Imagine working where you can see the ethereal northern lights and amazing views daily! This is the dreamland of Iceland, the land of fire and ice. So, if you are a doctor who wants to start a new adventure in this wonderful country, read this article till the end to fully understand how to work and immigrate to Iceland as a doctor.

Is Iceland a Good Place for Doctors?

Iceland is one of the most attractive destinations in the world for international medical graduates because it provides high job satisfaction and personal well-being. In this country, there is a particular emphasis on the balance between work and life, as well as the high standard of the healthcare system and increased demand for skilled doctors.

How to Work and Immigrate to Iceland as a Doctor

However, there are some challenges for immigrating to Iceland as a doctor, including learning the Icelandic language to better communicate with patients and adapt to the local medical practices. Still, if you accept these challenges, a high-quality life awaits you in this country.

How to Immigrate to Iceland as a Doctor?

To immigrate to Iceland as a doctor, you must go through several steps and become licensed to practice medicine in Iceland. The mentioned steds include:

Step 1. Recognize Your Medical Qualifications

To work and immigrate to Iceland as a doctor, the Icelandic Health Authority must recognize your medical certificate and other documents. You must apply to the Icelandic Health Authority and submit your medical certificate, transcripts, proof of registration, and professional qualifications for assessment. Wait for approval to ensure compliance with Icelandic standards. You may need to pass exams or complete additional courses depending on your qualifications and the country you studied in.

Step 2. Obtain a License to Practice

Once your medical documents are recognized, you can apply to obtain a license to practice. After the application, the Health Authority will carefully verify the accuracy and equivalence of your medical degree and certificates. Depending on your circumstances, you may be required to take part in exams or assessments. These assessments may assess your medical knowledge, skills, and fluency in Icelandic.

Some foreign-trained doctors, especially those with more limited experience, may undergo a period of supervision. During this time, an experienced doctor will supervise your practice to ensure your performance and compatibility with the Icelandic healthcare system. Once approved, you are expected to stay up to date and adhere to ethical frameworks; It shows your commitment.

Step 3. Language Proficiency

Proficiency in the language is necessary to immigrate to Iceland as a doctor. This enables effective communication with patients, colleagues, and professionals and facilitates integration into the Icelandic healthcare system. Language skills are usually demonstrated through tests and interviews, and you may need to enroll in language courses to achieve the required level of proficiency. Also, doctors need to master specialized Icelandic medical vocabulary to ensure accurate diagnosis and effective medical consultations.

Step 4. Job Search

Here are some critical steps to find a job in Iceland as a doctor:

  • Online Job Portals. You can search online job portals such as “vinna.is” and “starfatorg.is”.
  • Hospital Websites. Another way to find a job is to directly check the websites of hospitals in Iceland, vast hospitals such as the National University Hospital (Landspítali), and healthcare institutions in Iceland.
  • Networking. Building a professional network will increase your chances of finding job opportunities. To create it, you can participate in medical conferences, seminars, and workshops in Iceland.
  • Language Skills. Learning Icelandic is mandatory and directly impacts finding a job.
  • Customize Applications. Customize your resume for each job application and highlight your specific skills to increase your chances of attracting an employer’s attention.
  • Recruitment Agencies. Another way of job search is to get help from recruitment agencies in Iceland, such as MPL Iceland, Heilbrigðisstofnun, Alfreð.
  • Internships and Volunteering. Internships or volunteer opportunities can be used to gain experience and make connections in the healthcare field.

Step 5. Secure a Work Permit

If you are not from the EU/EEA, follow the steps to secure a work permit:

  1. Job Offer. The most crucial step to getting a work permit and immigrating to Iceland as a doctor is to have a job offer from an Icelandic employer. Your employer may need to prove that they have been unable to find an EU/EEA national for the position before hiring you.
  2. Eligibility. Eligibility criteria for a work permit vary based on your nationality and the specific job you are applying for; make sure you are eligible before applying for a work permit.
  3. Application Process. Submit your work permit application, which includes a work contract, valid passport, medical insurance certificate, and required documents, depending on your circumstances, to the Icelandic Immigration Office.
  4. Processing Time. Work permit processing times can vary, so apply before your desired start date and be patient.
  5. Renewal. Be aware of the validity of your work permit, and make sure to apply for renewal before it expires.
  6. Changing Employers. If you change your employer in Iceland, you may need to apply for a new work permit based on the new job.

Step 6. Find Your Right Visa Type

  • Work Visa. If you have received a job offer from an Icelandic employer, the best type of visa for you that will allow you to legally live and work in Iceland for the duration of your employment is a work visa.
  • Family Reunification Visa. If you immigrate to Iceland as a doctor, you can bring your family members with a family reunification visa. These visas are granted to your spouse, children, or other dependents.
  • Permanent Residence Visa. Doctors who have lived and worked in Iceland for a certain period, usually four to seven years, can apply for permanent residency. To be eligible for permanent residence in Iceland, you must follow the rules and demonstrate your integration into Icelandic society, language skills, and permanent employment.

Step 7. Apply for a Residence Permit

  1. Submission. You can submit your application online or visit the Icelandic Directorate of Immigration.
  2. Documentation. Provide required documents, such as your passport, job contract, proof of medical insurance, and proof of sufficient funds.
  3. Processing Time. As we mentioned, the processing time can be different for each person.
  4. Fees. Pay the fees associated with your application.
  5. Health and Background Checks. You may need a health and background check.
  6. Icelandic Language. Proving Icelandic language skills and providing related documents is necessary, and it is different according to the job you are looking for.
  7. Family Members. If family members plan to accompany you, specify their immigration status.
  8. Compliance. Meet all conditions associated with your permit, including employment conditions and legal length of stay.
  9. Change of Circumstances. Make sure to update your permit if the Circumstances change.

Step 7. Prepare for the Move

Preparing to immigrate to Iceland as a doctor includes finding housing, getting health care coverage, opening a local bank account, handling legal documents, familiarizing yourself with city services and transportation, respecting and learning about Icelandic customs and etiquette, Arrange education for children, if necessary, complying with tax laws, and long-term planning.

Step 8. Residence Registration

After entering Iceland, it is necessary to complete the residence registration process, which includes the following steps:

  1. Visit the Registry Office. Go to Þjóðskrá (registration office) in the municipality near where you live.
  2. Required Documents. Provide the necessary documents, such as your passport, residence permit, and proof of your Icelandic address.
  3. Complete Application Form. Fill out the required application form with correct and accurate information.
  4. Biometric Data. Biometric data such as fingerprints and photographs are usually required.
  5. Healthcare and Tax Registration. Register for health care and taxes.
  6. Legal Presence. This process provides you with a legal presence in Iceland and complements your immigration to Iceland as a doctor, as well as allowing you to access services.

Step 9. Continuous Professional Development

Continuous Professional Development (CPD) is essential to a doctor’s career in Iceland, involving continuous learning and upskilling. Participation in activities such as medical conferences, workshops, training programs, and improving Icelandic language skills are part of CPD and often required for license renewal. CPD ensures career growth and development, often through online resources and collaborations.

Are Doctors in Demand in Iceland?

The country’s aging population, the need for specialized medical services, especially in remote areas, the growing tourism industry, the replacement of retired doctors, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and participation in medical research and innovation, all increase the demand for doctors in Iceland and make this country a suitable destination for healthcare professionals.

Related Medical Jobs in Iceland for Immigrant Doctors

Here are the different healthcare career opportunities you can choose from when immigrating to Iceland as a doctor based on your expertise and qualifications:

  • General Practitioner (GP)
  • Specialist Physician
  • Hospitalist
  • Medical Researcher
  • Medical Advisor/Consultant
  • Medical Educator
  • Occupational Health Physician
  • Telemedicine Practitioner
  • Public Health Specialist
  • Emergency Medicine Physician
  • Healthcare Management
  • Pharmaceutical Industry
  • Mental Health Specialist
  • Geriatrician
  • Palliative Care Physician
  • Radiologist
  • Dental Specialist
  • Rehabilitation Medicine Physician
  • Medical Writer
  • Global Health Practitioner
  • Alternative Medicine Practitioner
  • Clinical Auditor/QA Specialist
  • Medical Consultant for Expatriates
  • Home Healthcare Physician
  • Healthcare IT Consultant

Medical Doctors’ Salary in Iceland

Are you curious about how much doctors get paid in Iceland? Salaries for doctors in Iceland vary depending on experience, occupation, workplace, expertise, and location. Junior doctors: usually starting salary around 6,000,000 to 8,000,000 ISK per year. Professionals: Experienced professionals can earn higher salaries, often from 8,000,000 ISK to 12,000,000 ISK. It is also important for doctors to consider their living expenses when evaluating salaries and job opportunities in this country.

Is living in Iceland expensive? Yes, the cost of living in Iceland is relatively high. Because the island is remote and imported goods are expensive, accommodation and food can also be costly, especially in the capital, Reykjavík.

Best Cities to Work as an Immigrant Doctor in Iceland

The best cities to work and Immigrant as a Doctor in Iceland are:

  • Reykjavik
  • Akureyri
  • Kopavogur
  • Hafnarfjordur
  • Selfoss

How to Become a Doctor in Iceland?

Becoming a doctor in Iceland requires a lot of training and education, just like in other countries, but it leads to a rewarding medical career. Here are the steps briefly explained:

  1. Selecting a University
    1. Choose one of the Icelandic universities that offer medical degrees, such as the University of Iceland.
    2. Consider important factors such as university rankings, program accreditation, and the services they offer to support international students.
  2. Admission Requirements
    1. Academic qualifications include a strong foundation in related subjects such as biology, chemistry, and physics at the high school level.
    2. Prepare to take entrance exams.
    3. Gather requirements, which may include a personal essay, standardized test scores, transcripts, and letters of recommendation.
  3. Language Proficiency
    1. For programs offered in English, an IELTS score of around 6.5 to 7.0 or a TOEFL score is required.
    2. If you plan to work as a doctor in Iceland, do not forget to learn Icelandic, as it is essential for clinical interactions and better communication with patients and colleagues.
  4. Applying to the University
    1. Each university’s deadlines may be different; check the university’s website for detailed information.
    2. You can ask counselors or university admission services for guidance in the application process.
  5. Obtaining a Student Visa
    1. Once accepted, apply for a student visa through the Icelandic Immigration Office.
    2. Familiarize yourself with the conditions of the student visa, including any restrictions on employment and length of stay.
  6. Duration of Study
    1. The medical program is six years long and starts with basic medical science courses and progresses to advanced training.
    2. Participation in laboratory work, research projects, and internships are part of the curriculum.
  7. Internship
    1. After graduation, medical students must complete a mandatory 12-month internship to gain practical experience. The internship is an opportunity to work in different medical environments.
    2. Focus on developing your practical skills and professional development in this course.
  8. Medical Licensing
    1. The Medical Licensing Exam tests your comprehensive knowledge of medicine and patient care skills, and you must pass the exam in order to be licensed.

How to Immigrate to Iceland as a Doctor from America?

To immigrate to Iceland as a doctor from America, you must first learn the Icelandic language then get a job offer from an Icelandic employer; and if you are eligible to have your documents recognized by the Icelandic Health Department, you can apply for a medical license from the Icelandic Medical Association and Finally, get a work permit and residence permit. It’s essential to stay up-to-date on immigration policies.

For those who want to move to Iceland as a doctor from America, this question may be important: How much do doctors make in Iceland in USD? As we mentioned, the salaries of doctors in Iceland vary and depend on many factors, but they usually receive an annual salary of $89,000 to $120,000.

How to Immigrate to Iceland as a Doctor from India?

To immigrate to Iceland as a doctor from India, you must be eligible; that is, you must be fluent in the Icelandic language, the Icelandic Health Department must recognize your medical qualifications, and you must find an Icelandic employer. Then, you can apply for a medical license from the Medical Association of Iceland, get a work permit and residence permit, and enjoy your adventure in Iceland.


Immigrating to Iceland as a doctor is a challenging but rewarding process. This includes mastering the Icelandic language, securing a job offer and work and residence permit, and following the immigration process. However, living and working in a country with such high standards and a vibrant medical community is an excellent experience for doctors. So, it’s time to pack your bags and travel to the country of volcanoes and waterfalls.


Can my family join me in Iceland if I move there to work as a doctor?

Yes, you can bring your family with you if you go to Iceland to work as a doctor.

How long does the process of immigrating to Iceland take for doctors?

The process of immigrating to Iceland as a doctor can differ, but it is usually less than a year.

Do I need to speak Icelandic to work in Iceland?

Yes, because the primary language used in the healthcare system is Icelandic.

Can foreign doctors work in Iceland?

Yes, foreign doctors can work in Iceland, but they must have a license.

How many doctors per 1,000 people in Iceland?

Iceland has approximately 3.25 doctors per 1,000 people.

How hard is it to immigrate to Iceland?

Immigrating to Iceland can be challenging but it can be done by following the mentioned steps.

Is it hard to get residency in Iceland?

Obtaining an Iceland residency can be somewhat challenging.

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