What does the UK government’s ‘amber traffic light’ mean for travel to Italy?

As the UK government has announced changes to its traffic light system for travel, Italy remains on the 'amber' list. Here's a reminder of what that means for people travelling between Italy and the UK now.

What does the UK government’s ‘amber traffic light’ mean for travel to Italy?
Italy is still on the UK's 'amber list' for travel. Photo: MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP

This article was updated on June 25th.

The UK’s traffic light system for travel was updated on Thursday, reassigning countries into red, amber and green classifications, based on each country’s health data such as Covid-19 case numbers and vaccination rates.

Italy, although speculated to move onto the UK’s ‘green list’ this time, didn’t in fact get downgraded and remains on the UK’s ‘amber list’, along with all the other countries The Local covers; Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

However, even though Italy hasn’t moved onto a new list, there are some changes for countries in this moderate-risk category.

So what does it mean if you’re travelling between the UK and Italy right now? Here’s the latest you need to know.

Reasons for travel between the UK and Italy

You don’t need to prove that your trip is essential, as travel from an amber list country is permitted for any reason. You also don’t have to be a UK national or resident as entry is not limited to these groups.

However, there are rules on testing and quarantine in place – there are 10 days of isolating and PCR tests are required on days two and eight of quarantine.

Arrivals into the UK must:

  • Have a negative Covid test to show at the border.
  • Complete the passenger locator form – find that HERE.
  • Quarantine for 10 days – this can be done in a location of their choice including the home of a friend or family member and there is no need to pay for a “quarantine hotel”.
  • Arrivals also have to pay for travel-testing kits which cost around £200 per person.

READ ALSO: What Covid-19 tests do I need for travel between Italy and the UK?

Some reasons for travel and professions may have grounds for being exempt from quarantine. You can find more details here.

Although you can travel to an amber list country, the UK authorities advise against it for leisure or tourism reasons. So it’s not a travel ban, but the government warns against it.

As it’s official advice, it can invalidate travel insurance, so check your policy before you travel.

READ ALSO: Who can travel to Italy right now?

If Italy in the future makes it onto the green list, then no quarantine is necessary, unless you tested positive for Covid-19 or if you travelled to England with someone who had tested positive.

Some testing would still remain in place too. You have to take a Covid-19 test on or before day two after you arrive, with children aged 4 and under being exempt.

Italy’s travel rules

The above is what you need to know to enter the UK and is the government’s advice to amber list countries, but what about Italy’s latest travel restrictions?

Travel to Italy from the UK has changed again, as the Italian government reinstated a mandatory quarantine and testing for UK arrivals, amid concerns about the spread of the Delta coronavirus variant.

This comes just a month after Italy had dropped the quarantine for those travelling from the UK.

Travel into Italy from the UK is currently allowed for any reason. However, anyone who has been on British territory in the 14 days before arrival in Italy must quarantine for five days, regardless of nationality. 

You must also submit the address of where you spend the isolation period to local health authorities within 48 hours of arrival. Find contact details here.

The Italian authorities reserve the right to call you up or even visit you in person to check that you’re observing quarantine.

The location can be a private one or that of an accommodation provider (if the provider accepts you quarantining on their premises). There is currently no supervised quarantine under a ‘Covid hotel’ system for arrivals from Britain, as is being used in the UK.

READ ALSO: How should travellers from the UK quarantine in Italy?

Anyone found not to be following these rules could end up with hefty fines, including up to €1000 for breaking quarantine.

The new rules are in force from June 21st until at least July 30th, stated the Italian Embassy in London.

Before your trip, you should also fill out a European Digital Passenger Locator Form (dPLF), giving details of where you’re departing from and where you’ll be staying. The form is available online here.


What about people who are vaccinated?

On the subject of vaccinated travellers, a spokesman for the British Department of Transport told UK media: “In recognition of our successful domestic vaccination programme, and as part of the Global Travel Taskforce’s checkpoint review, our intention is that later in the summer, arrivals who are fully vaccinated will not have to quarantine when travelling from amber list countries.

For more information on international travel to and from Italy, see the Foreign Ministry’s website.

The Local is not able to give advice on individual cases.

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Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”