ESTA for Icelandic Citizens -

ESTA for Icelandic Citizens

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Iceland became a member of the Visa Waiver Program in 1991 and as a result, citizens of Iceland are able to apply for an ESTA instead of a US visa for visits the US for tourism, business, medical or transit.

ESTA Requirements and Important Information

  • Applicant requires a valid biometric passport
  • Use for visits to US that are for business, tourism, medical or transit
  • Every individual requires a separate ESTA (including children)
  • Only valid for visits of a maximum 90 days
  • Can be used for multiple US visits
  • Required when travelling to US by air or sea
  • Remains valid for two years, or when the linked passport expires
Application for Icelandic Citizens

Benefits of Applying for ESTA for Icelandic Citizens

Being members of the VWP means that citizens of Iceland can benefit from applying for the ESTA instead of the US visa. Some of these benefits include faster processing, lower cost for application and an easier way to apply.

Citizens from countries outside of the VWP must apply for a US visa to get permission to travel to the US, which involves a long form (DS-160) to be completed in addition to attending an interview at their country’s US Embassy.

The ESTA application is all done online, with a simple form to complete before paying the application fee. This process is often very quick, with confirmation to say whether it has been approved usually coming within 24 hours.

Another reason the ESTA is so convenient is that it is valid for two years and during that period, the ESTA holder may visit the US multiple times using the ESTA , provided that they do not stay for longer than 90 days at a time.

How Icelandic Citizens Can Apply for ESTA

Citizens of Iceland just need to have a biometric passport, a valid email address and a card to make the application fee with. The online form can be completed using a mobile, laptop or desktop. Visit the ESTA application website to complete the set of questions that will determine the applicant’s eligibility to have the ESTA approved.

The questions include personal information, passport details, medical and criminal activity information. The Department of Homeland Security will screen each applicant to determine whether they are considered to be a security risk. Once the application has been submitted, a response will be sent via email and this usually takes less than 24 hours. However, to take into account any issues, travellers are advised to send their ESTA application at least 72 hours before the intended time of travel.

Passport Requirements for US ESTA

Individuals who intend to travel to America with ESTA (under VWP) need to have a valid passport which is necessary to meet specific conditions:

  • A passport must be a valid minimum of 6 months beyond the duration of the intended stay in America.
  • The passport must be electronic (an e-passport is more secure than a traditional one)
  • The passport needs to be machine-readable.

How Long Does the ESTA Approval Take?

Most often, ESTA processing time varies from a few minutes to 24 hours. In some rare rare cases when the authority for some reason needs to do an additional review of the application procedure might take up to 72 hours.

How Far in Advance Should You Apply?

If you usually do all at the last moment you probably be happy to hear that is possible to apply for an ESTA just before your travel, while you are at the airport.

Still, this is not too smart, because if you don't get ESTA approval you want to be able to refund ticket money. To be able to avoid this or any other problem we recommend applying at least 72 hours before travel.

ESTA Validity: How Long Does The Travel Authorisation Last?

From their issuance, ESTA is valid for two years. But, if the visitor's passport expires before the period, ESTA automatically becomes invalid. Having in mind this fact, it is important for tourists to be careful of their passport expiration dates.

Updating Your ESTA: When Do Icelandic Nationals Need a New Travel Approval?

There are several situations when Icelandic nationals need new travel approval:

  • They have changed their name or gender.
  • They have received a new passport for any reason.
  • Their citizenship status has changed.
  • If their answers to eligibility questions in the ESTA form has changed.
  • Their existing travel authorization has expired because the two-year term has elapsed or their passport has expired.

Do Children Need an ESTA and Can You Apply on Their Behalf?

Absolutely every person, no matter of age, must have an approved ESTA to be able to go to the USA. Parents or other legal guardians can submit an ESTA application on behalf of their children.

Children must also possess their own passports to be able to apply for ESTA as it will be linked to it.

What to do if ESTA is Declined

If you receive an email to say that your ESTA has been declined, there could be a number of reasons for the refusal. It could be due to making an error on the ESTA application form, in which case you can send a second application. If it has been refused for another reason then the only option is to apply for a US visa.

To apply for the US visa, you will need to complete a DS-160 form and visit the US Embassy in Iceland to attend an interview.

Address for US Embassy in Iceland

U.S. Embassy Reykjavík
Laufásvegur 21
101 Reykjavík

Which Icelandic Travelers Are Ineligible for an ESTA?

There are a few reasons why Icelandic travelers are ineligible to get ESTA:

  • If they have been denied a USA visa before.
  • If the voyager has a criminal record or has been arrested in past.
  • Individuals with an infectious disease.
  • If the traveler is a dual citizen of the Island and the some of high-risk countries (Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria).

Are There Any Differences Between an ESTA and a US Visa?

Yes, there are several key differences between ESTA and an American visa:

  • ESTA users may make an online application, while a visa applicant must go on interview in person at the US embassy.
  • The time of approval for ESTA is very fast, from a few hours to 72 hours, while for a visa, the period is longer: 15 - 30 days.
  • With ESTA visit to the USA cannot last more than 90 days, and a visa is for a longer trip.
  • ESTA is for tourists, businesses, and transit purposes. Visa is mandatory for marriage, college students, emigration, and job.
  • ESTA is cheaper to get than a Visa.

Under What Circumstances Should You Apply for a US Visa Instead of an ESTA?

Island nationals need a visa instead of ESTA to travel to the USA if:

  • The ESTA application is refused
  • They have previously overstayed beyond 90 days with ESTA in America
  • They are double citizens of San Marino and Iraq, Iran, Syria, and North Korea
  • They have a criminal record
  • They don't possess an e-passport with an image
  • They have some infectious disease
  • Their travel will be longer than 90 days
Do Dual Citizens of Iceland and the United States or Canada Need an ESTA?

Dual Citizens of Iceland and the United States or Canada do not mandatory to have an ESTA. The reason is simple: all that they have to do is use their USA or Canada passport when traveling to the USA.

Benefits of ESTA for Icelandic Citizens:
  • Use for business, tourism, medical and transit purposes
  • Fast and easy to apply for
  • Costs less than visa application
  • Can be used for multiple US visits whilst valid
  • Can stay in US for up to 90 days with an ESTA
  • Processing time is quick
Find Out More About ESTA Travel Authorisation

If you want to get more details related to the ESTA, you can visit our detailed FAQ page and check out the ESTA requirements to learn more before starting your application.

Written by Abisola Fikayomi

Abisola is an accomplished writer interested in US Travel, immigration, passports and visas. She’s passionate about exploring new places and cultures and willing to share her experiences, expertize and findings with others. That is her primary drive for specialising in this industry.


If you travel to America, u need to have ESTA. Visit to America under the Visa Waiver Program cannot last more than 90 days. Also, ESTA is only for tourist or business purposes.
The following Icelandic citizens are not eligible for ESTA:
  • Individuals who have been denied a USA visa before.
  • People with a criminal record.
  • Individuals with an infectious disease.
You can enter the USA without ESTA only if you have the appropriate visa. It is necessary to have a visa or ESTA to enter America.
No, if you are dual Citizens of Iceland and the United States you don't need an ESTA. You can use your USA passport when entering the USA.
ESTA is valid for two years (If the user's passport expires before ESTA, ESTA automatically becomes invalid).