Record Number of Travellers Denied Entry at Keflavík Airport Skip to content

Record Number of Travellers Denied Entry at Keflavík Airport

By Ragnar Tómas

Keflavík Airport
Photo: Golli (Photo not directly related to news content).

Keflavík Airport has registered a record 258 denials of entry this year, mostly in association with suspected criminal activity. The Suðurnes police have also been active in investigating smuggling and money laundering cases and have made significant seizures.

258 travellers denied entry in 2023

Keflavík Airport has seen a record number of passengers denied entry, with 258 denial cases recorded so far this year. Most denials are linked to individuals’ connections to criminal activities, reports.

Last year, the Suðurnes police investigated 69 cases related to drug smuggling, money laundering, and illegal export of cash. This year, 58 such cases have been reported. In many of these cases, as reported by, suspects were arrested at Keflavík Airport either upon arrival or due to suspicions of carrying illicit funds when departing.

Significant seizures at the border

Authorities have seized 65 kg of cocaine, 14,000 tablets of oxycontin, 1,800 tablets of contalgin, 100 kg of cannabis, amphetamine base, and other banned substances. Additionally, ISK 60 million [$432,000/€410,000] in cash has been confiscated.

In 2022, 80 individuals were held in custody by the Suðurnes police for a total of 2,903 days, averaging 8 individuals daily. This year has seen 96 individuals detained for 2,617 days, with an average of about 10 individuals being held in custody every day.

Stress the importance of vigorous border operations

A press release from the police, and reported on by, underscores the importance of strong police and customs operations at Keflavík Airport. This includes well-trained staff, essential equipment, and appropriate working conditions. The collaboration between European countries on police cooperation and border control, based on the Schengen Agreement, is particularly extensive and demanding for Iceland, given its distance from mainland Europe.

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