Fulbright experience

Flexibility, a positive attitude and resourcefulness are all key to a successful Fulbright experience. Remember that the Fulbright Commission is here to help you make the most of this opportunity. Following is a brief overview of some crucial first steps upon arrival.

Your first priority upon arrival is to obtain your residence permit.

Before arrival you will be granted a preliminary residence permit by the Directorate of Immigration (DoI). A letter to this effect will be send to the Fulbright Commission in Iceland and you will be informed by us. The actual residence permit, however, will only be issued after you arrive in Iceland. When you arrive, you must pick up your letter at the Commission and then take the letter with you to the DoI. There you will be photographed and registered. Those who are residing outside of the capital area can go to the local District Commissioner, if they are not able to visit the DoI. In this case, please confer with the Fulbright program officer beforehand. You should complete this process within the first days of arrival in Iceland. Make sure you bring your passport, your letter and your grant documents. When you have registered at the DoI and had your photo taken, the residence permit card will be sent to the residency address provided in your application. If your address has changed, please inform the DoI when you are at their office that you wish to have the card sent to a different address.

The Directorate issues an ID number (“kennitala”) which you need for almost everything in Iceland, e.g. bank accounts, library cards, etc. Once you have gone to the Directorate of Immigration and had your photo taken, in generally takes approximately 2 weeks to receive the permit.

As soon as your kennitala has become active, you can open an Icelandic bank account. This is very easy. You just go to the bank of your choice, usually one that has a branch that is convenient for you to visit. You use your ID number to open an account and it will immediately become active. You must then inform the Commission right away of your kennitala and bank account number. Once you have opened a bank account and informed the Commission, you can receive grant payments. Please note that you will need your own funds to sustain you until you are able to open a bank account.

The Commission has issued an Emergency Plan for U.S. Fulbright Grantees in Iceland. This document contains information on emergency services, safe travel and other relevant content to help you to stay safe, healthy and prepared during your Fulbright stay in Iceland. This will be sent to grantees, along with an information sheet with information on health care providers and a variety of useful websites for your stay in Iceland.

Grantees arriving for the fall semester will take part in an orientation at the Commission. Grantees arriving at other times will take part in a shorter orientation or meeting at the Commission upon arrival.