Iceland is a highly developed stable democracy with a modern economy.
A passport is required, but no visa is needed for tourist or business stays of up to three months. For further information concerning entry requirements for Iceland, contact the Embassy of Iceland at 1156 15th Street N.W., Suite 1200, Washington, D.C. 20005, tel (202) 265-6653, or the Icelandic Consulate General in New York. See also the Embassy's website at http://www.iceland.org.
Iceland has a low crime rate. Tourists should be aware, however, that downtown Reykjavik can become disorderly on weekend evenings. The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlet A Safe Trip Abroad for ways to promote a more trouble-free journey. The pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.
Excellent medical facilities are available. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars or more. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services.
While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Iceland is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Safety of Public Transportation: Excellent
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Excellent
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Good
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Good
Many roads outside the capital are unpaved and caution should be exercised, particularly during the winter months when weather and road conditions can change very quickly. The winter day lasts only a few hours. Rural roads are more dangerous, especially those on the west and east coasts since they are very narrow and slippery. When traveling in the Icelandic mid-highland, caution should be exercised since weather conditions can change in minutes.
Driving under the influence of alcohol in Iceland is considered a serious matter. Blood alcohol levels are measured by a stricter standard than in the U.S., and penalties for driving under the influence are relatively severe. Hikers/backpackers are well advised to stay on marked trails, travel with someone or at least let someone else know your travel plans, and check weather reports.
For specific information concerning Icelandic driver's permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact the Iceland National Tourist Organization offices in New York via the Internet at http://www.iceland.org/oeku.htm.
Icelandic customs authorities encourage the use of an ATA (Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission) Carnet for the temporary admission of professional equipment, commercial samples, and/or goods for exhibitions and fair purposes. ATA Carnet Headquarters, located at the U.S. Council for International Business, 1212 Avenue of the Americas, New York. NY 10036, issues and guarantees the ATA Carnet in the United States. For additional information call (212) 354-4480, send an e-mail to email@example.com, or visit http://www.uscib.org for details.
Americans living in or visiting Iceland may register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Reykjavik and obtain updated information on travel and security within Iceland. The U.S. Embassy is located at Laufasvegur 21, tel (354) 562-9100; fax (354) 562-9118.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed Iceland's Civil Aviation Authority as Category One -- in compliance with international aviation safety standards for the oversight of Icelandic air carrier operations. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation at 1 (800) 322-7873, or visit the FAA Internet home page at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/index.htm. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact DOD at 618-229-4801.