Iceland Basics

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The Basics

Time: No GMT offset

Electricity: Iceland's electricity supply is 230 volts, 50Hz, as it is in most European countries. Plugs and sockets are of the two-pin type typical of Europe.

Money: The unit of currency is the Icelandic króna (ISK). Almost all banks offer foreign exchange facilities and can be found in even the tiniest villages. Most have ATMs on their premises, available after banking hours, which are usually Monday to Friday from 9.15am to 4pm. Credit cards are widely used in Iceland for purchases and cash advances.

Currency Exchange Rates

ISK100.00 = USD 0.80GBP 0.65CAD 1.06AUD 1.18ZAR 12.05EUR 0.72NZD 1.26
Note: These rates are not updated daily and should be used as a guideline only.

Language: Icelandic, but English is widely spoken.

Entry requirements for Americans: US citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond the period of intended stay in Iceland. No visa is required for stays of up to 90 days within a 180 day period.

Entry requirements for UK nationals: Passports endorsed 'British Citizen', 'British Subject' (containing a Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abode issued by the United Kingdom), and 'British Overseas Territories Citizen' issued by Gibraltar, must be valid on arrival. British passports with other endorsements must be valid for three months beyond the period of intended stay in Iceland. A visa is not required for British passports endorsed 'British Citizen' or 'British Subject' (containing a Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abode issued by the United Kingdom), nor for holders of identity cards issued by Gibraltar, and endorsed 'Validated for EU travel purposes under the authority of the United Kingdom'. No visa is required for stays of up to 90 days within a 180 day period for holders of British passports with other endorsements.

Entry requirements for Canadians: Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond the period of intended stay in Iceland. No visa is required for a stay of up to 90 days within a 180 day period.

Entry requirements for Australians: Australian citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond the period of intended stay in Iceland. No visa is required for a stay of up to 90 days within a 180 day period. Passport issued more than 10 years prior to date of travel are not accepted.

Entry requirements for South Africans: South African citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond the period of intended stay, and a valid Schengen visa, to enter Iceland.

Entry requirements for New Zealanders: New Zealand citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond the period of intended stay in Iceland. No visa is required for a stay of up to 90 days within a 180 day period.

Entry requirements for Irish nationals: Irish citizens must have a passport that is valid on arrival in Iceland. No visa is required for nationals from the Republic of Ireland.

Passport/Visa Note: The borderless region known as the Schengen Area includes the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. All these countries issue a standard Schengen visa that has a multiple entry option, and which allows the holder to travel freely within the borders of all the aforementioned countries. Additionally, foreign passengers to Iceland must hold return or onward tickets, the necessary travel documentation for their next destination, and sufficient funds to cover their stay in Iceland. NOTE: It is highly recommended that your passport has at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.

Travel Health: There are no specific health risks associated with travel to Iceland, and no vaccinations are necessary for entry. Medical care in the country is of high quality. Payment is usually expected in cash from visitors. Travel insurance is highly recommended. A reciprocal agreement exists whereby British citizens are entitled to free emergency medical treatment provided they possess a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

Tipping: Service charges are included in bills and tipping is not expected in Iceland.

Safety Information: Iceland is an extremely safe country to visit, the only threats being a low level of petty crime and rapidly changing weather conditions, so keep an eye open if you are on the road.

Local Customs: Smoking in bars, restaurants and on public transport in Iceland is illegal. Penalties for the possession of drugs are steep. Travellers should note that although whale meat is legally available in Iceland, it is not legal to bring it across borders into the UK or EU.

Business: Most business in Iceland tends to take place in the capital, Reykjavik. Business meetings are usually formal, with smart dress essential. It is worth handing out business cards, and initial greetings are usually accompanied by a handshake. Punctuality should be respected. Meetings are usually conducted in English when dealing with foreigners. It is worth noting that Icelanders generally go by their first name, and telephone directory listings are alphabetical by first name. Business hours are usually from 8am to 4pm (summer) and 9am to 5pm (winter). Most offices are closed on weekends.

Communications: The international country code for Iceland is +354. City and area codes are not in use. Note that Icelanders are listed by their first name in the telephone directory, not the last. Visitors can rent wifi hotspots. Wifi is easy to access, and free calls can be made using wifi connections.

Duty Free: Travellers to Iceland over 18 years do not have to pay duty on 200 cigarettes or 250g of other tobacco products. Travellers over 20 years are also allowed one litre spirits and one litre wine, or one litre spirits and six litres beer, or one litre wine and six litres beer, or two and a quarter litres wine, and food items up to three kg not exceeding ISK 44,000. Permits from Post & Telecom Authorities are required for cordless phones, remote controls or radio transmitters, but not for a GSM mobile phone. Prohibited items include narcotics and drugs, uncooked meat products, weapons and powdered or moist snuff.