Is a Visa Required to Travel to Iceland?
Updated: Aug 9
More and more people decide to organise their trip abroad on their own. Travelling to Iceland is definitely the trip of a lifetime, so everything needs to be perfect. Planning a trip to Iceland is not easy and can easily give you a headache. You need to plan the itinerary, the routes you will take, the hotels you will stay at and take care of the RV rental and prepare your documents. This part for some of you is the most difficult part. You all come from different countries from all around the world and we know very well that our documents can differ. This is the case for the ID cards and passports and credit cards. We receive many questions about visa permission and entry. Knowing that Iceland does not belong to the European Union, there must be some additional documents required right?
So many things to figure out right? Well there’s nothing to worry about! Whether you are travelling solo to Iceland or with your family, we will help you figure it all out and embark upon a journey without much stress. This time we will find out if a visa is required to visit Iceland.
What is the Schengen area
As always we will start with a bit of a definition so we know exactly what we’re talking about in this article. The Schengen area is an EU area without internal border controls and one of the most tangible achievements of European integration and is one of its pillars. It was established in 1995. Back then, passport controls were lifted within the Schengen area and movement between members became free for the EU citizens. Beside for travelling purposes, it gave many more benefits. The free movement of people gave them right to study, live and work anywhere in European countries they wanted.
There are of course provisions within the zone regarding border protection, mutual cooperation between member states, issuing visas to foreigners and the operation of information systems.
Which countries belong to the Schengen Area?
The Schengen Area is a zone of 26 countries in which border controls and internal borders have been lifted. That makes it the majority of European Union countries. The United Kingdom is an exception. Some like Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania are obliged to join the Schengen Area.
There are also some of the countries which do not belong to the European Union but are the part of the Schengen are and these are : Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein and Iceland. Yes, that’s us!
Let’s put them all in the chart so you can check easily if your country does or does not belong to the Schengen area:
Countries that belong to the Schengen area: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Spain, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Latvia, Malta, the Netherlands, Germany, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Sweden, Hungary, Italy
Countries that does not belong to the Schengen are: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and the United Kingdom
Do I need Visa in Iceland
If you are a European Union citizen, there is no need to show your passport. An ID card is fine to enter Iceland. You will, however, definitely need your passport to board your flight. Your passport should be valid for at least 3 months from the date of departure from the Schengen area. You should have these documents on you in case it is requested for presentation to the appropriate authorities. You can stay in Iceland without a permit for up to 3 months. Any tourist is required to show sufficient funds for the stay in Iceland and a return airline ticket. The credit card will be very useful here. For all the countries that belong to the Schengen area- there is no need for applying for a visa.
What about the rest of the countries? There is a group of countries which do not belong to the Schengen area but have a special pact made with the Schengen countries. This allows you to travel to Iceland for 90 days. In that case there is no need to apply for a visa either.
For tourists who are coming from the United States there is no need to apply for a visa and they are allowed to stay in the Schengen area for 3 months. Why is that when I just said you can stay in Iceland for 90 days? That is because Schengen area is a seen as one zone. You can than spend up to 90 days in Iceland and then go to another Schengen country for another 90 days.
The only condition is that you need to do it within 180 days. That means that you can stay in the EU or the EEA for maximum of three months out of six.
There is however another group of countries. Those who neither belong to the Schengen area nor have a pact with them for the free tourist movement. If you belong to that group, you will need to apply for a visa to travel to Iceland. You can find the list of all these countries at the website of the Directorate of Immigration.
How to apply for a Schengen Visa
If you happen to be among the last group we have just mentioned, you will need to apply for a Schengen visa to be able to travel freely in the Schengen zone. Icelandic embassies do not issue visas, with the exception of the Beijing and Moscow embassies.
On this website you can check where you should go to apply for a visa to Iceland.
There are of course some requirements you will need to fulfill when applying for a visa. Here is what you will need:
A signed and completed application form.
Two recently taken photos sized 35x45mm, in color with the head on 70-80% of the photo with a neutral face expression.
Valid passport which is no more than 10 years and valid for at least 3 months from the planned departure date from the Schengen area.
Trip reservations and itinerary. This includes plane tickets, hotel reservations, car rental reservations etc.
Travel insurance. The minimum coverage required is 30 000 euros.
Proof of accommodation which states where you will stay during your time in the Schengen area.
Proof you have enough funds for your stay in the Schengen zone.
Proof of aid visa fee which is 60 euros for adults and 35 euros for children from 6 to 12 years old.
If you are applying for a visa in order to work in Europe you will additionally need another application form and an employment contract.