Immigrants and refugees

Programmes and services

Tölum saman

In Tölum saman, Icelanders and newcomers get together to practice speaking Icelandic.

Most persons with international protection want to improve their Icelandic language skills because it can help to build strong and lasting connections with Icelanders, to better understand the Icelandic system, and to successfully enter the job market or the educational system.

You can get help with your Icelandic language by meeting a language buddy.

Language buddies are volunteers in the Tölum saman project. Together with an Icelandic language buddy you can practice conversational Icelandic or other relevant vocabulary. You can for example practice words that may be useful in your field of work or study. Or if you are a parent, then you can practice words that may help you communicate with your child´s teacher. A language buddy can also help with your homework if you are enrolled in Icelandic language classes.

Volunteers in Tölum saman are not teachers. They are normal Icelanders who simply want to be involved and share basic Icelandic vocabulary with you. You will meet each other in a library near you or at your home, for a period of six months. The meetings take place every week and are about one-hour long. You decide together when you meet.

Have you received international protection in Iceland in the last year? And do you want to improve your Icelandic language skills? Then the Tölum saman project is for you!

Do you want to meet a language buddy? Send an email to [email protected]

Read more about Tölum saman and about the Guiding friend project here .

Guiding friend

In the Guiding friend project, Icelanders and newcomers get to know each other and become friends.

Most persons with international protection like to get to know locals to expand their network, to ask them questions, or simply because it is nice to have local friends or acquaintances. In the Guiding friend project, the Red Cross brings Icelanders and persons with international protection together.

You can be introduced to a Guiding friend if you have recently received international protection.

A Guiding friend is an Icelandic volunteer who gets to know a newcomer. The aim of the Guiding friend project is mutual social integration. Both participants gain a new friend or social contact, and both learn about each other´s culture and traditions. This will help to build bridges between people of different backgrounds. A Guiding friend can make a newcomer feel at home and the projects also provides the volunteer with a valuable and educational experience.

Guiding friends meet for a period of 6 months for 4 to 6 hours per month, every week or every other week. They decide together when and where they will meet. Participants have been meeting each other in places like the library, a café, or each other's homes.

Do you want to meet a guiding friend? Send an email to [email protected]

Read more about Tölum saman and about the Guiding friend project here .


Mynd: Gabrielle Motola

Open House for Immigrants and Refugees in Akureyri

The Open house in Reykjavík has been closed. The Ministry of Social affairs has now opened The New in Iceland information center for immigrants. They are located in Laugavegur 116, 101 Reykjavík. Their website is and tel. 456-7555. Please contact them if you have questions about immigrant matters.

Open House in Akureyri is intended for all immigrants. The purpose is to provide individuals support.

At the Open House Icelandic speaking volunteers can assist with:

  • House search and other information handout
  • Paperwork and application
  • Finding household equipment and more

Time: Wednesdays from 14.00-15.30

Place: Viðjulundur 2, 2nd floor.

To become a volunteer submit an application here or to request more information please contact [email protected]

Free and cheap activities in the Reykjavík area

Here is a site with free and cheap activities -

Recreational Fund for children of refugees living in Iceland

The purpose of the fund is to support refugee children, 17 years old and younger, who participate in recreational activity that is not eligible for grants elsewhere. Refugee children refers to unaccompanied minors, children of resettled refugees, children of refugees who are granted asylum following an


application in Iceland and children of refugees who are granted protection on humanitarian grounds.

Grants from the fund can be given to any kind of children's activity. The grants can be used for courses, music, sports, dance or other kind of leisure and trips related to them. They cannot be used for clothing or equipment.

Applications should be admitted to the Red Cross Branch in the municipality of residence.

Here you can find the application form in various languages and allocation rules in English.

For further information contact [email protected]

Child and youth programmes

All information on child and youth programmes can be found here .

Homework assistance for children in elementary school as well as a Monday club.

Practice makes perfect

The Red Cross and Mímir welcomes everyone who wants to practice Icelandic and meet new people. Volunteers and immigrants meet once a week and speak Icelandic. In each meeting there is a certain topic focus, something considered useful in society. Examples are: transportation, banking, shopping, housing, hobbies, travel and healthcare. The group is divided in two, beginners and advanced.

Occasionally we‘ll play cards, watch Icelandic movies, go to a cafe, eat together and other fun things that can increase knowledge of both language and society.

The goal is to practice speaking and increase vocabulary that can be used in everyday life. Practice makes perfect is also a nice way to meet new people and make friends.

Please note that some knowledge in Icelandic is required. Participation is free and you just need to show up! (Meetings start from 8th of September 2018).

Time: Saturdays at 10-12.

Place: Mímir, Höfðabakki 9, 110 Reykjavík.

Contact Info: [email protected]

Clothes Distribution 


If you need clothing assistance in the capital area, you can apply for clothing cards at the Red Cross. You can use the clothing cards at the Red Cross shops. 

The Red Cross Clothing Distribution.

  • Applicants mus be over 18 years old, and have an ID number (kennitala) and legal address registered in Iceland.
  • To get allocated a clothing card a reference from a third party is needed. The third party can be: Red Cross volunteers and Staff, professionals such as social workers, priests or religious leaders, teachers, psychologists, doctors etc.
  • The reference email (to [email protected]) needs to contain the following information: The name and ID number (kennitala) of the applicant If the applicant has dependent children, 18 years and younger, the name and ID numbers (kennitala) of the children must be included. The name, phone number and/or email address of the referrer. The reference should be sent to [email protected]
  • Applications are only accepted through the email address [email protected]
  • Clothing Cards are distributed once a week, on Tuesdays from 14:00- 16:00 at Efstaleiti 9.

If you live outside the capital region, please contact your local Red Cross for information.

Open Red Cross appointment for Asylum Seekers are on

Wednesdays from 12.00-15.00 in Hafnarfjörður, Strandgata 24
Thursdays from 12.00-15.00 Reykjanesbær, Smiðjuvellir 8.

Second-hand clothing items are sold at Red Cross stores located in:

  • Skólavörðustígur 12
  • Hlemmur
  • Mjóddin
  • Kringlan shopping mall
  • Smiðjuvellir 8, Reykjanesbær

If you are located in other places please contact your local branch for information.