Travel advice for your trip to Iceland
Travelling to Iceland in 2021
According to the UK Government roadmap, international leisure travel was permitted to resume from 17 May 2021 following a traffic light system for countries deemed low to high risk.
Iceland has been on the UK Government’s list of ‘green’ countries since 17 May 2021 meaning you do not need to self-isolate on return. It is not on the ‘green watchlist’. Some quarantine measures remain in place in Iceland, but there are exemptions for individuals with a valid certificate of previous infection or a vaccination certificate. From 1 July, vaccination certificates will be valid for travel to Iceland from the 15th day after your second vaccination.
We are with you every step of the way
We've created this detailed travel FAQs for Iceland, which is continually updated, to help you in the planning stage.
Our team will help you navigate the requirements from clarifying entry rules to talking you through the testkit websites.
Our Flexibility Promise has been designed to provide a cushion around uncertainty giving you the reassurance to book.
What is the procedure for travelling to Iceland?
You’ll need to adhere to rules set by both the UK and Icelandic governments.
Before departing the UK
- Pre-register electronically no more than 72 hours before your scheduled arrival in Iceland.
- You need to pre-order your return to England Covid-19 test so that you can take this whilst in Iceland as it needs to be done within the 3 days before you return to England. And you will also need to pre-order your PCR test to take on Day 2 of your return to England. For full details read below ‘What are the requirements on return to the UK from Iceland?’
- If you have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 you will need to demonstrate this status on arrival in Iceland. There are three ways to do this and you can find more information here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/demonstrating-your-covid-19-vaccination-status-when-travelling-abroad
- If you have a smart phone or tablet download the NHS patient APP from the App Store or Google Play – Please note this is NOT the NHS Covid-19 App. It is important to download this as soon as you book your holiday as it can take a while to register. Once the app is registered check that your vaccination status is fully up to date.
- If you do not have access to a smartphone or tablet you can get a digital version from the NHS website where you can download a PDF or have it sent to you in an e-mail, or you can call the NHS helpline on 119 and ask for a letter to be posted to you. This must be at least 5 working days after you’ve completed your course of the vaccine. The letter will take up to 7 working days to reach you. The letter will be sent automatically to the address registered with your GP. The 119 call handler you speak to will not be able to see your address to check this with you. If you’ve recently moved house, make sure you’ve given your new address to your GP practice before calling 119.
- If you live in Scotland or Wales, Iceland will accept your respective NHS letter to demonstrate your Covid-19 vaccination status.
- From 26 July 2021, double vaccinated travellers, or those with proof of previous infection, must present a negative Covid-19 test before boarding the flight to Iceland. Both PCR and lateral flow tests are accepted and must be within 72 hours prior to departure. Collinson offer pre-departure lateral flow tests at sites including Heathrow, Manchester and Luton airports. The tests cost £40 and Discover the World will cover 50% (£20) of this test. Other providers are Qured, Medicspot and Randox.
Upon arrival in Iceland
- Fully-vaccinated travellers do not have to take a test upon arrival. To qualify, a traveller’s second vaccination dose must have been at least 14 full days before arrival in Iceland, that is, travel is permitted on or after the 15th day. Children (born after 2005) and those who present valid certificates of a previous COVID-19 infection will also no longer be required to test upon arrival. A further review will take place on 15 August 2021.
- Passengers without exception certificates are required to show a negative PCR test against COVID-19 upon arrival in addition to following a double screening procedure. One test upon arrival followed by another 5-6 days later. During this period, passengers must stay in quarantine in case of a possible infection.
- It is recommended that you download the Rakning C-19 app during your stay in Iceland. It is used, among other things, to communicate negative results from screening and helps to trace infections if necessary.
- Children born in 2005 or after are exempt from the obligation to present a negative PCR certificate upon arrival. If a child travels with a person who is required to be quarantined, the child stays with them and is released from quarantine when their travelling companion is allowed to be released. If the companion is exempt from double screening and quarantine, so is the child.
Vaccination certificates must meet the following criteria:
Certificates may be on paper or in electronic format for one of the following vaccines authorised in Europe: 1) Pfizer BioNTech, 2) Moderna, 3) Oxford AstraZeneca, 4) Janssen.
Both vaccines must have been received.
- Be in Icelandic, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, English or French. Certificates in another language may be valid if a translation stamped by a certified document translator is included in one of the required languages.
- First name and last name (equivalent to travel document)
- Date of birth
- Name of vaccinated disease (COVID-19)
- When and where vaccinations were given
- Vaccination must be completed; the number of doses should be in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Information on the issuer of the certificate (healthcare professional / institution), with signature if the international vaccination certificate
- Name of vaccine
- Manufacturer of vaccine and batch number
Certificate of previous COVID-19 infection must meet the following criteria:
- Certificates must be in Icelandic, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian or English.
- First and last name (equivalent to travel document)
- Date of birth
- When sampling took place (date)
- Where the sampling took place (country / city / address)
- Name of laboratory / issuer of certificate
- Date of certificate
- Telephone number of the person responsible for issuing the certificate or laboratory
- Type of test (PCR test or antibody test by ELISA test)
- Test result (PCR test positive for SARS-CoV-2 or antibodies present)
What are the requirements on return to the UK from Iceland?
As Iceland is on the UK Government list of ‘Green’ countries, you do not need to self-isolate on your return to England.
- You will need to take a pre-departure test. This can be a lateral-flow test but needs to meet performance standards for sensitivity, specificity and viral load as specified by Gov.uk. You cannot use one of the NHS lateral-flow tests so you should pre-order this test from one of the government approved UK test providers to take with you to Iceland. Qured and Collinson are two example test providers. At the time of ordering your test with them you should also book a video consultation for authentication of your test results. Another approved test provider is Medicspot. You do not need to book a video appointment with them, you just need to send them a photograph of your test results and they will send you a same-day doctor-signed-certificate. These test costs between £39 & £45. As a member of AITO we have negotiated a 10% discount with Qured. Enter the promo code: AITO10 if purchasing your test from Qured. Discover the World will cover 50% (£23) of the cost of the pre-departure test for our clients. This will be in the form of a discount on your holiday. This test will need to be taken within the 3 days before you arrive back in England. Please note that this is just one of many suppliers of antigen tests. It is your choice and your responsibility which supplier you choose to use, but we would advise that you only use a test provider that is on the Gov.uk approved list.
- You can also choose to arrange to take this test in Iceland before you return to the UK, however testing sites and their opening times are limited. Visit https://www.covid.is/sub-categories/trips-abroad for information on where you can book tests. The process differs if you are within the Greater Reykjavik area or outside of it. Payment is taken at the time of booking and you should request the certificate be in English. You can have it sent electronically or printed for collection at the health centre. Please talk to our Iceland travel specialists if you do not have a smart phone and/or prefer to book your test in Iceland so they can assist you.
- You need to take a PCR test after you arrive in England on day two. You’ll need to book this before you travel. When you make your booking you should receive a test reference number. You will need this number to enter on to the online form that you need to complete before you return to the UK.
- Discover the World will cover 50% (£22) of the cost of this PCR test for our clients.
For full details and to see regional variations for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, visit https://www.gov.uk/uk-border-control.
You will also need to fill in an online form to provide your journey and contact details before your return journey. You cannot submit this form until 48 hours before your arrival time in the UK. You will need your PCR test reference number to complete this form.
Where can I obtain a PCR test?
As a member of AITO (Association of Independent Tour Operators) we have negotiated a discount with Randox Health who have agreed the reduced price of £43 (reduction from £48) per PCR for Discover the World clients. You will need to quote AITO43 to claim the discount. Please note that this is just one of many suppliers of PCR tests. It is your choice and your responsibility which supplier you choose to use, but we would advise that you only use a test provider that is on the Gov.uk approved list. Discover the World will cover 50% (£22) of the cost of this PCR test for our clients. This will be in the form of a discount on your holiday.
What do I need to prepare when planning a trip to Iceland with the current Covid-19 situation?
Before you travel, you should check the details of your travel insurance carefully to ensure that you are covered for Covid-19 illness should you be unable to travel, and the cover for any medical treatment abroad. Contact your insurer if you are uncertain. You may need to consider a specialist policy. We can recommend a comprehensive travel insurance policy that provides extensive Covid-19 cover for medical, cancellation and curtailment.
How has Iceland responded to the Covid-19 pandemic?
Iceland has been widely praised for its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. An island nation with a small population, they have focused on getting the virus under control with large-scale testing, contact tracing, and early and extensive quarantine and isolation measures. As such, Iceland is now virtually Covid-free.
Is everything in Iceland open?
As of 26 July 2021, all domestic Covid restrictions were lifted. This means no social distancing, no requirement to wear face masks and no limits on venue capacities. Iceland is the first country in Europe to effectively return to normal life.
Do I need to wear a face mask in Iceland?
As of 26 June 2021, face masks are not mandatory anywhere in Iceland. Hand washing and sanitising are still considered the most important hygiene rules.
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.
What if my plans change?
In these unpredictable times our Flexibility Promise means you can book a trip to Iceland knowing that should you need to change your plans you can, including free cancellations for most 2021 holidays up to 7 days before departure and fee-free postponement. You can also keep track of the latest advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) via our Travel Updates page.
Further Information and Resource Links
- For the latest public health advice on coronavirus in the UK, visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
- For the latest data and health information on coronavirus in Iceland, visit https://www.covid.is
- For important travel advice and tips on travel to your destination, visit https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/
- For information about safe travel with Icelandair during Covid-19, visit https://www.icelandair.com/support/covid-19/safe-travels-shared-responsibility/
- For information about the measures in place at London Heathrow, visit https://www.heathrow.com/customer-support/faq/coronavirus-covid-19
Read our comprehensive Iceland Travel guides for more information about the country generally.
Recommended Iceland Holidays for 2021
We have worked closely with our partners and suppliers in Iceland to offer our clients a way to explore Iceland safely and in line with the government guidelines. Our recommended self-drive itineraries showcase the country’s natural wonders, letting you explore at your own pace and provide excellent value for money including savings of up to £370pp.
All holidays are covered by our Flexibility Promise, which includes cancellation up to 7 days prior to departure for a full refund.