Citizenship

Icelandic Nationality Act

No. 100/1952 (23 December)

Icelandic Nationality Act

No. 100/1952 (23 December)

Took effect on 1 January 1953. Amended by the Act No. 49/1982 (which took effect on 1 July 1982), the Act No. 62/1998 (which took effect on 1 Oct. 1998, with the exception of the Interim Provisions, which took effect on 18 June 1988), the Act No. 82/1998 (which took effect on 1 Oct. 1998), the Act No. 96/2002 (which took effect on 1 Jan. 2003), the Act No. 9/2003 (which took effect on 1 July 2003) and the Act No. 81/2007 (which took effect on 17 April 2007, with the exception of item 3of section c of Article 5, which took effect on 1 Jan. 2009), the Act No. 26/2009 (which took effect on 1 April 2009), the Act No. 65/2010 (which took effect on 27 June 2010) the Act No. 162/2010 (which took effect on 1 Jan. 2011), the Act No. 126/2011 (which took effect on 30 Sept. 2011) and the Act No. 40/2012 (which took effect on 9 June 2012).

 

[Section I. Citizenship acquired at birth, etc.]1)

            1) Act No. 81/2007, Art.1.

Article 1

[A child acquires Icelandic citizenship at birth: 

   1. if its mother is an Icelandic citizen,

   2. if its father is an Icelandic citizen and is married to the mother.  This shall not apply, however, if the couple had obtained a judicial separation at the time when the child was conceived.

            [Item 2 of the first paragraph shall also apply to the parents of a child conceived by assisted fertilisation (cf. the first sentence of the second paragraph of Article 6 of the Children's Act).]1)

A child found abandoned in Iceland shall, in the absence of proof to the contrary, be considered an Icelandic citizen.]2)

            1) Act No. 65/2010, Art. 7. 2)Act No. 62/1998, Art. 1.

Article 2

[If an unmarried woman who is a foreign national has a child in Iceland, it shall acquire Icelandic citizenship if a man who is an Icelandic citizen is its father under the Children's Act.

If an unmarried woman who is a foreign national has a child abroad by a man who is an Icelandic citizen, the father may, before the child reaches the age of 18, apply to the [ministry]1 for the child to receive Icelandic citizenship; he shall consult the child if it is over the age of 12. If, in the opinion of the ministry, he submits satisfactory evidence concerning the child and his paternity, the child shall acquire Icelandic citizenship on approval by the ministry.]2)

[This Article shall also apply to the parents of a child conceived by assisted fertilisation (cf. the first sentence of the second paragraph of Article 6 of the Children's Act).]3)

[If the child's parents marry, the child shall acquire Icelandic citizenship from the time of the marriage, providing it has not married and has not attained the age of 18 years.]4)

            1) Act No. 126/2011, Art. 26. 2)Act No. 62/1998, Art. 2. 3)Act No. 65/2010, Art. 8. 2) Act no. 81/2007, Art. 2. 3)Act No. 162/2010, Art 92.

[Article 2 a

[A foreign child that is adopted by an Icelandic national with the permission of the Icelandic authorities shall acquire Icelandic citizenship on adoption if it is under the age of 12.

A foreign child under the age of 12 that is adopted by an Icelandic national according to a foreign decision which is recognized by the Icelandic authorities shall acquire Icelandic citizenship on approval by the [Ministry of the Interior]3 at the request of the adopter.]1)]2)

            1)Act No. 62/1998, Art. 3. 2) Act No. 49/1982, Art. 2. 3)Act No. 162/2010, Art 92.

 

Article 3

[A foreign national who has been domiciled and resided in Iceland continuously since reaching the age of 11, or, in the case of a stateless person, since the age of 13, may acquire Icelandic citizenship by notifying [the ministry]1 in writing, after reaching the age of 18 and before reaching the age of 20, of his desire to do so.]2)

            1)Act No. 162/2010, Art 92.  2)Act No. 9/2003, Art. 1.

 

Article 4

If a person who acquired Icelandic citizenship at birth and was domiciled in Iceland until the age of 18 loses Icelandic citizenship, he shall acquire it again, if he has been domiciled in Iceland for the previous 2 years, on declaring his desire to do so, in writing, to [the ministry]1. …2)

            1)Act No. 162/2010, Art 92.  2)Act No. 62/1998, Art. 4.

Article 5

[If a person acquires citizenship under Articles 3 or 4, his unmarried children under the age of 18 shall also acquire citizenship if he has custody of them and they are domiciled in Iceland.]1)

            1)Act No. 62/1998, Art. 5.

[Article 5.  a. …1)]2)

            1) Act No. 81/2007, Art. 3.  2)Act No. 62/1998, Art. 6.

 

[Section II. Citizenship granted by legislation.]1)

            1)Act No. 81/2007, Art. 4.

Article 6.

[The Althingi may grant Icelandic citizenship by legislation.

Before an application for citizenship is submitted to the Althingi, [the ministry]1) shall receive comments on it from the commissioner of police in the applicant's locality, and from [the Directorate of Immigration].2)

If the person who receives citizenship by statute has children, the provisions of Article 5 shall apply to them unless other provisions are made in this Act.]3)

            1)Act No. 162/2010, Art 92.  2)Act No. 96/2002, Art. 59.  3) Act No. 62/1998, Art. 7.


[Section III. Citizenship granted by executive decision.]1)

            1)Act No. 81/2007, Art. 5.

[Article 7.

Notwithstanding the provisions of Article 6, the [minister]1 may, after receiving the comments of the police and the Directorate of Immigration, grant Icelandic citizenship in response to an application made by the applicant himself or his representatives if he has not reached the age of 18, providing that he meets the conditions of Articles 8 and 9.

The authorisation to the [minister]2 according to the provisions of this Section shall be restricted to those cases in which there is no doubt that the applicant meets the requirements stated in law.  However, the [minister]3 may at all times submit an application for citizenship for decision by the Althingi, which may, as appropriate, grant the applicant Icelandic citizenship by legislation.

Decisions under the second paragraph shall be exempt from Sections III-V of the Administrative Procedure Act, No. 37/1993 and the Information Act, No. 50/1996.]4)

            1)Act No. 126/2011, Art 26. 2)Act No. 162/2010, Art 92.  3)Act No. 162/2010, Art 92.   4)Act No. 81/2007, Article 5.

[Article 8.

The granting of Icelandic citizenship under the first paragraph of Article 7 shall be subject to the following residence requirements:

   1. The applicant shall have been resident in Iceland for seven years; in the case of citizens of any of the other Nordic countries, however, the requirement shall be only four years.

   2. [An applicant who is married to an Icelandic citizen, and is living with the person,  shall have been domiciled in Iceland for three years following the marriage, providing that the spouse has held Icelandic citizenship for not less than five years.]1)

   3. [An applicant who is living in a registered cohabitational union with an Icelandic citizen shall have been domiciled in Iceland for five years following the registration of the cohabitational union, providing that the partner has held Icelandic citizenship for not less than five years.] 1)

   4. An applicant, one of whose parents is an Icelandic citizen, shall have been domiciled in Iceland for two years, providing that the Icelandic parent has held Icelandic citizenship for not less than five years.

   5. An applicant who has previously been an Icelandic citizen but has become a citizen of another country shall have been domiciled in Iceland for one year.

   6. A refugee who meets the conditions of the definition of the term given in the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees of 1951 shall have been domiciled in Iceland as a refugee for five years.  the same shall apply to persons who have been granted residence permits in Iceland for humanitarian reasons.

The requirements of the first paragraph are based on permanent residence and domicile and continuous, lawful residence in Iceland during the years immediately preceding the submission of the application.  Exemptions may be granted from this requirement if the applicant's period of residence in Iceland has been interrupted for up to one year due to a temporary employment engagement or by circumstances beyond his control, e.g. due to the illness of a close relative, or for up to three years in connection with study abroad.  However, the period during which the applicant has been domiciled and resident in Iceland must be at least as long as the time requirements under the rules stated above.

[Applicants must meet the requirements for being issued with a permanent residence permit by the Directorate of Immigration and shall be in possession of such permits when applying for Icelandic citizenship. This shall not apply, however, to applicants who are exempt from the requirement to hold permanent residence permits under the Foreign Nationals Act.]2)

            1)Act No.40/2012, Art. 1. 2)Act No. 81/2007, Art. 5.

[Article 9

Other conditions applying to the granting of Icelandic citizenship under the first paragraph of Article 7 shall be as follows:

   1.   The applicant shall have demonstrated his identity satisfactorily.

   2.   The applicant shall be capable of working and have a good reputation, which he shall demonstrate by submitting testimonials from two Icelandic citizens of good standing.

   3.   The applicant shall have passed a test in Icelandic in accordance with standards set by the [minister]1) in [a regulation]2).  The regulation shall also contain provisions for exemptions from this condition in the case of those persons of whom it would be unfair to make this requirement. [The minister may commission the Educational Assessment Institute (Námsmatsstofnun) or another comparable party with the preparation and holding of examinations, the costs of which shall be met by a fee which shall be determined by the minister.]3)

   4.   No unsuccessful attachment shall have been made shall have been made in the applicant's property for the previous three years, his estate shall not have been accepted for liquidation and he may not be in arrears with the payment of taxes.

   5.   The applicant shall be capable of supporting himself in Iceland and may not have received a support grant from a local authority for the past three years. The applicant shall be required to demonstrate that he has supported himself in a lawful manner in Iceland, and [the ministry]1) may call for tax returns and materials from the tax authorities in confirmation of this.

   6.   The applicant may not, either in Iceland or abroad, have been fined or imprisoned or be involved in a case pending in the criminal justice system in which he is suspected of, or charged with, conduct that is criminal according to Icelandic law. Exemptions from this may be made following intervals as prescribed below, providing that the offences are not repeated, that fines have been paid in full or sentences executed in another manner and that other information regarding the applicant does not weigh to the contrary:

 

Punishment Interval
Fine under ISK 50,000  No interval.
Fine ISK 50,000–100,000  One year after commission of the offence.
Fine ISK 101,000–200,000 Two years after commission of the offence.
Fine ISK 201,000–1,000,000 Three years after commission of the offence.
Fine over ISK1,000,000 Five years after commission of the offence.
Up to 60 days' imprisonment. Six years after service of sentence or granting of release on probation.
Up to 6 months' imprisonment. Eight years after service of sentence or granting of release on probation.
Up to 1 year's imprisonment. Ten years after service of sentence or granting of release on probation.
More than 1 year's imprisonment. Fourteen years after service of sentence or granting of release on probation.
Suspended sentence. Three years after expiry of suspension period.
Determination of punishment deferred conditionally. Two years after expiry of deferral period.
Decision on conditional deferral of prosecution. One year after expiry of deferral period.

            When punishment is considered as having been undergone in the form of detention in custody, the period shall be calculated from the time of release of the person concerned.

            If part of a sentence is suspended, the waiting interval shall begin following completion of service, the interval being based on the length of the non-suspended part of the sentence.

            If the applicant has only been subjected to punishments in the form of fines and the aggregate amount of the fines is less than ISK 101,000, then Icelandic citizenship may be granted if other information concerning the applicant do not weigh against this, providing that at least one year has passed since commission of the last offence.

            If the applicant has been committed by a sentence to be held in custody a suitable institution, then the waiting interval shall be 14 years from the end of the custody period.]4)]5)

            1)Act No. 162/2010, Art 92. 2)Regulation 1129/2008. 3)Act No. 26/2009, Art. 1. 4)Act No. 40/2012, Art 2.  5) Act No. 81/2007, Art. 5.

[Article 10

The [minister]1) may also grant Icelandic citizenship to a child born in Iceland that has demonstrably not acquired other citizenship at birth and has not yet acquired Icelandic citizenship or the right to acquire it when the application is made.  The child shall have been domiciled and resident in Iceland for at least three years from birth.

The provisions of Article 5 shall apply to children who receive Icelandic citizenship under this section unless other arrangements are decided.]1)

            1)Act No. 162/2010, Art 92.  2) Act No. 81/2007, Art. 5.

[Article 11

Giving false information to the Icelandic authorities when applying for citizenship shall be punishable by fines or imprisonment of up to one year.]1)

            1) Act No. 81/2007, Art. 5. 

[Section IV. Other provisions.]1)

            1) Act No. 81/2007, Art. 6.

 

[Article 12]1)

An Icelandic citizen who was born abroad and has never been domiciled in Iceland or resided in Iceland for any purpose that may be interpreted as indicating that he wishes to be an Icelandic citizen, shall lose Icelandic citizenship on reaching the age of 22 years.  However, [the minister]2) may permit him to retain his Icelandic citizenship if he applies for it before that time. [He shall not, however, lose Icelandic citizenship if this would result in his becoming stateless.] 3)

[If a person loses Icelandic citizenship under this Article, his children shall also lose Icelandic citizenship which they acquired on the basis of his citizenship, unless this would result in their becoming stateless.]4)

[The [minister]5) shall rule on whether the conditions of the first paragraph regarding residence in Iceland have been met in order to retain citizenship, if there is doubt on this point.]2)

            1)Act No. 81/2007, Art. 5.  2) Act No. 162/2010, Art 92. 3)Act No. 62/1998, Art. 9. 4)Act No. 49/1982, Art. 6.  5)Act No. 162/2010, Art 92.

[Article 13]1)

[The [minister]2) may release a person who is resident abroad and has become, or wishes to become, a foreign national from his Icelandic citizenship if the person demonstrates that he will become a foreign citizen within a certain time if he has not already done so.  If he is resident in Iceland, he may not be released from Icelandic citizenship unless there are special reasons for this in the view of the [minister]2).

A person who is a foreign national and is domiciled abroad may not be denied release from Icelandic citizenship.]3)

            1)Act No. 81/2007, Art. 5. 2)Act No. 162/2010, Art 92. 3)Act No. 9/2003, Art. 4.

           1)

            1)Act No. 81/2007, Art. 5.

[[Article 14.]1)

It may be decided by agreement2) with Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, that one or more of the provisions in items A–C below shall acquire validity. The term “Nordic contracting state(s)” in this Article shall refer to the state or states with which such an agreement is made.

      A. When Article 3 is applied, domicile in a Nordic contracting state up to the age of 16 years shall be assessed as the equivalent of domicile in Iceland.  However, the person concerned shall have been domiciled in Iceland for the last 5 years before the declaration is made.

      When Article 4 is applied, domicile in a Nordic contracting state up to the age of 12 years shall be assessed as the equivalent of domicile in Iceland.

      When [Article 12]3) is applied, a minimum of 7 years' domicile in a Nordic contracting state shall be assessed as the equivalent of domicile in Iceland.

      B. A citizen of a Nordic contracting state who

      1. has acquired citizenship there in a manner other than by legislation or an equivalent manner,

      2. has reach the age of 18 years,

      3. has been domiciled in Iceland for the past 7 years and

      4. has not during this period been sentenced [to prison]4) or to be placed under preventive custody or committed to an institution in accordance with the provisions of the General Penal Code, may acquire Icelandic citizenship by informing the [minister]5) in writing of his desire to do so.  The provisions of Article 5 shall apply in this case.

      C. A person who has lost Icelandic citizenship and ever since doing so has been a citizen of a Nordic contracting state shall re-acquire Icelandic citizenship by informing [the ministry]5 of his desire to do so, providing he has been granted domicile in Iceland. The provisions of Article 5 shall apply in this case.]6)

            1)Act No. 81/2007, Art. 5. 2)Advertisement B 468/2000. 3)Act No. 81/2007, Art. 7. 4)Act No. 82/1998, Art. 151.  5)Act No. 162/2010, Art 92. 6)Act No. 49/1982, Art. 9. 

[Article 15]1)

The [minister]2) shall resolve disputes as to whether a person has acquired Icelandic citizenship on the enactment of this Act or meets the requirements for acquiring Icelandic citizenship by declaring his desire to do so.  Rulings on these matters may be referred to the courts for review.

The [minister]2) may issue further rules on the application of this Act.

[Declarations under Article 3, Article 4 and items B and C of [Article 14]3) to the effect that a person wishes to become an Icelandic citizen may only be made by the person himself, and not by a party exercising custody over him.]4)

Where no other specific age requirement is made in this Act, a person who has reached the age of 18 years may make declarations regarding citizenship under this Act, irrespective of being subject to the [custody]5) of another person.

            1)Act No. 81/2007, Art. 5.   2)Act No. 162/2010, Art 92.    3)Act No. 81/2007, Art. 7. 4)Act No. 9/2003, Art. 6. 5)Act No. 62/1998, Art. 10.

[Article 16]1)

[A child born after 1 July 1964 but before 1 July 1982 that would have acquired Icelandic citizenship if the provisions of item 1 of the first paragraph of Article 1 of this Act (cf. the Act No. 49/1982) had been in effect at the time of its birth may acquire Icelandic citizenship by informing the [ministry]2) in writing of its desire to do so, providing its mother was an Icelandic citizen from birth and up to 1 July 1982.

Those wishing to acquire Icelandic citizenship under the first paragraph of this Article shall meet the requirements of [Article 12]3) concerning domicile or residence in Iceland before the age of 22 years.]4)

            1)Act No. 81/2007, Art. 5. 2)Act No. 162/2010, Art 92 3)Act No. 81/2007, Art. 7. 4)Act No. 9/2003, Art. 7.

[Interim provisions.

            [Persons who have lost Icelandic citizenship under the original provisions of Article 7 of the Act No. 100/1952 but would have retained it if this article had been repealed at the time may petition the ministry to re-acquire citizenship providing that they meet the conditions of Article 12 and submit materials which the ministry deems satisfactory by 1 July 2016.

            If the person in question is under the custody of others, the application shall be made by the person's legal guardian.

            If a person who acquires Icelandic citizenship under this provision has unmarried children younger than 18 years of age over whom he or she exercises custody, they shall also receive citizenship. If the child has reached the age of 12 and has citizenship of another state, he or she shall grant consent for receiving Icelandic citizenship. Consent shall not be demanded, however, if the child is not capable of giving it due to mental disability or another comparable condition.]1)]2)
            1)Act No. 40/2012, Art. 3. 2)Act No. 62/1998, Art. 11.