Depending on where you’re visiting from, you may need to apply for a visa to visit Iceland. Here’s our guide to entry and visa requirements for visiting this Nordic nation.

What you need to know about visas for Iceland

Iceland is not in the European Union (EU), but it is part of Schengen, an agreement between 26 countries allowing its nationals to travel visa-free between them. The Schengen area covers Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Passport holders of a number of countries outside the Schengen area can also travel visa-free to Iceland. These countries include Australia, Ireland, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, the UK and the United States, where citizens can stay in Iceland for up to 90 days in a 6-month period. You’ll need a valid passport or relevant travel document of at least three months beyond your intended stay.

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Nationals of other states (see list here) must apply for a short-stay Schengen visa (or so-called C-visa) before traveling to Iceland or the rest of the Schengen area. The visa allows for a maximum stay of 90 days in any 6-month period. Such visas are intended for tourists, business trips, family visits, official visits and short-term studies.

A wild horse looks into the camera with mountains in the background
Wild horses near Heggstadir © David Noton / Lonely Planet

You can apply for a short-stay C-visa at embassies and consulates abroad in the cities listed on the website of the Icelandic Directorate of Immigration (UTL). Many of the embassies and consulates use service providers for receiving applications. Note that individuals who have been granted a residence permit in Iceland but require a visa to travel to the country, must apply for a so-called D-visa.

Visas for nationals of most countries cost €80 (approx US$95) for adults and €40 (approx US$46) for children aged 6-12 years (there is no charge for children under 6 years). Although in most cases it takes no more than 15 days to process a visa, it can take longer. So it’s worth applying for your visa at least three weeks in advance. Be sure to check the full list of requirements – which can include things like proof of travel medical insurance and financial means – with the consulate, embassy or service provider before applying.

Visas can only be extended beyond 90 days in exceptional circumstances. Application for extensions can be submitted to the Icelandic Directorate of Immigration in Reykjavík. Multi-entry visas allowing for repeated 90-day stays in the Schengen area in each 180-day period of up to 5 years can be granted upon meeting certain conditions.

Working holiday permits for Iceland are only available to Japanese nationals who reside in Japan and are aged 18-26 years old. The permit is valid for one year. For information on working holiday permits, visit the website of the Directorate of Immigration. Nationals of other countries and those planning on working for a longer period of time, will need to apply for a residence permit based on work.

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