From Iceland — Fury And Ire And The Office Of Immigration

Fury And Ire And The Office Of Immigration

Published February 10, 2020

Fury And Ire And The Office Of Immigration
Sam O'Donnell
Photo by
Art Bicnick

In 2017, legislation was passed requiring immigrants to provide further proof of identity at the discretion of the agent processing their case. In 2018, I moved to Iceland with my wife, who is Icelandic. Last week, I received a request from Útlendingastofnun (ÚTL) demanding photos of us together taken during holidays, travelling, and in everyday life in order to determine that we are actually married. I say this with the utmost sincerity, from the bottom of my heart: What a crock.

Like every hopeful immigrant, I already gave ÚTL a bunch of legal documentation when I applied for residency. Why should I have to provide more documentation proving my wife and I are truly married? And what constitutes a valid photo? If one of us is smiling and the other is not, could the agent decide that our marriage is not valid and deny my residency?

Anyway, if someone were to fake an entire marriage, wouldn’t such a person have fake photos ready to show government officials? How many pictures does it take to validate a marriage with the Directorate of Immigration? We sent them over 40 images, but our agent could decide that this is not enough and demand more. Could they ask for more than photos? Could they ask to see private messages between us? I’m not comfortable with that.

At this time, I am nervous to travel. If I have to fly back to the States for any reason, I worry about returning home to Iceland. My residence permit has expired in the time ÚTL has dragged their feet on processing my renewal. This new photo stipulation has only delayed the process further.

Someone should sit the people in this office down and force them to watch ‘90 Day Fiancée.’ The fact is, people who get married just for a visa don’t last long. Big surprise, I know. But people who are in a healthy, committed relationship stay together through good times and bad. Dealing with ÚTL is one of the bad times. The fact that we remain together after this mess should be proof enough for that office full of silly people.

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