What’s the latest news on travel from the US to Italy?

What's the latest news on travel from the US to Italy?
Travellers wait at Rome's Fiumicino airport. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP
The rules on travelling to Italy keep changing, and some of them are different from the rest of Europe. Here's what people hoping to reach Italy from the US need to know.

Italy has renewed its travel restrictions in its latest emergency decree, which came into force on August 10th.

Under the new law, a ban on tourism from the United States and most other countries will remain in place until at least September 7th.

Meanwhile the EU continues to revise its list of “safe” countries which it recommends members allow travellers to enter from – but the US is still not on it.

So what does this mean for Americans?

At the moment, “non-essential” travel to Italy from the US is still forbidden.

Non-essential travel to Italy also remains banned from India, Russia and most other countries in the world.

READ ALSO: Who is allowed to travel to Italy from outside the EU?

People departing from these countries cannot come to Italy as a tourist, but they are allowed to enter for urgent, essential reasons that they will have to justify to border police. They will also need to quarantine on arrival.

You can travel from the US to Italy for:

  • Work; 
  • Study;
  • Medical reasons;
  • Family emergencies;
  • To return home or to a place of residence.

This means US citizens who are permanent residents of Italy can travel – although they will need to show proof of residency at the border, for instance a valid permesso di soggiorno.

Quarantine rules

If you can prove your trip is essential and are allowed into Italy, you will have to quarantine yourself for 14 days after you arrive. 

You must complete a form (available in English here) informing authorities of where you plan to isolate yourself and your arrangements for getting there. You must not travel by public transport.


Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

Many of our readers have written to us to ask whether they might be able to get around Italy's 14-day quarantine rule by travelling through the UK or a different EU country first.
 
Italy has allowed free movement to and from EU and Schengen zone countries, including the UK, since June 3rd, with no quarantine requirements.
 
Italian rules do not state specifically whether or not someone who had, for example, spent two weeks in the UK before arriving in Italy would still be expected to quarantine when arriving in Italy.
 
The Local has repeatedly asked for clarification on this point from the Italian Foreign Ministry, but at the time of writing has not yet received an answer.
 

 
One American reader who was prevented from boarding a direct flight from the US to Italy – despite being married to an Italian citizen – told The Local that he did manage to reach Italy by booking separate legs from the US to UK and then from the UK to Italy, but he found himself grilled on both the British and Italian sides of the border. 
 
“Getting to Italy now is a huge costly gamble even with all the correct forms and documents,” Robert Wilson said, saying that neither airlines nor border agents seemed to have a clear interpretation of the rules.
 
“Travellers might want to have a plan B where they are prepared to return to the UK for the quarantine period,” he advised.
 
In general Italy is taking a tough stance on travel from all non-EU countries. Even travellers from countries on the EU's “safe list” are still required to quarantine on arrival in Italy, which is not the case in other EU member states.
 
 
Exemptions to the travel ban
 
As mentioned above, US citizens who are permanent residents of Italy can travel – but they will need to show proof of residency at the border.
 
According to the European Council, non-resident Americans can also travel to the EU if:
  • They have dual citizenship of an EU country;
  • They're travelling with a close family member who is an EU citizen or long-term resident;
  • They're travelling for an essential function or need. 
The European Council defines “travellers with an essential function or need” as the following:
  • Healthcare professionals, health researchers, and elderly care professionals;
  • Frontier workers;
  • Seasonal workers in agriculture;
  • Transport personnel;
  • Diplomats, staff of international organisations, military personnel, humanitarian aid workers and civil protection personnel in the exercise of their functions;
  • Passengers in transit;
  • Passengers travelling for imperative family reasons;
  • Seafarers;
  • Persons in need of international protection or for other humanitarian reasons;
  • Third-country nationals travelling for the purpose of study;
  • Highly qualified third-country workers if their employment is necessary from an economic perspective and the work cannot be postponed or performed abroad.
It's important to remember that travellers will have to convince border guards that they meet one of the above categories.
 
When will the rules be revised?

Italy's travel rules will remain in force until at least September 7th, barring any revisions to the new decree. The government will review them again when that decree expires.

Whether or not restrictions are lifted for travellers from the US depends on how the Covid-19 situation in the US develops.

To make the EU's “safe list”, countries must have controlled the coronavirus outbreak to the same degree as the EU or more. The bar was fixed at 16 new cases per 100,000 people over the last two weeks, which was the average across the EU when the list was first issued in June.

Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

Are flights available from the US to Italy?

Some flight connections have been reinstated, such as Alitalia's Rome-New York route, and passengers can freely purchase tickets. Yet this does not mean that restrictions for travelling into Italy have been lifted.

In fact many of those hoping to travel on these flights told The Local that they were turned away at the airport.

Some passengers said they had trouble finding clear, official travel information ahead of their flight, meaning they traveled unnecessarily to the airport hoping they may be able to board after being allowed to book tickets.

READ ALSO: What to expect when you're flying to Italy

Alitalia confirmed to The Local that the airline could not provide passengers with Italian travel information before they arrived at the airport.

“On our website we recommend that travelers check the entry restrictions of the destination country on the local Department of Foreign Affairs website,” an Alitalia spokesperson told The Local.

“Passengers should also inform themselves if they are eligible for travel to Europe,” they added, citing information from the US Embassy in Italy.

Official US advice

At the time of updating this article on August 10th, the US government was “recommending that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to Italy”.

Anyone planning to travel is advised to check the latest updates from the US State Department and Centers for Disease Control, and to find out whether they are covered by their travel insurer.

The US Embassy in Rome directed us to the following advice for any US citizens planning to travel to Italy:

This also applies to those who are entering Italy via another European country on a connecting flight, such as via Germany or the UK, if they have been in the US (or anywhere else outside of Europe) within the past 14 days.

The rules change frequently in both Italy and other countries. Anyone with specific questions about travel to Italy at the moment should consult the Italian embassy in their country.


Member comments

  1. Pasquale, my understanding is ‘the safe countries’ are allowed in but are still required to do the 14 days quarantine.

  2. Australians are on the approved list, however our government has warned our border will more than likely be closed for any of us seeking international travel until 2021. The exception maybe New Zealand.

  3. Americans cannot travel to Europe until the U.S. State Department lifts the Level 4 (do not travel) advisory for Europe.

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