COVID-19 in Iceland: Strict Requirements for Recovery Certificates at Border Skip to content

COVID-19 in Iceland: Strict Requirements for Recovery Certificates at Border

By Yelena

keflavik airport COVID-19 testing
Photo: A screenshot from RÚV. Border testing drills at Keflavík Airport, 2020..

Since last Thursday, travellers arriving in Iceland from abroad have been able to eschew quarantine and testing by presenting certificates proving COVID-19 recovery. RÚV reports that not all arriving passengers have the strict requirements straight, however. Of 14 certificates presented by travellers last Thursday, two were rejected, while five of the ten certificates presented by travellers on Friday were rejected.

All travellers arriving in Iceland are required to undergo 14-day quarantine; or testing at the airport, five-day quarantine, and a second, follow-up test. Since Thursday, passengers who present an official certificate proving they have recovered from COVID-19 are exempted from testing and quarantine upon arrival. The requirements for the certificate are quite specific, however.

Only Certificates from EEA/EFTA Area Accepted

According to the Directorate of Health, border officials will accept both positive PCR-test results for SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 that are older than 14 days, as well as a certificate showing presence of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 measured by ELISA serologic assay. Only certificates including documented results from a laboratory within the EEA/EFTA-area or a confirmation from the Chief Epidemiologist in Iceland will be accepted and all certificates must be in English, Icelandic, Danish, Norwegian, or Swedish. Clinical diagnoses are not deemed valid.

Certificates may be in paper or electronic format and will be evaluated by border control staff. If staff are unsure of the validity of a certificate, they will consult a healthcare worker. The final decision is at the discretion of the Chief Epidemiologist. If a passenger presents a document that is deemed invalid, the passenger must undergo 14-day quarantine or double testing with 5-day quarantine, as other passengers. Certificates have been rejected in recent days for differing reasons, including that they were not in one of the accepted languages, they were issued outside the EEA/EFTA, or they indicated a negative test result but not a positive COVID-19 test result followed by recovery.

Complete information on certificate requirements is available on the website of Iceland’s Directorate of Health.

Icelanders Come Home for the Holidays

An increasing number of travellers is entering Iceland these days, mostly Icelanders returning home for the holidays. December 18 and 19 are expected to be the busiest travel days as far as arrivals to Iceland are concerned. Authorities have stated that December 18 is the last possible day to arrive in Iceland if travellers wish to be out of quarantine by Christmas Eve.

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