Gabija is passionate about traveling and writing. In her free time, she likes to read, try out different cuisines, or embark on outdoor adventures.
With remote work on the rise, many people are exploring the opportunity of working remotely from abroad. Is Iceland a good place for digital nomads, and what are the requirements for living and working from Iceland for an extended period of time? In this blog post, we'll answer these questions and more.
Remote working opens the door for traveling and working at the same time. As long as there's a reliable internet connection, you can work from basically anywhere in the world. So, is Iceland a good place for remote workers, and what criteria do you need to fill in to be working remotely from Iceland? Keep on reading to find out!
What is a "digital nomad"?
Maybe you've probably heard the term "digital nomad" before, but you're not sure what it means. Oxford dictionary defines a digital nomad as "a person who earns a living working online in various locations of their choosing, rather than a fixed business location." So, since most of the job is done online, these people can work from anywhere and change location when they feel like it.
According to statistics, the number of digital nomads doubled in the US over the last couple of years (11 million in 2021 compared to 4.8 million in 2018). There are approximately 35 million digital nomads around the world, and this number is just increasing. The average digital nomad is around 32 years old and married (61 % married versus 39 % unmarried). Most of them (around 80 %) stay in one place between 3 to 9 months, with the average time spent in one location being 6 months.
Why is Iceland a good place for digital nomads?
There are tons of reasons to choose Iceland as a destination if you're a remote worker. From excellent infrastructure to beautiful nature, here is a list of reasons why Iceland is a perfect place for digital nomads.
1. Astonishing nature
First of all, Iceland is full of great natural places to visit. From astonishing waterfalls to hiking trails, you won't run out of amazing places to visit in your free time. Iceland is very geologically active and has over 20 active volcanoes. 11% of the country's surface is covered by glaciers, so you'll get plenty of opportunities to explore this Land of Fire and Ice!
2. Welcoming people
Arctic Adventures hiking tour group picture, Iceland
Icelandic people are also very warm and welcoming, and most of them are able to speak English! Locals love their country and nature and are happy to share their stories of Icelandic life with visitors.
3. Great internet connection
One of the most important things for remote workers is that they can be connected at all times. Iceland has a great internet infrastructure, and you can be assured to stray connected even when staying in remote places outside the city.
4. Rich history
Viking Village near Vestrahorn mountain at Stokksnes headland coast in East Iceland
Iceland has a deep-rooted history, dating back to the Viking age. If you're fascinated by the Old Norse language, culture, and history, this is a place to learn. Did you know that the Icelandic language is least distant from the Old Norse language? Here you can witness the old tongue yourself! Iceland also has rich folklore filled with mythical creatures, such as elves and trolls.
5. Aurora Borealis
Many visitors come to Iceland to experience the magnificent natural phenomenon called the Northern Lights. These lights, caused by the changes in the magnetic field, are an unforgettable vista for anyone witnessing it.
Safety is a huge thing to consider when moving to or even visiting a country. Iceland is one of the safest countries in the world from 2008 to 2020. Iceland has no army, and anything from petty crime to more serious crimes is pretty much non-existent.
Hiking at Landmannalaugar in the Highlands, Iceland
The Icelandic digital nomad visa was first introduced in October 2020. It works as a long-term remote work visa which allows its holders to stay in Iceland for around six months. This visa played an important role in Iceland's recovery after the pandemic. With remote work becoming more popular, it gives a temporary permit for self-employed or foreign employees to live and work in Iceland for up to 180 days.
Who is eligible for an Iceland digital nomad visa?
To obtain a visa, you must be self-employed or be employed by a company outside of Iceland. You also have to have a minimum income of $7763 per month as Iceland is an expensive country. You have to prove your income, as well as your purpose to stay in Iceland to work remotely, and that you won't be residing in Iceland for longer than 180 days. You also must present eligible health insurance and pay a small application fee.
Iceland Digital Nomad Visa requirements:
A copy of a valid passport of a non-EU/EEA/EFTA country. Your passport must be valid for at least three months past your stay.
Visa application form for remote work. You can find the application form on the official Icelandic government website or here.
Proof of application fee payment. Then submitting an application, you must pay a fee of 12,200 ISK ($94). You must provide a receipt proving the payment has been made.
Health insurance. Your health insurance has to be valid throughout the entire period you're staying in Iceland.
Purpose of stay. You must provide documentation that you are working remotely as a self-employed foreigner or for a foreign company. For example, a letter from your employer stating that you're working remotely or your self-employment certificate.
Proof of stable income. A document proving that your monthly income is around $7000 or more.
Clean criminal record. You can obtain a clean criminal record certificate at your local police station.
Marriage certificate, if applying with a spouse.
Iceland for Digital Nomads - FAQ
Can I work remotely from Iceland?
Yes, you can, but you'll have to obtain a digital nomad visa.
How long can you stay working remotely in Iceland?
You can stay in Iceland for up to 6 months if you hold a remote worker visa. If you fall in love with Iceland (which is easy to do) and want to stay there indefinitely, this guide on moving to Iceland might be very helpful.
Can I extend my stay in Iceland as a digital nomad?
Unfortunately, the Icelandic digital nomad visa cannot be extended. But you can apply for a visa again after a twelve-month period.