Last update: 1/22/2021
Iceland’s borders have been open for international travel since June 15, 2020. However, its borders are currently only open to EU/EEA (European Economic Area)/EFTA (European Free Trade Association) citizens/residents and residents of a few other countries.
Compared with other countries open for tourism, Iceland’s entry requirements are rather strict. All travelers must choose either to be tested twice for COVID-19, once upon arrival, followed by five days of quarantine, and then again after the five days of quarantine are over, or to avoid testing and instead quarantine for 14 days after arrival. All travelers must also fill out a pre-registration form before they arrive in Iceland.
Can I travel to Iceland right now?
Iceland has only reopened its borders to a few specific countries. Below is a map of the countries that can currently visit Iceland.
ICELAND - EN
Travelers from these countries can only enter Iceland if they are an EU/EEA/EFTA/Andorra/San Marino/Monaco/Vatican City citizen, a relative of an Icelandic/EU/EEA/EFTA/Andorra/San Marino/Monaco/Vatican City citizen, a resident or relative of a resident in Iceland or the EU/EEA/EFTA/Andorra/San Marino/Monaco/Vatican City, a foreign national in a long-term (six months or longer) relationship with a legal resident of Iceland, or if it is essential travel. Full information on these special circumstances is available here.
Iceland COVID-19 travel restrictions and entry requirements
Iceland’s entry requirements are somewhat strict at the moment. All travelers entering the country have two options:
- Have two COVID health screenings, one upon arrival and one after five days of quarantine.
- Avoid testing and simply quarantine for 14 days from their date of arrival in Iceland.
Travelers also have to complete a pre-registration form within 72 hours before entering Iceland.
Is PCR testing mandatory to travel to Iceland?
No, PCR testing is not mandatory before arrival in Iceland. However, all travelers entering Iceland need to either get tested twice or quarantine. If you choose to get tested instead of quarantining, you will be tested once upon arrival, followed by five days of quarantine, and once after the five days of quarantine.
The only people who do not have to get tested or quarantine are children born in or after 2005, people who have been certified as having already had COVID-19 by Icelandic authorities, and transit passengers.
The fee for the first health screening is ISK 9,000 if it is paid in advance when completing the pre-registration form or ISK 11,000 if it is paid at the border.
The second health screening is free. The Icelandic government has more information on this here. Note – testing at the border is temporarily free of charge from December 1, 2020 to January 31, 2021.
Is there a mandatory quarantine upon arrival in Iceland?
Yes, all travelers must choose either to quarantine for 14 days from their arrival or to get tested for COVID-19 twice with 5 days of quarantine in between. If you choose to quarantine instead of getting tested, you will have to quarantine for 14 days from your arrival. The rules for quarantining are:
- You must stay in your registered location and avoid contact with other people.
- You may seek emergency medical services if you need them.
- You can take a walk outside if there are few people present, but you must stay 2 meters away from other people.
- You cannot have direct contact with people outside your household.
- You cannot use public transport, but you can use taxis and private vehicles.
- You cannot go for a drive, unless it’s from your first screening or to your second screening.
- You cannot visit restaurants, bars, etc., and you must avoid public places, especially ones where there might be crowds.
- You cannot go to grocery stores or pharmacies.
- You cannot go to school or work.
The only people who do not have to get tested or quarantine are children born in or after 2005, people who have been certified as having already had COVID-19 by Icelandic authorities, and transit passengers. You can find more information on quarantining here and here.
Which accommodations accept guests who are quarantining?
From August 19th, all accommodations welcoming travelers who are quarantining should be familiar with the new regulations and willing to accept the responsibility.
These are our recommendations for accommodations that are available for travelers who need to quarantine for 5, 14, or more days as an entry requirement or after testing positive for COVID-19.
- Hotel Laxnes – One of the best Northern Lights Hotels in Iceland
- Reykjavik Residence Apartment Hotel – One of the best places to stay in Iceland
- Berg by Keflavik Airport Hotel – The best option near Keflavik airport
- Kjarnalundur hotel– Hotel with private Jacuzzi in Northern Iceland
- Gullfoss Hotel – Hotel in the Iceland Golden Circle
You can check the full list of accommodations that accept guests who are quarantining here.
Is travel insurance with COVID-19 coverage mandatory to travel to Iceland?
Travel insurance with COVID-19 coverage is not mandatory to travel to Iceland, but it’s always a good idea to have travel insurance, especially if it comes with COVID-19 coverage.
If you’re traveling to Iceland and looking for great travel insurance with COVID-19 coverage, Heymondo is a fantastic choice; they came out on top when we compared different COVID-19 travel insurance.
They provide comprehensive travel insurance that covers both COVID-19 testing (for medical reasons) and treatment abroad. You can even get a 5% discount on their insurance just for being our reader.
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COVID-19 vaccine to travel to Iceland
Although COVID-19 vaccine distribution has begun in most countries around the world, the government has not yet confirmed whether it will be mandatory to present a proof of vaccine record (POVR) or an international certificate of vaccination or prophylaxis (ICVP) to enter Iceland.
If you’re going to get the COVID-19 vaccine before traveling to Iceland, I recommend keeping a vaccination record or certificate in case Iceland changes its entry requirements.
Other travel restrictions for Iceland during COVID-19
Iceland has instituted several policies that travelers need to follow:
- Travelers from all countries must complete a pre-registration form prior to arrival in Iceland.
- Everyone should try to keep a distance of at least 2 meters away from other people.
- Face masks are advised in areas where you cannot socially distance.
- Travelers are encouraged to download and use the COVID-19 app Rakning C-19.
- Depending on your nationality, you may need a tourist visa to enter Iceland. Check if you need one below.
What’s open in Iceland
Many hotels, attractions, and restaurants are open in Iceland, although there is currently a 10-person limit on gatherings, which applies to restaurants and tours.
Hotels and accommodations that are open in Iceland
Iceland has opened up many hotels, guesthouses, hostels, and campgrounds for tourists.
Some accommodations are specifically prepared to welcome guests who need to quarantine, whether as part of entry requirements or because of testing positive for COVID-19; the Icelandic Tourist Board has a list of these accommodations here, and I recommended above my favorite options.
In hotels, guests must social distance and wear face masks in common areas. They must also sanitize their hands upon arrival at and departure from the hotel. More information on these accommodations’ regulations can be found here and here.
Because they have shared facilities, guesthouses and hostels cannot accept guests who are quarantining, taking precautions after a border screening, or isolating, even if they are just waiting for results. More information on guidelines for guesthouses and hostels is available here.
For the same reason, travelers cannot stay at campgrounds if they are quarantining or isolating. Because of the 10-person limit on gatherings, which also applies to outdoor ones, there is a 10-person limit on guests at campgrounds, unless the campground is big enough to be split into areas with 10 people in each area.
There must be a distance of at least 4 meters between different family groups’ tents, motorhomes, camper vans, etc. If it is snowy or cold (freezing or colder), the distance should be 8 meters. If showers are available, people in one area of the campground will be able to use them for the first half of the day. Then, the showers will be cleaned, and people in the other area will be able to use them for the second half of the day. More information on campground regulations is available here.
Attractions that are open in Iceland
Many of Iceland’s most famous attractions are currently open, including Hallgrimskirkja Church, one of the most popular places to visit in Reykjavik.
However, if you were hoping to take a dip in the Blue Lagoon, one of the best things to do in Iceland, it is, unfortunately, temporarily closed until the end of November and closed on weekdays in December. If you do decide to visit this hot spring, check out our guide to the Iceland Blue Lagoon.
Of course, many of Iceland’s most iconic sights, such as Gullfoss Waterfall, the Geysir Hot Spring Area and other landmarks of the Iceland Golden Circle, are outdoors, in nature, so they are open 24/7. These areas can be quite popular, so if you encounter a lot of fellow visitors, make sure to social distance, or wear a face mask if you can’t.
You may even want to take a Northern Lights tour while you’re in Iceland. Because of the 10-person limit on gatherings, tour groups are limited to just 10 people, so be sure to book your tour in advance (check our ranking on best Northern Lights tours from Reykjavik).
Whale watching tours in Iceland are also running under the same protocols, so check our guide if you’re interested in that activity.
All tour guests must bring their own hand sanitizer, keep a 2-meter distance from each other (or 4-meter distance in cold weather) and wear face masks for the duration of the tour. If any equipment is shared, it will be disinfected between users. More information on tour regulations can be found here.
Restaurants that are open in Iceland
Icelandic food is hearty and delicious, and, luckily, you can try it at a quite a few of the restaurants that are currently open in Iceland.
Restaurants that are licensed to serve alcohol can stay open until 9 PM every day, although they can still serve take-out meals after 9 PM.
Because of the 10-person restriction on gatherings, some restaurants may be limited to 10 customers at once, so it might be a good idea to make a reservation ahead of time if you have a specific restaurant in mind. If the restaurant is big enough, it will be split into different sections of 10 people each, with 1 meter of space between each separate section and a specially designated toilet for each section.
All restaurant tables are placed 2 meters apart from each other. Guests must wear face masks at all times, except when they are seated at their table. They must also sanitize their hands when they enter and leave the restaurant. More information on restaurant regulations can be found here.
Airports that are open in Iceland
Iceland has four main airports, Keflavik International Airport, Reykjavik Domestic Airport, Egilsstadir Domestic Airport, and Akureyri Domestic Airport, all of which are open.
Keflavik is the biggest airport, near Reykjavik and the Blue Lagoon, and where all international tourists arrive. (Note – don’t confuse Keflavik International Airport with Reykjavik Domestic Airport! Keflavik is for international flights, while Reykjavik is for domestic flights.) All airports have safety measures in place, like mandatory wearing of face masks, social distancing, and hand sanitizing/washing. Travelers may also be subject to health screenings.
Iceland reopening to International Tourists – F.A.Q.
Check out these FAQs related to Iceland reopening for tourists and let us know if you have any other questions in the comments below.
Yes, if you are traveling from an EU/EEA/EFTA country, Andorra, Australia, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Rwanda, San Marino, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Uruguay, or Vatican City, you can currently visit Iceland.
There are currently 300+ active cases and 25 deaths due to COVID-19 in Iceland as of today. The CDC classifies travel to Iceland as “Level 3- High Risk.” If you have a pre-existing condition or any health condition that could increase your chances of serious illness, you shouldn’t travel to Iceland.
Yes, there are many countries that cannot travel to Iceland at the moment. You can check which countries are currently banned here.
Yes, quarantine for 14 days from your arrival is required if you choose not to get tested twice with a 5-day quarantine in between.
No, you do not need to take a PCR COVID test before you travel to Iceland, but if you choose to get tested twice instead of quarantining, you will have two health screenings that may include a PCR COVID test.
No, there is currently no curfew in Iceland.
No, there are currently no restrictions on intercity and interregional travel.
Yes, hotels in Iceland are currently open. In fact, the Icelandic Tourist Board even has a list of accommodations that accept guests who are quarantining.
Yes, Iceland’s airports are open.
Bars are currently closed, but restaurants are open in Iceland, although they have a 10-person limit. Restaurants that serve alcohol can stay open until 9 PM.
Yes, Hallgrimskirkja is currently open.
Yes, as a public outdoor space, Gullfoss is open 24/7.
Yes, the Geysir Hotspring Area is open right now.
No, the Blue Lagoon is temporarily closed until the end of November and is closed on weekdays in December.
No, American tourists cannot visit Iceland right now.
No, Iceland is closed to Canadians at the moment.
This guide to Iceland reopening for tourism will be updated with any new developments as they are reported. However, if you want more information on travel to Iceland, you can check these official sources:
- US Embassy Updates on COVID-19 in Iceland
- CDC Travel Recommendations for Iceland
- General Iceland Travel Advisory
- Government of Iceland
- Travel Restrictions for Iceland
- Icelandic Government’s Quarantine Instructions
- Pre-Registration Form
- Information on Visiting Iceland from the Icelandic Government
- Accommodations that Allow Guests to Quarantine
- Current Restrictions for Gatherings, Restaurants, Etc. in Iceland
- Guidelines for Shared Accommodation (Hostels, Guesthouses, etc.)
- Social Distancing Guidelines for Restaurants and Accommodations
- Guidelines for Tours and Campgrounds