Is a visa required for Iceland?
Updated: Jan 10
Over the last decade Iceland has become an incredibly popular country to visit. These days many travellers around the world are much more driven by the opportunity to connect with nature and to spend time outdoors. Taking more active trips is certainly a significant travel trend of the 21st Century. Iceland offers so many opportunities for this type of trip, from independent road trips to winter activities and hiking holidays. Thankfully it is really easy for most people to enter Iceland visa free. In this article we look at the entry requirements for travel to Iceland. We cover information on the Schengen Area and which citizens do need a travel visa for Iceland. We will also take a little look at the guidelines around taking a working holiday in Iceland or gaining a full work visa.
What are the travel visa requirements for Iceland?
The majority of travellers can enter Iceland without a visa and can then stay in Iceland visa free for 90 days. Visitors from the EU, EEA, Canada, the US and Australia are all able to enter Iceland without making a travel visa application. However, there are certain stipulations. Any traveller’s passport should be valid for at least three full months after their planned date of departure. Visitors from the USA, Canada and Australia should also have a return ticket when they enter the country.
Is Iceland a member state of the Schengen Area?
Yes, Iceland signed the Schengen Agreement in 2001. The Schengen Area consists of 26 European countries, including much of Scandinavia, Eastern and Southern Europe. These Schengen countries allow their citizens to travel freely across their borders using only a photo identity card. Visitors from outside the area who would like to travel to multiple countries within it can apply for a Schengen visa. This could make sense if several of the countries the traveller would like to visit require them to have a visa to enter. They would need to provide various documentation detailing their financial arrangements and reasons for travel. They would also need to provide proof and information on their date of departure from the Schengen area.
Who does need a visa to travel to Iceland?
Most citizens outside of the EU, USA, Canada and Australia will need to apply for a travel visa to visit Iceland. For a full list of the countries in question you can visit the website of the Directorate of Immigration. Here you will find information on how to apply and what is needed for the application form process. Many of these countries do not have an Icelandic Embassy, but are represented by another country’s embassy instead.
Those applying for a travel visa will need a letter of invitation depending on their reason for travel. If they are visiting family they must show proof of their family connection. If they are travelling for business they will need an official invitation from a company in Iceland. Those wanting to visit for travel and tourism purposes will need a letter from a tour company or hotel. In all cases applicants must have medical insurance, proof of sufficient funds and a return airline ticket.
What is the deal with work visas in Iceland?
Members of the European Union or the EEA can enter Iceland visa free for 90 days. This visa also allows them to work as they travel. This is great news for those with a little more time who would like to explore Iceland and keep their bank balance topped up. A lot of young people without commitments at home choose to take a working holiday in Iceland. After all it is a notoriously expensive country, so a few casual shifts here and there can really help. Some people will arrange a three-month work placement before they go and will then use their days off to explore the country. Others might find work when they get there.
What type of work is common in Iceland?
Of course there are all types of work available in Iceland. But for a shorter stint tourism and hospitality jobs make the most sense. Bar, restaurant and hotel work are most common. This is especially true in the tourist high season, which runs from June to August. Other tourism related jobs might be driving, tour guiding or marketing, but these will all require a little more experience of the country. Not so suited to first time visitors to Iceland who would like to work straight away. None of these jobs will require you to have mastered the Icelandic language as all Icelandic people speak some English. It is always fun and appreciated if you have a go with a few words and phrases though.
What if I want to stay in Iceland beyond three months?
If you spend three full months in Iceland it is quite possible that you will want to stay on longer. If you have only spent the summer months in Iceland you might feel the pull of winter and the Northern Lights. Living the full calendar year in Iceland with the changing of the seasons is an incredible experience and we highly recommend it! All you need to do is find a steady job or make arrangements for one within those first three months. If you can prove your ability to support yourself then it will be relatively simple to stay on. What you will need to do is apply for a tax card via a simple application form. This tax card will then allow you to access public services such as health care.