News
Icelandic Man Isn’t Granted Icelandic Citizenship

Icelandic Man Isn’t Granted Icelandic Citizenship

Alice Demurtas
Words by
Photos by
Still from Rúv Interview
Art Bicnick

Published February 7, 2018

The Directorate of Immigration recently refused to grant Icelandic citizenship to a man who was born in Iceland from an Icelandic woman, RÚV reports.

Eggert Einer Níelson, who lives in Ísafjörður with his family, was born in Reykjavík in the 50s but moved with his mother to the United States when he was seven years old. Ten years ago, right after the economic crash, he decided to move back to Iceland with his wife and son and has been working as a music teacher in the Westfjörds for the past seven years.

A flawed law

Because he was born here and his mother was Icelandic, Eggert thinks that having Icelandic citizenship is nothing less than his birthright. He therefore applied for citizenship by descent (jus sanguinis) and country of birth (jus soli). However, a small detail in the system seems to have ruined his chances. When Eggert was born, back in 1957, the law stated that children were to be automatically assigned their father’s citizenship. Eggert’s father is Danish.

Only in 1982 did the law change and children could finally get their mother’s citizenship, too. The 1982 law, however, is not retroactive—and that’s where matters become ridiculous. Eggert is therefore registered as Danish and American but not Icelandic.

Feeling a foreigner in his own country

So far, Eggert has been able to stay in the country by regularly applying for a visa. When his application for citizenship was rejected, however, Eggert was automatically registered by the system as living in the US. He found out only by chance when, after having been hospitalised, he received a bill of 340 thousand ISK (approximately 3300 USD) in hospital fees.

The decision of the Directorate of Immigration is controversial and was harshly criticized online, but it is nonetheless based on the law, as silly as the law itself is. Eggert could possibly have obtained citizenship if he had applied as a foreigner. However, he and his family are considering leaving the country altogether. In his interview with RÚV, where he spoke English, Eggert said to be very frustrated by the system: “clearly we aren’t welcome here,” he commented. “The people are great, but when it comes to governments something is wrong. I’m Icelandic. It’s in my blood, and I feel it in my heart. They cannot take that away from me, no matter what.”


News
Night Bus Service In Reykjavik May End After New Year

Night Bus Service In Reykjavik May End After New Year

by

The board of Strætó is considering whether late night bus service on weekends will continue after the new year, RÚV

News
Oh Yeah! 100 Years Ago Today, Iceland’s Katla Erupted

Oh Yeah! 100 Years Ago Today, Iceland’s Katla Erupted

by

It’s time to celebrate. To be fair, it’s always time to celebrate. But today it’s time to celebrate the 100th

News
Icelandic Police Forced To Pay Damages To Protesters They Spied On And Libelled Against

Icelandic Police Forced To Pay Damages To Protesters They Spied On And Libelled Against

by

Yesterday, in Reykjavík District Court, the Icelandic government admitted fault and paid damages to two protesters targeted by an infamous

News
Lawyer For Former Sigur Rós Drummer Issues Demand To Cease Coverage Of Sexual Assault Allegations

Lawyer For Former Sigur Rós Drummer Issues Demand To Cease Coverage Of Sexual Assault Allegations

by

A lawyer for Orri Páll Dýrason, the former drummer for Sigur Rós who quit the band in the wake of

News
Icelandic Hotel’s Latest Employee: A Cat

Icelandic Hotel’s Latest Employee: A Cat

by

Young Pál, like many from abroad, is here to try her luck in Iceland. However, the work of this employee

News
Icelandic Króna Weakening Again

Icelandic Króna Weakening Again

by

The exchange rate of the Icelandic króna (ISK) against larger currencies is weakening, casting a shadow on upcoming collective bargaining

Show Me More!