The Ministry of Justice has introduced a new law due to take effect on January 1, 2009, according to the Ministry’s web site. The law requires those petitioning for an Icelandic citizenship to pass a test that will “evaluate their level of fluency in the Icelandic language.”
Those who wish to gain citizenship must thus pass a test meant to determine whether they have a basic understanding of the Icelandic language, can respond to common enquiries and handle themselves in surprising situations, to name a few of the requirements.
“I have never understood the need for a test in Icelandic to gain citizenship, for the will to learn the language has already been established once you become a citizen. The need for a better job or being understood in everyday life is enough of an encouragement for people, so testing them in the language seems unnecessary” said Leftist-Green alternate MP and recent citizen Paul Fontaine Nikolov, when asked to comment on the new regulation. Aside from being the first new Icelander to gain a seat at Parliament, Nikolov was also part of the Grapevine staff through 2004-2006.
The test is will be held twice a year in Reykjavík. Should a person fail the test, he or she will have to wait until the next one scheduled.
The Ministry of Justice pledges to advertise the test in media and on its web site with at least eight weeks of notice, according to a press release
New Law Requires Citizenship Seekers to Prove Icelandic Skills