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Iceland

If you’re travelling to Iceland, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information.

Get travel and medical insurance

Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), available by contacting the Health Service Executive, and that you also obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.

Security Status

  • Normal precautions
  • High degree of caution
  • Avoid non-essential travel
  • Do not travel
  • Overview
  • Safety and Security
  • Local Laws and Customs
  • Natural Disasters and Climate
  • Health
  • Embassy Contact

Overview

General COVID-19 Travel Advisory in Operation

General advice to avoid non-essential travel and ‘Normal Precautions’ list of exemptions:

In accordance with Government policy, which is based on official public health advice, the Department of Foreign Affairs continues to advise against non-essential travel overseas. This includes Great Britain but does not apply to Northern Ireland. It also includes all travel by cruise ship.

Travel to a very limited set of locations is exempted from this advice. Individuals arriving into Ireland from these locations will not be required to restrict their movements upon entry. These locations currently have a ‘normal precautions’ (“green”) security status rating. As of 4 August 2020, these locations are:

  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • Greece
  • Greenland
  • Hungary
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Norway
  • Slovakia

Inclusion on the list is based on the current epidemiological situation and related public health information in each location. The list and related travel advice will be reviewed on a fortnightly basis, based on advice from officials, including public health experts. Any updates or changes will be based on Government decisions. The latest updates will always be uploaded first to this General COVID-19 Travel Advisory. Country-specific tabs will be updated subsequently, and as quickly as possible, but this advisory is the primary source of information for the latest version of the list. The above list was updated on 4 August following the latest review.

If you are considering travelling outside of Ireland:

Irish citizens travelling to locations with a ‘normal precautions’ (“green”) rating are advised to follow the public health guidelines of the local health authorities and to continue to practice physical distancing measures, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette etc. The security rating for all other locations remains unchanged at either to ‘avoid non-essential travel’ (“orange”) or to ‘do not travel’ (“red”).

The purpose of the Department’s Travel Advice is to provide information to the general public so that individuals can make informed decisions for themselves.  The COVID19 pandemic continues to accelerate internationally, and there are significant risks associated with international travel. Citizens should be aware of the possible limitations to any consular assistance that could be provided. Any citizens who are considering travel abroad are advised to monitor closely our travel advice and we recommend that citizens download our TravelWise App and follow us on Twitter. Citizens travelling abroad should also register with their local Irish Embassy or Consulate and regularly check their website and Twitter accounts for details of any local public health measures and travel restrictions.

Should you need to travel for essential reasons, you should inform yourself about any requirements in place in the destination to which you are travelling.  Flight restrictions and route cancellations are happening on a daily basis worldwide and there is no guarantee that air routes will continue to operate as scheduled. Testing and restrictions may be imposed or may already be in place in other countries. It is important to check with your insurance provider on coverage at this time.

What to do on entering Ireland from abroad:

The Irish Authorities advise anyone coming into Ireland, apart from Northern Ireland and individuals arriving in Ireland from locations with a security rating of ‘normal precautions’ (“green”), to restrict their movements for 14 days, and this includes citizens and residents returning to Ireland. Restricting your movements means staying indoors in one location and avoiding contact with other people and social situations as much as possible. To ensure that this is being observed all passengers arriving to Ireland from overseas are obliged to complete a mandatory Public Health Passenger Locator Form and to submit it to the relevant authority at their port of entry. For further details please see the Irish Government Advice Page. Exemptions are also in place for providers of essential supply chain services such as hauliers, pilots and maritime staff. Check the Irish Government Advice Page for full information on these requirements and further advice on returning from abroad.

Where to go for more information:

We continue to make updates to our online travel advice for over 200 countries and recommend that you download our TravelWise App and follow us on Twitter. If abroad you should register with your local Irish Embassy or Consulate and regularly check their website and Twitter accounts for details of any local public health measures and travel restrictions.

Overview

Security status

Avoid non-essential travel.

Security Status Last Updated: 17 March 2020

Latest Travel Alert

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

A number of cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) have been confirmed in Iceland.

If you are in Iceland, you should monitor developments regularly and follow the advice of local authorities. See links to relevant websites below.

 https://www.covid.is/english

Be alert to common signs of infection: respiratory problems, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Seek medical advice if you experience these symptoms.
HSE medical advice to protect yourself from getting COVID-19 is below.
Do:
• wash your hands properly and regularly with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub
• cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough and sneeze
• put used tissues into a bin and wash your hands
Don’t:
• touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
Additional information on COVID-19 can be found via the following links:

HSE

HPSC

ECDC

World Health Organisation

Given recent terrorist attacks in European cities, Irish citizens are advised to follow the advice of police and local authorities and to exercise increased vigilance, especially if attending large public gatherings or other crowded locations. Attacks could occur at any time and could target tourist attractions, restaurants, transport hubs or other public areas.

Irish travellers may with wish to be aware that as of 28th March 2019 WOW AIR has suspended operations.

The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport has issued the following information to passengers:

  • If you purchased a ticket using a credit or debit card, chargeback may be an option. Please contact your card provider for further details.
  • If you have taken out travel insurance, it may include airline failure cover usually known as Scheduled Airline Failure Insurance (SAFI). The insurance provider should be contacted for further details.
  • If you booked through a code share partner of the airline (or booking agent) please contact them directly.
  • If you booked your ticket as part of a package, please contact your travel agent or tour operator directly.  If you did not purchase your ticket as part of a package, you are advised to self-repatriate by booking directly with other airlines.  Some airlines offer rescue fares in certain circumstances. 
  • Please do not travel to the airport unless you have booked alternative flights.

Iceland is volcanically and seismically active.

The earthquake which took place in the area around Bárðarbunga volcano on Vatnajökull glacier in the east of Iceland, which began in August 2014, has ended. However, high levels of sulphur dioxide continue to be detected and the immediate area surrounding the eruption site remains closed to the public.

There have also been reports of higher than normal concentrations of sulphur dioxide in other parts of Iceland. If you have an existing respiratory condition you should take particular care and monitor reports from the Icelandic Met Office.

In addition, the weather in Iceland, particularly during the winter months, can be severe. Travellers should monitor local information available on the Safe Travel Website and the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration website and follow the advice of the local authorities.

Emergency assistance

Because there is no resident Irish Embassy in Iceland, we are limited in the help as can offer you in an emergency situation. However, if you need assistance, you can contact the Honorary Consul in Gardabaer or the Irish Embassy in Copenhagen in Denmark.

You can contact the emergency services in Iceland by dialling 112.

EU Directive on Consular Protection

Under the EU Consular Protection Directive, Irish nationals may seek assistance from the Embassy or Consulate of any other EU member state in a country where there is no Irish Embassy or permanent representation.

Our tips for Safe Travels:

  • Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities.
  • Get a European Health Insurance Card
  • Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
  • Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly if there’s an unforeseen crisis like a natural disaster or a family emergency.
  • Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates.
  • Read our ‘Know Before You Go’ guide.

Safety and Security

Safety and security

Political Stability/unrest

The political situation in Iceland is reasonably stable but there can be occasional outbreaks of social unrest.

Always keep yourself informed of what’s going on around you by monitoring local media and staying in contact with your hotel or tour organiser. Avoid demonstrations and public gatherings, which can sometimes turn confrontational.

Terrorism

Although the threat from terrorism in Iceland is low, there is still a global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by tourists and expatriates. 

Crime

Crime remains relatively low in Iceland but you should take sensible precautions: 

  • Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place. 
  • Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home.

Reporting crime

If you’re a victim of a crime while in Iceland, report it to the local police immediately. And you can contact us at the Irish Embassy in Copenhagen if you need help.

Driving

If you’re planning to drive in Iceland, you should exercise caution as road conditions may be hazardous, especially in winter when you should seek information on weather and road conditions before commencing your journey.

  • Bring your full Irish driving licence and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance.
  • Dimmed headlights are mandatory at all times.
  • Note that it is illegal to drive off-road in Iceland.

Hiring a vehicle

If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.

Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).

Local Laws and Customs

Local laws and customs

Practical advice

Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or even illegal

Personal identification

You should carry personal identification at all times, for example either a passport or driving licence.

Illegal drugs

Illegal drug use (no matter what the drug) carries stiff penalties, including fines and long prison terms.

Natural Disasters and Climate

Natural disasters and climate

If you’re travelling to Iceland, make sure you know what to expect – then plan and pack so that you’re prepared. Get local advice on how to manage in the case of a serious incident or dangerous conditions and co-operate with local authorities and emergency services in the case of serious incidents.

Volcanoes

Volcanic activity in Iceland has increased in recent years and you should always heed local warnings. If you’re travelling to or living in Iceland, make sure you know what to do in the event of a volcano erupting.

Iceland is volcanically and seismically active

Police in Iceland have declared a Civil Protection Uncertainty phase due to recent seismic activity at Katla volcano. The contingency plan for an eruption has been activated accordingly. The uncertainty phase means that there is the possibility of hazards in the near future.

You can monitor current meteorological developments at http://en.vedur.is.

Health

Health

 

The healthcare system in Iceland is of a very high standard, and in the case of serious injury emergency, medical treatment is free of charge, although you will be charged for follow-up care. 

Travel Insurance

We can’t pay for emergency medical repatriation, repatriation of remains, or for expenses as a result of a personal emergency while you are abroad. If you buy an appropriate travel insurance policy, these costs will be covered, provided you haven’t broken the terms and conditions.

Buying comprehensive travel insurance can save you and your family a lot of money if something goes wrong. It will also ensure that you get the medical attention you need, when you need it. Hospital bills can quickly run into thousands of euro, and a medical evacuation back to Ireland can cost thousands more.

Not all policies are the same, and the cheapest one might be cheap for a reason. Make sure your policy covers all the activities you plan to do on your trip. Insurance Ireland recommend that you purchase a policy that provides a minimum medical cover of €1 million.

Emergency expenses

Your policy should cover:

  • All medical care abroad, including evacuation by air ambulance, or other emergency procedures, and any other costs associated with an unexpected longer stay.
  • Your entire trip, from departure to return. Consider an annual multi-trip policy if you’re making more than one trip in the year.   
  • 24-hour emergency service and assistance.
  • Personal liability cover (in case you’re sued for causing injury or damaging property).
  • Lost and stolen possessions.
  • Cancellation and curtailment.
  • Any extra activities you intend to do that are excluded from standard policies (e.g. water sport activities such as jet skiing or other extreme sports).

Exclusions: You should know most insurance policies will not cover drink or drug-related incidents.

Additional information

Entry requirements (visa/passport)

Irish citizens don’t need a visa to enter Iceland.

Currency

The currency of Iceland is the Icelandic krona. Credit and debit cards are commonly used for payments, although foreign cards often attract a surcharge.

 

Embassy contact

Embassy Contact

If you need emergency assistance outside normal working hours, please dial the Embassy switchboard at +47 2201 7200. The mobile telephone number of the officer on duty will be available on the answering machine. Alternatively, you can contact the 24-hour duty officer in Dublin at +353 1 478 0822.

Embassy of Ireland
5th Floor
Haakon VII's Gt.1
0244 Oslo
Norway

Tel: +47 2201 7200
Fax: +47 2201 7201

Monday to Friday 09:00-16:30

Contact us

Honorary Consulate Contact

Jens Thordarson/Consulate of Ireland
Nautholsvegur 50 (Icelandair Office)
101 Reykjavik
Iceland

Tel: +354-840-7134

Email: Email us