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First hand experience with entering Iceland and COVID testing for return to USA

I would love to hear from anyone with first hand experience entering Iceland without quarantine by presenting a CDC vaccination card that is issued to American citizens when they are vaccinated. Was the CDC card sufficient to prove your vaccination status? Any problems?
I would also like any first hand experience arranging for COVID testing for returning to the USA. Specifically, can you specify location, date, and time when arranging testing in Iceland? Can you easily change your arrangements for return testing if necessary? Should return testing be arranged before or after arrival in Iceland?

Posted by
885 posts

Can't help you with Iceland specifically; however, we recently traveled to Mexico and our hotel arranged for our COVID testing for returning to the US. It was administered the day before we left with results the morning of our departure. So my suggestion is to check with the hotels you are considering to see if they offer this service. If not, they may be able to point you in the right direction.

Posted by
3 posts

Yes, I did it a week ago without issue. Couldn’t have been smoother.

As for the testing for going home, I did it yesterday: https://travel.covid.is/

The testing center in Reykjavik is an easy bus ride from Hlemmur. I went 30 minutes early and was back at Hlemmur before my original appointment time. I had my results by mid-afternoon the same day.

Posted by
97 posts

There is a website that lists the approved sites for testing:
https://www.landlaeknir.is/um-embaettid/greinar/grein/item42633/covid-19-border-testing

I contacted them via the chat feature in covid.is, and regardless of where you're taking the test, each and every person needs to go to the travel.covid.is website, sign up and pay for the test as if they're taking the test in Reykjavik (select a random date and time)... After processing you will get a "scan code" in your phone. With this scan code you can then stop by the testing site and they'll take you, at some sites without an appointment (the scan code is in lieu of an appointment)... Keep in mind, not all testing centers work the same, you need to call the testing site (that is not in Reykjavik) and inquire about the process. For example, I called the site in Selfoss and they confirmed that they only have screening from 13:00 to 13:30 M-F... If you can't make that time, you will not be able to get tested... As it was explained to me, the reason is that these tests are subsequently shipped to their main Lab in Reykjavik for processing, so it takes time...

My return is not until mid June, I haven't purchased a PCR test yet, the reason being is that the travel.covid.is website only shows tests available one week in the future; the other reason is that I want to make sure I can really travel on my selected dates... The pandemic is still creating uncertainty so I want to keep my options open for cancelling my trip in case say, a deadly strain appears, etc etc...

Posted by
3159 posts

Alex, thanks for the information. I wondered if testing was done only in the capital and remote locations shipped to there. I am planning test in Akureyri. I should have set up my itinerary with time in Reykjavik at the end but didn't. thinking maybe the requirement will be gone by end of July anyway.

Posted by
345 posts

Alex thank you for that. We are still trying to plan around which testing site/hours in conjunction with activities. Your information is very helpful. I am hoping that by August we won't need to test for return to the US, but that is simply being hopeful but of course I need to plan for what the reality is right now.

Posted by
1682 posts

I mentioned in another thread that Icelandic authorities said it would be difficult or impossible to turn around the initial COVID test at the Keflavik airport within 24 hours when tourism increases significantly during the summer. If the wait is 24 or more hours that really changes the calculus as to whether people will want to visit. I plan to travel in July but if the situation looks shaky in mid June I'll just push the trip to next year. I'm not staying in a room for 24-plus hours. It's a waste of time and money.

Posted by
1682 posts

jillsking16, I think you mean June 15? That is "supposedly" when Iceland will stop testing for those who are vaccinated.

We are also going to be in Iceland in mid-July, so fingers crossed.

Posted by
290 posts

I believe they just announced the current rules will stay in place until July 1, at which time they expect to remove the border-test requirement for vaccinated individuals and also for children.

Posted by
2 posts

I have read on a couple other blogs that some people are taking home Covid test kits with them to use for reentry back to the U.S.
I am traveling mid July and will be checking this out as an alternative to going to a lab in Iceland, if this is still a requirement by the U.S. The kit is ordered thru emed.com
And I did read you have to do a virtual visit when doing the test so WiFi connection is essential.

https://www.afar.com/magazine/cdc-approves-at-home-covid-tests-for-international-travel

Posted by
860 posts

It seems like folks are talking about two different situations here.
1. Taking a mandatory PCR test upon arrival at KEF. It appears that this will no longer be necessary for vaccinated tourists as of July 1, 2021.
2. Taking a test within 72 hours of return to the US. I have purchased the minimum of 6 antigen tests from eMed. You can take a few of the tests with you to your travel destination with the seal unbroken. Then you do a virtual appointment with someone from eMed. They watch you break the seal and perform the test. Once you get a negative result they will send you a certificate. You can use this certificate to board your plane and return to the US. It is CDC approved.