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Access to medical services

Do I have the right to basic health care as an asylum seeker in Iceland?

Yes. Everyone arriving in Iceland is required to go through a first medical examination not later than 4 weeks upon arrival. For asylum seekers, the Directorate of Immigration makes the appointment for the examination. During the examination, it is good that you notify the doctor if you have any health issues. After the first medical check up is performed, you should be able to request to see a doctor if you are ill.

All emergency services are provided if you have an accident or serious illness, such as broken bones, a heart attack, burns, etc. The Directorate of Immigration only pays for medication prescribed for by a doctor. Other medicine available over the counter in a pharmacy, such as pain killers and anti-acid tablets, is not paid for.

If your case is a priority case and it is assumed the process will only take a few days, you will not go through a first medical examination.

I need a doctor and I am an asylum seeker. How can I make an appointment?

Let the Directorate of Immigration or Social Services know (depending on who is your service provider) and you will be guided on how you can see a doctor. In case of an emergency, you should call the National Emergency Number 112.

If after requesting the service from either the Directorate of Immigration or Social Services you still have not been able to receive appropriate medical assistance, please come to our Open Interview Hours and talk with our staff. They should be able to offer relevant information or to send an enquiry on your behalf to the relevant office.

The Red Cross Open Interview Hours are:

If I need medicines, who pays for it?

The Directorate of Immigration pays only for prescribed medicine. Other medicine is not paid for.

Do I have a right to dental care?

In Iceland, dental care is not covered by the Public Health System. If you are an asylum seeker and are going through a dental emergency, such as acute pain, you will be offered basic dental service. If you have a tooth ache, you can get pain killers or have the tooth removed after an assessment by a dentist. If your child has a tooth ache, dental care is provided and the Directorate of Immigration or social services make an appointment for you. In exceptional cases, other services are provided but it depends on an assessment from the consulting physician of the Directorate. You will have to request for such an assessment at Immigration.

Can I be provided with reading/prescription glasses?

No, glasses are generally not provided for. It is possible to buy cheap reading glasses at book stores or pharmacies, for instance. In exceptional cases, glasses are renewed for those who had glasses upon arrival and the old ones have been damaged.