Legal aid by the Icelandic Red Cross
The Icelandic Red Cross provides services to applicants for international protection, safeguarding (protecting) their rights, according to an agreement with the Directorate of Immigration and Ministry of Justice. This entails the Icelandic Red Cross provides applicants with legal consultation and safeguards their interests during case procedure by the authorities, i.e. both in respect of the Directorate of Immigration and at the appeal level with the Immigration and Asylum Appeals Board. The format of the service is that an attorney from the Red Cross meets with the applicant shortly after his/her arrival in Iceland, informing him/her of the services provided by the Red Cross, including social advice and assistance in locating relatives, talks to the applicant about his/her legal rights in Iceland and appears with him/her at interviews with the Directorate of Immigration. During such interviews the attorney safeguards the rights of the applicant and presents his/her views if he/she does not do so him-/herself.
If an applicant for international protection is unable to finance his/her upkeep while the case is being processed, services and assistance are available to him/her, by the Directorate of Immigration, the Social Services of Reykjavík, Reykjanesbær or Hafnarfjarðarbær. The services granted are based on service agreements between the municipalities and the Directorate of Immigration. According to the agreements, the applicant is guaranteed housing, meals and other basic services. Basic services refers, among other things, to medical service, schooling and kindergarten for children, leisure activities and travel within the municipality. The Directorate of Immigration decides which municipality will provide services to the applicant, taking into account his/her needs and the capability of the municipality to provide the service as needed.
The applicant will undergo medical examination upon arrival in Iceland in order to see if he/she suffers from any contagious decease that requires medical treatment. The applicant also receives ID papers confirming his status as an applicant for international protection in Iceland.
Temporary residence and work permits
Even though an applicant for international protection is unable to provide for him-/herself upon arrival in Iceland, he/she may at a later stage apply for a temporary residence and work permit. The applicant must meet certain conditions before the permit can be issued. The condition that mainly prevents the permit being issued is if an applicant has not provably stated his identity (has not submitted a valid passport or another acknowledged (accepted) identification). If an applicant meets the conditions for the issuance of a permit, the permit will be issued for six months at a time. An applicant who has received a temporary residence and work permit is responsible for his/her upkeep at which point he/she stops receiving services by the municipality.