Visa Requirements for Travelers to Iceland

ViaHero · May 17, 2018

As an American, you usually don’t need a visa to travel to Iceland for a short trip. Just a valid passport and a round-trip plane ticket will do in most cases. Here’s everything you need to know about how long you can stay in Iceland and the reasons you might need a visa.

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Vacations and short stays for Americans

Good news, travelers: Iceland is part of the Schengen Borders Agreement, which means that you can visit Iceland for up to 90 days without a visa. You only need a passport and proof of onward travel;  there are just a few rules you need to adhere to regarding both of these things.

Your passport:

  1. Must be valid for 90 days after your intended date of departure. To be on the safe side, it is best to make sure that your passport does not expire for six months or more from your arrival date in Iceland so that it would cover your allowed 90 days in-country plus the extra three months required. 
  2. Must be stamped on entry and exit. If you receive an entry stamp into any country in the Schengen area but do not get a stamp upon exit, you may have trouble re-entering Schengen countries in the future.

You need proof of onward travel

  • Immigration wishes to make sure that no one enters the country as a tourist who intends to move to Iceland. Therefore, you may be asked for proof that you are leaving the country within 90 days. 
  • Proof can come in the form of a return plane ticket or boat ticket dated 90 days or fewer from your date of entry. 
  • If you are traveling on one-way tickets and do not know your next destination, you can actually rent an onward ticket from Fly Onward.

If you wish to spend more than 90 days in Iceland, you have two options. The first is to split up your stay in Iceland with time spent somewhere else. Under the Schengen Agreement, you may spend 90 days in any participating country but then you must leave the entire Schengen area for 90 days before returning. So, you could stay 90 days in Iceland, then 90 days in England, then return to Iceland for 90 days as England is not part of the Schengen Agreement. However, you couldn’t spend 90 days in Iceland then move on to Italy as both countries are Schengen members.

If you wish to spend more than 90 days in a row in Iceland, you will need to apply for a visa.

If you intend to stay in Iceland longer than 90 days, you need to apply for a residence permit. You must apply for this permit in your home country well before your date of departure. Students who wish to study in Iceland must be sure to submit their applications no later than July 1 for the fall semester and November 1 for the spring semester. If you intend to work while in Iceland, you will need a work permit that is issued separately from the residence permit. Au Pairs are required to file for a special Au Pair residence permit. The most detailed information about all of these permits and more is available on the Icelandic Directorate of Immigration website. 

Have more questions about packing for your trip to Iceland? Here is a list of local Iceland Travel Experts who can help you or you can message us any questions you have. And before your trip, make sure to check out: