Information for Newly Arrived Ukrainians in the Faroe Islands

Welcome to the Faroe Islands!

Moving to a new country can be both exciting and challenging. To help you settle in the Faroes as easily as possible, we have compiled the most relevant and necessary information for you. For the latest information and updates, please visit here on a regular basis to receive the latest updates.

As a Ukrainian national, you are allowed to stay in the Faroe Islands without a visa up to 90 days. If you have fled Ukraine on or after 24 February, you are eligible to apply for a temporary residence permit under the Special Act on Displaced Persons from Ukraine in the Faroe Islands. (More information here.)

How to apply for a temporary residence permit:

  • Call the Red Cross at (+298 1818) for assistance
  • You can also go to the Reception Centre for assistance at Háskúlavegur 14, Tórshavn
  • File an application at the local police station and ask for a receipt
  • Submit to a biometric scan at the police station in Tórshavn
  • After you receive your residence permit, please go to your local municipality to register, and receive your civil registration number (p-tal)

How long does it take to process my application?

In general, it can take up to an average of two weeks. Please note that the immigration authorities in Denmark processes your application and as a result, the process can be delayed.

Important numbers to have:

  • Red Cross: +298 1818
  • Police: +298 114
  • Emergency Service: +298 112
  • Faroese Immigration and Integration Office: +298 357979
  • Sona.fo is an online phone directory book and live local bus tracker
  • Women's shelter: +298 317200

The Reception Centre

The Reception Centre is operated by the Red Cross. The centre provides Ukrainians who have applied for a residence permit basic services as well as temporary housing. At the centre, the health authority will conduct a health examination and refer you to acute treatments, if necessary. You will also attend a short integration course to help you familiarize with your rights, labour market, education opportunities, and Faroese society. 

The Red Cross is responsible with the day-to-day activities. Because your stay will be short, you should expect your time spent at the centre is to familiarise yourself how to navigate the Faroe Islands.

The reception centre's current address is: Háskúlavegur 14, Tórshavn.

What should you do if you are in the Faroe Islands, but have not secured accommodation?

Please contact the Red Cross first as they are tasked to assist you in your first steps after arrival. In general, you will be provided with an accommodation at the reception centre while your residence permit application is being processed. You will be able to stay at the centre until you receive your residence permit.

Do I need to stay at the reception centre if I am staying with my friend’s or family’s?

You are not obligated to stay at the reception centre if you found an alternative. At the reception centre, you are provided with a health examination and minimum necessities.

What is ‘minimum necessities’ I will receive at the reception centre?

At the reception centre, you will be provided meals, clothing if needed, basic toiletry, and bedding. 

What happens after I receive my residence permit?

Before you leave the reception centre, a recommendation will be made to you an accommodation that is appropriate. Please note that accommodation opportunities here are very limited in the Faroe Islands and the recommendation will do its best to meet your needs but may not meet all of it.

To provide you with a recommendation, the integration authority will have a consultation with you to compile a basic profile of you and if there are any special needs that need to be noted before a recommendation is made.

Your rights after receiving your permit

Your residence permit provides you with certain rights here in the Faroe Islands. Please note that after you receive your permit, you must go to your local municipality as soon as possible to register and receive your civil registration number also known as P-tal in Faroese to be given access to our public system.

What are my rights?

Having a residence permit and a p-tal allows you to:

·         Work

·         Study

·         Access to healthcare

Your permit also gives you provisional access to financial aid provided by the Department of Social Services. There are rules and conditions when receiving the financial aid from the Department of Social Services.

What are the rules and conditions to receive financial aid?

Department of Social Services provides financial aid to individuals who are in a special situation that are unable to financially provide for themselves and/ or for their family. In general, if you start working and receive an income that covers your expenses, then the financial aid will no longer continue. Department of Social Services will also carry out assessments during the period you receive financial aid. If you are unable to find a job yourself, they will work with you to find job opportunities.

The financial aid is not intended to be a permanent support for individuals (whether you are Faroese or non-Faroese). The goal is to provide you with favourable circumstances to enable you to enter the labour market.

Specific rules and conditions for financial aid can be explained further by the Department of Social Services when you start receiving financial aid.

Can I travel outside the Faroe Islands after I received my permit?

Yes. You are allowed to leave on equal terms with other foreign nationals who have a residence permit on the Faroe Islands. Please remember that there are rules on how long you can be outside the Faroe Islands and that there are exceptions on being overseas if you travel back to Ukraine for special reasons. Please contact the Faroese Immigration Office.

Working in the Faroe Islands

The Faroe Islands has a high employment rate where both men and women work. It is common that most families have both parents work while the children attend to daycare and/ or school. Having a job in the Faroe Islands is regarded as an important value in the Faroes and that everyone contributes to Faroese society. It is also important to find a job because having a job keeps you active and involved and helps you to make new friends.

How do I find a job?

There are different ways to find a job in the Faroes. Because of the extraordinary situation in Ukraine, both individuals and employers would like to help. You can talk with the Red Cross if they can assist you in finding a job or if they have potential employers they can suggest to you to contact.

Another option is to look for job vacancies posted online. Please note that almost all postings are in Faroese.

Job vacancies are posted at:

www.starv.fo

www.portal.fo/storv

The unemployment agency, (also known as Arbeiðsloysisskipanin or ALS for short), also helps to improve people’s chances on finding work. In addition, they provide workshops on resume and how to do an interview. You can contact ALS for an appointment to assist you.

I applied for some jobs, but they asked me if my academic degree is recognised? What does that mean

If you have been asked if your academic degree is recognised, this means that you hold a degree that is not recognised by the Danish Ministry of Education or the employer is unsure. Because each country’s education system is set up differently, our labour market operates to ensure the academic degree you hold is equivalent to the same degree offered here.

This is because our labour market is organised in a way that we have unions who represent the workforce and federations who represent the employers. These parties negotiate agreements that set out conditions for employment and wages. Therefore, the education you hold will be categorized under the relevant union.

In general, private employers have more flexibility to hire you whether your degree is recognised or not. However, the public sector cannot.

You will need to go Lifelong and Career Guidance Office called Vegleiðingarstovan to assist you in how to have your degree recognised.

What are all the fees that I pay automatically after I receive my wage?

The Faroe Islands is a welfare system financed by the taxes and mandatory contributions we all pay. 

If you receive your wage from an employer, TAKS, the Faroese Tax Administration, will automatically calculate and deduct the national and local taxes you owe with the mandatory contributions. The national tax is calculated progressively, which means that the more you earn, the more you pay in tax. The local tax rate varies from municipality to municipality as well. Click here to read more about the Faroese tax system.

In general, every wage-earner (A-income) will automatically contribute to the services below after receiving her wage: 

  • Health insurance (Heilsutrygd)
  • Parental benefits (Barsilsgjald)
  • Broadcast receiver license (Kringvarpsgjald)
  • Unemployment insurance (ALS)
  • Labour market pension fund (Arbeiðsmarknaðareftirløn)
  • Mandatory pension contribution (kravd eftirløn)

Are there any rules or protection for me as an employee?

Yes, there are laws that govern the labour market such as anti-discrimination, safety and health, and working environment. Depending on which trade union your occupation falls under, you may have additional rights.

 

Daycare, Primary and Secondary School, and Higher Education

Daycare

Daycare is the first stage for children aged 6 and younger in our education system. Each municipality provides a daycare service for families with children and subsidises large part of the cost, and the parents will pay the remaining fee. Although it is not required by law to send your child to daycare, we strongly recommend you to consider having your child attend.

What is a daycare like?

Daycares are managed by professionals called pedagogues, who are trained to teach, educate, and care for children. Children attending a daycare learns by playing, making, and exploring things. These activities lay the basis for their education in the next level of school.

Children can benefit and learn a lot at daycare especially if you do no speak Faroese at home. It is also a great way to make friends for both children and parents.

You can also watch an informational video on our daycare in different languages here.

How much does it cost?

Daycare service costs vary from municipality to municipality, which can be found on the municipality’s homepage.

For families who may not have the financial means to cover daycare cost, you can contact the municipality to assist you in applying for financial aid. If you are currently receiving financial aid from Department of Social Services, please contact them for guidance on this matter.

School

School in the Faroe Islands is organised into primary, lower secondary, and upper secondary school. Children starts at the age 7in primary school and finish around the age of 14 at lower secondary school. Children can continue in upper secondary school for vocational training or preparation for higher education.

I have school-aged children. How do I register them to school?

In general, the school office is responsible to register your child. In this situation, the Red Cross or another contact person will assist you in the registration process and familiarising you with the school.

My child doesn’t speak English and Faroese. What should I expect from the school?

Each school is similar but can organise themselves differently on teaching Faroese. One practice is having a preparatory class (a group), where students who have little to no knowledge in Faroese will be grouped together and lesson plans are structured to help their Faroese learning. Another is having extra Faroese lessons for the students.

Please contact the school more information about how they organise their Faroese lessons for non-Faroese speakers.

I would like my child to continue learning Ukrainian. Is this possible here?

Currently, the education ministry has an online learning resource (found here) that the students can use to practice Ukrainian. We recommend you contact the school about the available resources and opportunities as they can change from time to time.

University

The Faroe Islands as a university, which offers 16 bachelors’ programs, 8 master’s programs, and an opportunity to start one’s Ph.D. program.

I want to study at the university, how do I start?

We recommend you first contact the Lifelong and career guidance office (also known as Vegleiðingarstovan) to review your education background to see what preparation you need to make.

Can I study overseas?

Yes, you can study overseas if you wish to do so. However, holding a residence permit in the Faroe Islands does not give you the same rights and residence to live and study in Denmark or any other European countries. You must follow and apply the rules that are set in the country you are applying.

Please remember that if you do apply and are accepted to study at a university overseas, you must apply for dispensation so that your residence permit does not lapse. Please contact the Faroese immigration office for more information.

Healthcare

After receiving your p-tal and being registered in the National Health Insurance (also known as Heilsutrygd), you have the right to access the healthcare system. A letter will be sent to you informing of the primary doctor assigned to you. The National Health Insurance covers general and specialist medical treatment and subsidises either in full or partially medicine, dental treatment and other specialist treatments (i.e. physiotherapy, psychotherapy, and podiatry).

Each municipality has a primary doctor who provides general medical services, such as vaccination and regular health check-ups of children. The primary doctor is responsible to refer you to another specialist if this is needed.

What should I do if I haven’t received my permit and p-tal but I need acute treatment right now?

If you have checked into the reception centre, you will have received a health examination, which will refer you to acute treatments, if needed.

 

How do I book an appointment with my local primary doctor?

Each municipality can provide you with your primary doctor’s opening hours and telephone number. Some municipalities have a booking system online where you can make an appointment and others require you to call and make an appointment.

Does it cost to see my primary doctor?

Healthcare services are financed by the government and by mandatory contributions from all residences, through the National Health Insurance. This means that when you receive your wage, your mandatory contributions will be automatically deducted. Therefore, in most cases, it will be free. Certain appointments such as having your vision checked for your driver’s license will be your responsibility to pay by yourself.

There are also exceptions that apply to medicines, dental treatment, and some other specialist treatments.

Can I go directly to the hospital to make an appointment with a specialist?

No. You must first contact your primary doctor who will examine you. The doctor will make an assessment and will refer you to a specialist at the hospital, if deemed necessary.

You should expect that to see a specialist can take couple weeks unless you are in critical condition.

What should I do or who should I contact if I am pregnant?

Please call your primary doctor first who will register you to start the pregnancy procedure. Leading to the months of your due date, you will receive appointments to both the midwife and scans at the hospital to check on your progress.

I moved to the Faroe Islands with an infant and/ or toddler. Are there any services for my child?

Yes. Gigni provides healthcare service to families with small children, school-aged children and teenagers in the Faroe Islands. Regarding infants and toddlers, health visiting nurses from Gigni examine children in their homes regularly up to the age of 18 months. Health visiting nurses visit the family and examine the baby and provide parental guidance and health information starting as soon as possible after the family is back from the hospital. If the child or the family has special needs, the nurse’s home visits can continue up to school age, otherwise the service is provided on request from the family or referral from other practitioners.

Yes. Gigni provides healthcare service to families with small children, school-aged children and teenagers in the Faroe Islands. Regarding infants and toddlers, health visiting nurses from Gigni examine children in their homes regularly up to the age of 18 months. Health visiting nurses visit the family and examine the baby and provide parental guidance and health information starting as soon as possible after the family is back from the hospital. If the child or the family has special needs, the nurse’s home visits can continue up to school age, otherwise the service is provided on request from the family or referral from other practitioners.

Please note that if you moved with a child that is not school-aged, please contact Gigni to inform that you have moved with a child. You can also ask the Red Cross to help you contact Gigni.

How do I call the doctor at night when the office hours are closed?

You can call the GP line or also known as Læknavaktin at +298 1870. Patients who are in immediate need of medical care that cannot wait until next day can call this phone number. This service is open outside normal working hours, weekends, and holidays.

If you are in an accident or an emergency situation that requires medical attention, please call +298 112.

I am having difficulty communicating and/ or understanding my doctor. Can I ask for interpretation?

Yes. You are in your legal rights to request for interpretation.

Sports and Leisure Activities

Sports and leisure are important activities for both children and adults. For children, it plays a valuable role in development and preventative measures. For adults, it provides an opportunity to be socially active and network with the local residents. The Faroe Islands is very active in voluntary groups, organisations, and sports clubs.

I want to sign my child up for sports. Where and how can I find information to do so?

A good starting point would be with the municipality, who has an overview of all the local sports clubs and interest-based clubs listed in their municipality. You will be able to learn what types of sports and clubs are available at your municipality. Facebook is also a platform many people here use to communicate about relevant information, events, and registration for the clubs. The registration process for each club differs so a recommendation is to contact the club directly on how to register.

You can also visit The Faroese Confederation of Sports and Olympic Committe's website, www.isf.fo ,to see an overview of all the sports clubs located in the Faroe Islands both on a map and a list you can scroll below the map. 

Does it cost for my child to sign up?

In general, it costs to be a member at a club. However, certain clubs provide a waiver for children in special situations. In addition, some municipalities provide a leisure card with credit, which can be only used for sign ups at a local club for free. Please check your local club and municipality what they offer.

What can I sign up as an adult?

Each municipality has an evening school, which provides a range of classes in different topics for you to sign up. The evening school program is organised into fall and spring terms. You can directly contact the local evening school for a catalogue for the year and ask about the sign up.

There are also adults who organise sports. Some are informal and others are formal. Football, handball, and rowing are common sports you can find in your local municipality. Other sports can be available such as badminton. You can always contact the club on any questions you have along with the signing up.

Are there any good tips I should know before I go hiking?

Yes! Although the mountains look inviting for you to go on a hike, you must always check the weather in advance. Importantly, you should inform others where you are hiking in case you found yourself stranded. Lastly, you should go with a local who is familiar with the terrain and the hiking paths. Although the mountains may look harmless, there are numerous accidents and rescue operations for hikers.

Please go to www.hiking.fo for more information and tips on how to prepare your hike.