...

I traveled to Iceland as a vaccinated American and the entry and exit process was tedious, but easy if you understand the rules




Icelandair ticket counter at New York-JFK
Icelandair ticket counter at New York-JFK  
  • I traveled to Iceland as a vaccinated American and the process was easy, yet tedious.

  • Vaccinated travelers from the US need to present their vaccine card, a negative COVID test, and a pre-arrival form.

  • Reykjavik has a number of testing sites for Americans to get a COVID test before re-entering the US.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Americans are itching for a vacation, and the vaccine rollout has given travelers more freedom to go overseas.

TSA checkpoint at JFK
TSA checkpoint at JFK  

Iceland is one of the many European countries that allow vaccinated Americans to enter without quarantine, so I made the hop across the pond in early September.

Luggage for Iceland
Luggage for Iceland  

The entry and exit processes were tedious and there were specific steps I had to follow, including getting a negative covid test, having my vaccine card, and filling out pre-arrival paperwork.

Vaccine card and negative covid test
Vaccine card and negative covid test  

Accepted vaccines are Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Sinovac, and Sinopharm BIBP and covid tests must be either PCR or rapid antigen. Travelers who do not present a negative covid test will be fined 100,000 ISK ($781) at the border.

Source: Island.is

I flew Icelandair from New York's JFK International Airport to Keflavik Airport in Reykjavik. Icelandair is very transparent about the entry requirements for Iceland on its website.

Signs at JFK Terminal 7
Signs at JFK Terminal 7  

Source: Icelandair

To enter Iceland as a vaccinated American, visitors must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with at least 14 days past the final dose, receive a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours before the first leg of the journey, and pre-register their arrival.

Passport, COVID vaccine card, and mask
Passport, COVID vaccine card, and mask  

Certification of previous infection dated between 14 and 180 dates from arrival into Iceland is also acceptable at the border. These travelers do not need to present a negative covid test to enter without quarantine.

Source: Island.is

The pre-arrival form must be done online. I was required to fill out my departure and return date, my personal information, and certify I would get a COVID test before travel. Once submitted, I received a barcode in my email to verify it was complete.

Barcode from pre-arrival form
Barcode from pre-arrival form  

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, I was unable to check in online or on the mobile app and was instructed by Icelandair to collect my boarding pass at the desk.

Icelandair check-in email
Icelandair check-in email  

When I arrived at JFK, I made my way to the Icelandair check-in counter where signs reminded passengers to fill out the online pre-arrival form. You could not check in without it.

Reminders to fill out pre-arrival form
Reminders to fill out pre-arrival form  

The pre-arrival form can be found online.

At the counter, I was asked to present my negative COVID test, vaccine card, and pre-arrival form. The agent checked the date of my test and the result and verified my vaccine card was legitimate before handing me my boarding pass.

Icelandair check-in counter
Icelandair check-in counter  

For those who forgot or did not know to get a COVID test, JFK has a few options, including Adams Medical in Terminal 1, Xpresscheck in Terminal 4, and NYC Test & Trace Corps in Terminal 5. The test must be PCR, not rapid antigen.

COVID testing site at JFK Terminal 5
COVID testing site at JFK Terminal 5  

I did not have to show any COVID-related entry documents again until I landed in Iceland.

Icelandair Boeing 757 cabin
Icelandair Boeing 757 cabin  

Upon arrival in Reykjavik, I deplaned and headed to customs where airport employees split passengers into two lines - one for those entering Iceland and a second for those connecting to onward flights.

Two lines at Reykjavík Airport
Two lines at Reykjavík Airport  

The line looked long but only took about 15 minutes to clear. The customs agent only checked my passport but told me COVID documents would be verified later in the entry process.

Customs sign at Keflavik Airport
Customs sign at Keflavik Airport  

After passing customs, I made my way through the arrivals hall before coming to a large "Exit to Iceland" sign and a roped-off section for travelers entering the country.

Exit to Iceland sign
Exit to Iceland sign  

I made my way downstairs to a second counter where I was asked to present the barcode I received after filling out the pre-arrival form.

Travelers at Reykjavík Airport
Travelers at Reykjavík Airport  

Once the agents checked the barcode, I was directed to a third desk where my vaccine card, pre-arrival form, and negative COVID test were checked for a second time.

Keflavik Airport
Keflavik Airport  

The agent scanned my barcode and verified my vaccine card and test results before allowing me to exit the airport. About five minutes later, I received a text saying I was free to enter Iceland without quarantine

Text saying I don
Text saying I don't need to quarantine  

If I was unvaccinated, I would need to take a test at the border and undergo quarantine.

Source: Island.is

Getting back into the US was a simpler process and only required a negative COVID test taken no earlier than three days before departure from Iceland. Fortunately, Reykjavik had a handful of testing centers available.

Downtown Reykjavík
Downtown Reykjavík  

Source: CDC

I booked my test and received a barcode verifying my payment and appointment. The test cost me $60 and guaranteed I would have the results within 48 hours, which was perfect timing for my flight. Fortunately, I received my negative result in less than 24 hours with a QR code certifying its validity.

Negative covid result
Negative covid result  

For the return flight, I was once again unable to check in online due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Icelandiar check-in counter at Keflavik Airport
Icelandiar check-in counter at Keflavik Airport  

When the check-in counter opened at Keflavik, I only needed to show my negative COVID test to receive a boarding pass. After that, I was able to pass through security, passport control, and board the aircraft with only my passport.

Icelandiar check-in counter at Keflavik Airport
Icelandiar check-in counter at Keflavik Airport  

Upon arrival in JFK, I was not asked again for my negative COVID test and simply re-entered the US with just my passport.

CBP Global Entry kiosk
CBP Global Entry kiosk  
COMMENTS

More Related News

A Refreshed WeWork Goes Public, Finishing Up On Its First Day
A Refreshed WeWork Goes Public, Finishing Up On Its First Day

Following its IPO fiasco of 2019 and a series of scandals, WeWork began trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "WE" yesterday. Shares...

UK PM Johnson says fresh COVID lockdown not on the cards
UK PM Johnson says fresh COVID lockdown not on the cards
  • US
  • 2021-10-22 12:37:01Z

LONDON (Reuters) -British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday a new COVID-19 lockdown is not on the cards, as advisers warned that acting early with ...

CDC gives go-ahead to mix-and-match boosters, endorses second shot for J&J vaccine: COVID-19 updates
CDC gives go-ahead to mix-and-match boosters, endorses second shot for J&J vaccine: COVID-19 updates

The CDC signed off on mix-and-match COVID-19 booster shots, meaning clinics, doctors and pharmacies can begin giving them out Friday. COVID updates.

Analysis-Vaccinated Singapore shows zero-COVID countries cost of reopening
Analysis-Vaccinated Singapore shows zero-COVID countries cost of reopening
  • US
  • 2021-10-22 07:23:51Z

SINGAPORE (Reuters) -Few are left to inoculate in wealthy Singapore after a vigorous campaign achieved a level of coverage envied by many nations battling...

AP FACT CHECK: Biden overstates his record on COVID vaccine
AP FACT CHECK: Biden overstates his record on COVID vaccine
  • World
  • 2021-10-22 02:48:45Z

President Joe Biden botched the numbers behind the COVID-19 vaccine rollout Thursday as he stretched to take all the credit for the surge of shots once he...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Latin America