Whilst we all need to adjust to vaccine certification and PCR tests now being a normal part of travel, the answer is that compared to most countries ,Iceland is very easy!
Iceland is on the Green list for returning to the UK, and at time of writing, Iceland has had under 7,000 cases the whole pandemic, so is highly likely to stay on the green list. That means just two tests are required to re-enter the UK. One within 72 hours before leaving Iceland to enter back into the UK, and one on, or before, day 2 after arrival back into the UK.
For fully vaccinated adults Iceland requires that you show your vaccine certificate which must be more than 2 weeks after your second vaccination. You also need to show a negative PCR test result on check in for your flight to Iceland. This must have been taken less than 72 hours before flight check in.
For both the UK and Iceland a locator form is required to enter.
Fully vaccinated adults are welcome to Iceland (Second vaccination must have been done 14 days before arrival. AstraZeneca, Pfzier, Moderna, Janssen accepted).
All 18+ adults will be asked to show proof of full vaccination to your airline at check in to be allowed to board the flight, as well as a negative pcr test result taken no more than 72 hours before flight check in.
Both the free NHS App which shows your vaccination certificate, (which is different to the NHS Covid track and trace App), and the paper covid certification issued by phoning 119 are accepted as proof, but not the little card issued at time of vaccination. Please leave 5-10 working days after your second vaccination for the certification to show on the NHS App or to arrive by post (and you cannot request it until 5 working days after your second vaccination).
In order to enter Iceland all ages need to have filled in a locator form beforehand-within 72 hours of arrival into Iceland. Both the airline as you check in, and on arrival at Iceland customs will ask to see the barcode that is issued from this locator form submission – so make sure you print it off and take it with you as you need it in order to get your arrival PCR test results. https://visit.covid.is/registration/
If you are born in 2005 and younger you do not need to show vaccine certification on arrival,(as you do not have one as the UK are not vaccinating).
If you are born in 2004 and are therefore 17 at time of writing there is no good solution as you would have to have various PCR tests on arrival with a 5-6 day mandatory quarantine in-between, as the UK are not vaccinating 17 year olds so you cannot show vaccination certification.
You also need to have shown a negative PCR result taken no more than 72 hours before flight check in for your flight to Iceland.
Iceland is on the Green list for re-entering the UK
In order to enter the UK all ages need to have filled in a locator form beforehand within 48 hours of arrival into UK. Both the airline as you check in, and on arrival at UK customs will ask to see this locator form so make sure you can receive it by email on your phone/tablet or can download it onto your tablet, as you can only fill in whilst abroad. There is a plan to automate this form so it does not need to be physically shown, but at time of writing UK immigration were checking so you need to be able to show it either on your phone, or having printed it off. (We would recommend you preregister all your details on the account you set up beforehand to make it less onerous on your actual trip, but the actual submission of the form has to be done whilst abroad.)
All ages need to take one Covid Test in Iceland no more than 72 hours before checking in for your return flight to the UK in order to be allowed back on your returning flight to the UK . This is done by medical staff and the results are emailed through so make sure you have email on your phone.
There are two Covid Test options:
A PCR Test: It can take up to 24 hrs, but is currently averaging 5-6 hours, but we would strongly recommend you ensure it is done at least 24 hrs beforehand, as without a negative test result you will not be allowed to board your flight. Tests must be pre-booked in Iceland via the link and are only available in Reykjavik, and can only be booked up to 1 week beforehand. This is then checked by the airline before you are allowed to board the flight to check it is negative. All age groups must take this test and it is @ 50 euros. https://travel.covid.is/registration/ Opening hours are Weekdays: 08:15 – 12:00 and 12:45 – 16:00., Weekends: 09:15 – 15:00.
Alternatively the UK Government also allows Antigen Tests at ≥97% specificity, ≥80% sensitivity at viral loads above 100,000 copies/ml. The testing process takes 15 mins and is emailed with a valid QR code to present. This can be prebooked near Keflavik Airport and costs 6,900 isk (about £40) at www.testcovid.is. Booking is already available until mid January 2022 and is from 7am until 4.00 pm. This is then checked by the airline before you are allowed to board the flight to check it is negative. All age groups must take this test.
Finally you must have prebooked before returning to the UK your day 2 PCR test which is self administrated in the UK and then sent off by post. (Infact it must be done on or before day 2). You need the reference number to put on the locator form, and we were asked to show proof of booking at time of check in as well so we would recommend you print off and take with you the confirmation that you have booked your day 2 test.
The government has a list of approved Travel PCR testing suppliers. https://www.find-travel-test-provider.service.gov.uk/test-type/green
Having researched feedback on the suppliers we chose Testing for All as they appear to close orders when at full capacity to ensure they can deliver against the orders they take. Feedback implies this does not appear to be the same for others. These were £55 each and we booked about 3 weeks before we left in order to get our required date. The tests were actually waiting for us on our return. It did not fit into our post-box so it was left in recycling which was fine for us, but make sure you have a solution for it to be left for you, and is not on recycling pick up day! You return the tests back by post through a priority post-box and then can continue your normal lives with no quarantine. It took 32 hours to receive the results by email. https://www.testingforall.org/product/day-2/
Travelling from USA
Travelers from the United States will have similar experience to those coming for the UK. Fully vaccinated visitors (with vaccines that are authorized by Iceland) do not need to do a pre-departure PCR test but they must complete Iceland’s pre-registration online form within 72 hours of departure, and have a formal vaccination card as evidence of the vaccination. In order to return to the US, you will need to have a negative PCR within 72 hours of departure time. On arrival in the US, the CDC’s current guidelines no longer require quarantine for fully vaccinated travelers but recommend you monitor for symptoms and have a test 3-5 days after your return. Travelers should also check their state requirements as those vary across the US.
Iceland has an enormous amount of fun adventures to offer and the low level of admin compared to other countries makes it a very strong contender for travel this autumn and winter. Take a look at our Iceland Northern Lights Trips for inspiration
This was accurate at time of update on 8th July 2021 but requirements may be changed and it is the travellers responsibility (Not Weekend a La Carte Aurora Nights) to keep up to date with any changes. https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/iceland/entry-requirements#entry-rules-in-response-to-coronavirus-covid-19