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Iceland – Driving Licenses

Iceland is a popular tourist destination known for its stunning natural landscapes, and foreign nationals who plan to drive in Iceland must have a valid driving license. This article will cover the rules and regulations, agreements in place for license exchange, procedures for obtaining and renewing driving licenses, recognition of International Driving Permits, and the penalty system for motoring offenses in relation to driving licenses in Iceland.

General Rules for Foreign Nationals in Iceland

Foreign nationals who hold a valid driving license from their country of origin can use their license in Iceland for up to one year. After one year, they must obtain an Icelandic driving license. This applies to all foreign nationals, regardless of the country of origin.

License Exchange Agreements in Iceland

Iceland has agreements in place with several countries that allow foreign nationals to exchange their driving license for an Icelandic one without taking a driving test. The countries that have such agreements with Iceland are the EU member states, Switzerland, Norway, and Liechtenstein. Foreign nationals from countries that do not have an agreement with Iceland must take a driving test in Iceland to obtain an Icelandic driving license.

Obtaining and Renewing a Driving License in Iceland

To obtain an Icelandic driving license, foreign nationals must pass a written and practical driving test. The written test is conducted in Icelandic, but an interpreter can be provided for foreign nationals who do not speak the language. The cost of obtaining a driving license in Iceland is approximately ISK 20,000.

To renew a driving license, foreign nationals must provide the following documents:

  • A valid passport and visa
  • The original Icelandic driving license
  • A medical certificate issued by an Icelandic doctor

The renewal process is straightforward and usually takes no longer than a day. The cost of renewing a driving license in Iceland is approximately ISK 6,500.


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Relevant Government Departments or Agencies

The Icelandic Transport Authority is the government agency responsible for regulating driving licenses and road safety in Iceland. Foreign nationals can obtain more information on driving licenses in Iceland by visiting the authority’s website at https://www.samgongustofa.is/en.

International Driving Permit Recognition in Iceland

An International Driving Permit (IDP) is recognized in Iceland. However, it is not a substitute for a valid driving license. Foreign nationals who plan to drive in Iceland must have a valid driving license and an IDP if they plan to drive for more than one year.

Penalty System for Motoring Offences

The penalty system for motoring offenses in Iceland is strict, and fines can be significant. The penalties for motoring offenses are as follows:

  • Speeding: Fines range from ISK 10,000 to ISK 70,000, depending on the speed at which the offense was committed.
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol: Fines range from ISK 50,000 to ISK 1,000,000, and the offender’s driving license can be suspended for up to three years.
  • Driving without a valid license: Fines range from ISK 20,000 to ISK 100,000, and the offender’s vehicle can be impounded.
  • Reckless driving: Fines range from ISK 20,000 to ISK 500,000, and the offender’s driving license can be suspended for up to three years.

It is worth noting that the penalties for motoring offenses in Iceland are subject to change, and foreign nationals are advised to keep themselves informed of any changes in the law.

In conclusion, foreign nationals who plan to drive in Iceland must have a valid driving license. Foreign nationals who hold a valid driving license from their country of origin can use their license in Iceland for up to one year. Iceland has agreements in place with several countries that allow foreign nationals to exchange their driving license for an Icelandic one without taking a driving test, and the renewal process is straightforward. An International Driving Permit is recognized in Iceland, but it is not a substitute for a valid driving license. The penalty system for motoring offenses in Iceland is strict, and fines can be significant. Foreign nationals are advised to familiarize themselves with local driving laws and regulations to avoid any legal issues while driving in Iceland.


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