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Rights and basic services for asylum seekers in Iceland

What are my rights as an asylum seeker in Iceland?

As an asylum seeker in Iceland you should enjoy your rights and certain services:

Legal Aid provided by the Icelandic Red Cross

Shortly after applying for asylum, the Icelandic Red Cross will appoint a legal representative to assist you with your asylum application. Your Red Cross Legal Representative will provide you with legal assistance concerning your asylum application throughout the procedure until i) your asylum is granted, ii) you withdraw your application OR iii) you have received a negative decision from the Directorate of Immigration. In the event you receive a first instance negative decision and you wish to appeal, your Red Cross Legal Representative will assist you with the appeal before the Immigration Appeals Board until a final decision is made known to you. After receiving a negative decision from the Immigration Appeals Board, your Red Cross Legal Representative will cease assistance.

Housing, Meals and other Basic Services

While in Iceland, if you are unable to afford housing and meals for yourself and your family, the Directorate of Immigration will provide you with shelter and a weekly allowance to cover most basic expenses.

The Directorate of Immigration has also service agreements with the Social Services of the towns of Reykjavík, Hafnarfjörður and Reykjanesbær, which in some instances take over the protection responsibilities.

Among the services provided to asylum seekers are access to necessary and basic medical assistance, access to psychological support, schooling for children from 6 to 16 years old, and in some instances access to means of transportation and leisure activities.

For further information click here.

If my rights are not been respected, to whom can I complain?

If you have reasons to believe that your rights are not being respected, please follow this referral process:

  1. Make sure you bring the issue forward with the Directorate of Immigration during their Service Hours, which are at:
    Monday to Thursday from 10 am to 12 pm
    In Hafnarfjörður at Bæjarhraun 18 – Next to Saffran.
    In Reykjanesbær at Lindarbraut (same place you do your check in)
  2. If you are under the responsibility of the Social Services, please let them know of any problems you are experiencing.
  3. If after speaking with the Directorate of Immigration or the Social Services your matter is not resolved, please attend to Red Cross Open Interview Hours and talk with our staff. The Icelandic Red Cross is committed to safeguard asylum seekers rights, and granted you have a well founded claim we will serve you as an enquiry mechanism.

Open Interview Hours are at:

Do I get asylum if I give birth to a baby in Iceland?

No. Giving birth to a baby does not affect an asylum application. Asylum seekers do not automatically get protection by giving birth to a baby and the baby will not automatically be an Icelandic citizen, even though it is born in Iceland. A baby that is born in Iceland will get the same citizenship as its mother.