Now that you have decided to visit Iceland, find out what kind of documentation is required, and whether you need to apply for a visa beforehand.
Iceland is not a member of the European Union (EU) but it is a Schengen Area Member State, a zone allowing unrestricted movement without passport checks and border controls for those living in any of the member states. If you are visiting from outside of the EU or the Schengen Area, you will only go through passport control at your first point of entry.
Will I Need a Passport for Iceland?
You will only need a passport to enter Iceland if you are not a citizen of a country that is a party to the Schengen Agreement, which include all European Union countries, Norway, Iceland, and Switzerland. If you already passed Passport Control entering one of those countries, you won't need a second check in Iceland. Your passport should be valid for three months past your planned date of departure from the Schengen area. Because they assume all visitors will stay for 90 days, it's best if your passport is valid for six months beyond your date of entry into the Schengen area.
- European Union Citizen: No (National ID sufficient)
- U.S.: Yes
- Canada: Yes
- Australia: Yes
- Japan: Yes
Will I Need a Visa?
Citizens of many countries will not need a tourist or business visa for stays of less than 90 days in Iceland. There is a list of countries on their Directorate of Immigration site of those who do need a visa and those who don't.
- European Union citizen: No
- U.S.: No
- Canada: No
- Australia: No
- Japan: No
Will They Want to See a Return Ticket?
It is unlikely you will be asked to show a return ticket, but it is possible. The U.S. State Department website says that you need to have sufficient funds and a return airline ticket.
European Union citizen: No
U.S.: No (although State Department says it is needed)
Where to Apply for a Visa
If you are a citizen of a country that is not listed here or you are unsure about your visa situation, you may need to apply for a visa. Icelandic consulates do not issue visas except for those in Beijing or Moscow. The visa applications are taken at different embassies depending on the nation. See the list provided by the Directorate of Immigration. These may be Danish, French, Norwegian, Swedish, etc.
Applications cannot be made by post and appointments must be made in advance. You can contact them by phone or mail. The requirements include the application form, a passport-sized photo, travel document, proof of financial suppport, documentation showing applicant's ties to their home country, medical insurance, and documentation confirming the purpose of the travel. Most decisions are made within two weeks of application.
Travelers visiting just one Schengen country should apply to the designated consulate of that country; travelers visiting more than one Schengen country should apply to the consulate of the country chosen as the main destination or the country they will enter first (if they have no main destination).
The information shown here does not constitute legal advice in any way and you are strongly advised to contact an immigration attorney for binding advice on visas.