What should you consider when entering Iceland? If you are planning a vacation in the land of volcanoes and geysers, you do not have to worry about the regulations. There are a few points to be borne in mind, but if you familiarize yourself with the entry requirements for Iceland in advance, you will not have any problems when travelling to the beautiful and wild north.

Familiarize yourself with the entry requirements for Iceland, have vaccinations updated if necessary and check whether your baggage complies with the customs regulations. Also, think about where to put your pets during your vacation. When all is done, all you have to do is pack your suitcase and away – nothing stands in the way of your dream vacation.

What is the entry into Iceland for German citizens?

Entry requirements for Iceland are relatively simple for German citizens. For Germany, other EU member states and countries in the Schengen area, entry without a visa is possible. On the website of the Icelandic Immigration Service, you can find out from which countries you can enter Iceland without a visa.

All that is required is a valid ID document, such as a passport, identity card or children’s passport. The document must be valid for at least three months after the stay abroad. For Germany and citizens from the European economic area it is sufficient if the identification document is valid beyond the stay, but for how long it does not matter.

It is best to check in good time before your vacation in Iceland how long your ID document is still valid. If you only find out shortly before the start of your trip that your ID card has expired or is not valid until you leave the country, you can still apply for a provisional ID card or passport.

This is possible without problems for German citizens. The provisional identity card can be issued by the competent authority directly on-site; for a temporary passport, you need to plan a processing time of four to five days. Always keep your papers with you during your vacation in Iceland, as this is mandatory under the Icelandic right of residence.

Children who are registered in their parents’ passport can also enter without additional documents. Please note, however, that minors who take their flight on their own should carry an informal declaration of consent and copies of their parents’ ID card in addition to a valid ID document. The consent form should be in English.

Entry into Iceland for non-EU citizens

If you are not registered in a member state of the EU or the Schengen Agreement, you need a visa to enter Iceland. For which countries this is mandatory can be found on the website of the Icelandic Immigration Service. If you only pass Iceland and are on the way to another country, a transit visa is sufficient.

Anyone travelling from a non-Schengen country to another non-Schengen country and changing in Iceland does not need a visa for this special case. But if you have planned a vacation and want to enter Iceland, you need an entry visa. Since the state is a Schengen country, you need a Schengen visa. You can apply for this at the responsible consulate in your home country.

To apply, you need a travel document that is valid for at least three months beyond the duration of the visa. Furthermore, documents that provide information about the purpose of the stay may have to be presented. For example, you can print out your hotel reservation and bring it with you. You also need proof that you have enough financial resources to pay for the vacation and the return trip.

It is also necessary to take out travel insurance that covers the costs of any treatment that may be necessary. The insurance also takes care of repatriation to your home country, which cannot be organized yourself for health reasons.

How can I stay in Iceland for more than 3 months?

If you are planning a longer stay in Iceland, different regulations apply. If you want to stay longer than three months, you do not need a residence permit, but you have to register with the central register and a personal identification number apply. This code, in Icelandic “Kennitala”, is needed, for example, to be able to work here, to open a bank account and to get a tax card.

If you are looking for a job, you can stay in the country for up to six months, but you must register with the employment office after entering the country. Anyone wishing to work in Iceland needs a residence permit to start work. This is relatively easy for EU citizens to apply for.

As a rule, the extract from the criminal record, the birth certificate, proof of existing health insurance and the signed employment contract are sufficient. In general, the following also applies: Anyone who has planned a longer stay must register a residence in Iceland. 

With the pet to the island: What should be considered?

If you want to take your pet to Iceland with you, there are a few points to consider. A pet passport is not enough to take your four-legged friend with you on the trip. A permit must be applied for from the Icelandic authority MAST prior to the holiday. The relevant form can be downloaded and completed online from the MAST website.

A processing fee will be charged for this service. Also, note that pets are quarantined for four weeks upon arrival must be kept. Cats and dogs must be accommodated in a special quarantine facility. It is located in Reykjanesbær, a municipality near Keflavík International Airport. This airport is the only one where animals can be imported.

Accommodation in the quarantine facility must be reserved in advance and the costs must be borne by the owner. If you want to take rodents to Iceland, you can keep them in your own quarantine at home. Choose a family member to take care of you.

It is best to familiarize yourself beforehand with the special hygienic conditions in order to keep the risk of possible transmission of viruses as low as possible.

In addition, certain health requirements must be met for the import of pets. A corresponding certificate must be sent to MAST by email at least five days before departure. In addition, various vaccinations and tests must be carried out by the veterinarian in advance.

For the import of dogs and cats, an implanted microchip according to the ISO standard is required, which is used for identification. The animals must also be at least 7 months old to be taken to Iceland. For countries where there is no rabies, a minimum age of 5 months is sufficient. According to MAST, rabies-free countries are Australia, Great Britain, Finland, the Faroe Islands, Japan, Norway, New Zealand and Sweden.

Customs regulations in Iceland: what must be left at home?

Before you pack your bags, there are a few things to consider about customs regulations. Above all, riders and anglers should take care not to take anything that must be left at home according to the entry requirements for Iceland. Icelandic horses are not vaccinated, so special rules apply to protect the animals from infection.

Used riding equipment such as saddles, nosebands, bridles, whips etc. may not be brought into Iceland. Also used riding gloves are not allowed in the suitcase. Used riding clothes and riding boots can be taken but should be washed or disinfected in the washing machine beforehand.

Similar safety measures apply to keep Icelandic waters clean. Used fishing equipment, such as rods, waders and nets, must be disinfected properly before departure. This must be done through a veterinarian who will give you a certificate of proper disinfection when entering Iceland.

Furthermore, no raw animal products may be taken to Iceland. These include raw meat as well as uncooked milk and raw eggs. Salami and smoked ham are also not allowed. This requirement was introduced to avoid possible contamination of animals and humans. There are also customs regulations when returning to Germany.

Because commercial whaling resumed in Iceland in 2006, whale meat is sold there in shops and restaurants. However, since Germany advocates the protection of marine mammals, the import of this meat into the republic is prohibited.

Medical care & vaccinations for travel to the island

There are four airports in total in Iceland, two of which offer international flights: Reykjavík Airport and Akureyri Airport. From Germany, all machines land in Reykjavík. From there you can also get to other parts of the country by public transport.

Since most Icelanders speak English very well, communication with the appropriate knowledge should be possible. Mandatory vaccinations are not included in the entry requirements for Iceland. However, it is recommended to check and refresh the current vaccinations according to the Robert Koch Institute calendar.

This primarily includes vaccinations against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, if necessary, also against polio, mumps, measles, rubella, pneumococci and influenza. Injections against hepatitis B and meningococcal meningitis C are suggested for longer stays. The medical care in Iceland is basically good, but note that in rural areas, the nearest medical aid station under circumstances may be more distant.

It is, therefore, best to always keep in mind where the nearest medical centre or hospital is and how you can get there as quickly as possible in an emergency.

One of the challenges you might face while on vacation is the volatile Icelandic weather. You should, therefore, include weatherproof clothing in your luggage. Iceland’s subpolar climate can lead to sudden temperature drops and severe weather fluctuations. Familiarize yourself with the conditions in advance and consider which equipment is optimal for the trip.