Iceland has reopened for tourism and allowing visitors from all countries to enter as of April 2021, but of course with a few requirements. Below we’ve explained all of Iceland’s entry regulations and rules, which differ from most other countries that have also reopened, especially fellow EU nations.
At the end of April, Iceland updated its entry rules, making them more complex to understand than ever. To sum up the changes easily: they’ve made entry easier for vaccinated travelers, but all travelers are still going to undergo testing upon arrival.
Iceland is Open to Tourists From All Countries… Sort Of
Iceland is allowing visitors from all countries worldwide, as long as they meet one of two requirements:
- They’ve been fully vaccinated by an approved vaccine and can show proof, or
- They’ve already recovered from the virus and can show proof of a positive PCR test, older than 14 days
As of November 2021, the accepted vaccines are Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Sinovac, and Sinopharm.
If a tourist wants to come from a country outside the EU, let’s say Canada for example, and they have not been vaccinated or previously recovered from the virus, they are not eligible to enter Iceland at this time.
Un-vaccinated, non-previously infected tourists from the EU might be able to enter.
Iceland originally reopened for tourism to fellow EU nations in June 2020 and has stayed open since for EU travelers. Now in as of April 27, 2021, EU/EFTA nationals can still visit, as long as they’re not currently considered a ‘high-risk’ nation.
Iceland is saying that any country with a 14-day infection rate of over 500 people per 100,000 population is ‘high-risk’. Currently, only Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa are on the high-risk list. The high-risk list will be updated weekly.
Foreign nationals who are coming from a high-risk nation, or have transited through one in the past 14 days, are currently banned from visiting Iceland for tourism. Some essential travelers from high risk areas may be allowed to enter, but will have to quarantine in a facility for five days and take three PCR tests.
Unvaccinated visitors from the following third-party countries will be allowed entry, subject to testing requirements: Argentina, Australia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Canada, Colombia, Hong Kong (SAR), Israel, Jordan, Kosovo, Lebanon, Macao (SAR), Moldova, Montenegro, Namibia, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Peru, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Ukraine, Uruguay, USA.
Iceland’s PCR testing rules
PCR testing is required from everyone, now even vaccinated passengers with the latest entry requirement update, however the rules are slightly different depending on if you’re vaccinated or not.
2 PCR tests required from:
Tourists from low-risk EU/EFTA nations, or from the current third-party safe list who have not been vaccinated or have not been previously infected with the virus.
These passengers will undergo the ‘double-testing procedure’ which includes:
- 1 Pre-flight PCR test: Showing proof of a negative 72-hour PCR test before boarding flight into Iceland
- Staying in quarantine for 5-6 days upon arrival
- 1 post-quarantine PCR test: Passengers will be tested again at the end of the quarantine
1 PCR test required from:
Tourists from any country who have either been fully vaccinated or previously recovered from the virus.
These passengers will undergo only 1 PCR test, which includes:
- 1 pre-flight PCR test
Iceland’s Quarantine Rules
Vaccinated passengers do not have to go through quarantine.
Unvaccinated passengers from the EU/EFTA or approved third-party countries are required to go through a 5 to 6 day quarantine upon arrival, with a PCR test at the end of the quarantine.
The government of Iceland has been very clear on what quarantined passengers can and cannot do under isolation orders.
You are allowed to:
- go for a short walk close by your place of quarantine
- use the Flybus from the airport
- drive a private car from the airport
- take a taxi from the airport
- go to the doctor, but call first
You are not allowed to:
- go to touristic places or go sightseeing
- go to the volcanic eruption site
- be in crowded places
- use the bus, domestic flights or public transportation
- go for a drive
- go shopping or to a restaurant
- stay in a mobile home
- stay in a hostel
Are things open in Iceland?
Yes. Many services and attractions have reopened in Iceland to accommodate incoming tourists.
As of December 1, 2021, here’s what’s open:
- Restaurants and bars with up to 50 guests, closing by 10pm
- Cinemas and cultural events/shows with 50 spectator max
- Swimming pools, gyms and spas with 75% capacity limits
- Public transit and domestic flights
- Non-essential shops with capacity limits
- 20 person gathering limit
- Blue Lagoon is open with restricted hours
What happened to vaccinated tourists being allowed entry without testing/quarantines?
On March 18, 2021 Iceland reopened to vaccinated tourists from all nations without doing a PCR test on arrival, nor the 2-24 hour quarantine. However, a rise in cases prompted them to change the requirements and re-add some barriers back for visiting vaccinated tourists.
Depending on the epidemiological situation come June, Iceland may be able to lift the PCR test upon arrival requirement and revert back to allowing vaccinated tourists to more easily enter.
Tips for your stay in Iceland
- Top 5 hotels in Iceland for 2021
- Get travel health insurance that also covers covid
- Direct flights are restarting to Iceland from the U.S.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories