Iceland Travel Advice
Security travel advice for Iceland
How safe is Iceland?
Threat level: Low
The current travel advice for Iceland is to remain cautious, however there is no direct threat to the country. There is a low risk of terrorism, but travellers are advised to be aware of the wider global threat to busier areas.
In 2014, there was a volcanic eruption around the Bárðarbunga volcano. The eruption lasted nearly 6 months, however no one was killed or seriously injured.
There is a low risk of crime in Iceland, with very little reports of violent crime. There have been some incidents of anti-social behaviour, particularly around bars in the capital, and tourists should be aware of pick pockets. In general, Iceland is considered to be one of the safest European countries to visit.
COVID-19 Situation in Iceland
Due to the new strain of COVID-19 in Iceland, entry to Iceland is banned to UK travellers. Travellers who have been in high risk countries can enter the country on the condition that they undergo two COVID-19 tests after arrival, one at the border and another one 5 days later with the obligation to quarantine between tests. Iceland has implemented restrictions on gatherings of more than 20 people to limit the spread of the virus. The use of face masks is mandatory indoors including in shops, on public transport and wherever social distancing of 2 meters cannot be applied. Restaurants must close after 22:00 with a limit on capacity set to 20 people. Stores have a limit on capacity restricted to 5 persons for each 10 m2of space and they may have up to 100 customers in their premises as long as patrons can respect the 2-meter social distance rule. To avoid contracting the disease, wear a face mask, sanitise your hands when entering and exiting public facilities, maintain social distancing, avoid unnecessary travel and gatherings.
Iceland's International Relations
Iceland holds excellent relations with other Nordic countries, such as Norway, as well as Canada and the United States of America. The country is a member of many organisations, including NATO, the World Health Organisation and the United Nations, which Iceland joined in 1946.
There are shaky relations between Iceland, Denmark and the UK and Ireland, due to a dispute between claims to the continental shelf in the Hatton–Rockall area of the North Atlantic. There are ongoing discussions between the countries to make negotiations between ownership.
2008 saw Iceland face a massive banking crisis whereby the currency crashed, the stock market collapsed and unemployment soared. The three main banks of the country failed and the authorities chose to allow it. Although this was a bold unexpected move, the results were surprising and the country quickly recovered from what was deemed as the third largest bankruptcy in history. By 2013, Iceland had seen 2 years of economic growth and a reduction in unemployment levels.
Travelling around Iceland
Most driving licences, including UK or other EU and American driving licences, can be used for a period of time in Iceland.
If you are renting a car, be aware that some companies may limit the class of roads vehicles are allowed to drive on. Many roads that are outside the capital, Reykjavík, become impassable during the winter months, and travellers should take extreme caution if driving during that time. Winter tyres are required between November and April, exact dates vary annually.
When driving in the country, the distances between towns can be far with the narrow winding roads, meaning that speed limits are low. Journeys will often take longer than expected, as the conditions can be hazardous. You should allow yourself plenty of time to reach your destination to reduce the risk of accidents.
You are required to keep your vehicle headlights on at all times, regardless of the conditions outside. It is Icelandic law to wear a seatbelt when travelling, and the driver is responsible for children under the age of 15. Regulations on drink-driving are exceptionally strict, and the threshold is very low. It is advised that you do not consume any alcohol if you plan to operate a vehicle.
Earthquakes in Iceland
Iceland is a seismically active zone and can experience earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Serious eruptions can be dangerous and cause disruption to Icelandic and European airspace, however they are a rare occurrence.
Anyone travelling to Iceland is advised to be aware of what to do in case there is an earthquake or volcanic eruption, and monitor local news and weather forecasts closely.
Commercial Travel Risk Services
Intelligent Protection International Limited provides companies and organisations with Commercial Travel Risk Services designed to mitigate risks of staff when they travel for business. If you are interested in these services, please see: Commercial Travel Risk Services.
Emergency services in Iceland
All emergency services: 112
Religion: Christianity (Church of Iceland)
Currency: Icelandic Króna
Time now in Reykjavik:
Consular information for Iceland
U.S. Embassy Reykjavik
Telephone: +354 595 2200
Emergency telephone: +354 595 2248
British Embassy Reykjavik
British Embassy Reykjavik Laufásvegur 31,
Telephone: +354 550 5100
Visa requirements for Iceland
Most nationals can enter Iceland for a period of up to 90 days, without the need for a visa. Your passport should have at least three months of validity beyond the duration of your stay. Contact your local Icelandic Embassy if you would like more information on visa requirements.
Iceland is part of the Schengen Area. As the UK is no longer part of the EU, British nationals can travel without a visa to countries in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. However, to stay longer than 90 days in Iceland whether for work, study, business travel or any other reasons, a visa will be required. Please note that visits to other Schengen countries within the previous 180 days will be cumulative and will count towards the 90-day limit.
Healthcare and Immunisations
Take comprehensive travel insurance for your trip when visiting Iceland as your UK EHIC card or UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) does not provide cover for state-provided healthcare in Iceland as it is not part of the EU!
It is advised that visitors to Iceland are up-to-date with primary boosters, such as MMR. It is further recommended that most travellers also get a Tetanus vaccination. Check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure.
The medical facilities and standard of healthcare is high quality in Iceland. Outside of the main urban areas are often limited, so you should take this into consideration if you plan to travel rural areas. European nationals should be entitled to state-provided medical treatment, however you may have to pay for some medical costs.