Blending in /#tips

Ever thought about moving to Iceland? You should.

After getting to Iceland, going for some groceries, meeting new people and check out some bars, restaurants and beaches/baths, one should start doing some paperwork, if they plan to stay longer. Luckily, there’s the EU/EEA/EFTA and Schengen/Dublin. They make things way easier for swiss people. (I met some Ugandan guys a couple of days ago at the bar and they’ve still got quite some paperwork to do…)

Basically, everything starts with your Kennitala (social security number). You’ll basically need it for anything. Getting an Icelandig phone number? Kennitala. Getting a bank account? Kennitala. Getting an apartment? Kennitala. Especially the latter is actually a little tricky, because you can’t get the Kennitala before you’re in Iceland but you can’t get an apartment without your Kennitala. So usually, staying in a Hostel is recommended. The application process for a Kennitala however is very straightforward. I only had to hand in a copy of my passport, my bank statements, a confirmation that I have health insurance (E104) and a copy of the confirmation letter at Reykjavik University. 5 days later, I had my Kennitala. The Kennitala is a 10 digit number – the first 6 are your date of birth, the last 4 random numbers (data protection?).

The next useful thing would be to get your phone number. Go to Kringlan shopping mall and find Nova. Since I already had a very good subscription from Switzerland (all unlimited in all of Europe) I don’t really need a subscription here in Iceland, just the number – so I found one for CHF/ISK 0.- (phone calls and text messages to Icelandic phone numbers are free though… they should have that in Switzerland). With my Kennitala they already saw my name and my adress (data protection?) and everything was done in a matter of minutes.

You’ll also need to get an Icelandic bank account if you want to work here or if you want to apply for housing benefits (yes, the state pays you back part of your rent if you have no or a very low income… btw did you know that the Danish government pays it’s students? There are some Danish people here getting up to 800€ per month…). The staff of the bank was very helpful – thank god, everybody speeks English here… so you basically just give them your ID and your – you guessed it – Kennitala and you’re good to go. After a few minutes I had my bankaccount… surprisingly, my rental bill from 19/08/2020 was already visible in the bank account I just opened on 25/08/2020. I suspect, that’s due to my Kennitala (data protection?).
BTW: I went to landsbankinn, because they can also set you up with your electronic ID. I don’t really know what that is, but I have it now. For the electronic ID they’ll need your passport or driving license but won’t accept the swiss ID (?). I also ordered an IceKey – I don’t really know what that is as well, but apparantly I need it to apply for housing benefits…

Long story short: Come here, go to a hotel/hostel, apply for your Kennitala, then get an apartment, a phone number, a bank account and you’re electronic ID / IceKey and you’re good to go.

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