Prior to the pandemic, tourism accounted for a whopping 42% of Iceland‘s economy. Since the outbreak of coronavirus, however, the tourism industry has plummeted nearly 80%. In an effort to at least marginally revive the tourism industry, Iceland has decided to expand its long-term visa program beyond the European Schengen zone. Thus, Americans are now able to apply for the Work in Iceland long stay visa.
Americans Now Eligible to Apply for Iceland’s Long Stay Visa
According to the announcement made by Icelandic authorities earlier this month, foreign nationals who are self-employed or remotely working for foreign companies are now able to apply for a long term visa that allows them and their families to stay in Iceland for up to six months. Something previously only designated for EU/EEA citizens.
It’s not without its hurdles, however. “To be granted permission for an extended stay, the person in question must demonstrate an employment relationship with a foreign company (or verify self-employment in the country where they have a permanent residence) and meet the income and health insurance requirements.”
To meet the minimum income requirements, you’ll need to be able to pull in one million Icelandic krona monthly; which equates to about $7,360 a month or $88,000 annually.
We won’t sugarcoat it. Iceland is *expensive. The hope with the new visa is that long term tourists who can actually afford to live in Iceland will A.) not take Icelandic jobs and B.) restimulate the economy. Pulling in long-stay tourists under the guise of a work visa does two things. It stimulates the economy; these guests will be booking airbnbs, taking weekend trips around the island, dining in restaurants etc. And, this all happens without pulling anything away from the Icelandic community who, like the rest of the world, has felt the economic brunt of the pandemic.
One major perk? The country is naturally perfect for social distancing.
Another big plus is Iceland’s remoteness. Because it is so rural and remote, it’s perfect for social distancing. The capital city of Reykjavik holds just 125,000 while the entire nation boasts just 357,000. It’s no secret that Iceland is full of natural wonders, too. From the iconic Blue Lagoon to the magnificent Gullfoss Falls, long stayers will have plenty of pandemic safe activities to embark on.
Iceland has also handled the coronavirus outbreak particularly well. Since their first confirmed case in late February, the island nation has shouldered 5,289 cases and 26 deaths; making it one of the best nations per capita in Europe.