IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? Iceland has extended the length of time that non-EU/EEA nationals can remain in the country on work permit exemptions to 90 days.

What does the change mean? Effective immediately, non-EU/EEA nationals may remain in Iceland for 90 days if they are in the country on work permit exemptions related to attending promotional business meetings or installing or repairing equipment. The previous maximum period of stay under these exemptions was 30 days.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Work permit exemptions.
  • Who is affected: Employers and non-EU/EEA nationals who qualify for one of the work permit exemptions.
  • Impact on processing times: The change may save some foreign nationals the time it takes to obtain a work permit because they will be allowed to remain in Iceland longer than was previously allowed without obtaining work authorization.

Background: Icelandic law provides work permit exemptions for those (1) attending meetings to promote goods or services; or (2) visiting Iceland to oversee assembly, installation or repair of equipment. The law was recently amended to extend the lenth of time qualifying non-EU/EEA nationals can remain in Iceland on a work permit exemption from 30 days to 90 days. The exemption is available to those who meet the criteria listed above and have either obtained a business visa or are nationals of a country that is visa exempt for stays of 90 days or less to Iceland. The list of countries in the second category includes, but is not limited to, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Israel, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and the United States.

BAL Analysis: The change may ultimately have relatively low impact because the exemptions are construed narrowly by Icelandic authorities and may not be the best option even for short-term assignments.