a.k.a. ID number / Social security number
Iceland uses a national ID system called kennitala. It's a single ID number that's used for tax, insurance, car registration, bank transfers, receipts and much more. It's essential to apply for a kennitala as soon as you arrive as it's used for just about everything that involves ID.
Your kennitala is a 10 digit number where the first six numbers are your date of birth in the format DDMMYYY. Kennitalas are public and don't contain any secret information (apart from your data of birth).
Companies also have kennitalas.
If you are staying less than three months and are a national of the EU/EEA you can quickly obtain a 3-month temporary kennitala by submitting an A-263 form to Skatturinn (the tax authority). They will then get you a temporary kennitala in a few days.
It’s relatively simple for residents of the EU/EEA to acquire a kennitala.
As of 2020, individuals can no longer apply for a kennitala directly with Þjóðskrá (the national register). If you have a job in Iceland, ask your employer to apply for one through Skatturinn (local tax authorities).
If you intend to stay more than three months you need to prove your EU/EEA residency after filing digitally an A-271 form. ).
- Before arriving in Iceland submit an A-271.
- When you arrive, visit the nearest police station to present your idenfication and documents (passport), referencing the application number.
- The kennitala will be sent to you via email when a valid applicant is processed.
A-271 Steps: Preparing documents and information¶
As of April 18, 2020, these are the fields presented
- Authentication (optional)
- Language (only English and Icelandic available)
- Personal information
- Reason for application (Employment status in Iceland)
- Self employed (with own business registered in Iceland)
- Expat employee (working for foreign company in Iceland)
- Documentation (3x file uploads)
- ID document (image scan of passport) - this is the only required upload
- Birth certificate (mandatory for children)
- Certificate of marital status
- Prospect employer company kennitala (national ID)
- Comments section and a warning that you cannot modify anything once submitted
You will need the EXACT address of your temporary residence including the legally registered apartment number (usually in a four-digital format, 0301 for "third floor apartment number one"). The address is queried dynamically and will not be found if you don’t include correct Icelandic alphabet letters such as ð, þ or ö. You may want to get this information emailed to you and copy-paste from there.
The EU/EEA trade zone includes European Union nations, as well as EFTA member states: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. This means we are not officially in the European Union, although between the nations there is freedom to travel, work, ship goods and trade.
For people with a legal residence outside the EU/EEA trade zone, getting legal residence and work status in Iceland will require an employer to vouch for you and get you on the expert knowledge program. See the Working in Iceland guide. For others it is still possible to get a permanent Kerfiskennitala (translation: System ID) and a bank account.
Contact a bank via their email or chat on their website (not by going in to the branch, that will just confuse the poor customer service rep). You should explain the following:
“I would like to open a bank account, but I don’t yet have a kennitala. Can you confirm via email that I will need a kennitala to open a bank account at your bank?”
They will reply that of course you do. Save that email in PDF form.
Fill out this form and sign it (you can use the digital signature built into Preview on OS X, or similar digitized signature feature). In the field for “Reason for Application, put “Open a bank account”.
Create a single PDF that has:
- The A-275 form (filled out and signed)
- A copy of the email from the bank
- A copy of the first page of your passport
Email the PDF to firstname.lastname@example.org. They will generally take 3-4 days to respond.
It will take another 3-4 days after they email you the System ID Kennitala for it to actually be in the National Registry. Wait until then to open a bank account (or use it at a store, etc.).