Travel advice during your trip. Iceland in a post Covid-19 world

Passengers arriving in Iceland can opt for a COVID-19 test upon arrival (free of charge for a two-week period), as an alternative to quarantine. The Covid-19 test will cost 11,000 ISK, approx. £65 on arrival into Iceland or approx £50 if you book the test in advance of your departure, which we will pay for Discover the World clients travelling in July, August and September. For those looking to travel to Iceland at this time, we have collated a list of information and resources of what you need to know during your stay in the country.

For information regarding pre-departure from the UK to Iceland please read our advice before you go FAQ guide. For information regarding arrival back to the UK from Iceland please read this FAQ guide.

Is it safe to travel to Iceland right now?

Iceland re-opened to tourists on 15 June 2020. From 1 July, there is a charge of approx £50) for a single test on arrival into Iceland. This cost will be covered by us for Discover the World clients travelling in July and August.

Find out more here

All travellers will be strongly encouraged to follow precautionary guidelines, such as frequent hand-washing and social distancing, and to respect regulations in place, including the ban on social gatherings of more than 200 people.

How has Iceland responded to the Covid-19 pandemic?

Iceland has been very successful in its response against COVID-19 and getting the virus under control with large-scale testing, contact tracing, and early and extensive quarantine and isolation measures.

The main measures taken were:

  • Early definition of high-risk areas
  • Quarantine requirements of all residents returning from areas abroad
  • Large-scale screening for COVID-19
  • High infection tracing rate (over 95% to date)
  • Quarantine requirements for anyone who has been in contact with infected individuals
  • Ban on larger gatherings (20-person limit)
  • University and upper secondary school-closures. Limited opening of elementary schools and preschools
  • Active communication with the general public, including daily press briefings

The Government of Iceland also launched a website www.covid.is that serves as the main information hub with the latest data, recommendations, and status on COVID-19 in Iceland.

How will Iceland reopen its borders?

The Icelandic government is offering the option of a COVID-19 test from 15 June 2020 to all international arrivals as an alternative to the two-week quarantine requirement. The Chief Epidemiologist will oversee the operation in collaboration with the healthcare service and deCode Genetics, a company that performed widespread screening of the Icelandic population for COVID-19. The police will continue to play an important role in terms of both border control and testing at the borders and as part of civil protection measures, such as contact-tracing efforts.

Iceland will continue:

  • Testing
  • Enforcing isolation of cases and quarantine for those exposed
  • Offering remote healthcare for mild infections
  • Limiting public and private gatherings (currently 200 people)
  • Encouraging 2 meter social distancing rule as optional
  • Adhering to guidelines on health and safety
  • Informing the public on all measures taken in the fight against COVID-19.

What should I expect on arrival at the airport in Iceland?

Before departure

Passengers are required to fill out a pre-registration form (on www.covid.is) before departure to Iceland, which requires passengers to provide their personal details and contact information, flight information, travel dates and address(es) during their stay in Iceland. The form also includes a declaration of health and passengers are required to provide information on countries they have visited before arrival, whether they have any symptoms of COVID-19, whether they have been diagnosed with COVID-19 before their arrival, or if they have been in close contact with an infected individual.

Passengers are also encouraged to download and use the COVID-19 app Rakning C-19. The app contains important information on COVID-19 and how to contact the health care service in Iceland.

Health & safety control measures at the border

The pre-registration form provides passengers with information on the conditions for entry into Iceland. Passengers can choose to be tested by a PCR-test for COVID-19 on arrival or self-quarantine for two weeks. Testing will be available at Keflavik Airport. The pre-registration process will facilitate testing and shorten the waiting time for passengers.

Testing at the border

Passengers will be charged ISK 15000 for a single test (payable locally – Discover the World will reimburse our clients travelling in July and August). Following the test, passengers can travel onward to their registered address (provided in their pre-registration form). Passengers do not need to self-quarantine until they receive their test results but should take preventive measures to protect themselves and others from infection. Passengers can expect to receive their test results within 24 hours, usually on the same day, or the following day for those arriving later than 5 PM. Passengers will receive their test results through the app (Rakning C-19), or through text message. Passengers who test positive will receive a phone call notifying them. To ensure they receive their test results, all passengers are required to provide reliable contact information on their pre-registration forms.

You do not need to be tested on arrival to Iceland. You can choose to go into quarantine for 14 days and then you do not need to be tested. Those who elect to self-quarantine upon their arrival in Iceland must make their own housing arrangements and take care to follow quarantine guidelines. All information on requirements for quarantine is available here.

What happens if I test positive for Coronavirus after arriving in Iceland?

You will receive a call from the infection tracking team. You may be offered further tests to confirm that you have COVID-19. To help the team trace any potential infections you will be required to tell them your movements and contacts in the time between being tested and getting your results.

If you are found to have the virus, you will be immediately required to self-isolate. If you do not have a suitable location to do so you will be given free accommodation in an isolation centre.

You will not be charged for medical treatment, supervision or examination related to COVID-19 with the exception of the initial PCR-test.

Should you need to contact the health services, call 1700 from an Icelandic phone or +354 544 4113 from a foreign number. Alternatively you can use the online health portal heilsuvera.is.

Should you test positive in Iceland and need to self-quarantine, Discover the World will refund all recoverable costs and provide assistance and advice.

What if I’m asked to quarantine?

If you’ve been in contact with a confirmed coronavirus case you will be required to self-quarantine for up to two weeks from the point of last contact. This could be if you have:

  • Been within two metres of an infected individual for more than 15 minutes
  • Sat within two-rows of an infected individual on the aeroplane

Even if you test negative for COVID-19 at the airport you may still be required to self-quarantine. You will receive a phone call from the infection tracking team to determine whether you need to do so.

As you’d guess, quarantine means you are not allowed to leave your residence or be in physical contact with other people who are not quarantined. There are harsh penalties including fines for those who break quarantine.

Will I have to quarantine when travelling to Iceland?

All information on requirements for quarantine is available at https://www.covid.is/categories/how-does-quarantine-work

Please note that violations of quarantine or isolation requirements are subject to fines or enforcement action from the relevant authorities to ensure compliance.

Is there a lockdown or a ban on public gatherings in Iceland?

There is not a lockdown in effect but there are restrictions on public gatherings and on many organised activities and businesses. Currently gatherings of over 200 are banned and there are restrictions on restaurants, bars and nightclubs openings at night. Shops, galleries, museums, swimming pools and gyms are all open but there may be changes to the way they operate.

Observe a 2 metre distancing wherever you can and wash your hands.

Is everything in Iceland open?

Businesses and activities that were closed or restricted on 24 March were allowed to open from 4 May but with certain limitations:

  • Swimming pools opened to the public on 18 May under restrictions specific to them.
  • Gyms opened on 25 May.
  • Dance halls, bars and game rooms will remain closed. Lottery machines may be operated.
  • Restaurants may be open.
  • Museums and galleries can open.
  • Activities involving physical proximity such as hair salons, make-up or beauty salons, massage parlours, and other similar activities, can open.
  • Grocery stores and other shops are open. Larger grocery stores and drugstores may allow up to 100 people to be inside the store at the same time, provided that a distance of at least 2 metres is maintained between individuals.

Local businesses have been advised by the Icelandic Government about the measures they need to put in place to ensure customers and staff are safe during this time, including social distancing, clear cleaning plans and ways to inform people of the steps that have been taken to follow the government’s recommendations.

How can I keep safe and avoid infection in Iceland?

All travellers are encouraged to take precautionary measures to protect themselves and others, such as frequent handwashing, use of disinfectants, the two-metre social distancing guidelines, and to respect health & safety regulations in place. PCR tests do not absolutely rule out COVID-19 infections in asymptomatic individuals.

Travellers are encouraged to download and use the COVID-19 app Rakning C-19. The app contains important information on COVID-19 and how to contact the health care service. They are also encouraged to follow information on the official COVID-19 information portal www.covid.is, which hosts the most up to date information and important announcements in several languages for tourists.

Do I need to wear a face mask in Iceland?

In Iceland you are not obligated to wear gloves or a face mask. Hand washing and sanitising are the most important hygiene rules and keeping 2 metres distance from other people as much as possible is advised.

What happens if I think I have Covid-19 symptoms while on holiday in Iceland?

If you become ill or think you may have symptoms of COVID-19 you can contact the health care helpline through the app Rakning C-19, the information portal www.covid.is, or through the national online health portal Heilsuvera. All travellers are encouraged to maintain 2 metres distance as much as possible.

Further Information and Resource Links

Read our comprehensive Iceland Travel guides for more information.

All information, developments, and advice about Iceland and COVID-19 can be found at the website of the Directorate of Health and the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management as well as the designated COVID-19 website for Iceland maintained by these institutions.