Q: What is the purpose of the Rules on Foreign Exchange?
A: The purpose of the Rules is to stop, on a temporary basis, capital outflows that could result in immoderate weakening of the króna when restrictions on foreign exchange transactions related to commercial activities are lifted. It is foreseeable, however, that the inflow of foreign exchange from exports will soon exceed the outflow due to imports. Therefore, an excess of foreign reserves will gradually accumulate, and it will be possible to sell this to foreign parties and thereby enable them to close their króna positions.
Q: What is meant by the term “movement of capital”?
A: Movement of capital refers to the transfer or conveyance of money between countries in connection with:
1. Transactions with and issuance of securities, unit share certificates in UCITS and investment funds, money market instruments, and other transferable financial instruments.
2. Deposits to and withdrawals from accounts with credit institutions.
3. Lending, borrowing, and issue of guarantees not related to cross-border trade with goods and services.
4. Importation and exportation of securities and foreign and domestic currency.
5. Futures contracts, derivatives contracts, options contracts, currency and interest rate swap agreements, and other related foreign exchange transactions involving the Icelandic króna as the only currency or one of the currencies.
6. Gifts and subsidies and other capital movements comparable to those listed in Items 1-5.
Q: Are there any restrictions on the importation or exportation of goods?
Q: Are there any restrictions on the importation or exportation of services?
Q: Are there any limitations on foreign exchange for travel purposes?
A: No, but banks are free to decide to limit the sale of foreign currency in cash if their supply of banknotes is not sufficient. However, it is permissible to sell foreign currency in cash for a maximum of 500,000 kr. per calendar month per individual party
Q: What is the obligation to submit foreign currency?
A: All foreign currency that domestic parties acquire, either from the sale of goods and services or in another manner, must be submitted to a domestic financial institution within two weeks of the time the foreign currency was acquired or could have been acquired by the owner or his agent or representative. If the party in question cannot submit the foreign currency within this time limit, he or she must explain the reason to a financial undertaking. The obligation to submit foreign currency according to the first sentence above can be fulfilled by depositing the currency to a foreign currency account with a financial institution in Iceland. This requirement does not apply to domestic parties that have a fixed residence abroad for purposes of work or study.
Q: What is a foreign currency account?
A: A foreign currency account is an account at a commercial or savings bank where the deposit balance is listed in foreign currency.
Q: Are there any restrictions on deposits to foreign currency accounts?
A: No, but it is not possible to purchase foreign currency in order to deposit it to a foreign currency account.
Q: Are there any restrictions on withdrawals from foreign currency accounts?
A: Withdrawals from foreign currency accounts in Iceland are subject to the requirement that the party in question demonstrate that the funds will be used in accordance with the Rules on Foreign Exchange. It is prohibited to withdraw foreign currency in cash from a foreign currency account without demonstrating that the funds will be used to pay for goods or services, including travel.
Q: Is it absolutely forbidden to invest abroad?
A: No. It is permissible to invest in real estate and other assets not listed below. Domestic parties are prohibited from investing in securities, unit share certificates in UCITS and investment funds, money market instruments, or other transferable financial instruments denominated in foreign currency. However, domestic parties that have invested in such financial instruments prior to the entry into force of these Rules are permitted to reinvest abroad. Domestic parties are prohibited from settling, in foreign currency, transactions with securities or other transferable financial instruments denominated in Icelandic krónur.
Q: May foreigners invest in Iceland?
A: It is prohibited to invest in securities, unit share certificates in UCITS and investment funds, money market instruments, or other transferable financial instruments, if such investments involve the movement of capital to Iceland. It is prohibited to carry out foreign exchange transactions or other movement of capital in foreign currency through withdrawals from króna-denominated bank accounts at domestic financial institutions or the Central Bank of Iceland. Movement of capital due to the transfer or conveyance of funds out of Iceland in connection with the sale of direct investments is prohibited.
Q: Is it forbidden to take out a loan in another country?
A: It is generally prohibited if the amount borrowed is greater than 10 million Icelandic krónur. Exceptions to this are loans related to trade in goods and services and loans between companies in the same conglomerate.
Q: Why is it forbidden to provide guarantees over a specified amount?
A: It is considered extremely easy to create simulated contracts in order to circumvent the Rules. Guarantees related to trade with goods are permissible, as are guarantees between companies in the same conglomerate.
Q: Is all trading with derivatives forbidden?
A: Derivatives trading is limited if the Icelandic króna is one of the currencies involved in the derivative contract. This does not apply, however to derivatives related solely to trade with goods and services.
Q: May I no longer purchase foreign currency to pay a foreign loan?
A: Yes, this is possible. Interest, indexation, dividends, capital gains on investments, and contractual payments are not considered movement of capital in the sense of the Rules on Foreign Exchange. Therefore, it is possible to purchase foreign currency in order to make payments on foreign-denominated loans. Wages are not considered movement of capital in the sense of the Act; therefore, it is permissible to purchase foreign currency to pay wages abroad. However, prepayment of loans is considered movement of capital and is therefore prohibited.
Q: What about subsidies and charities?
A: Individuals and legal entities are prohibited from moving capital out of the country for gifts, subsidies, or other purposes, in amounts exceeding 10,000,000 kr. per calendar year.
Q: Is it possible to get an exemption from the Rules?
A: The Central Bank may authorise exemptions in exceptional cases, but an application for such an exemption must be submitted to the Bank, together with the relevant documentation, through the intermediation of a financial institution.