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EACEA National Policies Platform


2. Voluntary Activities

2.5 Cross-border mobility programmes

Last update: 6 November 2020
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  1. EU programmes
  2. Other Programmes
  3. Legal framework applying to foreign volunteers

EU programmes

Iceland participates in the Erasmus+ programme which the National Agency for Erasmus+Youth in Action (only in Icelandic) is responsible for.

The agency monitors the participation of youth coming to Iceland as volunteers for short and long term EVS volunteering. They offer an on-arrival and mid-term training and monitor the organisations that receive grants from the National Agency. It also monitors the number of incoming participants including country of origin and other basic information about the volunteer.

Organisations that send out volunteers through Erasmus + programmes are asked to register all outgoing volunteers on a database linked through the National Agency’s webpage. By doing so the National Agency is able to monitor the number of outgoing volunteers, their main destinations and trends in participation including some other basic information.

The only legislation that discusses volunteering is the Youth Act 2007 which refers to enabling children and youth to participate in youth activities. The law is based on youth activities for children and young people, especially aged 6-25 years.

As the EVS volunteering is for youth from 17 years to 30 years of age it can be said that the law on youth participation and target group is more or less reached. There is no other law that discusses specific target groups' participation.

The main authority is the Icelandic National Agency which operates under the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture.

Other Programmes

The state provides operating grants, according to the general budget, to organisations that focus on bilateral and multilateral programmes. The organisation that receives most of its operating grant from the state is Snorri Fund.

The State has also granted the volunteering organisation AUS operating grants from the year 2011. The grant accounts for 2-7% of its annual turnover. AUS sends and receives volunteers through Erasmus+ and also through its own programme the International Cultural Youth Exchange (ICYE).

The state does not monitor the youth participation in these programmes in another way than through the Directorate of Immigration which has to process the volunteers' visas.

The organisations working with these programmes keep information on the exchangees which include participants' countries, trends and destinations of volunteers.

The Snorri fund offers its programme to 18-28 year old and AUS 18-30 year old which corresponds to the law of youth participation of the Youth Act. Also both organisation run their programmes as educational and cultural exchangee programs and thereby fulfil the Youth Acts criteria for participation.

There is no official monitoring or evaluation of volunteering activities other than that offered by Erasmus+ through its final reports. These final reports are sent to Icelandic National Agency which reviews them and gives feed-back to the host and/or coordinating organisations.


Legal framework applying to foreign volunteers

Volunteers from EU countries 

Volunteers arriving from EU countries will need to bring passport or other legal personal identification document. They are also asked to bring a birth certificate and document of marital status.

The volunteers take these documents to the Registers Iceland including a document from the volunteer organisation confirming the volunteer’s insurance, funding and financial support.

The documents are then processed by the Registers Iceland which will in two to six weeks send the volunteers an Icelandic identification number.

Volunteers froma outside EU

Volunteers arriving from outside EU need to go through Immigration to receive residence permit so they can volunteer in Iceland.

The volunteers need to fill out a residence permit application and submit the following documents: photo, criminal record, housing certificate, proof of support, health insurance, demonstrate adequate support.

Once the permit has been granted the person in question will either be granted access to Iceland or asked to retrieve a D-visa from the next embassy that processes visas to Iceland.

Once in Iceland the volunteer needs to go to Immigration for a photo and go for medical examination within two weeks of arrival.