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Iceland - Exercise normal security precautions
There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Iceland. Exercise normal security precautions.
The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The purpose of this Travel Advice is to provide up-to-date information to enable you to make well-informed decisions.
The crime rate is low, but pickpocketing does occur. Be vigilant and pay attention to your surroundings at all times.
Most roads in urban centres and national road no. 1 ("the ring road") are paved. Many inland roads are unpaved, narrow and lack shoulders. Roads in the highlands are only open during summer months. It is strictly forbidden to drive off tracks in the highlands.
For up-to-date information on road and weather conditions, dial (+354) 522-1000 to reach the Icelandic Road Administration.
Rail service is not available in Iceland. Municipal bus services are generally not available outside Reykjavik and the surrounding towns. Ferries and long-distance buses operate throughout the country. Taxis are available in major cities and populated areas throughout the country.
See Transportation Safety in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.
Exercise caution when visiting volcanic craters, glaciers, hot springs and other natural attractions, since there are few warning signs or barriers.
Demonstrations occur occasionally and have the potential to suddenly turn violent. Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media.
Trekkers and backpackers should not travel alone or venture off marked trails. If you intend to trek:
a) never trek alone;
b) always hire an experienced guide and ensure that the trekking company is reputable;
c) buy travel health insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation;
d) ensure that you are in top physical condition;
e) advise a family member or friend of your itinerary;
f) know the symptoms of acute altitude sickness, which can be fatal;
g) register with the Embassy, Consulate of Canada in Iceland; and
h) obtain detailed information on trekking routes before setting out.
Consult the website Safetravel.is (opens in new window) for advice from Icelandic search and rescue teams and to register your itinerary.
General safety information
Exercise normal safety precautions. Ensure that your personal belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure at all times. Never leave personal belonging unattended and never leave valuables in a car.
Dial 112 for emergency assistance.
It is the sole prerogative of each country or region to determine who is allowed to enter. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry requirements. The following information on entry and exit requirements has been obtained from the Icelandic authorities. However, these requirements are subject to change at any time. It is your responsibility to check with the Embassy of Iceland or one of its consulates for up-to-date information.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
Canadians must present a passport which must be valid for at least three months beyond the date of their expected departure from the Schengen area. Before you leave, ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity, which may be more stringent than the country's entry rules.
Customs officials will ask you to show them a return ticket and proof of sufficient funds for your stay.
Tourist visa: Not required for stays up to 90 days*
Business visa: Not required (consultants may stay in Iceland for four weeks without a business visa; employment authorization must be approved before arrival)
Student visa: Required
Work visa: Required
* The 90 days begin upon initial entry into any country of the Schengen area.
The following 26 countries comprise the Schengen Area: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
The Schengen area has common rules regarding visas and controls at external borders.
You do not need visas for short-term visits of up to 90 days within a six-month period. Your stays are cumulative, and include visits to any country within the Schengen area. Some countries require that you register with local authorities within three working days of your arrival.
It is important to get your passport stamped when entering the Schengen area. The absence of an entry stamp from the initial Schengen port of entry could create difficulties during subsequent encounters with local police or other authorities throughout the Schengen area.
After 90 days of stay in the Schengen area, you must leave for another 90 days before you can re-enter.
If you overstay the permitted 90 days in the Schengen area, you may be fined or deported. To visit for longer than 90 days, you must obtain a long-stay national visa.
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. See Children for more information.
Some countries require proof of yellow fever vaccination before allowing entry. Consult the World Health Organization’s country list to obtain information on this country’s requirements.
- Measles: Global Update - January 16, 2015 09:54 EST
Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world. Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Yellow Fever Vaccination
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
|* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.|
|Country Entry Requirement*|
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Western Europe. When in doubt, remember…boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Insects and Illness
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is no risk of malaria in this country.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in Western Europe, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws & culture
Laws & culture
You are subject to local laws. See Arrest and detention for more information.
Canada and Iceland are signatories to the European Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons. This enables a Canadian imprisoned in Iceland to request a transfer to a Canadian prison to complete a sentence. The transfer requires the agreement of both Canadian and Icelandic authorities.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences or heavy fines.
Some substances, such as khat, that may be legal in other European countries, are prohibited in Iceland.
An International Driving Permit is recommended. A Canadian driver's licence is valid in Iceland for six months. After that you must apply for an Icelandic driver's licence. Applicants must usually take a driving test but can request an exemption.
Penalties for drinking and driving are strict. Convicted offenders can expect heavy fines, confiscation of driver's licences and possible jail sentences.
Rental cars are available in major towns and airports.
Icelandic authorities recognize same-sex marriages.
The currency of Iceland is the Icelandic krona (ISK).
Visa and Europay cards are widely accepted but American Express cards are not as common.
When crossing one of the external border control points of the European Union (EU), you must make a declaration to customs upon entry or exit if you have at least €10,000 or the equivalent in other currencies. The sum can be in cash, cheques, money orders, traveller’s cheques or any other convertible assets. This does not apply if you are travelling within the EU or in transit to a non-EU country. For more information on the EU legislation and links to EU countries’ sites, visit the web page of the European Commission on cash controls.
Natural disasters & climate
Natural disasters & climate
The climate can be unpredictable. Monitor weather reports closely. For recorded weather information from the Icelandic Meteorological Office, dial (+354) 522-6000 or (+354) 902-0600. Information is available in English, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Icelandic authorities are monitoring increased seismic activity near the Bardarbunga volcano located in Vatnajökull National Park. Roads and surrounding areas have been closed and both driving and hiking are prohibited in the region until further notice. For additional information, consult the National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police.
Reykjavik - Embassy of Canada
For emergency assistance after hours, call the Embassy of Canada in Reykjavik and follow the instructions. You may also call the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa toll-free at 800-8462.
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