The ETIAS visa waiver for Iceland hasnt launched officially yet. The system will be operational from 2022, after which all visitors need to apply for the ETIAS visa to be able to enter Iceland. The ETIAS application is expected to reduce border security issues due to huge migrant and refugee influx into the European countries and terror attacks. The process will facilitate the authorities to screen all visitors coming to Iceland, also those who were pre-exempted from visas until now. The online applications will allow proper verification of individual databases and visitors who have overstayed their visit, committed a crime or other such security issues.
ABOUT THE COUNTRY: ICELAND
Iceland, the lonely Nordic Island with volcanoes, and glaciers pot fields have made their mark on the landscape. Sometimes also referred to as the land of fire and ice. The capital of Iceland is Reykjavik, which is home to geothermal terrain and Saga museums.
The republic of Iceland lies in the North Atlantic Ocean and has a population of 356,991 people. Most of the Icelandic people live in the capital city. The official currency is the Icelandic Krona or Kr. The geographical area is 103,000 km².
The Icelandic weather can change suddenly, may rise and then fall without warning. One minute it may be sunny and within 10 minutes become a frozen wind tunnel. This melting and freezing may result in dangerously slippery roads.
ICELAND AS PART OF THE EUROPEAN UNION
Iceland has been a crucial member of the European Union, further facilitating its integration through the European Free Trade Organization and the EEA. It is also a Schengen Member state and a partner in the European Union Northern Dimension policy to promote cooperation within North of Europe.
The European economic area enables Iceland to participate in the single market and play a part in the European socio-economic cohesion. A substantial proportion of EU laws have become imposed as part of Iceland legislation. Iceland also participates with zero voting privileges in various EU organizations addressing education, enterprise, research, and the environment areas.
TOURISM IN ICELAND
Icelandic tourism grew significantly over the last decade, from less than 500,000 per year in 2010 to around 2.3 million tourists in 2018.
In 2020, the tourism sector in Iceland contributed to 34.8 percent GDP, which increased from 17.7 percent in 2001. The GDP grew at an average of 3.86 percent. Also, the capital of Iceland is among the top 50 tourist destinations.
In 2020, The Global Peace Index named Iceland as the safest country to travel to, published by the Economics and Peace Institute.
Iceland is also a popular travel destination among non-European citizens owing to the membership in the Schengen region. Being a Schengen member state, visitors from third-world countries can enjoy a stay up to 90-days without a visa, which will change after the introduction of ETIAS in 2022.
MEDICAL INSURANCE FOR TRAVELING TO ICELAND
The visitors traveling to Iceland are not obligated but advised to have travel medical insurance. Though, EU travelers can make use of some public medical insurance through their European health insurance card. However, it does not cover emergency costs such as death, accidents, or repatriation. The medical insurance should also provide coverage for theft, ticket cancellation, and lost baggage during the trip to Iceland.
MEDICAL INSURANCE FOR ETIAS APPLICATION
The ETIAS visa authorization, unlike a Schengen visa, does not obligate visitors to purchase travel medical insurance for Iceland but, it recommends that visitors have extra insurance in case of an emergency.
TRAVEL HEALTH INSURANCE FOR ICELAND ETIAS
The Travel health insurance for Iceland is necessary for visitors for the application of a Schengen visa. The visa also asks for two compulsory guarantees.
- The cost of repatriation due to sudden death or accident
- Medical cost coverage to a minimum of 30,000-euros.
It would make it easier for travelers visiting for medical care purposes to add assistance. The insurance shall also cover theft or damage to documents or luggage.
CROSSING BORDER CHECKPOINTS THROUGH ICELAND
Iceland is a Member of the Schengen region, which means that the travelers who want to enter from any European Union state or the EFTA countries have an exemption from border controls.
However, if the non- EU citizens want to travel to Iceland and any other country within the Schengen region, they need a standard Schengen Visa from any Member states.
PASSING BORDER CONTROL WITH THE ETIAS VISA
The ETIAS visa makes passing through border controls hassle-free through its authorization system that links to visitors' passports, and they can enter Iceland by scanning them at the border.
PASSING BORDER CONTROL WITH A SCHENGEN VISA
The residents of non-European countries that are non ETIAS eligible should apply for a Schengen visa to enter Iceland. Some additional documents such as proof of sufficient funds, travel documents, and return tickets may be required.
The border authority shall take the final decision on whether to allow a foreign citizen to enter Iceland. Customs officials may ask questions about the nature and length of their stay in Iceland.
TRAVELING TO ICELAND THROUGH VARIOUS TRANSPORT METHODS
If a visitor does not want to drive, they can always rent a car. The process is simple, and individuals only need a driver's license, a valid ID, and a credit card. The only issue that can arise is that it needs to be in Latin and be two years old. Though all rental agencies do not have this obligation, it is better to be aware.
The only public transport available in the country is its bus service. The government-owned service makes traveling to Reykjavik and surrounding places hassle-free for visitors. The network is lied throughout the country and run on strict schedules and standard bus routes.
The Keflavik airport is the only international airport of Iceland, which lies on the Reykjanes peninsula. Albeit it has a network of domestic airports laid throughout the region with regular incoming and outgoing flights. The domestic airport is situated near the city center and caters to the North, East, West, Greenland, and the Faroe Islands. Tourists can easily visit nearby cities like Akureyri even on time shortage as domestic flights reach the destination within an hour. Domestic flights also provide convenience during the winter months. It is impossible to travel to distant areas due to the blockage of roads.
WHAT TO SEE AND DO IN ICELAND?
Iceland is an extraordinary land with volcanoes, geysers, lava fields, and bubbling mud pots scattered over its geothermal terrain. In winters, tourists can enjoy hot pools lying between snow and ice. However, during the summers, visitors can get the most out of their trip to explore more of the country. The world heritage park Pingvellir and Vatnajokill, the highest peak in Iceland, are top tourist destinations.
One of the best things about Iceland is that it is not overcrowded no matter what season, unlike many other European countries. Tourists can enjoy hiking long distances without coming across another individual, even in high peak seasons.
The Aurora borealis or Northern lights are another huge reason why Iceland attracts tourist traffic. The Earth's magnetic field makes the auroras appear only at poles, generally over 60 degrees in the north. This also makes Iceland the perfect spot for watching the dancing neon lights since it lies at 64-degree latitude. The best time to watch the Northern lights in Iceland occurs between the end of August to mid of April.
When it comes to things to do in Iceland, there are multiple activities worth experiencing, such as the Faxafloi Bay tour, where tourists can watch humpback whales, Harbour Porpoises, and Minke Whales. Bird lovers will love seeing the Arctic Tern, the puffin, and several other gulls. Also, snorkeling at Silfra and ice glacier hiking are a few more of the attractions in Iceland.
EUROPEAN TRAVEL INFORMATION AUTHORIZATION VISA WAIVER FOR ICELAND
ETIAS for Iceland will start by the beginning of 2022. After which, all visa-exempt visitors will also have to apply for an ETIAS visa. It will be an electronic authorization system that will enable ETIAS holders to travel to Iceland and other countries in the Schengen zone. The cost of the European travel information authorization will be 7-euro and have validity up to 3 years from the date of issuance, or passport expiry, whichever comes first. Through this visa-waiver, a traveler can enter Iceland for several purposes such as business, tourism, medical treatment, and transit. The USA visa-waiver based model aims to strengthen the Schengen borders, pre-screen all visitors entering the country, and efficiently identify security threats.
After approval, the ETIAS for Iceland will enable visitors to stay consecutively for a total of 90-days in the country. It will have a 3-year validity, which eliminates the need for visa re-application for every Europe trip.
The Iceland ETIAS form can be accessed online and takes a few minutes to complete. All visitors have to fill the form with basic biodata, travel plans, and security related questions and submit it to receive ETIAS authorization through a valid email.