Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 July 2014, 14:54 GMT

Icelandic Nationality Act (No. 100) (last amended 2003)

Publisher National Legislative Bodies
Author Iceland
Publication Date 1 January 1953
Citation / Document Symbol 100
Reference ISL-140
Cite as Icelandic Nationality Act (No. 100) (last amended 2003) [], 100, 1 January 1953, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6b52e1c.html [accessed 24 July 2014]
Comments This is the official translated consolidation. The Act, No. 100 of 23 December 1952, was amended by the Acts No. 49 of 11 May 1982, No 62 of 12 June 1998 and No. 82 of 16 June 1998. Act No. 82 of 16 June 1998 entered into force on 1 October 1998.
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

(No. 100 of 23rd December 1952, as amended by
the Acts No. 49 of 11th May 1982, No. 62 of 12th June 1998, No. 82 of 16th June 1998 and No. 9 of 24th February 2003)



Article 1

[A child shall acquire Icelandic citizenship at birth:
1. if his mother is an Icelandic citizen,
2. if his father is an Icelandic citizen and is married to the mother. This shall not apply, however, if the couple had obtained a judicial separation at the time when the child was conceived.
A child found abandoned in Iceland shall, in the absence of proof to the contrary, be deemed to be an Icelandic citizen.]1)

1) Act No. 62/1998, Art. 1.

Article 2

[If an unmarried woman who is a foreign national has a child in Iceland, he shall acquire Icelandic citizenship if a man who is an Icelandic citizen is his father under the Children's Act.
If an unmarried woman who is a foreign national has a child abroad by a man who is an Icelandic citizen, the father may, before the child reaches the age of 18, apply to the Ministry of Justice for the child to receive Icelandic citizenship, and shall consult the child if he is over the age of 12. If, in the opinion of the ministry, he submits satisfactory evidence concerning the child and his paternity, the child shall acquire Icelandic citizenship on confirmation by the ministry.] 1)

1) Act No. 62/1998, Art. 2.

[Article 2 a

A foreign child who is adopted by an Icelandic national with the permission of the Icelandic authorities shall acquire Icelandic citizenship on adoption if he is under the age of 12.
A foreign child under the age of 12 who is adopted by an Icelandic national according to a foreign decision which is recognized by the Icelandic authorities shall acquire Icelandic citizenship on confirmation by the Ministry of Justice at the request of the adopter.] 1)

1) Act No. 62/1998, Art. 3.

Article 3

[A foreign national who has been domiciled and resided in Iceland continuously since reaching the age of 11 , or, if stateless, since reaching the age of 13, shall acquire Icelandic citizenship by notifying the Ministry of Justice in writing, after having reached the age of 18 and before reaching the age of 20, of his desire to become an Icelandic citizen.] 1)

1) Act No. 9/2003, Art. 1.

Article 4

If a person who acquired Icelandic citizenship at birth and was domiciled in Iceland until the age of 18 loses Icelandic citizenship, he shall acquire it again, if he has been domiciled in Iceland for the previous 2 years, on declaring his desire to do so, in writing, to the Ministry of Justice. ... 1)

1) Act No. 49/1982, Art. 4.

Article 5

[If a person acquires citizenship under Articles 3 or 4, his unmarried children under the age of 18 shall also acquire citizenship if he has custody of them and they are domiciled in Iceland.] 1)

1) Act No. 62/1998, Art. 5.

[Article 5 a

The Minister of Justice may, after receiving the comments of the commissioner of police in the applicant's locality, and of the Immigration Service, grant Icelandic citizenship according to an application submitted by the applicant himself, or by his legal guardians if he has not reached the age of 18, providing he meets the following requirements regarding residence, conduct and support:
A. Residence requirements.
1. The applicant shall have been domiciled in Iceland for seven years; in the case of a national of one of the other Nordic countries, the requirement shall be only four years.
2. An applicant who is married to, or in a recognized union with, an Icelandic citizen, shall have been domiciled in Iceland for three years since the marriage/establishment of the recognized union, providing the Icelandic spouse or partner has held Icelandic citizenship for not less than five years.
3. An applicant who lives in a registered cohabitational union with an Icelandic national, both being unmarried, shall have been domiciled in Iceland for five years from the registration of the union, providing the Icelandic citizen has held citizenship for not less than five years.
4. An applicant, one of whose parents is an Icelandic citizen, shall have been domiciled in Iceland for two years, providing that the Icelandic parent has held citizenship for not less than five years.
5. An applicant who was an Icelandic citizen, but has become a foreign national, shall have been domiciled in Iceland for one year.
6. A refugee, who meets the definition of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees of 28th July 1951, shall have been domiciled in Iceland as such for five years.
7. These rules are based on domicile and continuous residence in Iceland. Exemptions from these conditions may be granted if an applicant's residence in Iceland has been broken for up to one year because of temporary employment, or for unavoidable reasons, such as the illness of a close relative, and for up to three years as a result of study abroad. However, the period during which the applicant shall have been domiciled and resident in Iceland must be at least as long as that which he is required to meet under the above rules.
B. Other requirements.
1. The applicant shall, in the opinion of two trustworthy persons, be capable of working and well enjoy a good reputation where he has resided.
2. The applicant shall, according to the information stated in his application, be capable of supporting himself in Iceland and shall not have received a support grant from a local authority during the past two years.
3. The applicant shall not have incurred punitive custody or a prison sentence, or be involved in a case in progress in the criminal justice system in which he is suspected or accused of criminal conduct.

The Minister of Justice may also grant Icelandic citizenship to a child born in Iceland who demonstrably did not acquire another nationality at birth and has not acquired it, or the right to acquire it, when his application for citizenship is submitted. The child shall have been domiciled and continuously resident in Iceland from birth for at least three years.

Article 5 shall apply to the children of persons who acquire citizenship under this Article, unless otherwise provisions are made.] 1)

1) Act No. 62/1998, Art. 6.

Article 6

[The Althing may grant citizenship by statute.
Before an application for citizenship is submitted to the Althing, the Ministry of Justice shall receive comments on it from the commissioner of police in the applicant's locality, and from the Immigration Service.
If the person who receives citizenship by statute has children, the provisions of Article 5 shall apply to them unless other provisions are made in this Act.] 1)

1) Act No. 62/1998, Art. 7.

[Article 7] 1)


1) Act No. 9/2003, Art. 2.

Article 8

An Icelandic citizen who was born abroad, and has never been domiciled in Iceland or resided there for any purpose which could be interpreted as indicating a desire to be an Icelandic citizen, shall lose his Icelandic citizenship on reaching the age of 22. However, the [Minister of Justice] 1) may permit him to retain his citizenship if he applies to do so before that time. [He shall not, however, lose Icelandic citizenship if that would result in his becoming stateless.] 2)
[The children of a person who loses Icelandic citizenship under this Article shall also lose Icelandic citizenship which they have acquired on the basis of his citizenship, unless this would result in their becoming stateless.] 3)
[In cases of doubt, the Minister of Justice shall decide whether the requirement of residence in Iceland, set in the first paragraph as a condition for retention of citizenship, is fulfilled.] 4)

1) Act No. 9/2003, Art. 3.
2) Act No. 62/1998, Art. 9.
3) Act No. 49/1982, Art. 6.
4) Act No. 9/2003, Art. 3.


Article 9

[The Minister of Justice may release a person residing abroad, who has become or intends to become a foreign national, from Icelandic citizenship, provided that the person demonstrates, if not already a foreign national, that he will become a foreign national within a particular period of time. If the person is domiciled in Iceland he can only be released from Icelandic citizenship if special reasons recommend this in the opinion of the Minister of Justice.
A foreign national domiciled abroad can not be denied release from citizenship].1)

1) Act No. 9/2003, Art. 4.

[Article 9 a] 1)


1) Act No. 9/2003, Art. 5.

[Article 9 b

Agreements may be made with Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden stating that one or more of the provisions of A–C below shall take effect. The words "Nordic Contracting State" in this Article shall refer to a state with which such an agreement is made.

A. When Article 3 is applied, domicile in a Nordic Contracting State up to the age of 16 shall be regarded as the equivalent of domicile in Iceland. Nevertheless, the person concerned shall have been domiciled in Iceland for the previous 5 years at the time the declaration is made.
When Article 4 is applied, domicile in a Nordic Contracting State up to the age of 12 shall be regarded as the equivalent of domicile in Iceland.
When Article 8 is applied, domicile of at least 7 years in a Nordic Contracting State shall be regarded as the equivalent of domicile in Iceland.

B. A citizen of a Nordic Contracting State who

1. has acquired citizenship there otherwise than by statute or corresponding means,
2. has reached the age of 18,
3. has been domiciled in Iceland for the past 7 years, and
4. has not, during that time, been sentenced to [imprisonment]2), subjected to constraint as lacking criminal responsibility or committed to an institution under the provisions of the Criminal Code,
shall acquire Icelandic citizenship by declaring his wish to do so, in writing, to the Minister of Justice. The provisions of Article 5 shall apply in this case.

C. A person who has lost Icelandic citizenship and has ever since been a citizen of a Nordic Contracting tate, shall reacquire Icelandic citizenship by declaring his wish to do so, in writing, to the Ministry of Justice, providing he has acquired domicile in Iceland at the time of application. The provisions of Article 5 shall apply in this case.] 1)

1) Act No. 49/1982, Art. 9.
2) Act No. 82/1998, Art. 151.

Article 10

The Minister of Justice shall rule on disputes as to whether a person has acquired Icelandic citizenship on the passing of this Act or meets the conditions for acquiring Icelandic citizenship by declaring his wish to do so. Rulings on these matters may be referred to the courts for adjudication.
The Minister of Justice may set further rules regarding the application of this Act.
[Declarations of the wish to become an Icelandic citizen under Article 3, Article 4, and Sections B and C of Article 9 b may only be given by the person himself, and not by a legal guardian.] 1)
Where no other age limit is specified in this Act, those who have reached the age of 18 may make declarations on citizenship under this Act, irrespective of being subject to the [custody] 2) of another person.

1) Act No. 9/2003, Art. 6.
2) Act No. 62/1998, Art. 10.

Article 11

[A person born after 1st July 1964 and before 1st July 1982, who would have acquired Icelandic citizenship if the provision of item 1 of paragraph 1 of Article 1, cf. Act No. 49/1982, had been in effect at the time of his or her birth shall, if his or her mother was an Icelandic citizen in the period from the person's birth until 1st July 1982, acquire Icelandic citizenship by notifying the Ministry of Justice in writing of the desire to become an Icelandic citizen.
A person wishing to become an Icelandic citizen as provided for in the first paragraph shall fulfil the requirements set in Article 8 as regards domicile or residence in Iceland prior to the age of 22.]

1) Act No. 9/2003, Art. 7.

Article 12

This Act shall enter into force on 1st January 1953.
As of the same date, the Acquisition and Loss of Citizenship Act, No. 64 of 28th January 1935, shall stand repealed.




Act No. 9 of 24th February 2003

Interim Provision

A person who has lost Icelandic citizenship by reason of the original provisions of Article 7 of Act No. 100/1952 but would have retained the Icelandic citizenship if that Article had no longer been in effect at the time Icelandic citizenship was lost, shall aqcuire Icelandic citizenship anew by notifying the Ministry of Justice in writing prior to 1st July 2007 of his or her desire again to become an Icelandic citizen, provided the notification is accompanied by evidence that is adequate in the Ministry's opinion.
If the person in question is subject to the custody of another person, the notification shall be made by the custodian.
If the person acquiring Icelandic citizenship in accordance with this provision has unmarried children under the age of 18 years in his or her custody, the children shall also acquire Icelandic citizenship. The Icelandic citizenship shall however be subject to the approval of a child who has attained the age of 12 years and has foreign citizenship. Approval shall however not be required if the child is unable to grant it by reason of mental retardation or any other comparable condition.


Search Refworld

Countries