Many travellers will not need a visa to travel as a tourist to Iceland.
Although Iceland is not a member state of the EU, it is a member of the Schengen area, so for many countries a visa is not required. Currently, citizens of Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the US and the UK – among around 60 others – are included under this visa-free arrangement. You are still required to meet the following criteria:
- Travel to one (or more) of Schengen's 26 partnering countries for a total of less than 90 days in a 6-month period.
- Have a valid passport for at least three months beyond your intended date of departure from the Schengen area.
- Have sufficient funds for your stay, and have booked either a return or onward ticket, or have enough funds to buy one.
In most cases, Schengen members are included in this visa-free arrangement with their neighbours. There are, however, around 100 countries whose citizens are required to obtain a Schengen visa to enter any country in the Schengen area. This currently includes travellers from South Africa, China and Russia.
How to apply for an Iceland visa (if you need one)
If you are a citizen of a country that requires a Schengen visa to enter Iceland:
- Make sure you qualify for a Schengen visa, and work out which one suits your travel needs. If you wish to travel for leisure, you will likely qualify for the Tourist Schengen visa.
- Work out where you need to apply. Your Schengen visa application should be submitted to the consulate/embassy/visa centre of the country where you will spend the majority of your time in the Schengen area. If you are the spending the same amount of time in each country, submit your application to the first country you will visit.
- Work out how much time is needed to process your application. A Tourist Schengen visa application should be submitted at least 15 calendar days before you travel, and no earlier than three months before travel.
- Collect the required documents. These documents include, but may not be limited to: a visa application, two recent passport-style photos, a valid passport, roundtrip reservation or itinerary, travel insurance, proof of accommodation, proof of financial means and proof of employment.
- Make an appointment with your destination country's consulate/embassy/visa centre, and attend the visa interview.
- Pay the visa fee and wait to hear the results of your visa application.
Exemptions to requiring a visa in Iceland
There are some exemptions to the visa requirement for Iceland, and the extended Schengen area, depending on the type of visa you wish to obtain. Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your country of origin.
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