Ready to combine your nursing skills with Iceland’s captivating landscapes? Discover how to work and immigrate to Iceland as a nurse, where your nursery skills meet breathtaking nature. Your journey to nursing in Iceland begins here!

How Can a Foreign Nurse Work in Iceland?

Let’s get directly to the common question: “How can a foreigner get a job as a nurse in Iceland?” To work as a foreign nurse in Iceland, you’ll need to follow these steps:

  1. Recognize Your Qualifications
  2. Licensing and Registration
  3. Language Proficiency
  4. Job Search
  5. Work Permit, Visa issuance, and Residence
  6. Adaptation to Icelandic Nursing Practice
  7. Continuing Education
  8. Networking
  9. Understanding the Healthcare System
  10. Legal and Ethical Considerations
How to Work and Immigrate to Iceland as a Nurse

Step 1. Recognize Your Qualifications

Before you can work as a nurse in Iceland, ensuring that your nursing qualifications are recognized in the country is crucial. An assessment process may be necessary if you obtain your nursing degree outside the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland. This assessment, overseen by the Icelandic Directorate of Health, evaluates your educational background and language proficiency.

It involves a review of the nursing curriculum and coursework completed by the applicant to ensure it aligns with Icelandic standards. Language proficiency is assessed through language tests or proof of proficiency in Icelandic, which may include language exams or certifications.

Step 2. Licensing and Registration

The second step in your journey to immigrate to Iceland as a nurse is to receive a nursing license. Obtaining a nursing license is fundamental to working legally as a nurse in Iceland. This process involves registering with the Icelandic Directorate of Health (Landlæknisembættið). During registration, you will typically need to provide evidence of your nursing qualifications. Depending on your circumstances, you may also be required to demonstrate proficiency in the Icelandic language. This step ensures that you meet the necessary standards and qualifications to practice nursing in Iceland. Obtaining your nursing license is a pivotal milestone on your path to becoming a foreign nurse in Iceland.

Step 3. Language Proficiency

Proficiency in Icelandic, at a B2 or C1 level, is often required for nurses immigrating to Iceland. Effective communication with patients, colleagues, and healthcare staff is essential in nursing practice. Numerous language courses are available, both in-person and online, to meet this requirement.

Renowned institutions such as the University of Iceland’s Icelandic Online program and the Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies offer language courses catering to different proficiency levels. Additionally, language schools in Reykjavik, like the Tin Can Factory, provide language-learning opportunities. Gaining proficiency in Icelandic is vital for your successful integration into the healthcare system.

Step 4. Job Search

You can begin your job search once you have met the qualifications and language proficiency requirements. Nursing positions are available in various healthcare settings across Iceland, including hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes. You can utilize online job portals, professional networks, and healthcare websites to identify job openings that align with your career goals.

Prominent platforms for job searches include Alfred.is and Starfsmidjan.is. The Icelandic Pharmacists’ Association website also provides valuable job listings for nurses. Recruitment agencies such as Capacent and Hagvangur also feature healthcare-related job opportunities. Exploring these resources will help you identify and apply for nursing positions in Iceland.

Step 5. Work Permit, Visa issuance, and Residence

If you are not a citizen of an EEA country, obtaining a work permit is typically a prerequisite for working as a nurse in Iceland. This often requires securing a job offer before applying for the permit. Additionally, you will need to obtain a residence permit, which allows you to reside in Iceland legally.

The Directorate of Immigration in Iceland manages the residence permit application process. You must apply along with the required documents, including a valid passport, proof of employment in Iceland, evidence of suitable housing, and financial stability. Detailed instructions and a checklist of necessary documents are available on the Directorate’s website, where you can initiate the process online. Obtaining both work and residence permits is essential for people requesting to practice nursing and immigrate to Iceland legally as a nurse.

Step 6. Adaptation to Icelandic Nursing Practice

As a foreign nurse in Iceland, prepare for adjustments in nursing practices compared to your home country. Familiarize yourself with Iceland’s healthcare regulations and specific procedures. Here are some tips to help you adapt: Seek guidance from local colleagues, attend orientation programs, and stay updated on Icelandic healthcare guidelines to ensure your success in nursing within the country.

Step 7. Continuing Education

Keeping yourself up-to-date with the latest advancements in the nursing field is essential to maintain your competence as a nurse in Iceland. Continuous professional development may be necessary to retain your license to practice. This can be obtained through participation in seminars, workshops, and conferences organized by institutions like the Icelandic Pharmacists’ Association. Additionally, online courses and journals specific to nursing practice can help you stay informed about best practices and developments in healthcare.

Step 8. Networking

Joining professional networks and organizations in Iceland can be highly beneficial for your career development and stay informed about changes in the nursing field. For example, the Icelandic Pharmacists’ Association offers networking opportunities, professional development resources, and updates on local nursing practices. Participating in such organizations can help you establish valuable connections and access resources that will contribute to your success as a nurse in Iceland.

Step 9. Understanding the Healthcare System

Familiarizing yourself with Iceland’s publicly funded healthcare system, which strongly emphasizes primary care, is essential. Nurses, including patient care, education, and support, are crucial in healthcare delivery. Understanding how the healthcare system operates, its structure, and the role of nurses within it will be integral to your work environment and patient care responsibilities.

Step 10. Legal and Ethical Considerations

As a nurse in Iceland, you must fully comply with the legal and ethical norms governing nursing practice. This includes adhering to Icelandic laws regarding patient care, drug administration, patient confidentiality, and other aspects of nursing practice. Ethical guidelines set by the Icelandic Directorate of Health and professional associations such as the Icelandic Pharmacists’ Association are essential to follow. Being well-versed in these legal and ethical considerations ensures that you provide safe and ethical care to your patients while practicing nursing in Iceland.

Are Nurses in High Demand in Iceland?

Yes, nurses are in demand in Iceland, particularly in hospitals, nursing homes, and clinics. The market for nurses can vary based on factors like population size, healthcare policies, and the overall economy. Nurses with specialized skills or proficiency in the Icelandic language may have an advantage in the job market.

How Much Does a Nurse Make in Iceland?

The salary of a nurse in Iceland can vary based on components such as experience, location, and additional qualifications. On average, a nurse in Iceland might expect to earn between ISK 500,000 and ISK 800,000 per month. This range translates to approximately USD 3,900 to USD 6,300 per month, based on the exchange rates at that time. It’s important to note that these figures are approximate and can vary. Additionally, salaries in Iceland may be higher in urban areas compared to rural regions.

How Many Nurses Are There in Iceland?

The Icelandic Nurses’ Association reported that there are approximately 3,400 practicing nurses in Iceland, in a nation with about 360,000 inhabitants. This equates to a ratio of about 9.5 nurses per 1,000 inhabitants.

How to Become a Nurse in Iceland?

To become a nurse in Iceland, particularly for someone interested in studying at a college or university level, here are the key steps and requirements:

  1. Receive a University Admission
  2. Language Proficiency
  3. Request for a Student Visa
  4. Arrange Accommodation and Finances
  5. Obtain a Residence Permit in Iceland
  6. Prepare for Life in Iceland

Step 1. Receive a University Admission

To secure admission to a nursery education program in Iceland as a non-EU student, identify universities offering such programs, meet language requirements (Icelandic or English), gather required documents, and submit your application before the deadline. Once accepted, ensure you possess all necessary documents for a smooth transition into your studies, including proof of admission, financial means, and health insurance.

Step 2. Language Proficiency

Ensure you meet the language requirements. If the program is in Icelandic, you may need to demonstrate proficiency in Icelandic and require a B2 or C1 level. For English-taught programs, provide proof of English language proficiency. The required score can vary. For instance, a TOEFL iBT score might need to be 80 or above, or an IELTS score might need to be 6.0 or higher. However, some programs may have higher requirements.

Step 3. Request for a Student Visa

To obtain an Icelandic student visa as a non-EU student, you must have a valid passport, two passport-sized photos, proof of visa fee payment (about 6000ISK or US$50), and a completed application form. Additionally, provide proof of admission to your study program, a clean criminal record, health insurance covering at least 2,000,000ISK (US$16,000), and evidence of financial self-sufficiency, such as bank statements. If your documents are outside of English or a Nordic language, include notarized translations. You can also learn about student visas in other countries here.

Step 4. Arrange Accommodation and Finances

To prepare for your studies in Iceland, arrange accommodation in advance to secure suitable living arrangements. Ensure you have adequate financial resources to cover tuition fees, daily expenses, and potential emergencies. Explore scholarship options and financial aid opportunities offered by the university, Icelandic government, or external organizations to alleviate the financial burden. Create a comprehensive budget to manage your finances effectively throughout your study period. This proactive approach will help ensure a smooth and financially stable experience while pursuing your nursing education in Iceland.

Step 5. Obtain a Residence Permit in Iceland

After arriving in Iceland, you can apply for a residence permit, which permits part-time work for up to 15 hours per week during the academic semester. The salary for part-time jobs varies depending on the specific job and employer. There is a general minimum wage in Iceland, but it applies to all workers, whether part-time or full-time.

Step 6. Prepare for Life in Iceland

To prepare for life in Iceland, familiarize yourself with Icelandic culture, which is rich in traditions and a strong sense of community. Understand the climate, which features cold winters and mild summers, and be ready for potentially long hours of daylight or darkness, depending on the season. Embrace the outdoor lifestyle and explore the stunning natural landscapes. Lastly, acquaint yourself with local customs, such as greetings and social etiquette, to help integrate seamlessly into Icelandic society.

Is Nursing Taught in English in Iceland?

Yes, nursing programs are taught in English in Iceland to accommodate international students. These English-taught programs are designed to provide quality education in nursing while facilitating learning for non-Icelandic speakers. They cover essential nursing curricula and clinical training, making them accessible to a diverse student body.

Is Iceland Free for International Nursery Students?

Public universities in Iceland, including nursing programs, generally do not charge tuition fees for international students, mirroring the policy for domestic students. However, students are typically required to pay a small administrative fee each semester. While tuition may be minimal or free, living expenses in Iceland can be high, so students should budget accordingly for housing, food, and other personal costs.

What Is The Best Nursing School in Iceland?

Iceland offers quality nursing education primarily through the University of Iceland, known for its Faculty of Nursing. The University’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program equips students with practical skills and clinical experience, preparing them for nursing careers. While options for nursing schools are limited in Iceland due to its smaller size, the University of Iceland stands out as a reputable institution for nursing education, producing graduates well-prepared for local and international nursing roles.

Immigrate to Iceland as a Nurse: Let’s Recap!

To immigrate to Iceland as a nurse, recognize your qualifications, and obtain a nursing license. Language proficiency in Icelandic is essential. Seek nursing jobs, secure work and residence permits, and adapt to Icelandic healthcare practices. Stay updated through continuous education and network with professional organizations. Demand for nurses is high, and competitive salaries make Iceland an attractive destination for nursing careers.


Can I be a nurse in Iceland?

Yes, as a foreigner, you can be a nurse in Iceland, but you must meet specific requirements and undergo qualification recognition.

What language is spoken in Iceland?

The official language of Iceland is Icelandic.

Is Iceland good for international nursing students?

Yes, Iceland is a good option for international nursing students, as public universities generally do not charge tuition fees.

Are there opportunities for continuing education for nurses in Iceland?

Yes, there are opportunities for continuing education, including seminars and workshops, to stay updated in the nursing field.

What is the process for obtaining a nursing license in Iceland?**

To obtain a nursing license in Iceland, you must register with the Icelandic Directorate of Health and meet qualification and language proficiency requirements. You can read the article above to learn more about it.

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