From Iceland — Expecting Couple Struggle With Immigration Bureaucracy

Expecting Couple Struggle With Immigration Bureaucracy

Published July 26, 2014

Nanna Árnadóttir
Photo by
Jeff Belmonte

An Icelandic man’s pregnant American wife has still not received a verdict on her Icelandic residence permit application even though she applied for one in the fall of last year, reports DV.

Jessica Jacobs has lived in Iceland since 2012. Initially she moved to study Icelandic in Ísafjörður, but quickly relocated to Reykjavík where she met her future husband, Matthías Enok Hannesson.

After getting married, Matthías and Jessica filed an application for residency which has since developed into a long-winded bureaucratic nightmare. According to the Reykjavík District Commissioner’s Office the couple need to deliver a certificate confirming her marital status in the U.S. This document must be obtained from Jessica’s home state of New Jersey. However, not all U.S states produce such certificates and New Jersey is among them.

In response, Matthías and Jessica collected as many other public documents as they could, including tax returns which proved that she had not entered into a marriage in the U.S prior to her marriage to Matthías.

“It is stated in my tax returns that I’m unmarried but that wasn’t enough,” said Jessica. The couple went as far as contacting the American Embassy in Iceland and having them issue a special letter confirming to the District Commissioner’s Office that the state of New Jersey did not issue the requested certificate and that it would be impossible for the couple to deliver such a document.

This however made no impact and the couple have since decided to relocate to Norway.


This story has been edited since it was originally published. The original story stated that Jessica’s application was denied but this was not so. Jessica had not received word on the application’s outcome despite a long wait. It also stated that she was to be deported but the move to Norway is in fact voluntary. 

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