Should You Carry Your Passport With You in Iceland? – You don’t have to carry your passport with you as you travel throughout Iceland, but you’ll want to make sure your passport has at least three months of validity remaining after your planned departure, and six months of validity is recommended.
Plan on leaving two pages in your passport for your entry stamp, but get ready for some of the most eye-catching scenery you may have ever witnessed yourself!
The vast majority of the Icelandic population resides in its capital, Reykjavik, known for running on geothermal power. The Nordic nation features massive, protected glaciers in its Snæfellsjökull and Vatnajökull national parks, as well as its Saga and National museums, which showcase Iceland’s rich Viking history.
Do You Need a Tourist Visa to Enter Iceland?
You do not need to worry about applying for a tourist visa if your stay in Iceland is for less than 90 days. Contact an Icelandic embassy or consulate for details about long-term visas, customs, etc., or visit their website. You’ll need to show proof of sufficient funds to stay (or a credit card), and proof of your return ticket.
Should I Carry My Passport When I Travel Throughout Iceland?
Once you have entered Iceland you are not expected to carry your passport with you, though you should carry some form of valid photo ID if you need to present it for any reason. The police do not make routine random stops on the street, but at your hotel, bank, or if you should get into an auto accident, have your ID ready. Also, it doesn’t hurt to carry a photocopy of your passport around with you as well, just in case. You can leave the original locked up at your hotel or other lodgings until it’s time for you to leave the country.
Can I Carry My Passport In Iceland?
If you’re more comfortable carrying the original hardcopy of your passport with you as you travel around Iceland, be sure to carry it safely inside a security pocket of your pants, or in a money/security belt around your waist. In this instance, also keep a photocopy of your passport locked up at your hotel, and carry a photocopy with you securely in another pocket with you along with a valid photo identification. As one added layer of security, scan your passport, and any travel insurance documentation, then email these scans to yourself so you can easily access them electronically if you should be required to.
The U.S. State Department highly recommends that you treat your passport like a valuable by keeping it secured under lock and key at your hotel while touring around.
Can the U.S. Embassy Intervene on Behalf of U.S. Citizens in Iceland?
Iceland and the United States maintain friendly relations, though the reach and influence of U.S. diplomatic services can only do so much for you in immigration matters. If you are implicated in criminal activity, the U.S. cannot intervene on your behalf, and legal penalties won’t be waived.
Tips for Entry, Exit, and Traveling Through Iceland
1 – Iceland has never had any terrorist incidents, though Europe is known for countless terrorist cells plotting occasional attacks throughout the region. European governments, including the Icelandic government, are vigilant and on their guard against terrorist attacks, though even the highest security measures are not foolproof.
2 – Iceland features a much lower crime rate than in the United States and in other countries, though violent crimes do occur from time to time in Iceland. Exercise prudence, vigilance, and common sense whenever traveling.
3 – Never leave bags containing valuables, including your passport, unattended anywhere (in bars, airports, nightclubs, public places, etc.). Do not leave your valuables in parked vehicles, even when locked.
4 – Downtown Reykjavik can become rowdy late at night until early morning, when people are out at bars and clubs, then while leaving. Don’t roam around downtown Reykjavik alone, and avoid poorly lit areas.
5 – It is recommended that all U.S. citizens enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) for important alerts, security messages, alerts, and to make it easier to be located during an emergency.
6 – Visitors to Iceland are subject to all local laws. Violation of these laws can get you arrested, imprisoned, and even deported. This includes drug possession, use, or distribution. The U.S. Embassy cannot do much for you if you’ve been caught violating Iceland’s laws.
Some crimes, including those against minors and elders, are also punishable in the United States, regardless of where these violations occurred or of what the local laws will allow. U.S. citizens arrested or detained should ask the Icelandic police or other officials to alert the U.S. Embassy immediately.
7 – Importation of whale products to the United States is strictly prohibited. Though whale meat and other byproducts made using whale parts are sold throughout Iceland, the Marine Mammal Protection Act makes it expressly illegal to bring any such whale-based products back to the United States. The importation of any such products will result in the seizure of the goods and possible criminal penalties, including jail time and fines up to $10,000 USD.
8 – Before visiting Iceland (or any other country), it’s recommended for travelers to be current with all vaccinations required by their home health administration office (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for U.S. citizens). Always check the country’s website for pertinent information regarding other vaccinations that might be required.
9 – The medical care available in Iceland is high quality. For U.S. citizens, the Medicare and Medicaid programs do not cover medical expenses, nor does the U.S. Embassy. It’s recommended to purchase personal medical Insurance for yourself and your family members traveling with you: Double check that your health insurance plan offers coverage in foreign countries. It’s also strongly recommended to purchase supplemental medical evacuation insurance. Most medical providers in other countries take cash payments only.
10 – If you happen to be on prescription medication, it’s a good idea to verify with the Icelandic government that your prescription medication is legal to bring into their country. Always carry prescription medication in its original packaging with your doctor’s signed prescription.
11 – Drivers in Iceland drive on the right side of the road. Drivers in Iceland are also required to always have their headlights ON. Always inform someone of your travel plans.
12 – Icelandic road conditions may differ quite a bit from those you may be used to (less than one-third of Iceland’s roads are paved). Many roads outside of the capital city are not driveable during winter (October to April). Also note that driving in the winter comes with limited daylight hours, and you should plan accordingly so as to not get stranded somewhere unfamiliar in the dark of night. Some rural roads are impassable from April to July due to melting snow and flash flooding.
13 – Many bridges in Iceland are only one lane wide (signs will say “Enibreid bru”). Proceed with caution.
So, Should You Carry Your Passport With You in Iceland?
Visitors to Iceland are not required to carry their passports on their person, though you should carry some valid form of photo identification with you. You may also decide to carry a photocopy of your passport with you, as well as an electronic copy while leaving your original passport locked up in your hotel room.
You may need to present a photo ID at a bank or at the reception desk of your hotel, but Icelandic police do not typically stop individuals on the street without cause. You only need a visa to visit Iceland if you plan on staying more than 90 days for school or for business.
Upon entry into the country, you’ll also need to show proof of a return ticket and proof of sufficient funds (or credit cards). Your passport should be valid for six months following your intended departure from Iceland.