Upon Arrival

What should refugees from Ukraine do upon arrival in Iceland?

Unfortunately, the rules are constantly changing, and it is hard to give clear guidance on specific actions upon arrival from submission to receipt. Still, we can try to explain the first things one can expect in Iceland.

How to apply for refugee status?

The website of the Directorate of Immigration (ÚTL) contains the following information:

According to the Immigration Act, a person must be in Iceland, on its border, or inside it to apply for international protection in Iceland. The application must be submitted to the Immigration Office or the police at any station in Iceland. The application does not have to be in a specific format, and the applicant may express their wish orally.

❗️Applications for international protection in Iceland received from persons abroad at the time are not accepted.

A separate page for Ukrainian citizens contains the same information and the fact that ÚTL will not help to get to Iceland.

The police will gather the necessary information about the applicant. Here’s what you can find about it on the website:

After the police have received basic information from the applicant, including fingerprints, route in Iceland, and personal identification, the application will be sent to the Immigration Directorate for further processing and decision-making.

Also, when collecting information about the applicant, police determines if the applicant needs special assistance for their daily needs. In that case, they are offered services from the Directorate of Immigration or the municipalities that have agreements with the Directorate for aid to asylum seekers.

After applying and providing information to the police, the applicant will receive minimum social support in the form of:

  • 🏠 free housing assistance;
  • 💳 a funded debit card that can only be used in specific stores for 8,000 kronor (approximately 50-55 euros) per week;
  • 📲 a free Icelandic SIM card for calls and internet (calls to Ukraine are free in March);
  • 🚌 an unlimited bus pass for a month.

During the first interview, the police will collect the applicant’s passport for storage and issue an ID card instead, which can be collected later (it could take a few weeks) at Bæjarhraun 18, 220 Hafnarfjörður.

Immigration Office for Refugees

Opening hours from 10:00 to 12:00.

Phone number: +354 444 0900 (General number of the Directorate of Immigration)

E-mail: utl@utl.is (general e-mail address of the Immigration Directorate)

Four steps from a volunteer

Here are four steps we received from Yulia Rachenko, a volunteer:


When you get off the plane, approach any airport employee, ask to call a police officer, and report that you are a refugee from Ukraine.


The police will take it from there: fill out the form, call a taxi and find a shelter with vacant rooms. Many refugees are sent to a hotel in the center of Reykjavik. The police will find a free place for you.


The hotel employees will greet you fill out a registration form (just like a regular hotel check-in). No payment or credit cards are required. The hotel includes three meals a day and drinks during the day.


The immigration office will contact you later to invite you for an interview. A car will come to pick you up for the interview and then take you back to the hotel.