Unvaccinated Americans Not Welcome if Travel is Non-Essential

Vala Hafstað

“What this means is that unvaccinated Americans whose travels are non-essential are not welcome in this country,” a statement from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs reads. The ministry was asked by mbl.is what effect Monday’s decision by the European Union to remove the United States from its safe travel list would have in Iceland. The safe travel list is its list of countries for which temporary restrictions on non-essential travel had been lifted.

The ministry states that the rules were last changed in June, when the US was put on a list of countries for which temporary restrictions on non-essential travel should be lifted. The average daily number of COVID-19 cases has risen sharply in the US since then.

“Since the EU has now suggested that the US, Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro and North Macedonia be removed from the list, we, too, will follow those guidelines, just like we have done so far,” the ministry states in its reply. At present, that list includes 17 countries or areas.

The ministry stresses that the new restrictions will not apply to foreign citizens who can provide proof of residence in Iceland.

“This [recommendation by the EU] is nonbinding, but normally, this has been processed through a memo, signed by the minister of justice,” the statement continues. The memo will be sent to the minister no later than this morning.

The new rules will not affect US transit passengers in Iceland. “We have not interfered regarding passengers on board aircraft that make a stopover and then continue [their flight],” the statement explains. “That’s up to the receiving country. If that country is in the EU, then unvaccinated passengers will be in trouble.”

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