Schengen Visa for Iceland: How to apply

NAME: Axel Strauss 
DATE: 25/03/2024

Though officially considered part of Europe, geographically speaking, Iceland is technically both in Europe and North America. But that’s in no way the only thing that makes this magical little island so interesting. The safest country in the world is also the only NATO member with no standing army. And home to some of the world’s most breathtaking nature and fascinating culture. 

From lush greenery to volcanic peaks. From pristine glaciers to geothermal pools to the Northern lights. From the vibrant capital of Reykjavik to amazingly friendly people all around, Iceland draws in nearly 2 million international visitors a year. And if you plan to be one of them and need a Schengen visa — AXA has all you need to know below. 

Do I need a visa to visit Iceland?

Whether you even need a visa will depend on where you’re coming from. Because Iceland — along with being the birthplace of Björk — is one of 27 members of the Schengen Zone. And this means that most visitors from outside the Schengen zone must apply for a Schengen visa to enter its borders for stays of up to 90 days. So here’s who specifically does and does not.

Which travelers don’t need a Schengen visa to come to Iceland (for stays of less than 90 days)?

You don’t need a Schengen visa for Iceland if you are: 

And AXA can tell you more about who doesn’t need a Schengen visa too

*NOTE FOR VISITORS FROM THE U.K.: If you are a U.K BRP (i.e., biometric residence permit) and/or IRL (i.e., indefinite leave to remain) holder, then whether you need a Schengen visa or not will depend on the country where you hold citizenship. So to make sure you have all the latest info — we recommend you consult the UK Government’s Official Website’s Travel to the EU/Schengen section. And double-check with the Official Website of the EU (and that of your home country) too.

Which travelers are required to apply for a Schengen visa for Iceland?

You will need a Schengen Visa for Iceland if you’re a national of a country that does not have a visa waiver agreement with the EU. And this includes passport holders from Africa, India, Russia, most countries in Asia and the Middle East, and nearly a hundred others. 

PRO-TIP 1: You can see of countries whose citizens must have a visa when crossing the external borders and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement_en.pdf"> full lists of the aforementioned countries courtesy of the European Commission

PRO-TIP 2: And AXA can help you figure out whether you need a Schengen visa in no time too.

How do I apply for a visa to go to Iceland?

If you’re still reading this, then it seems you will need a Schengen visa for Iceland indeed. In this case, you will first and foremost need to figure out which Schengen visa you want. And this will depend on the particular nature of your trip.

What are the different types of Schengen visas?

The four basic types of Schengen Visa are business, work, student, and short-stay. The short-stay Schengen (aka the Type C or “tourist”) visa is by far the most common, and it allows for travel to all 27 Schengen countries — including Iceland — for up to 90 days in any 180-day period.

 A Type A (aka “airport transit”) visa, meanwhile, allows citizens of non-Schengen States to wait for a connecting flight or — you guessed it — transit through Iceland’s airports (or those of any other Schengen state). 

You should opt for a multiple-entry visa if you’re planning more than one trip to the Schengen Zone. 

If you have a partner living, working, and/or studying in Iceland, there are a few different options too. 

And if you plan on staying in the land of ice and elves for more than three months, you’ll need a National visa (aka a “long-term” or Type D).

What documents are required to obtain a Schengen visa for Iceland?

Next, start gathering the proper paperwork. What that is exactly may vary depending on the nature of your trip, your nationality, and your country of origin. But make sure you have, at the very least: 

  • Your passport (issued within the last 10 years, with a validity of more than 3 months after the planned date of exit from the Schengen area) 
  • A Schengen visa application form (duly completed and signed). 
  • Two recent passport photos 
  • Your itinerary 
  • Travel insurance (NOTE: Travel insurance is mandatory and must meet several criteria in order to be accepted with your visa application — but more on that below) 
  • Proof of sufficient funds* (if applicable) 
  • Proof of the purpose of the trip such as a letter of invitation (if applicable) 
  • Your residence permit and/or resident card 
  • Proof of accommodation (if applicable) 
  • Proof of socio-economic and professional stability (if applicable) 
  • For minors — certified parental or guardian authorization 

*SUFFICIENT FUNDS: To enter Iceland, you must prove you have at least 145€ (per each entry) and around 29€ per each day that you plan to spend in the country. 

IMPORTANT: Keep in mind that — while AXA continuously strives to provide the most reliable and up-to-date information regarding travel to Iceland (and all of the Schengen Zone) — Schengen embassies/consulates may modify their visa rules and regulations at any time. 

Fortunately, the Government of Iceland’s official website has all you need to know about their Schengen visa application process (for example, a handy little tourism checklist that you can download/print to make sure you covered all the bases).

When and where should I apply for my Schengen visa to Iceland?

In terms of timing, your Icelandic Schengen visa application should be submitted no earlier than six months and no later than 15 days before your departure date. 

Once your application is received, you’ll also need to come in for an in-person interview (for biometrics collection, with all the required paperwork). So make sure you give yourself plenty of time to sort everything out beforehand. 

And as far as where to go, the Government of Iceland also provides details not only on exactly what documents you need — but also on how and where to apply depending on what country you’re in. 

In some countries, for example, Iceland — like many other Schengen states — outsources its visa application process via the company VFS Global

The Icelandic government provides specific links for applying from China, India, Russia, the U.S., and the U.K. too: 

PRO-TIP 3: Moreover, residents of India, the U.K., and the U.S. also have the option to begin their application process online.* 

Meanwhile, information about requirements in other countries can be found via the website of the Icelandic Directorate of Immigration

*PRO-TIP 4: You will still need to be physically present at some point to apply for a Schengen visa — no matter where you’re applying from. However, the EU does plan to bring the whole Schengen Visa application process online eventually. And AXA can tell you all about this great news too.

How much does a Schengen visa for Iceland cost?

The costs of the Schengen Visa, meanwhile, are universal. And so the standard fee for one adult to come to Iceland is €80. 

If you’re between the ages of six and twelve, it’s €40. 

And children under the age of six can get a Schengen visa for Iceland for free. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: In early 2024, the European Commission announced that it had “assessed the need to revise the visa fee amounts and concluded that they should be increased.” The proposed increase would mean that Schengen visas for Iceland cost 90€ (i.e., a 10€ increase) for adults and 45€ (i.e., a 5€ increase) for children. However, there is no set date for the increase as of yet. 

PRO-TIP 5: AXA can also tell you more about a few other key changes Europe has planned for 2024.

What about ETIAS and EES?

The European Information and Authorization System (aka ETIAS) is another thing the EU seems to be working on for some time now. This will be a new, mostly digital system of requirements for entering Europe. But it’s taking some time to get off the ground and — according to the EU’s official website — is most recently set to go into effect in “mid-2025.” 

Moreover, in order for ETIAS to go into effect, the EU first needs to implement its counterpart EES (aka the Entry/Exit System). The latter — in short — is intended to replace traditional passport stamping. And as per the EU, EES is set to go into effect “starting in the second half of 2024.” 

However, both ETIAS and EES have been in the works (and repeatedly delayed) for a number of years. So AXA recommends you check back with the official source above the latest developments. And, like us, hope for the best.

How can AXA help?

The Icelandic portion of the EU, meanwhile, is only increasing in popularity — with more and more Schengen and non-Schengen visitors alike each year.

And AXA continues to ensure that the millions of its non-Schengen visitors have a safe and stress-free journey there and back. Namely — by providing affordable, top-quality, instant Schengen Travel insurance. 

Travel insurance, meanwhile, is not only a good call — but also a mandatory requirement to be granted a Schengen visa for Iceland. Moreover, your plan must meet the following criteria: 

  • Guarantee minimum coverage for at least €30,000 in medical expenses 
  • Cover any expenses that might arise in connection with repatriation for medical reasons
  •  Cover you in all member states of the Schengen Area (not just Iceland) 
  • Cover you during the entire duration of your trip and stay in the Schengen Zone.

And guess what? All three AXA plans (Low-Cost, Europe Travel, and Multi-Trip) meet the necessary requirements above. 

Not only that, but if your Schengen visa is denied, AXA’s plans are refundable in most cases. We’ll only ask that you provide the appropriate documentation (i.e., an official explanation as to why your visa was refused by the relevant embassy, consulate, or visa application center). 

Our plans also cover you not just in Iceland but in all 27 Schengen territories (and beyond).  

Getting an AXA travel insurance plan, meanwhile, is quick and easy. 

Our plans can be purchased online — today, and in just a few minutes. 

And our travel insurance certificate — accepted by all Icelandic embassies, consulates, and VFS Global centers — can then be downloaded (and printed) online instantly. 

So learn more about and compare our 3 comprehensive plans today. Because the right AXA plan is not only guaranteed to make your Schengen visa application process that much smoother. It will also ensure that your trip to the most peaceful, most literate, most well-read, and happiest country in the world — per capita, that is — is as safe, worry-free, and magical as it can be.

How to apply for a Schengen visa for other countries

And if you’re curious about applying for a visa to more mainland Europe, AXA also has comprehensive guides for each of the other 26 Schengen states — in alphabetical order — below: 

Schengen countries
Austria visaBelgium visaCroatia visaCzech Republic visa
Denmark visaEstonia visaFinland visaFrance visa
Germany visaGreece visaHungary visaIceland visa
Italy VisaLatvia visaLiechtenstein visaLithuania visa
Luxembourg visaMalta visaNetherlands visaNorway visa
Poland visaPortugal visaSlovakia visaSlovenia visa
Spain VisaSweden visaSwitzerland visa 



How long does it take to process a Schengen visa?

In general, the wait time is at least 15 days. However, in some cases, embassies can take between a month or two to process a visa. It will depend on your particular situation.

Can I travel to all European countries on an Iceland Schengen visa?

Technically, no. Because all of Europe is home to roughly 50 countries. And while your Schengen Visa will allow travel to all 27 Schengen countries and most of the 27 European Union countries (yep, they’re similar but not the same) — a handful of European nations will still have their own particular visa requirements.

Can I travel to Iceland if I have obtained a Schengen Visa from another country?

Yes. A Schengen Visa allows you to travel to Iceland — and throughout all 27 Schengen countries — no matter which country you got it from. However, you must apply with the country in which you intend to spend the majority of your trip.

Can I work or study in Iceland with a tourist visa?

No. The tourist (or Type C) visa allows visitors to enter Iceland for a short business trip, a holiday, or to visit family members. However, it cannot be converted into a work or study permit. AXA can tell you more if you like.

Can my Iceland visa be extended?

Yes, but only in exceptional cases. AXA can tell you more about extending your visa too.

Is ETIAS the same as a visa?

No. ETIAS authorization is not a visa. Unlike Schengen Visas, ETIAS authorization will be valid for an unlimited number of entries, for example.

Are there any COVID restrictions for entering Iceland?

No. As of 2022, all travel restrictions implemented to control the spread of COVID-19 have been lifted in the EU and the Schengen (Iceland included).