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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Today, Iceland is the top travel destination for vaccinated travelers. If you can provide a certificate proving you are either fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have previously contracted and recovered from COVID-19, you're exempt from the 5-day quarantine. After being tested at the airport, you must quarantine at your accommodation until you get your results, typically within 12 hours. Afterward, you're free to explore this magnificent island. 

On this page, you can find up-to-date information regarding COVID-19 in Iceland and what impact it may have on your travel plans when visiting Iceland. This page was last updated on June 21, 2021, and will be updated weekly. 

Below you can read about the latest COVID-19 numbers in Iceland, the current Icelandic border policy, how to safely travel in Iceland during COVID-19, the vaccination progress in Iceland, and the COVID-friendly policies at Guide to Iceland, among others. 

What is the border policy in Iceland right now?

As of today, the Icelandic border is open. Travelers who are fully vaccinated are exempt from the 5-day quarantine. Those travelers who are not fully vaccinated are required to undergo 2 COVID-19 tests, with a 5-day quarantine between.

The Chief Epidemiologist has proposed to stop testing children and any travelers at the border who have been fully vaccinated or have previously contracted and recovered from COVID-19 by July 2021. 

Passengers will also 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 ($829). 

Who can enter Iceland during COVID-19

Icelandic borders will be open to anyone who can provide certificates showing 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.  

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 an approved COVID-19 vaccine. The administered vaccine must be approved in Europe: 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 but do not have to quarantine beyond that. 

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 five day quarantine period between them

Iceland continues to process hundreds of tests per day, the majority of which are from the airport. If you are not fully vaccinated, you will have to take a quick test at the border. After you are tested, you must proceed to your accommodation to quarantine until you receive your second test results. Even if your first test is negative, you cannot leave quarantine until the second test results are 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 2 COVID-19 tests with the 5-day quarantine in between and provide a certificate of negative PCR testing. 

Quarantine in Iceland

Travelers must provide an address where they will be spending their quarantine. If unable to demonstrate an adequate quarantine location, local authorities may require the traveler to quarantine at an official Red Cross quarantine center.

The stay in a quarantine facility is free of charge. The Icelandic health authorities can also require travelers to quarantine at a quarantine facility if they breach quarantine rules.

Almost every traveler must take a COVID-19 test upon entry and another after a 5-day quarantine. Any travelers with a preexisting medical condition can choose a 14-day quarantine instead of testing. 

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

Is it safe to travel to Iceland right now?

The latest COVID-19 status in Iceland in June 2021

Iceland has been following a strict testing and tracing protocol through this pandemic. 

With a population of only 340,000 people, Iceland is a relatively small country that has worked hard to tackle the spread of COVID-19. As of June 21, 2021, there are 15 active infections in Iceland. 

Health authorities are processing 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 virus’s spread.

What makes Iceland safe during COVID-19?

Every country in the world is dealing with COVID-19 in one way or another. However, there are a few things that make Iceland a safer place to visit than other countries. 

Small population

With only 340,000 people, Iceland is one of the smaller countries in the world. Having a smaller population makes the virus easier to track and allows travelers to travel without interacting with many people. 

Low population density

Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, has a population of around 200,000.

Almost 70% of the population lives in the capital area. This leaves so much of the country to explore without many people. The population density is low at three people per square kilometer. As a comparison, China’s population density is 153 people per square kilometer and in the United States is 36 people per square kilometer. 

Typical exploration activities in Iceland

Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon under the Northern Lights. No city light or crowds to disturb the magical experience.

Iceland is known for its vast open spaces and unique landscapes. The majority of the activities are centered around nature. Whether hunting the Northern Lights or exploring the 10th waterfall of the day, travelers will likely spend most of their vacation outside in nature. This gives them a unique opportunity to protect themselves by keeping a safe distance from other people. 

What is the vaccination status in Iceland in June 2021?

153,725 people have been fully vaccinated as of June 21, 2021. However, with such a small population, authorities are optimistic about how quickly the majority can be vaccinated, and herd immunity could be achieved by the end of summer 2021. 

How do I get a PCR test before departure?

Many countries require travelers to have a negative PCR test taken within a certain time period before traveling back from Iceland. For many, it is within 72 hours of departure. Please be sure to check your specific home country requirements to know how close to your departure you need to take the test. 

There are multiple testing centers around the country where you can go for your PCR test.  

What if COVID-19 affects my travel booking?

Testing positive & travel delays 

If you purchase a day tour, multi-day tour, or rent a car on Guide to Iceland but test positive on arrival to Iceland or your flight gets delayed or canceled, you can choose to reschedule your trip to another date. If that is not an option for you, you will get a full refund. If you purchase a self-drive tour or guided tour package, you will also get a full refund.

As long as you cancel your booking with at least 24-hours notice, you will be able to reschedule or completely cancel your trip. Accommodation bookings are the only exceptions to this policy. Each establishment has its own individual cancellation policy. You can find detailed information regarding the individual policy in your email voucher.

Guide to Iceland has honored all refund requests for COVID-19 related cancellations to date. To cancel and get a full refund after arrival, please contact us via email with your booking details and test result within 4 hours after receiving the test result.

You can find the full terms of service on each of our product pages.

Are businesses and tours still operating?

Guide to Iceland makes sure that every customer receives the services they have purchased. If a customer books a service with a company that can not deliver it, Guide to Iceland will always offer alternative options or free upgrades.

As in many countries, COVID-19 has put a strain on Icelandic businesses. However, many continue to offer tours and other services throughout the country and are excited to welcome travelers back. These tour companies operate under the Icelandic health authorities' guidance and work hard to ensure everyone's safety. 

The current regulations state:

  • Public gatherings are limited to 300 people.
  • Social distancing requirements for people who are not related or closely connected are 1 meter. 
  • Restaurants and bars are allowed to remain open with proper social distancing until 12 am; guests must leave before 1 am. 
  • Pharmacies, grocery stores, and shops can admit 5 people for every 10m2 of the store, to a maximum of 200 people. 
  • Swimming pools and fitness centers are open at full capacity.
  • Performing arts, sports, cinemas, and other cultural events are allowed to have up to 300 people. 
  • Masks are required at events where you sit in close proximity, in health care institutions, and on the bus. 

These regulations will remain in effect until June 29, 2021. 

Iceland's main attraction - nature, remains open even when restrictions are in place.

Please visit Iceland's Official Ministry of Health website for the most up-to-date information on Iceland's COVID-19 restrictions.

Can I book after I arrive?

Yes, you can. But we highly recommend that you book in advance. If your flight gets canceled or you test positive for COVID-19 on arrival, you will get a full refund. Booking after arrival will limit your options as availability is limited in Iceland right now.

If you have further questions, please drop us an email, and we will help you with your trip.

Which airlines are flying to Iceland during COVID-19?

Iceland's flag carrier airline now runs flights from 10 destinations, including Amsterdam, Boston, Copenhagen, and London.

Other airlines have already started flying again or are planning to soon. For example:

  • Delta - now flying to and from Boston, Minneapolis, and New York
  • Lufthansa - now flying to and from Frankfurt
  • Wizz Air - now flying to and from Gdansk, Riga, and Warsaw
  • EasyJet - now flying to and from London
  • Veling - now flying to and from Barcelona

You can visit Keflavik International Airport's Airlines and Destinations page for the most current airline information and flights traveling to Iceland.

Am I safe to make a booking with Guide to Iceland?

Yes, absolutely. Here at Guide to Iceland, we're committed to ensuring those enjoying our experiences' safety and welfare. Therefore, we are honoring our cancellation policy fully, which you can read more about in our terms and conditions. In short, you can never lose a booking with us. If you choose to cancel your booking, please email us at info@guidetoiceland.is, and we will process your request. 

We look forward to seeing you in Iceland!