Find available services in your area by selecting your location, learn about the services and the providers in the section(s) below. Explore offerings from shelters, food, and health to legal aid and more, tailored to your needs.
Service providers for asylum seekers in Iceland are institutions and organizations that enable asylum seekers to access their rights, as defined by the relevant laws. In Iceland these are the public institutions/government:
- Directorate of Immigration (often called “Immigration” or “UTL” by the Icelandic acronym for the name of the institution is Útlendingastofnun). Directorate of Immigration will process your application for asylum, sometimes called the first administrative level. In the beginning of the process, at least before you go into an asylum interview, you will be appointed a lawyer by Immigration. You do not need to ask for a lawyer, you will be contacted by one before the actual process starts. If something is unclear or if you have any questions regarding the legal aid, you can ask by sending to email@example.com.
- Directorate of Labor (often called VMST, the Icelandic name is Vinnumálastofnun) . VMST will provide housing, health, financial assistance and assistance in special cases and concerns for your safety (for example, domestic violence, or protection of children). VMST will also support your children between 6 to 16 years old and help with placing them in school. Thus, if you have concerns related to any – housing, health, education, protection, or financial support (including transportation), you can raise them with the VMST nearest to your location.
- Police, of course, will provide you with support in case you are a victim of, or are witness / know about criminal activity. Police will also be able to take your asylum claim whenever you are ready – feel free to walk into any police station (including at the airport) and request an asylum.
- Municipalities. VMST may decide to refer your service to the social services (including child protection), which are administratively part of the municipalities, such as Reykjavík, Reykjanesbær and Hafnarfjörður (but also others). Once that happens, the municipalities and their units of social services take over the service, assign a case worker that will collaborate with a client and throughout their asylum process take care of their needs.
In addition to the governmental organizations mandated for providing services and protection of asylum seekers, in Iceland there are several non-governmental organizations (often called NGOs in short) that also design programmes and projects that asylum seekers can take part in, or the asylum seekers are the focus group of such projects. Not all NGOs have programmes or support for the asylum seekers. The NGOs are non-governmental, which means that even though the government can support some or all of projects, the government does not influence the programming or implementation itself (they have no say how the organization will work, influence their operation or programming). In addition to Icelandic Red Cross, these are (not exhaustive list, just to name a few that do support asylum seekers):
- Salvation Army – with projects providing food assistance, clothes and psychosocial support often offered to the asylum seekers as well as other vulnerable groups.
- Kvennaathvarfið - this is a Women’s Shelter, an association committed to protection of women who are at risk from violence. The association operated since the early 1980´s and provides safety to women who cannot stay at their home due to violence. You can find out more about their mission and vision (available in different languages) here.
- Stígamót - a center for supporting the survivors of sexual violence, offering support and counselling to all survivors, regardless of their gender, age or other background. The counselling is provided by trained professionals, and it is free of charge.
- Samhjálp - Nytjamarkaður Samhjálpar provide warm meal to those in need.
- Hjálparstarf kirkjunnar / Church Aid - a non-profit organization that carries out humanitarian and relief work in the name of the national church.