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Iceland – Self-Employment

Iceland is a popular destination for expats looking to start their own businesses or work as self-employed individuals. In this article, we will explore how self-employment works for expats in Iceland, how to register as self-employed, the possibility of working as a digital nomad, how to start a company, and whether there are any incentives or programs to encourage expats to become self-employed or set up a company in Iceland.

How Self-Employment Works for Expats in Iceland

Self-employment is a common option for expats in Iceland, and there are no specific requirements or restrictions on foreign nationals registering as self-employed. Self-employed individuals in Iceland are required to register with the Icelandic tax authorities and pay income tax on their income.

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Register as Self-Employed in Iceland

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to register as self-employed in Iceland:

  1. Choose your business structure: Before registering as self-employed, you need to decide on your business structure. The most common options for self-employed individuals in Iceland are sole proprietorship and limited liability company.

  2. Register with the Icelandic tax authorities: Self-employed individuals in Iceland are required to register with the Icelandic tax authorities and obtain a tax ID number.

  3. Obtain a VAT number: If your annual turnover exceeds a certain threshold, you will need to obtain a VAT number.

  4. Pay your taxes: Self-employed individuals in Iceland are required to pay income tax on their income. You can do this through the Icelandic tax authorities’ website or at a tax office.

Can You Work as a Digital Nomad in Iceland?

Yes, it is possible to work as a digital nomad in Iceland. However, you may need to obtain a visa if you plan to stay in the country for an extended period. Iceland’s visa requirements are subject to change, so it is essential to check the latest information on the Icelandic government’s website.

How to Start a Company in Iceland

Starting a company in Iceland is a straightforward process, with various legal structures and regulations to consider. Some of the most common legal structures include a private limited company, a sole proprietorship, and a partnership.

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Set Up a Company in Iceland

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to set up a company in Iceland:


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  1. Choose your legal structure: Before setting up your company, you need to decide on your legal structure. This will depend on various factors, such as the number of shareholders, liability, and taxation.

  2. Choose a company name: Your company’s name must be unique and not already registered with the Icelandic Company Registry.

  3. Incorporate your company: You can incorporate your company through the Icelandic Company Registry. This can be done online or in person.

  4. Register for business licenses and permits: Depending on your business, you may need to obtain additional licenses or permits. This will vary depending on the type of business you are starting and the location.

Incentives or Programs to Encourage Expats to Become Self-Employed or Set Up a Company in Iceland

Iceland has several programs and incentives designed to encourage entrepreneurship and foreign investment in the country. Here are some of the most notable:

  1. Investment incentives: The Icelandic government offers a range of investment incentives to foreign investors, including tax breaks, subsidies, and grants.

  2. Startup Reykjavik: Startup Reykjavik is an accelerator program aimed at promoting entrepreneurship and innovation in Iceland. The program provides resources and support to start-ups in the country, including access to mentorship, networking opportunities, and funding.

  3. Innovation Center Iceland: Innovation Center Iceland is a government agency that provides support to innovative businesses in Iceland. The program offers a range of services, including access to funding, mentorship, and networking opportunities.

  4. Startup Iceland: Startup Iceland is an annual conference aimed at promoting entrepreneurship and innovation in Iceland. The conference brings together entrepreneurs, investors, and experts to discuss the latest trends and developments in the Icelandic startup scene.

  5. Reykjavik Global Forum – Women Leaders: The Reykjavik Global Forum is an annual event that brings together women leaders from around the world to discuss the most pressing issues facing women today. The forum includes discussions on entrepreneurship and innovation, and it provides an excellent opportunity for female entrepreneurs to network and learn from other successful women.

In conclusion, Iceland is a favorable destination for self-employment and business start-ups, with a supportive business environment and various programs and incentives to encourage entrepreneurship and foreign investment in the country. Whether you are looking to work as a self-employed individual or start your own company, Iceland offers a range of resources and support to help you get started. However, it is essential to be aware of the country’s legal and tax regulations and to seek professional guidance when navigating the process of starting a business in Iceland.


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