Persons, who are subject to persecution in their own countries or for other reasons fall under the refugee term according to Icelandic law, have the right to international protection in Iceland. In pressing instances, for example, serious illness or particularly difficult social circumstances in the home state, granting a residence permit on humanitarian grounds is permissible. Further information here.
A refugee is a person who has been granted international protection on grounds of fear of persecution in his/her own country or on other grounds according to law. Further information here.
An applicant for international protection is a person who has asked for international protection irrespective of whether he/she is considered to be a refugee. A refugee is a person who has been granted international protection.
An application for international protection must be lodged with the police or Directorate of Immigration who register the application. When applicable the application is sent to the Icelandic Directorate of Immigration, which takes it for procedure. Further information here.
According to Article 40, paragraph 1, of the Foreigners Act, an individual wanting to apply for international protection in Iceland must be in Iceland when he lodges the application or apply upon arrival in Iceland. Applications received by e-mail, fax or in a similar fashion will not be taken for procedure by the Directorate of Immigration. If you feel you are in need of protection, the Directorate of Immigration suggests that you request the assistance of aid organizations in your own country, and a special reference in this respect is made to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
The duration of the application process depends on the type of procedure. Applications are processed in priority procedure within a few days. Applications processed on the basis of the Dublin regulations are decided on in roughly three months and in substantive procedure in seven months on average.
The Icelandic Red Cross provides applicants with legally trained spokespersons, as well as other legal assistance, while the application is being processed by the Directorate of Immigration and the Immigration and Asylum Appeals Board.
Applicants for international protection receive assistance by interpreters during the procedure of their case at the Directorate of Immigration. Every effort is made to get an interpreter in the native language of the applicant or in another language that the applicant is comfortable in speaking. In some instances double interpretation may be needed, i.e. with one interpreter interpreting from one language to another and then a second interpreter interpreting from the second language.
All decisions by the Directorate of Immigration in cases regarding international protection may be appealed to the Immigration and Asylum Appeals Board. Further information here.
The Dublin Regulation states which member state of the Regulation is responsible for processing an application for international protection, i.e. deciding whether an applicant is in need of protection. All applications for international protection in Iceland are therefore first examined with regard to whether another member state is responsible for processing the application and receive the applicant again. If another member state is responsible for processing an application, Icelandic authorities will not form a position as to whether an applicant needs protection as the receiving member state, according to the Dublin Regulation, should assess the need and provide the necessary protection. Further information here.
About 50% of all applications for protection that are submitted in Iceland are taken for substantive procedure by the Directorate of Immigration.
Information on the number of applicants by nationality and gender is available on the asylum statistics page.
Information on conclusions of decided cases by nationality and gender is available on the asylum statistics page.