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Icelandic Customs Regulations and Tax-Free Shopping

When you’re travelling, you might want to bring some stuff from back home with you. Perhaps your favourite beer, snacks, and of course, your medicine. But what are you allowed to bring with you, and what quantity is accepted by Icelandic customs? In this article, we will tell you more about the most important Icelandic customs regulations. Also, did you know that when you leave the country, you can get a tax refund?

What food can I take with me?

First, let’s talk about those snacks you want to bring with you. Travellers are allowed to import up to 3kg of food with a value of maximum 25,000 ISK (roughly €185/£155/$205) duty free. Meat products may only be imported if they have been boiled; just smoked, salted, or dried meat is not allowed. This means salami and bacon are not allowed to be imported, for example. Uncooked eggs and uncooked milk are also not allowed to bring into Iceland. Make sure that all food you want to import has ingredient labels for the customs officers to check in case of doubt.

What about alcohol?

Let’s look at alcohol allowance next – the maximum allowance is six units of alcohol. But what is one unit, exactly? This depends on how much alcohol is in a certain product. The Icelandic Directorate of Customs distinguishes three kinds of alcohol: liquor with an alcohol percentage of 22-55%, wine and liqueur with an alcohol percentage of less than 22%, and beer and cider.
Units per category are as follows:
• Spirits (22-55%): 25cl = 1 unit, 50cl = 2 units, 75cl = 3 units, 1l = 4 units.
• Wine and liqueur (under 22%): 50cl = 0.7 units, 75cl = 1 unit, 1l = 1.3 units.
• Beer, cider: 2l = 0.7 units, 3l = 1 unit.

If you don’t feel like figuring out how much you can bring, use this handy-dandy allowance calculator. Please note: alcohol can only be imported to Iceland by adults of 20 years and older.

Can I bring my medicines?

People travelling to Iceland are allowed to import conventional medicines for personal needs during their stay in Iceland. The medicines may not exceed 100 days of consumption. Customs officers might ask for a doctor’s certificate if they deem this necessary, so remember to bring this with you when you have to bring medication.

Is it allowed to bring my own fishing and riding gear?

It’s not allowed to bring used horseback riding gear into the country – this includes leather saddles, muzzles, reins, bridles, halters, and whips. It’s not possible to disinfect leather adequately and therefore you’re not allowed to import it. You may only bring angling gear and riding clothing which has been used outside of Iceland if these have been disinfected properly. Proof of disinfection in the form of a certificate of disinfection issued by an authorised veterinary officer is accepted by custom officers. If the owner can’t show this certificate, fishing gear and riding clothing have to be disinfected on arrival at their owner’s cost.

How much money can I bring?

If you carry more than €10,000 cash (or equal, in any currency), you have to declare this to the customs officers.

Tax free shopping – VAT refund

All non-Iceland residents are eligible for tax-free shopping. At shops around Iceland, you can get a tax-free form when you’re paying for your goods. When you leave Iceland, you take your tax-free form with you with the original purchase receipts attached to it and a retailer signature on it. The minimum amount for tax free eligibility is 6,000 ISK (≈ €45/£35/$50) per one single purchase receipt. Before your flight, you take this form to Arion Bank at Keflavík International Airport to have it stamped. Then, you take your stamped tax-free form with the original receipts to the International Refund Point to receive your refund.

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