Testing for SARS-CoV-2 at the border

The test for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test where a respiratory sample is taken (nose and throat swab) in search for the virus's nucleic acid (genetic material). For passengers who undergo double testing, the first test is on arrival at the border and the second test is 5 days later and performed locally by the primary health care service. Quarantine is lifted if both tests are negative.

Following the test, passengers should continue to their registered place of quarantine residence in Iceland. Those in quarantine may to stay one night near the border station before heading to the location of quarantine. Passengers, who are not fully vaccinated or with a confirmed previous infection, need to undergo quarantine until the results of the second test are reported, and they are advised to take the utmost care and consider their health and others.

Those who are vaccinated but completion of vaccination was less than 14 days before arrival need to undergo one test at the border and follow rules of quarantine until the resuls are received.

A negative result from a PCR test means that the virus is not detectable. A positive test means that viral substance was detected and an individual is infected. Those who test positive will undergo further testing such as a blood test for antibodies, which can answer whether an individual has an old infection or a new active infection. An individual with an active infection must undergo 14 days of isolation and will be followed by the health care service. Those who have been in close contact with a person with an active infection need to go into quarantine. The Contact Tracing team assesses and decides who needs to go into isolation or quarantine. An individual with antibodies that indicate that an infection is old does not need to be isolated.

Passengers are expected to receive their test results within 24 hours, usually the same day or, especially if arrival time is after 5 pm, the next day. Passengers will be notified of the result in the tracing app, Rakning C-19, through heilsuvera.is, or in a text message. Positive results will beare announced by telephone to the phone number confirmed during pre-registration. It is necessary to be able to reach a traveller if a test is positive so a functioning phone is required.

Samples are discarded after analysis but depersonalized data may be used to compile statistics on the COVID-19 disease.


Fyrst birt 10.06.2020
Síðast uppfært 08.07.2021

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