cf. the Regulation on Foreigners.
The Directorate of Immigration may request information about a host family, including information on financial assistance or other assistance by the social services of the relevant municipality, as well as information about a criminal record, both in Iceland and abroad, if the Directorate of Immigration deems there is a reason to do so.
The applicant and the host family must complete a written contract issued by the Directorate of Immigration.
A copy of the contract must be submitted to the Directorate of Immigration as well as the application and other required documents. Please note that the signature on the contract must match the signature on the applicant‘s passport.
Both the au pair and the host family may terminate the contract on grounds of default by one party or on grounds of other serious circumstances, for example illness that affects the au pair or the host family. If either the au pair or the host family terminates the contract before the placement period is over, the contract shall be terminated in writing and both parties shall notify the Directorate of Immigration of this by submitting a special form. The termination of an placement contract takes effect when it has been made known to the other contractual party. The Directorate of Immigration issues a termination sheet. The Directorate of Immigration may request the police to visit the home of the host family and to examine the circumstances of the au pair.
If an au pair enters into a new contract with another host family the contract and its accompanying documents shall be submitted to the Directorate of Immigration.
The host family and the au pair shall agree on the payment of travel expenses to and from Iceland. An agreement may be made on the host family paying the travel expenses in full or in part. The host family, however, shall pay as a minimum half of the travel expenses.
The host family pays the full travel expenses
- If the family terminates the contract without the au pair being in default.
- If the au pair is unable to honor the contract due to illness or accident.
- If the au pair terminates the contract on grounds of default or misconduct by the host family.
If the au pair leaves the placement at own initiative the au pair shall pay the travel expenses if the termination of placement is not due to default by the host family.
In the event of a dispute between the host family and the au pair regarding travel expenses, following the termination of the placement agreement (whether it’s reimbursement of costs paid by either party before the placement or foreseeable costs due to the au pair's return home), the Directorate of Immigration does not have means to collect any alleged claims of one or both parties. If the host family and the au pair cannot reach an agreement on their claims, they can refer their case to Icelandic courts for a ruling to resolve such a civil dispute.
The au pair is advised to turn to the Directorate of Immigration or the police if he/she needs assistance.
An au pair and the host family must meet all requirements for a residence permit. An application that is submitted by an applicant under the age of 18 or older than 25 will be denied. The focus is on the 25th birthday.
The requirement for the residence permit is generally not subject to assessment, as the applicant either meets the requirements or not. If the requirements are not met the application will be denied. The application may furthermore be denied on grounds of subjective reasons and the Directorate of Immigration considers such requirements in every single instance. For this reason, stating in advance the results of the processing of an application is not possible.
Subjective reasons may be, for example, when it is felt that an applicant will not leave the country when his/her residence permit expires. In instances of subjective reasons information may be requested about an applicant’s family ties. During an evaluation consideration may also be made to information about the applicant him-/herself, the home country and the general experience of applicants in the same or similar position as the applicant. Consideration is also given to whether the applicant has applied for international protection in Iceland or a residence permit on other grounds.
Furthermore, a residence-permit application will be denied if there exists supported suspicion that the permit is being used to bring a foreign citizen to Iceland with the purpose of misusing his/her work capacity or for other unlawful purposes.
An applicant who does not need a visa may stay in Iceland when submitting an application and while it is being processed, provided the stay in the Schengen Area does not exceed 90 days in the 180 day period. If the stay exceeds this period processing the application will be stopped until the applicant has left Iceland and has presented a departure boarding card to prove it.
An applicant who needs a visa may not stay in Iceland when applying for the permit and while it is being processed. An application by an applicant who does not have the aforementioned permit to stay will be rejected.
The application shall be submitted with all the documents required by the Directorate of Immigration to confirm that the requirements for a residence permit are met.
Documents to be submitted
- 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, his/her date of birth as a reference.
- Application for a residence permit. (Please download and save on computer before filling out). In original format, carefully filled out and signed by the applicant. (It is important that the applicant states his/her place of residence in Iceland. If the address is not stated when the application is made, the applicant must notify his/her place of residence within two (2) weeks from the applicant’s date of arrival in Iceland (for example when being photographed).
- Original written contract between an au pair and the host family. (Please note that it can take up to 20 seconds to open the form). The contract must be submitted in triplicate to the Directorate of Immigration.
- Passport photo (35 mm x 45 mm).
- Photocopy of passport. The period of validity must be at least 90 days beyond of 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.
- 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.
- Translation by an authorized translator of the criminal record certificate. Applies only if the foreign certificate is in another language than English or a Nordic languages. Note that the translation must be authenticated if the translator is not an authorized translator in Iceland.
- Health Insurance. The applicant shall submit a certificate of insurance from an Icelandic insurance company (see insurance companies) or a foreign insurance company authorized to operate in Iceland (see foreign insurance companies) The insurance shall be valid for six (6) months from the date of the applicant being registered in Registers Iceland and the coverage shall be at least IKR 2000,000. Registration in Registers Iceland is usuallly valid from the day the applicant‘s photo is taken at either the Directorate of Immigration or at a District Commissioner‘s office for a residence permit card, given that the applicant has stayed in Iceland from that date.
- Documents on support. The host family must prove satisfactory maintenance during the au pair’s period of stay in Iceland.
Further documentation that may be submitted
- Power of Attorney signed by two (2) witnesses. The Power of Attorney does not have to be submitted unless the applicant wants someone other than him/her to receive information about the processing of the application by the Directorate of Immigration.
The applicant is responsible for submitting the necessary supporting documents with his/her application. If satisfactory documents are not received by the Directorate of Immigration, this may result in delays in processing the application, or in the application being refused. The Directorate of Immigration may request additional information when special circumstances warrant it.
If the applicant meets all requirements of a residence permit, the residence permit will be granted and the applicant will be sent a notification of the granting of the permit. The residence permit will not be issued, however, until the applicant has come to be photographed at the offices of the Directorate of Immigration or at offices of district commissioners outside of the Reykjavík Metropolitan Area, reported his place of residence to the Directorate and undergone medical examination (only in Icelandic). The applicant should come to be photographed within one (1) week from his/her arrival in Iceland and must report his/her place of residence (for example, when photographed). Please note that the applicant must present a valid passport when photographed for identification. Furthermore, the applicant must undergo medical examination within two (2) weeks from arrival in Iceland. The Directorate of Immigration will not issue a residence permit if the applicant does not meet the requirements stated above. This could lead to illegal stay and expulsion.