So you want to stay longer in Iceland?

I get it. It’s a neat country. Also, if you get a visa extension for Iceland, you can travel all around the Schengen area with it.

It’s possible to apply for an extension without entering Iceland, by going through a consulate where you live. For example, back in my home near San Francisco, the Icelandic government has outsourced all their visa procedures to a company called VFS Global (on behalf of the Royal Norwegian Consulate General in New York.)

If you look online for “reviews” of that place, they are uniformly horrible. Calling them on the phone is a nightmare, and their website is glitchy. If you choose to deal with them you will be stepping directly into a bureaucratic swamp. That means you need to have everything perfectly prepared in advance, know their own rules better than they do, and never, ever be late for an appointment or a deadline by even a few seconds. Hooray!

I didn’t really want to put myself through that, especially knowing that the process could be derailed or delayed randomly, so I went looking for an alternate approach. I’m a US citizen, so your own needs may vary, but perhaps you’ll find this information useful.

Here is the Icelandic government’s official visa extension page, in English.

I didn’t plan to live permanently in Iceland, but I did have a job I could work remotely, so the best I could do was a “Long-term remote work” visa. That would extend my standard 90-day Schengen time, by tacking another 90 days onto the end of it.

It’s possible to travel around the rest of the Schengen area with this visa, but there’s a catch: You can only do that for a maximum of 90 days. So the idea is, the “remote work” visa gives you up to 90 additional days to stay exclusively in Iceland, during which your Schengen time isn’t depleted.

So if you want, you could spend all 180 days in Iceland, or you could spend 90 days in Iceland followed by 90 days somewhere else — France for example. But what you can’t do, is spend 89 days in Iceland followed by 91 days in France. That’s 1 day over the Schengen limit.

Since my plan was to cross Iceland by bike, which would take something like two months, getting this extension was still worthwhile for me.

Here are the conditions you need to meet:

  1. You need to be making at least $8090 a month. That’s pretty steep. It’s like 160k a year before taxes. (Official exchange rate: ) That knocks almost everyone out of the running immediately.
  2. You need to have a passport size photo (35mm x 45mm) of yourself taken and printed.
    • Thankfully there are a few conveniently located places where you can get exactly this. There’s one in Egilsstaðir, in the shopping center, next to the Arion banki. You can walk in and walk out a few hours later with three passport-worthy photos.
  3. Applications need to be printed out on physical paper. In this day and age!
  4. You need to include paper photocopies of all the pages of your passport.
  5. You need to include a document confirming that you’re able to support yourself financially during your stay in Iceland.
    • I included a printout of my recent savings statement, showing how much money I had socked away.
    • I also asked my employer to sign a letter declaring that I was employed by them and had permission to work remotely, which I printed out.
  6. You need to purchase health insurance that covers your stay.
  7. You need to pay the application fee of 12.200 ISK (about 100 bucks.) This is done by wiring money directly to the consulate via a branch of their home bank, and then including proof of that payment with the application.
    • Their home bank is called Íslandsbanki.
    • There are multiple branches in Iceland. There’s one near the East coast, in the same town as the District Commissioner of East Iceland.
    • The applicant’s name and date of birth must be included in the subject line of the wire transfer.
    • Once it’s done they will give you a receipt that you can include with your application.
  8. Applications have to be submitted at the Directorate Of Immigration, which is just outside of Reykjavík.

Since the extension can only run for 90 days post-application, you should submit your paperwork as late as possible during your stay, but not so late that the two week evaluation period causes you to overstay your current visa.

The paperwork is out of my hands now.

A word about printing:

Your best bet to get this done at a “print shop”, like this one near the capital city. Don’t rely on finding one in some small town while you’re out and about.

Your income justification letter:

Here’s a template based on the letter I used. Add your company letterhead and address around it, to make it more official.

It’s good manners to ask your employer and then provide them with a pre-made template all ready for their signature, so it’s as easy for them as possible.

September 12, 2021

Directorate of Immigration,

Dalvegur 18, Kópavogur, Iceland

Re: Remote Work No Objection Letter

Dear Sir/Madam

This letter is in reference to ———-, who has been working at ——-, in ———– since October 2nd, 2017. Currently, he receives a salary of ———- per year.

As President and CIO of ——–, I am writing this letter to confirm that ——— has permission to work remotely while traveling through Iceland this year.

——— is paid enough to qualify for the remote work visa extension, and has additional funds set aside.  Accompanying this letter you will find documents that support this.

If you need any further information, please feel free to contact me via phone or email detailed here.



President / CIO at ———-

(email address)

The results:

In my case, I submitted my paperwork on September 13th at the government office in Egilsstaðir. I got an email from exactly two weeks later on the 27th, asking me when I could come in to their office to obtain my visa.

This was a pretty decent turnaround time for a government office. Unfortunately I had already boarded the ferry boat that would take me out of Iceland, and had no way of returning to the country to appear in person at the office in Reykjavík. I replied to the email asking if there was some way to transmit the paperwork to me electronically, but they did not respond.

So, does it work? Yes, I suppose so. Didn’t do me any good, unfortunately. Without any proof that I could stay longer in the Schengen area than the usual 90 days, I just stuck to my previous plan and flew home in October.

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