If you’re planning to visit Iceland, it’s possible that you may need to obtain a visa for your trip. The Iceland visa requirements depend on your country of origin and how long you plan to stay in Iceland. You may need to fill out an application form, get medical insurance, or visit the Icelandic Embassy (or a different one) before you travel to Iceland. So is a visa required for Iceland? And if so, how do you obtain it? Let’s get all of your questions answered about passport and visa regulations and getting an Iceland tourist visa.
Do You Need a Visa to Go to Iceland?
There are three main categories when dealing with entry to Iceland and visas. The first two are related to the Schengen Agreement. Iceland is a member state along with 25 other Schengen countries that have open borders. This zone operates as a single state as far as travel checkpoints within the boundaries. If you are coming from one of these countries, you do not need a visa to visit.
Iceland Visa and Requirements
Visitors coming from outside of one of the 26 countries that participate will have to get their passport stamped and checked. But there are dozens of countries that fall into our second category. These ones have an agreement with the Schengen countries which allows citizens to visit for short stays without obtaining a visa first. If you plan on coming to Iceland for business or tourism and plan to stay for fewer than 90 days, you are exempt. You do not need a visa to enter Iceland if you are a part of this group.
So for example, an Iceland visa for USA citizens and other countries with this agreement is not necessary for short periods. Just fly into Keflavik and go through customs.
Remember that the Schengen Zone is considered to be one area, so you get three months total among all of the countries. That means you can’t spend 90 days in Iceland, then another in Italy, then another in Switzerland. Additionally, you have to use that allotted time within a 180-day period. In other words, you can only be in the EU or EEA for three months out of every six.
The passport you hold should be valid for three months past your planned date of departure.
When You Do Need a Visa to Go to Iceland
The third category of Iceland visa requirements are travelers who do require an Iceland visa. The countries that are not part of the two previous groups must apply for a visa before traveling to the Schengen Area, which includes Iceland.
The Icelandic Directorate of Immigration has a list of countries that require a visa on their website. Some countries are also required to have transit visas when stopping in Iceland.
The Schengen Visa
If you need to get a visa for travel in Iceland, you’ll need a Schengen visa. This allows free movement within the passport-free zone that encompasses most European countries. The Schengen area visa is often referred to as the Europe visa. You can freely travel between member countries for up to 90 but you are not allowed to do paid work. If you plan to work, live, or study in Iceland then you need to obtain a national Iceland visa that grants you permission.
How to Apply For a Visa For Iceland
With the exception of Beijing and Moscow, Icelandic embassies and consulates are not in charge of visas. You’ll have to go to another country’s embassy to apply for a visa for Iceland. Take the following with you to your appointment:
- Completed and signed visa application
- Two passport-sized photos (35X45 mm)
- Valid passport with at least two blank pages. Has to be less than ten years old and valid for three months past your intended departure date.
- Proof of financial support in the form of bank statements or paystubs either from yourself or someone in Iceland.
- Documentation showing ties to your home country, such as a letter from an employer or university for studies.
- Medical insurance coverage for at least thirty thousand euros (30.000€).
You also need to submit documentation confirming the reason for your trip.
- If you’re visiting friends and family, show an invitation letter from your host in Iceland. If they are family, documentation of that relationship is required as well.
- For business trips and conferences, show the confirmation/invitation from a company or organizer in Iceland.
- For tourists, show your hotel booking or tour booking, as applicable.
Luckily, turnaround time is very quick. After you’ve submitted all of the required documents correctly, the processing time takes about 15-30 days.
What About a Visa For Living and Working in Iceland?
If you’re planning on Iceland immigration or want to become a citizen of Iceland, the process will be different.
While Iceland is not a member of the EU, it is a part of the EEA (European Economic Area). This means that nationals of EEA countries do not need a residence permit to live in Iceland. Because of their nationality, they also do not need a work permit to look for work or hold a job. They do, however, need to register after a certain amount of time. If you are a citizen of one of these countries, you can work for up to three months or seek work for up to six months before having to register.
Non-EEA citizens must obtain a residency and/or work visa before coming to Iceland.
Is a Visa Required For Iceland?
Obtaining an Iceland tourist visa is different for everyone. I suggest either checking with the Icelandic consulate or embassy in your country or checking the Icelandic Directorate of Immigration website. You’ll find valuable information pertaining to which countries need a visa for Iceland, which don’t, and how to apply.