An application for a residence permit shall contain all documents and certificates as required by the Directorate of Immigration, confirming that the applicant meets all the requirements of the Act on Foreigners and the relevant regulations, as well as other administrative requirements. Information about the required supporting documents with every application is listed in the specifications of every residence permit.
The applicant shall personally obtain all the necessary supporting documents with his/her application for a residence permit. The Directorate of Immigration does not have the obligation to obtain required documents not submitted with the application. The Directorate of Immigration is authorized to obtain information and documents, however, in connection with an application if the Directorate considers this necessary when processing an application.
Format of supporting documents
The format of supporting documents with applications for residence permits shall be as required by the Directorate of Immigration and confirmed in the manner the Directorate considers necessary. Following are the main factors regarding the format of supporting documents.
Application for a residence permit
The applicant shall submit the appropriate form for a residence permit, which the Directorate of Immigration has prepared. The form shall be submitted in original format and must be carefully filled out and signed by the applicant. A representative of an applicant may not sign the application. If the form is filled out with a pencil or lead pen the form is not regarded as a valid application, as such applications do not meet the requirements regarding safeguarding documents (archives).
Supporting documents in original format or confirmed copies
The general requirement is that the supporting documents with an application shall be submitted in original format. A criminal record certificate shall always be submitted in original format, whereas other certificates (birth certificate, marriage certificate, child-custody documents, etc.) may be submitted as confirmed copies.
A confirmed copy is defined as being a document authenticated by a competent public authority (either the issuer of a certificate or another public authority), confirming that the original version has been copied. The confirmation does not entail material confirmation of the contents of the certificate in question. It is important that a certificate has been legally authenticated (see below) before a confirmed copy is made of it.
Supporting documents that are scanned and sent by email are not considered to be valid and neither are unconfirmed copies of originals.
Legal authentication of certificates
Originals of foreign certificates that are submitted are required to be legally authenticated, i.e. confirming that a competent authority in the country of issue issued the document or authenticated it. Legal authentication does not entail material confirmation of the contents of a certificate. There are two acknowledged methods of legally authenticating certificates and other documents: apostille authentication and chain authentication method. Which method is used depends on the country issuing the certificate.
Apostille authentication is made in a document’s country of issue and therefore an original version of the certificate must be brought to the competent authority for such authentication. Apostille authentication can only be obtained in the member states of the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents.
Chain authentication must be obtained for a certificate in countries where obtaining an apostille authentication is not possible. The document must have legalisation from the document’s country of origin and Iceland’s embassy in that country, i.e. the document must be stamped twice before being considered legally confirmed.
To obtain such stamps, the original document must be sent to the Foreign Ministry of the country that issued the document. The Ministry confirms the document and forwards it to the Icelandic embassy in that country or the applicant himself brings the document from the Ministry to the respective Icelandic embassy. Finally, the Icelandic embassy in that country confirms that the earlier stamp is correct.
Other authentication may also apply.
Following are examples of certificates that require confirmation by means of an apostille authentication or chain authentication, as appropriate:
- Criminal record certificate.
- Marriage certificate.
- Marital status certificate.
- Certification of cohabitation.
- Birth certificate.
- Child-custody certificate.
- Divorce papers.
- Death certificate.
If a certificate is issued in a language other than English or a Scandinavian language, an original translated version of the document must be presented, translated by an authorized translator. Foreign certificates may be translated into Icelandic, English or a Scandinavian language, and the services of authorized translators may be sought in Iceland or abroad. If such a service is provided by an authorized translator abroad, a legal confirmation is required of the original translation.
Certified declarations (affidavit)
In some instances an applicant must submit a certified declaration. An example of this is a declaration of consent by a parent having custody of a child not intending to apply for a residence permit in Iceland together with the other custody parent and their child. A requirement is made that declarations are submitted in original format, that they are dated and signed by the party issuing the declaration. Furthermore, the declaration must be certified by a competent public office (i.e. by a notarius publicus).
Special requirements regarding certain supporting documents
The requirement is that custody documents are not older than six (six) months when submitted to the Directorate of Immigration. If such documents are older, a confirmation by the issuer of the custody documents is required that the documents are still valid (in effect).
Criminal record certificate
A criminal record certificate must be submitted, covering the last five (5) years. If an applicant has lived in more than one (1) country over the last five (5) years, a criminal record from every country where the applicant has lived must be submitted.
A criminal record certificate may not be older than six (6) months when submitted to the Directorate of Immigration.
Different rules may apply in different countries regarding the issuance of criminal record certificates. The criminal record certificate must be issued by the highest authority competent to issue such certificates, or by another authority in the country competent to issue such certificates. The certificate must state that the information in the certificate stems from national databases, not only databases in certain areas (for example, in certain regions or states of a country).
Following are examples of competent issuers of criminal record certificates:
- USA – FBI criminal record certificate.
- Canada – RCMP criminal record certificate.
- Philippines – NBI criminal record certificate.
- Thailand – Royal Thai Police.
- Brazil – Ministério da Justica – Policia Federal.
- Mexico – SEGURIDAD - (Secretaría De Seguridad Y Protección Ciudadana).
If a criminal record certificate contains information about the applicant having been sentenced, the applicant must also submit information about when he/she completed serving the sentence.
Please note that it may take some time to obtain a criminal record certificate. It is possible to apply for a USA certificate online, which saves time.
Documents on financial support (maintenance)
There are different ways to show satisfactory means of support. Submission of financial support documents is required in original format and confirmed by the employer or the institution that issued such documents.
Printout versions of payslips from an online bank may be submitted; otherwise the payslips must be confirmed by the employer.
Bank-balance statements on the amount owned by the applicant in a bank must be in original format, confirmed by the relevant bank and in a currency that is internationally recognized and can be exchanged to a currency that is registered with the Central Bank of Iceland. Printout version of a balance statement from an online bank is not satisfactory confirmation.
Overviews of student grants or study loans must be in original format, confirmed by the relevant lender or grantor, and in a currency that is internationally recognized and can be exchanged to a currency that is registered with the Central Bank of Iceland.