Moving to Iceland from the US

Considering a move to Iceland? Til hamingju (Congratulations)! You’re going to love it, from the black sands and stunning waterfalls to its colourful, friendly capital.

Whether you’re moving to Iceland alone, or moving to Iceland with a family, we’ve got you covered – right through from healthcare to where you should live.

We can also offer you free quotes for shipping your possessions. If you fill in the form above, you can see how much moving your life to Iceland would cost.

godafoss waterfall

Goðafoss is one of many ridiculously beautiful waterfalls in Iceland

7 quick facts about Iceland

    • Iceland has the best healthcare system in the world, according to The Lancet
    • It’s the second-happiest country on Earth
    • Iceland is closer to full gender equality than any other country
    • There are no mosquitoes in Iceland
    • In Iceland, you can see the point where two different tectonic plates meet
    • Many Icelanders believe in huldufólk – supernatural, occasionally visible elves who occupy a parallel reality
    • Iceland has more writers per person than any other nation

Cost of shipping to Iceland from the US

We’ve calculated the average international shipping rates for some of our most sought-after journeys from major US cities to popular destinations in Iceland.

Bear in mind these are estimates only. If you’d like a more accurate idea of how much shipping to Iceland will cost you, just pop your details into this form, and our suppliers will get back to you.

RouteCostDuration
New York to Reykjavik$1,8037.9 days
Houston to Reykjavik$2,27713.5 days
Los Angeles to Reykjavik$3,77423.1 days

Please note: these container shipping costs exclude typical add-ons such as door-to-door delivery, professional packing/unpacking, and basic insurance cover. Our shipping suppliers normally incorporate these services into their prices, so expect some discrepancy between the rates given here and the quotes you receive. These estimates should be used as an indication only.

The rates are sourced from WorldFreightRates.com, and are based on the port-to-port transportation of a 20ft container of used furniture worth £41,056 ($56,400) – the typical value of the contents of a three-bedroom house (according to Admiral Insurance).

The durations are sourced from Searates.com.

This information was last updated in April 2021.

Cost of flying goods to Iceland from the US

While air freight is undoubtedly faster than other methods, it’s also 12-16 times more expensive than shipping your possessions, according to The World Bank – and in this specific case, shipping could save you up to $652.

RouteCostDuration
New York City to Reykjavik$2,4555 hours
Houston to Reykjavik$2,4557 hours
Los Angeles to Reykjavik$2,4558 hours

These rates are also sourced from WorldFreightRates.com, and are based on the airport-to-airport transportation of much lighter goods – 250kg of household goods, to be precise, worth $56,400 – from New York City, Houston, and Los Angeles to Reykjavik.

The durations are sourced from Searates.com.

diamond beach

Diamond Beach, where the black sands are littered with sparkling icebergs

Healthcare in Iceland

Iceland has a universal healthcare system that’s rated as the second-best in the world, according to a 2018 study published in The Lancet and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

If you register when you arrive in this liberal country, you can access public healthcare services after living there for six months, including hospital care, emergency care, prescriptions, dental treatment, and maternity care.

You can also claim sickness benefits if illness or injury means you’re not able to work for a period of time.

84% of the public healthcare system’s costs are funded by the government through taxes, while the remaining 16% is covered by the public through out-of-pocket payments.

Make sure you’ve bought a private insurance policy before you arrive though, as that’s the only way to safeguard your health – and wallet – during the first six months.

So, before your big move to Iceland, it’s wise to consider whether you’ll need medical cover for when you’re out there.

That’s why we’ve partnered with Cigna for private medical insurance in Iceland. With four levels of annual cover to choose from and extra modules for more flexibility, Cigna will sort you out with a plan that suits your needs.

Start building a customised plan with a free quote to protect your most important assets – you and your family.

Cost of living

Good / serviceAverage cost
A pint of beer$9.46
A monthly gym subscription$59.29
1 litre of petrol$1.77
A bottle of wine $19.71
1 litre of milk$1.37
Loaf of bread$3.33
12 eggs$5.41
Single ticket on public transport$3.78
1-bedroom flat monthly rent$1,307
3-bedroom flat monthly rent$2,034

(Data sourced from Numbeo)

Transferring money to Iceland

If you’re about to move to Iceland, you’ll probably need to convert some of your savings into krónur.

However, it’s best to avoid using high street banks for this process, as you’ll usually have to pay high fees, and you won’t get the best exchange rate.

That’s why we’ve done our research and compared all the major money transfer services on the market, so you can choose the right one. Check out our expert ratings and find the best money transfer provider today.

Working in Iceland

Iceland is one of the best places in the world to work – and if you plan to travel a lot for international meetings, it’s perfectly located between Europe and the US.

Getting a work visa for Iceland

You can apply for a work visa if you fulfil one of the requirements listed on this Icelandic government page.

And if you’re looking to make Iceland your new home while you work remotely, you and your family can move to the country for six months – 180 days, to be exact – simply by successfully applying for a long-term visa for remote workers.

Average salary in Iceland

The average salary in Iceland is 4,935,000 króna ($38,700), according to Statistics Iceland.

Income tax in Iceland

Income tax is gathered in Iceland by both the state and the municipalities, on a three-tiered system with a progressive tax rate.

The tax is taken at source, so when you receive your paycheck, that final amount is all yours. Here’s how much you’ll be handing over in taxes:

TierMonthly wage bracketRate
1Up to 349,018 kr ($2,700)31.45%
2349,018 kr – 979,847 kr ($2,700 – $7,700)37.95%
3Above 979,847 kr ($7,700)46.25%

Job-hunting in Iceland

If you need to find a job in Iceland before you move, there are plenty of sites you can look through in search of that perfect role.

Alfred and Capacent are particularly excellent, and they’re both available in English, which is certainly an added bonus.

Climate in Iceland

Iceland’s name is slightly misleading – it’s definitely a cold country, but it’s not freezing all year round, mostly due to the warm Gulf Stream found to the west and south of the island.

Be prepared for the weather to change suddenly, as mild Atlantic air combines with cold Arctic air to produce dramatic shifts.

There are four seasons, and the transition from winter to spring is especially spectacular, with stunning white landscapes giving way to gorgeous fields of flowers and moss.

In the capital Reykjavík, where two-thirds of Icelanders live, the thermostat hovers around 33-35°F (1-2°C) in the winter, but can go as low as 14°F (-10°C) and as high as 50°F (10°C).

Make the most of the sun while it’s there, as Iceland’s position in the world means it gets just four to five hours of sunlight in December and January.

In summer, the average temperature is 54°F (12°C), with a low of 44°F (7°C) and a high of 77°F (25°C).

Does it snow in Iceland?

It absolutely snows in Iceland. The highest points in the south of the island receive a massive 155 inches of snowfall per year, while Reykjavik enjoys a much lower 31.5 inches of snow and rain.

Wherever you are in the country, you can expect to see snow throughout the winter.

The best places to live in Iceland

Though Reykjavik is the most well-known place in Iceland – and the most popular destination for expats – there are many welcoming cities to live in across the country. Let’s run through a few of them.

Kópavogur: best for families

The second-largest place in Iceland literally translates as ‘seal pup bay’, making this a great opportunity to introduce your children to some cute animals on the beach.

There are also plenty of top-quality schools and public parks for the kids, as well as culture for the whole family at Gerðarsafn, the local progressive art museum.

You can all go hiking together, or go shopping at either of the city’s two shopping malls, before chilling out in one of the thermal pools.

Seyðisfjörður: best for nature lovers

Every single town and city in Iceland is blessed with glorious natural surroundings, but this is especially true of Seyðisfjörður.

Found on a fjord on the eastern edge of the country, this charming fishing village is surrounded by beautiful mountains and a shoreline that’s one of the best places to see puffin colonies.

You can also see a multitude of birds, whales, and seals in the local area, or choose to experience nature through biking, kayaking, or skiing. There’s something for everyone.

Reykjavik: best for work

There are several lovely places to live in Iceland, but if you’re looking for job opportunities, nowhere compares to the country’s capital.

It’s also the most expensive location on the island, but the wage you receive should make up for it.

Next steps

You’re now more than ready to experience everything Iceland has to offer, from lava caves to glaciers, from puffins and whales to its unique horses.

You can take the next step by filling in this form for free shipping quotes from trusted specialists, who can move your belongings to your new home.