All You Need to Know about Traveling to Iceland in 2021 during COVID | Safety, Policies, and FAQs

All You Need to Know about Traveling to Iceland in 2021 during COVID | Safety, Policies, and FAQs

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Your safety and comfort are our top priorities at Iceland Photo Tours. On this page, you can find some useful information regarding COVID-19 in Iceland and what impact it may have on your travel plans when you visit Iceland and join our photography workshops.   

This page was last updated on April 26, 2021, and will be updated daily. 

Is it Safe to Travel to Iceland Right Now?

Iceland's empty landscapes make travel in Covid-19 safe!

Iceland is considered a safe country to travel to, as it has been following strict testing and tracing protocols through this pandemic. The health authorities are working hard to process hundreds of tests per day and have asked everyone to download a tracking app to help with contact tracing. 

With these practices in place, leaders can quickly isolate new cases to lessen the spread of the virus. As such, the chances of catching the virus inside the country have remained relatively small, making Iceland a low-risk country. 

In addition to the efforts of the government, there are also few things that make Iceland a safer place to visit compared to other countries.  One is its small population of only 340,000 people; this makes the virus easier to track and helps you limit your number of interactions.

Second is the fact that almost 70% of the population lives in the capital area, leaving a huge amount of unsettled countryside and untouched landscapes to explore; Iceland’s population density is only three people per square kilometer. 

As the majority of our photography activities are centered around the vast open nature anyway, this gives you a unique opportunity to protect yourself by keeping a safe distance from other people. 

What is the Vaccination Status in Iceland in April 2021?

28,056 people have been fully vaccinated as of April 15, 2021. With such a small population, authorities are optimistic about how quickly the majority can be vaccinated, and herd immunity could be achieved in the summer of 2021. 

What is the Border Policy in Iceland Right Now?

The shores of Iceland are open to travellers vaccinated from Covid-19.

As of April 9, 2021, the Icelandic border is open to visitors from approved countries. Travelers are required to undergo two COVID-19 tests with a 5-day quarantine between, or else to provide a certificate proving you are either fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have previously contracted and recovered from COVID-19.

Starting June 1, 2021, the Icelandic border control will switch to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control color-coding system for European tourists. Passengers arriving from red-marked countries will still need to get tested twice with a 5-day quarantine in between.  However, passengers arriving from orange and green marked countries can enter with a recent negative COVID test followed by a single test at the border – with no second test nor quarantine requirement.

All passengers will need to provide negative COVID-19 test results taken no more than 72 hours before entering Iceland. Travelers from abroad who do not come with a negative COVID-19 (PCR test) certificate may be fined up to 100,000 ISK ($788). 

Who Can Enter Iceland During COVID-19?

Icelandic borders are open to all EU citizens, and to anyone else who can provide certificates showing their proof of vaccination or COVID-19 antibodies. Travelers must register with Icelandic authorities by filling out a pre-registration form before arrival, indicating their arrival and departure dates. You can find more information on restrictions on traveling to Iceland on the police forces website.  

For EU citizens, starting June 1, the Icelandic border control will begin implementing the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control color-coding system wherein passengers arriving from orange and green marked countries can enter with a recent negative COVID test followed by a single PCR test at the border.  They will be exempted from the second PCR test and 5-day quarantine.  

Iceland is particularly free of crowds due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, passengers arriving from the red-marked countries will still need to get tested twice, once upon arrival, with a 5-day quarantine in between. Here you can find the latest color-coding system map.

Three Options upon Arriving at the Icelandic border

Option 1: Present proof of full COVID-19 vaccination

Travelers must present a valid certificate showing full vaccination with any of the approved COVID-19 vaccines: Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, or Janssen. The Directorate of Health has the specific requirements of the certificate listed on their website. The certificates can be in electronic or paper form.

Travelers who provide a vaccination certificate will still have to be tested at the airport for COVID-19. These travelers must then go to their accommodation to wait for the test results and once negative, they are free to continue with their endeavors.  Travelers who test positive must self-isolate and call 1700 (+354 544 41130) to receive further instructions.

Option 2: Provide the Icelandic health authorities with a certificate from the EEA/EFTA proving that you have previously contracted COVID-19 with a confirmed antibody test

A certificate showing a positive PCR-test for SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 that is older than 14 days or showing the presence of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 measured by ELISA serologic assay is accepted. A rapid diagnostic test will not be accepted. 

The Directorate of Health has the specific requirements of the certificate listed on their website. 

Option 3: Take 2 COVID-19 tests with a 5 day quarantine period between them

Travelers without any certificate can choose the 5-day quarantine option. They will have to take a quick test at the border then proceed to quarantine either to their own secluded accommodation or the government quarantine facility, which is free of charge.  They need to stay there until they receive their second test results. Even if the first test is negative, they cannot leave quarantine until the second test results come out negative.

You can check the official COVID-19 information website for more details on the certificate requirements and current border policy. 

Important Information Regarding Certificates

Border control will review the certificate and contact a representative of the Chief Epidemiologist (health care worker) as needed. If the certificate is deemed invalid, the traveler will have to take two COVID-19 tests with the 5-day quarantine in between and provide a certificate of negative PCR testing. 

Quarantine in Iceland

Travelers can choose to quarantine at a privately rented location or stay at the official Red Cross quarantine center free of charge. The Icelandic health authorities can also require travelers to quarantine at a quarantine facility if they breach the quarantine rules.

Any travelers with a pre-existing medical condition can choose a 14-day quarantine instead of PCR test. 

Children born in 2005 or later must go into quarantine with their parents or guardians when they arrive in Iceland.

Many different hotels and guesthouses have made changes to ensure a safe quarantine. If you have already booked accommodations, please reach out to them to make sure they accept quarantined travelers' responsibility. If you are looking for a place to quarantine, you can find the list of businesses here

What to Know About Traveling Within Iceland

Can you travel to Iceland's most popular sites during Covid?

Icelandic health officials have worked hard to take all the necessary precautions to protect both citizens and travelers from Covid-19.  Most establishments such as stores, museums, hotels, and restaurants provide hand sanitizer and do additional cleaning on frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs, tables, and reception desks.

People are asked to respect the 2-meter physical distancing rule but if that is not possible at any given moment, people are requested to wear masks.  In all other places where people have enough space, the masks are optional.

Is it Safe to Join Group Photo Tours in Iceland?

Definitely! We, at Iceland Photo Tours, take the safety of our guests very seriously.  We work according to the guidelines and suggestions provided by the Icelandic Directorate of Health. 

Our vehicles are equipped with hand sanitizers and printed out instructions on how to avoid infection, and our guides and staff have all the knowledge necessary to operate our tours safely. To ensure maximum safety, our vehicles are cleaned and disinfected after each tour.  

A bold, and socially distanced, photographer in Iceland.

What Happens if Anyone in the Group Fall Sick During the Tour? 

In the case of suspected Covid-19 infection, Iceland Photo Tours will follow the emergency procedures based on the guidelines issued by the Icelandic Directorate of Health. If there is a high probability of infection, then health workers will be contacted and the appropriate measures will be taken.

To protect the safety of all our guests, we will ask each one to show proof of their negative PCR test before embarking on our tour.  This ensures that those traveling with us are Covid-free, and lessens the risk of infecting the rest of the group.  We furthermore recommend our guests frequently wash their hands and cover their mouths when sneezing and coughing.

What Do I Do if I Suspect That I Have Been Exposed to Covid-19 While in Iceland?

In case of suspected infection while in Iceland, isolate yourself and call +354 544 4113, the consultation center, for assistance.  They will provide you with information and possible future steps on what to do and where to go.  For safety, do not visit any healthcare centers without being directed.  In case of any medical emergency, call 112.  

Am I Entitled to Medical Services in Iceland?

Insured EEA citizens are entitled to receive healthcare services while in Iceland. Just don’t forget to bring your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or other confirmation of insurance.   

For non-EEA citizens, we recommend purchasing good travel insurance. You will receive medical care but must pay full price for all the services, thus will want to have it reimbursed from your insurance providers.

Official Government Information About Covid-19 in Iceland provides the most up-to-date information about everything related to coronavirus in Iceland. 

The Icelandic Directorate of Immigration provides the latest information on country restrictions and international travel regulations.

The Icelandic Directorate of Health provides information about the local safety and hygiene regulations in Iceland.

Come visit Iceland before the post-pandemic crowds arrive!