When Will Americans Be Allowed To Visit Iceland?

Filed Under: Icelandair, Travel

Going back several weeks, Iceland looked like the most promising country for Americans to be able to visit this summer.

While the country was first going to allow Americans as of June 15, that was then pushed back to July 1. Where does that stand now, given the new recommendation by the European Union on borders reopening (which also apply to EEA countries)?

Iceland’s original plan for a summer tourist season

I know many of us were excited about the possibility of an Icelandic summer, as the country was supposed to open up to tourists as of June 15:

Why Iceland added last minute restrictions

Unfortunately Iceland’s entry rules were changed just a week before Iceland was supposed to open to tourists. This largely came down to a technicality.

The plan was originally for the European Union’s external borders to open as of June 15, and that had been pushed back to July 1.

While Iceland was fully prepared to welcome American tourists, the country went with the recommendations set by the European Union, which recommended external border closures through July 1. While Iceland doesn’t belong to the EU, these recommendations also applied to EEA countries.

Iceland has no plans to welcome Americans

When it was announced that external EU/EEA borders would be closed until July 1, Iceland’s Justice Minister, Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir, announced that the country would open to all non-Schengen visitors as of July 1, regardless of the recommendation of the European Union.

Note that all of these border restrictions from the European Union are merely recommendations for individual countries. Countries can choose not to go along with recommendations, and it just impacts internal border rules. Iceland had been preparing for this, as the country was setting up the airport in a way that would require all passengers to go through passport control.

So is Iceland allowing American visitors as of today? Nope.

This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, but Iceland is once again following the new EU recommendations, and still won’t allow Americans. In addition to allowing visitors from the EU/EEA, Iceland is allowing visitors from the following 15 countries, which have been agreed upon by EU countries:

  • Algeria
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Georgia
  • Japan
  • Montenegro
  • Morocco
  • New Zealand
  • Rwanda
  • Serbia
  • South Korea
  • Thailand
  • Tunisia
  • Uruguay
  • China, subject to reciprocity

At this point Iceland has no plans to welcome Americans, which I can’t blame them for. The country will continue going along with EU recommendations, and the EU will only allow Americans once our number of cases drops significantly.

Icelandair will keep flying to the US

Icelandair will continue to operate flights to the US over the coming weeks:

  • Through July 20, Icelandair will operate 2x weekly flights to Boston and 1x weekly flights to Seattle
  • As of July 20, Icelandair will operate 4x weekly flights to Boston and 2x weekly flights to New York

There are a limited number of travelers eligible to take these flights (based on having EU/EEA passports), but it’s my understanding that these flights are operated primarily to carry essential cargo.

I would expect the schedules to still change significantly, though.

Bottom line

This doesn’t come as much of a surprise, but Iceland will continue to go along with EU recommendations on what visitors should be allowed in the country. This means that Americans won’t be allowed to visit Iceland until further notice.

EU travel restrictions are being reviewed every two weeks, and are based on the number of new cases in a country. Until the cases drop significantly in the US, don’t expect to be allowed in Iceland…

  1. I think it will depend on where you live and are flying from rather than your passport. I have a UK passport but have lived in Norway for 21 years; I will be able to travel freely in Scandinavia from next week because I live here and am entering from Norway – UK residents are prohibited entry at present.

  2. If Ford is your spouse, isn’t he eligible for a German passport, so it wouldn’t matter either way?

  3. Give the German passport thing a try. Your amusement is way more important than the safety of people who actually live in Europe.

  4. Unfotunately it wuld be very imprudent for them to let in people coming from the U.S. Infection rates are still very high in the U.S. and will continue to be so due to premature opening. Testing on arrival sounds nice, but the tests aren’t accurate enough and in any case by the point you’re quarantining them or sending them back, they’ve infected lots of others. So for exmple, if someone tests positive you’d need to send the whole planeload back.

    Sucks, but it’s a consequence of our inept response.

  5. @Lucky — When you say, “Am I eligible to enter Iceland (or many EU countries) between July 1,” do you mean “before July 1”?

  6. @ JK — I can’t ask a question to understand the rules? If I were to even consider doing this based on being allowed (and I haven’t put thought into it yet, I’m just genuinely curious to understand the rules), I would get tested both before I left, and upon arrival, and would take all appropriate precautions. I take this situation seriously. And again, the rules aren’t about where you’ve been in the past 14 days, they’re based around nationality.

  7. @ Laurel — Unfortunately German citizenship for spouses is much more complicated than that…

  8. @Laurel: not all EU countries are the same but Italy for example you have to be married for at least 5 years before you can request a passport to your wife or husband. The process itself is so bureaucratic that it is done for you to not even try it. If you try it you will probably need to wait a minimum of 3 years to hear back from them. Im sum, it is a huge painful process.

  9. Because Iceland’s in schengen I don’t think they have the right to just open up without the approval of some governing body to allow non schengen passport holders. With that said, idk how it’s even enforced if you come with a US passport via say Norway. I’m a Norwegian citizen but have lived in the US since I was 2 & have a green card. Does that mean I can come to Iceland if I flew via Spain? I doubt it, also what if you’re an American citizen coming from Greece? You have no contact with American Coronavirus patients, why shouldn’t you be allowed in? This whole thing makes no sense to me, it doesn’t seem possible to blanket ban people based on their passport, it should be based on where they come from but more importantly, if you get tested BEFORE you get on the plane and it’s negative, I don’t see what the problem is

  10. @ Ben,

    Like you, I have US/EU (France) citizenship and 2 passports, genuinely hoping to go to France / Spain in August, but my concern with the rules is much more about WHERE people have been than WHAT NATIONALITY (ies) they hold. At this point, I consider myself safe to others (tested neg., unfortunately with no antibodies) and taking loads of precautions which I do not relax.

    Of course, I have been avoiding sweaty promiscuous (in the past pandemic, it was SEX, now it’s DEMONSTRATIONS) increasing 10xfold or more the risks.

    As to not knowing the rules, not only do I have no clue of what they will be in 6 weeks, but those in charge of elaborating and applying them have no idea either. It literally varies with each person in charge you ask.

    AFAIK, the border bridges between Hendaye (France) and Irun (Spain) over the Bidasoa are now manned for controls by the Police of both countries (a first in 30 years), but there’s nobody to prevent you from swimming across from one beach to the other (about 150 ft), which all kids have been routinely doing every summer. Of course, it’s “Hand baggage only”.

    Seriously, I’ll decide in 4-5 weeks. Planes will be empty anyway…

  11. @Laurel , Germany doesn’t allow double citizenship unless you were born with them like Ben, so Ford must give up his American citizenship if he wants the German one, plus have lived there for at least three years

  12. @lucky I understand and encourage your enthusiasm to study Iceland travel. The whole world including myself wants a loophole to save summer vacations. Meanwhile, I will keep reading the One Iceland at a Time blog 🙂

  13. If you end up going to Iceland do the right thing: DON’T just stay in a high end resort. Get in a car, drive around, go on a multi-day trek, sleep in a tent (or in a van!), go whale watching in Grundarfjordur, the whole nine yards. And spend as little time as possible in the cities, they ain’t that much.

  14. You can get zero dollar out of pocket testing here in the US. I don’t know why you would ever wait until you get to Iceland to get this this if you ultimately go. There is absolutely no reason to not have a test done before you get on the plane. You don’t want to be stuck abroad to find out you have an asymptomatic case.

  15. Although from the link @Claas shared, it seems like they are no longer willing to accept a test w/in 48 hours from abroad.

  16. Would anyone has an idea if 14 day quarantine policy upon re entree to the States is up for review?
    It is all nice and peachy to finally travel, however, what are we facing coming back to US after much wanted European get away?

  17. Arriving to Iceland from a non-Schengen country is different from arriving from a Schengen country. You must go through Immigration, and it’s my understanding all the Coronovirus screening/testing/etc happens before you go through Immigration and Customs.

    Also, despite the official stating that the country will re-open to non Schengen passport holders on July 1st, “regardless of what other EU nations do”, there is still a fair chance that July 1st date will be pushed back, and it’s hard to imagine Iceland breaking policies with other Schengen countries.

  18. I would say NO.
    I am a Brit with resident status in US) and much as I would love to travel I cant see a country wanting us anytime soon..

    Once again I will say any sane country will only allow travellers from “safe” countries … ie those have controlled the virus..

    US has not .. infact here in Florida cases are rising faster now than in March & April.. so the answer is NO matter what passport you hold.. it will be where you are travelling from….

  19. Hi Ben!
    The resort in the front pic of this article looks amazing and would love to know where that is! Mind if you share it with us? 🙂

  20. Ben, just curious, what is the name of the hotel in the picture for this article? Is that flowing water at the patio? Thanks

  21. That’s the Blue Lagoon, it’s a fun place. Hopefully still closed though, since a spa isn’t exactly a good spot for social distancing.

  22. It will be interesting to see how Iceland actually implements flights to the United States. Currently anyone apart from US citizens and residents, and certain family members are prohibited from entering the US if they have been in Iceland within the past 14 days. Additionally upon returning to the US, “Passengers will then be given written guidance about COVID-19 and directed to their final destination, and immediately home-quarantine in accordance with CDC best practices.” The CDC is still saying to stay home for 14 days upon return from any international travel. Unless something changes even a short trip to Iceland turns into a multiweek affair.

    “The Department is taking action in furtherance of the public health interests advanced by the March 11th presidential proclamation which suspends entry to nearly all foreign nationals who have been in certain European countries, China and Iran at any point during the 14 days prior to their scheduled travel to the U.S. On May 25, 2020, these restrictions were expanded to Brazil.

    These European countries include: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the U.K. This Presidential Proclamation does not apply to U.S. citizens, legal permanent residents, nor their family members under the age of 21, and other individuals who are identified in the proclamation. Nor does it apply to cargo and maritime shipping.”

  23. Lucky, here’s Timatic as of today. In short, you both may enter thanks to your German passport, but there’s a mandatory 14 day quarantine.

    Note that Schengen only exists in theory right now. You could not, for instance, enter Finland.

    Iceland (Rep.)
    Published 08.06.2020
    1. Passengers are not allowed to enter Iceland.
    – This does not apply to:
    – nationals of EEA Member States and Switzerland;
    – passengers with a British passport;
    – passengers with a residence permit issued by a Schengen Member State;
    – family members of nationals of EEA Member States, Switzerland and of British nationals;
    – diplomats;
    – health and care workers traveling on duty;
    – humanitarian aid workers;
    – international organizations personnel;
    – passengers that require international protection;
    – passengers traveling on family emergencies;
    – members of armed forces traveling on duty.
    2. Passengers traveling through Iceland on their way to another Schengen Member State must have a written confirmation of their permission to enter the other Schengen Member State.
    3. Passengers are subject to quarantine for 14 days.
    – This does not apply to passengers arriving from Faeroe Islands or Greenland.
    Effective 15 June 2020:
    Passengers are subject to a Coronavirus (COVID-19) test or quarantine for 14 days.
    – This does not apply to passengers arriving from Faeroe Islands or Greenland.

  24. Just give it up. Seriously give it up. The US is FAILING. The covidiots have won and cases are surging across the country because they just had to open up early. Soon the world will know the US can’t be trusted and borders will remain closed to all of us. I mean we can’t even get some of these morons to wear masks. Why would any country trust american travelers at this point?

  25. Joining Roman and Linds in the burning curiosity about the photo 🙂 Whatever it is, it’s gorgeous! It’s a hotel, I assume?

  26. @ Bill. I’m with you. My response to Lucky is “OMG, you’re like a dog with a bone! WTF!”

  27. Sitting in New Zealand, and looking at the number of infections starting to increase again in parts of the US, I think the removing the 14 day quarantine for anyone coming from the US would be political suicide for the govt.

  28. To all the people asking about the headline photo. This is from Blue Lagoon as pointed out, but specifically from The Retreat at Blue Lagoon.
    It’s from this exact spot: https://goo.gl/maps/7J9jNWwpFRiYMT4w8

    The Retreat is +1000USD per night resort, but you can enjoy Bláa Lónið without staying the night. I definitely recommend it. In fact I highly recommend all of Iceland =)

  29. The WHO does not recommend travel restrictions at all! Go look at their website if you don’t believe me. But I can’t figure out why they feel this way yet almost all countries have or had implemented them. Politics perhaps? Why isn’t anyone talking about this?

    Testing upon arrival? Assuming the tests are accurate, it will only show those infected that the test can measure. It may not show people who may have become infected a certain number of hours prior. These infected people would then be circulating in the country.

  30. @ Andy is correct . In Europe , you can visit some countries from other European countries whatever your nationality , but each country has its own regulations and you can only enter from ”Approved counties ” .
    Have a look at what Cyprus has done , it is a favourite EU holiday destination : https://cyprusflightpass.gov.cy

  31. In general, the answer is a qualified yes. At this moment, you and your spouse would only be able to exercise the right to enter the country of citizenship. You should be able to enter any other EU state, but the regulations specify that you should be in transit to your state of citizenship. Not all member states have banned entry; rather, specific regulations on non-citizens is left to domestic policy. To that end, Iceland currently permits EU nationals and immediate family to enter, but imposes a 14 day quarantine. The key change is that on Jun 15th, EU citizens and family will be permitted to follow the testing regimen as an alternative to quarantine. It should go without saying, but if you decide to go this route, be sure to have proof of marriage — e.g., US marriage certificate with an apostille. For Iceland, I doubt a translation would be required. For other countries, ymmv.

  32. I don’t think you would be allowed to enter the Schengen Area unless you had a good reason for it (and vacationing in Iceland obviously isn’t). The rule exempting EU-Nationals from the border closure is rather aimed at them returning back home or to their families (so that EU nationals living outside of the EU, and not anymore officially residing in the EU can still return to their homes; if for whichever reason they prefer it over remaining overseas).

    I don’t think this is your case; and it would not surprise me if Icelandic authorities refused you access to the country (unless maybe you say, you are transiting to Germany to go to your parents’ or something similar – which wouldn’t be your case I guess). From the 15th of June things may change slightly, but I suppose that EU nationals living abroad will still not be allowed to enter the EU if they just plan to travel around

  33. The Nordic countries have just announced inter-regional travel. Take Finland for example – it is the country you travel from that counts.

    “On 12 June 2020, the Government decided on the partial extension of internal border control and the restriction of external border traffic until 14 July 2020. These instructions issued by the Finnish border guard provide passengers with information on the changes that apply to permitted cross-border traffic as of 15 May.

    As of 15 June 2020, internal border control will be terminated for traffic between Finland and Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania as well as for recreational boats between Schengen countries. The aforementioned traffic is unrestricted at all airports and in all ports, provided that the point of transport is open.”

  34. Look, regarding the US, I’m in NH, there are few case, but we are being very careful, going few places, always mask always washing hands and hand sanitizer.
    Hope to go to Iceland in Aug, if its open and US citizens can go, we are going. I know some places in US might be bad, but there is like 0 chance we have or will have COVID.
    Seems to me though, that best way to keep everyone safe would be for Iceland to have testing at the Boston Airport, test in Boston in the morning, then the flight leaves in the evening, only those who pass the test get on. That seems like a no-brainer, and I think every flight from US to Iceland either starts in Boston, or stops there before the last leg

  35. This was my entire last 3 months.

    We got to the USA from Bali. I’m American and I was traveling with a Finnish National.

    We have been calling border control, everyone. And yes, with my British passport I could go to Iceland so I will not be separated from my partner (not family member because we have’t lived together for 2 years) if there was ONE FRICKEN flight available from Boston. He must leave the country by June 20th. So we will be separated or go to the UK to quarantine where I know noone and the cases are horrible.

    The end goal was to go to his home in Finland.

    And I can’t believe that it is this difficult for 3 months to try to get there as a Brit/American who resides in neither country and travels fulltime.

  36. Kudos to Iceland did the right thing to protect their citizens. Americans are more of freedom first than taking responsibility in helping to contain the virus and the government is incapable of managing the crisis. That’s the reason number of infected people are so high…

  37. @ LT:

    Who on earth (literally) still has the slightest confidence in the WHO?
    …(Unless of course you mean the Wuhan Hazard Outspreader)

  38. On a slightly different subject – does anyone know about the French & Dutch “owned” islands in the Caribbean and the French island of Reunion in the Pacific? Technically, they fall under French and Dutch rule and are members of the EU. Are they also prohibiting US travelers ?

  39. @AlanT98

    Germany does allow dual citizenship. If your other nationality is an EU or Swiss one, it is allowed.

  40. Does anyone know why China is singled out for reciprocity but NZ and Australia aren’t? As far as I’m aware NZ and Oz aren’t allowing foreign nationals, let alone allowing their own citizens leaving the country.

  41. Forget Iceland. Do something useful and productive: volunteer on a soup kitchen round, work in an animal shelter, help the elderly…anything but prattle on endlessly about Iceland. You must have a backlog of a million topics for the blog; your readers are not going to disappear simply because there’s not up-to-the-minute report from Reykjavik.

  42. When will Americans be able to travel to Europe? Good question. When will the US stop electing Presidents who finish in second-place in the popular vote? Both problems are directly tied to US Constitution favoring less populated states, and the “dis”United States refusing to have country-wide health care system. So, to answer to both questions: “Not in the foreseeable future”.

  43. For those of you
    who are in USA, let me explain how EU is working in general ( There are some exceptions ) . Each EU country decides its own list of countries, A- no risk ,B a little riskier , C higher risk all based on the R factor ( google can explain it ) . Permanent residents of an EU country can come home subject to testing before departure from origin and having correct residency papers and a test certificate not older than 72 hours from departure day and time . . Tourists ( that means not permanent residents or citizens ) can come from countries A and B , but not from C . The EU Government drafts the basic rules and each countries adopts what it wants depending on its situation. So far USA is NOT listed in any EU countries A and B list , only in C list . It is not about having a US passport . The restrictions are for ”travellers from the USA ”. Reason : USA virus track record is poor and getting worse . Sorry but we have all been through it in EU , we controlled it , we obeyed our governments and locked down , we wore masks, we social distanced . if people in USA chose not to follow their governments rules , then the virus will spread more and you will not get to visit EU for sometime . Be patient in America and try to understand why you are being prevented from visiting Europe . It will open for you sometime .

  44. @Andy: France has two categories of overseas territories: DOM and TOM. The former is a departement d’outre mer and is basically treated as a regular part of France. TOMs have more autonomy. Martinique, Guadeloupe & Reunion are DOMs for instance, while French Polynesia is a TOM. They’re subject to French jurisdiction on foreign affairs regardless, this would include immigration matters.

  45. Honestly, as long as noone is willing to follow procedures, medical advise or government recommendations I am happy that you guys aren’t allowed into Europe. We worked hard to flatten the curve and protect our citizens and elderly and confined ourselves for a given period, those are rights that we do not give up lightly just to spread it then by people who argue that a mask is prohibiting gods will to breath air…. (yes I know this is only a small group that thinks this).

    I would predict, that EU borders will not open before 2021 for Americans in general. However, I could imagine that states with good Covid measurements in place and a good protection from others states like NY and NJ do could be allowed entry into Europe earlier.

  46. Well, does it make you think if something is amiss, when you are not allowed into the EU, but citzens of the 3rd world country Rwanda are ? 😀

  47. And some Americans are STILL lecturing people on why masks don’t work, or why social distancing is a myth etc. despite the fact that they’ve just surpassed 50k new cases yesterday. Yes, the world should absolutely take an American’s advice about COVID 19 very seriously.

    You’d think the daily new highs would teach the anti-mask, “social distance is useless” crowd to shut up, because reality.

    Apparently not.

  48. @loop86 and others.

    The US is a big country. I live in Pennsylvania, don’t tar us all with the same brush. Believe me, we have worked hard here too to control the outbreak.

    Look at the southern and western states.

    Unfortunately, it will all be seen as one entity by overseas territories, as there is no/little control on movement.

  49. @Gary
    Pretending one party is better than the other is the real problem. Trump’s response has been horrific but the democrats have been no better and often even worse. They accused Trump of being xenophobic when he banned Chinese and disapproved of banning Western Europe. Pelosi wanted us all to be having dinner in Chinatown. And don’t get me started on the democrats who banned church gatherings yet did nothing when protests erupted throughout their cities. And the Republicans who reopened bars, etc. Neither side cares less about the american public unless it meets their agenda. Even the LGBT community joins in on June 29th ignoring all common sense – I would have thought that they in particular learned something during the AIDS epidemic. The US is doomed until its population joins together and quits pretending they are immune whenever their stated purpose contradicts medical science. Otherwise herd immunity is the only remaining option. The US needs a third party candidate more now than ever in its history.

  50. @Mark: Thats why I wrote that it is only a limited number of people that belive the god/mask bullshit and that I think that selective US states might be allowed before the whole population. Because we follow news and statistics here and we can differentiate.

    Belive me I am aware of Covid developments in NY, NJ, PY and so on, thats why I believe that those states that have low figures and follow common sense protection measures might be allowed back into the EU at an earlier state. But it is just a guess.

    As someone working in aviation I really hope it goes that way, because both continents need the business and exchange, otherwise a lot of airlines will go bankrupt. EU-US ist still a backbone in the aviation industry.

  51. Dear Lucky, we know we’re your product but can you please please please clearly highlight updated articles as being updated? We know it’s your blog and you will write what you want, but could you do this for us? If it’s too much to ask please say so. This ridiculous studied silence of yours serves no purpose

  52. @alan all politicians want power. However there are times we must choose the lesser of two evils. In India it’s the Congress. In The USA it’s the Dems.

  53. ,@Sarah
    Not sure how you can call the Dems the lesser of two evils. Trump may be a disaster but he has yet to start a new war during his term. Obama literally destroyed Libya and Syria and continued the destruction of Iraq and Aghanistan. Americans are so blind they cannot see the blatant destruction their country gifts to the world. If you’re going to vote for the lesser evil person (I would recommend just staying home) then Trump is your choice as Biden was the leading democrat in support of the Iraq war as well as many others. His current rhetoric on Russia and China is even to the right of Trump.

  54. Maybe I missed something – but why is this blog talking about visiting Iceland every two days?

  55. @alan Trump isn’t bothered about the Russians offering bounties to the Taliban for killing US soldiers. Anyone is to the right of Trump when it comes to Russia
    The Republicans are spitting on the Constitution at every step, disenfranchising voters, self dealing, and let’s not forget Mitch McConnell is married into Chinese big business. So do tell how the Republicans are a lesser evil unless you support harming the constitution, and selling out to the Chinese

  56. Hello all
    I certainly understand countries not wanting to let people in from other countries who have areas whose numbers are still rising. No problem with this at all. However, to say these numbers in the US are due to its inept response compels me to present facts. The US shut down when some areas had not yet been infected, e.g. Texas, Florida, Arizona. When this happens, the virus does not go away, it is still there and waiting to do what a virus will do. (Yes, I am a medical professional). You can control the rate of spread. You can not control it spreading (outside of a vaccine). The US is a much larger country with many more people for the virus to go through and the virus had a slight head start in Europe and in certain parts of the US. The US is testing more and the total number was bound to go up. On a positive note, the death rate is NOT rising.
    I completely understand other countries not allowing us in. I also hope this can happen with a proper understanding of the actual facys

  57. @Steph
    How can you possibly say the US response was not inept? China has five times the population yet they have managed to control the virus and in the initial stages they did not even have the advantage of even knowing it was a new virus. Or consider Vietnam and South Korea which are much more densely populated than the US. As a medical professional you should know better.

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *