Information for applicants

According to the third chapter of the Act on the Icelandic Tourist Board No. 96/2018, anyone who intends to operate as a travel agency, must apply for a license from the Icelandic Tourist Board. The issued license is indefinite. Applicants should apply to the Icelandic Tourist Board at least two months before the planned operation begins.

A travel agency, whether an individual or legal entity, is an operator which assembles, organizes, offers and/or sells package tours or mediates the sale of interconnected travel arrangements for business purposes, whether on its own initiative or at the request of the client, domestically or abroad as covered by the Act on the Icelandic Tourist Board No. 96/2018

Licence certificate and logo

Travel agency licences are only issued electronically. 

A Travel agency must use a graphically-numbered ID provided by the Icelandic Tourist Board in all advertisements about their activities and on their website.

The Icelandic Tourist Board may grant an exemption from this, in special cases, upon application by the licensee.

Legal name and market name

It is prohibited to operate or promote the activities of day tour providers under any other name than those stated on the license issued by the Icelandic Tourist Board. When applying for a license, a company should include the legal name of the licensee, together with all the trade and brand names i.e. market names that are to be used in the business. Additional names can be added to the license at any time, by submitting an application to the Icelandic Tourist Board which issues a new license free of charge.

"Trade and brand names" include names that can be an business identifiers or domain names.

Worth to note, is that the Icelandic Tourist Board is not responsible for the names registered on the license holder's license. If licensees want to ensure that other parties do not use the trade- or brand names or any IDs registered on their licenses, they must register these names with the Icelandic Trade Directory  and/or register all IDs at the Icelandic Intellectual Property Office.

Fixed Premises

A travel agency licence holder shall conduct their operations at fixed premises open to the public. However, this requirement may be waived if the service is operated solely on an electronic basis, in which case the licence holder must meet the requirements of Article 6 of Act No. 30/2002 with respect to the information that must appear on the licence holder's website.

A travel agency shall provide accessible and continuous access to the following information:

  1. name,
  2. premises address,
  3. identification number,
  4. postal- and e-mail addresses along with all other relevant contact information,
  5. service provider's VAT number,
  6. the official register in which the service provider is registered,
  7. permits and licences and the issuer and regulators of these permits.

Liability insurance

A travel agency must present a confirmation of insurance which must be submitted when applying for a license. A liability insurance issued by an insurance company licensed to operate in the European Economic Area is sufficient.

The liability insurance is intended to insure the licensee's customers, during a day tour, if they suffer physical or property damage attributable to the day tour provider. 

The insurance must be valid for the duration of the license. 

Insurance under the act on package travel and linked travel arrangements

The sale of package tours and linked travel arrangements is subject to insurance and licensing as covered by the Act on Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements No. 95/2018. A operator who offers for sale or sells package tours to tourists within Iceland must have insurance. 

Safety plans

Anyone intending to perform organised tours within Icelandic territory shall prepare a written safety plan for each type of tour, regardless of whether the entity concerned sells the tour directly to a traveler or through a third party. The safety plan shall be available in writing in Icelandic and English at all times. Such tours may not be offered for sale, promoted or marketed in any way whatsoever in the absence of a safety plan. A safety plan is composed of a risk assessment, procedures, contingency plan and incident report. 

It is not required to send these safety plans in, when applying for a license, however the Icelandic Tourist Board can request them at any time. 

License conditions

The applicant, or his representative if the applicant is a legal person, must meet the following requirements in order to obtain a licence:

  1. he must reside in a Member State of the European Economic Area or a state which is party to the Convention establishing the European Free Trade Association or in the Faroe Islands;
  2. he must be of legal majority and be competent to manage his own finances, and may not, during the preceding four years in connection with a commercial activity, have been convicted of any offence punishable under this Act, the General Penal Code or the Acts on limited liability companies, private limited liability companies, accounting practices, annual accounts, bankruptcy etc. or government taxes;
  3. he must have registered the operations with the Directorate of Internal Revenue;
  4. he must present confirmation that he is covered by liability insurance issued by an insurance company licensed to operate in the European Economic Area.

The Icelandic Tourist Board may request such further information as it considers necessary to decide whether a licence should be granted.

Consumer protection

The Consumer Agency supervises the laws and rules set, with the exception of the insurance provisions, which the Icelandic Tourist Board supervises. The law significantly increases consumer protection and harmonizes the rights of consumers in the European Economic Area. 

The Act on Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements No. 95/2018 outlines the laws and obligations of the travel agency. 

The website of the Consumer Agency is: ns.is

Required documents with an application

It is of the utmost importance that all certificates, confirmations and other documents are available before filling out an application. The documents that the applicant himself must obtain or prepare and attach to the application are:

Individuals

  • Confirmation of registration in the Icelandic Tax Office payroll register.
  • Confirmation of a liability insurance from an insurance company.
  • If an individual runs a business under a name other than his or her own, the name must be registered with the Icelandic Trade Directory and a confirmation of this must accompany the application.
  • Debit or credit card for payment.

Legal entities

  • Verified business certificate from the Icelandic Trade Directory.
  • Confirmation of registration in the Icelandic Tax Office payroll register.
  • Confirmation of a liability insurance from an insurance company.
  • Debit or credit card for payment.
  • Please note that when applying for an legal entity, a company representative must apply on behalf of the company. Instructions how to do so are available in Icelandic.

Accounting Records

When applying for a travel agency license, accounting records must be submitted for the decision on the amount of insurance for the sale of package tours and interconnected travel arrangements. The accounting documents are in Excel format and can be accessed below which the applicant must first save on their own computer, fill in and send with the application as an attachment. There are two documents, one for the current year and the other for the coming year. They include:

Additional certificates

Other certificates required by the Act on Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements No. 95/2018 to accompany the application are obtained automatically. Obtaining other legal documents might require additional costs to be levied. 

Application process

Individual or legal entity? - Permission to act on behalf of the legal entity.

Individuals

The licensee is the person identified as the applicant in the application and can either be an individual or a legal entity. So if the licensee is a legal entity, the name and ID number of the legal entity must be registered in the appropriate area of the application form.

Open an application:

Travel agency license, individuals

Legal entities

In order to fill out an application for a legal entity, a company representative (the procurator) must first go to island.is, then logging in to "My Pages" with the legal entity's "ice key" (I. Íslykill) and fill out the appropriate form to grant an individual permission to act on behalf of the legal entity. Further instructions are available in Icelandic. This is not required if an applicant is an individual. 

To fill out a license application

The application for the license itself is through the self-service portal at island.is, where applicants sign up with their personal "ice key" (I. Íslykill) or electronic ID. Please note that only individuals can fill out an application, i.e. this is not possible by logging on with a legal entity's "ice key".

Open an application:

Travel agency license, legal entities

License fee

A travel agency license is costs ISK 30,000 which must be paid by the applicant.

Fee for reviewing accounting documents
The Icelandic Tourist Board seeks an auditor's comments on the accounting documents for new applications for travel agency licenses. The fee for the comment is ISK 28,000.- which is added to the license fee of ISK 30,000

If a travel agency needs to be re-audited The Icelandic Tourist Board will seek an auditor's opinion again. The fee for the comment is ISK 25,000.- and is paid annually.

Will I need any other licenses?

The applicant must verify whether other permits are necessary in connection to the activity that the provider intends to offer.

The Icelandic Transport Authority issues permits for transport of people, whether by land, air or sea, including rivers and lakes.

District Commissioners are responsible for issuing permits for restaurants and accommodation.

The Health Inspectorate issues operating licenses for horse riding and such activities must be notified to the Food Administration (MAST), For further info click here. The Health Inspectorate also grants operating licenses for accommodation, restaurants and public toilets.

The Environment Agency grants permits for off-road driving, construction work in nature reserves, photography and cinematography in areas covered by The Environment Agency and issues permits for both reindeer and bird hunting.

Chiefs of Police provide firearms license and a license for skydiving.

The Directorate of Fisheries issues licenses for recreational fishing.