Please contact the Fulbright program officer if you wish to have one or more family members accompany you to Iceland for the duration of your stay, or 3 months or longer. If you plan on bringing your child, your child must be younger than 18 years old to be eligible to apply through family unification. Each family member must apply separately for a residence permit.

The Fulbright grant does not cover dependents, neither the monthly stipend itself nor the health and accident insurance. For scholars only, a dependent supplement is available for one dependent.

Does your family member need a residence permit?

Family members who will stay in Iceland for less than 90 days need not apply for a residence permit. They can come here as tourists. Visitors to Iceland from the United States need neither a visa nor a residence permit to stay here for up to 90 days. If your family comes under the 90-day rule, this will make the entire process significantly simpler. However, as tourists they will not have any rights that are reserved for residents. For example, children who come here as tourists, i.e. do not get a residence permit and legal address in Iceland, are not eligible to attend public schools or enroll in daycare while in Iceland. Thus, in many cases it is worth it to go through the work of obtaining a residence permit for both spouse and children, if they meet the requirements.

The Application

Each family member applying for a residence permit must complete and send a separate application form, called a family reunification application. A parent should complete the application for a child under 18. Signature is needed from both parents on the application. All the same supporting documents must accompany the application as in the case of the grantee, except that family members who are 15 years old or older must include a criminal records certificate. In addition to the regular application check list, the following documentation must accompany the family unification application:

  • Proof of insurance. On family members’ applications enter the name of the Icelandic insurance company from which you have purchased insurance.
  • Proof of financial support. Under “economic basis for stay”, check “other means of support”. You will find information regarding proof of financial support at the DoI website. In some cases the stipend will suffice, but for scholars with multiple dependents or PhD students with a dependent, additional proof might be needed.
  • Birth certificate/s (for children under 18). This must be an original or a certified copy.
  • Marriage certificate (for spouse). This must be an original or a certified copy.
  • Criminal record certificate (FBI background check) is required for accompanying dependents, aged 15 and older.
  • Power of Attorney. Each dependent must fill out this form, granting the Fulbright Commission in Iceland permission to act as their representative. See instructions how to complete the form under ‘Power of Attorney’ here.
  • If not legally married, a common-law spouse must provide an official co-habitation registration document or prove that the couple has cohabited for a minimum of two years by some other means. Common-law spouse must provide proof of secure means of support, independent of the grantee.
  • Divorce papers/custody agreements or death certificates may be needed if applying for a child if the other parent is not applying. When custody of children is shared and one parent remains outside of Iceland, that parent must provide a notarized letter allowing the other parent to bring the child to Iceland. The DoI has very strict rules regarding documentation in the case of a child being accompanied only by one parent and these rules are non-negotiable.

All applications for a family should be sent together directly to the Fulbright Commission, i.e. applications for the grantee and any accompanying family members. The Commission will submit all the applications for each family together and pay the DoI application processing fee  for the grantee and each dependents, withdrawing the amount from the grantee first stipend payment.


Please read all information carefully and if you still have questions feel free to email [email protected].

Medical Cost Insurance

Anyone who obtains a residence permit in Iceland will automatically be covered by the National Health Insurance system in place here after they have resided here for a period of six (6) months. For those first six months, however, they must be covered by supplemental medical cost insurance (health insurance) that is valid in Iceland. According to immigration rules, this medical cost insurance must be purchased from an insurance company that is licensed to do business in Iceland – in effect, an Icelandic insurance company. The Fulbright Program provides adequate supplemental insurance coverage to its grantees, but family members are not covered by Fulbright. Therefore, if your spouse and/or children will accompany you to Iceland for more than 90 days and are applying for a residence permit, you must purchase supplemental insurance coverage for them. Residence permit applications will not be considered until the Directorate of Immigration has received confirmation from an Icelandic insurance company that such a policy has been purchased in the name of the applicant.

Some of the biggest Icelandic insurance companies you might choose are Sjóvá, VÍS and TM.

Grantees should deal directly with the insurance company of their choice. The cost of insurance will vary with the applicant’s age and general health.

Please note that this insurance is only “emergency insurance”. It will not pay for minor medical issues, as there is a high deductible. If you are already insured at home, you will want to keep that insurance!

Financial Support

If your children or and/or spouse will accompany you to Iceland, you might need to show means of support for your dependents. The student stipend does not support dependents, so PhD students will have to show available additional funds for dependent support. Scholars may have to provide proof of available funding as well, if they have multiple dependents. Common-law spouse must provide independent proof of secure means of support.

Refer to the amounts posted on the Directorate of Immigration website – UTL financial support, to calculate dollar equivalencies, and refer to the Central Bank of Iceland’s daily exchange rate posting.

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