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Reader question: Can I use a foreign vaccination certificate to access Italy’s ‘green pass’?

With Italy now rolling out its health pass, those who get vaccinated here will be able to download a digital health certificate - but what if you were vaccinated in another country?

Reader question: Can I use a foreign vaccination certificate to access Italy's 'green pass'?
Photo: Koen van Weel / ANP / AFP

Question: I’m an American and I’m not registered with the Italian national health service. Can I use my CDC vaccination card to obtain the Italian ‘green pass’ for travel?

Italy has now started issuing its certificato verde or ‘green pass’ – which will be valid for travel all over the European Union from July 1st.

The health passport is also required to attend larger events in Italy like wedding receptions, now that these are allowed to go ahead again.

EXPLAINED: What is Italy’s digital ‘green pass’ used for and how do you get it?

After using paper certificates since May, Italy is now making the pass available in digital (and printable) form, both online and via the government’s Immuni contact tracing app as well as its IO admin app.

You’re automatically entitled to the ‘green pass’ document if you have either been vaccinated, have recently tested negative, or can prove you’ve recovered from Covid-19 within the past six months.

But what happens if you were vaccinated outside Italy and therefore don’t have an Italian certificate to download?

For now, this will depend on where you were vaccinated.

Photo: Vincenzo PINTO / AFP

EU

If you were vaccinated in an EU/Schengen zone country, things should be relatively straightforward.

Every EU country is rolling out its own version of the ‘digital green pass’, and these can all be used to produce a QR code that can be scanned at any border within the Bloc.

Each country’s app should accept either a vaccination certificate or a recent negative test, or proof of having recently recovered from Covid-19.

If you were vaccinated in Italy, you should be automatically sent a code which you can use to access your certificato verde – whether or not you are enrolled in the national health service and have a tessera sanitaria (health card).

While Italy has not made provisions for people to register on the Italian app or website using non-Italian certificates, if you’re in the EU you can register using the equivalent version of the app in your country. The pass you get will be recognised when travelling to Italy and in all other EU member states.

The EU-wide travel pass scheme will be in operation from July 1st.

Outside the EU

Europe has not officially recognised health certificates from non-EU countries as equivalent under its ‘green pass’ scheme. However individual member states can choose to do so.

As of June 21st, Italy is now allowing fully-vaccinated travellers from certain countries with high vaccination rates to skip quarantine on arrival.

READ ALSO: What kind of coronavirus test do I need to take for travel to Italy?

Italy has so far allowed entry from the United States, Canada and Japan under the same terms as the EU’s ‘green pass’ scheme.

That means the ten-day quarantine rule will not apply to passengers from those countries who can provide proof of being fully vaccinated or having recovered from Covid-19, or can show a negative result from a test taken within the 48 hours before arrival in Italy.

What about other countries?

It’s not known yet when Italy may reach agreements with other individual non-EU countries.

This will depend on each country’s vaccination and infection rates, as well as logistical aspects.

The first issue is that the EU pass will only accept vaccine certificates from people who have received a dose of a vaccine licensed for use within the EU. At present these are Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech (also called Comirnaty), AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) or Johnson & Johnson (Janssen).

The second is that the EU and the non-EU country need to agree to recognise each other’s vaccination/test certificates.

Then there’s also the technical aspect – making sure all certificates can be scanned and the various apps ‘talk’ to each other correctly.

For the latest on travel rules in and out of Italy, see The Local’s travel section.

Member comments

  1. I would like to know if my friends in Belarus who have both had Covid and recovered from it would be able to travel to Italy this Summer. They tell can’t get a vaccine other than Sputnik and that Belarussian doctors wont vaccinate them till 3 months after recovery. Would a certificate showing antibodies after recovery suffice? All help greatly appreciated.

      1. Thank you. I thought that was probably the case but I am exploring all avenues. It seems it is much easier to get into Italy illegally than via the correct methods!

  2. I am a dual US / Italian citizen living in the USA. I obtained a Green Pass when in Italy last fall. I recently emailed documentation of my two booster immunizations to the Ministero della Salute, and I have now received a link and an authorization code to download my updated Green Pass.

    However, one piece of information the site requires is the type of ID shown at the time I received my two additional shots AND the number on the document. Example: my State of Maine driver’s license and number. But the website tells me the number is incorrect. It isn’t, but of course there is no US database the Ministero della Salute has access to in order to verify this. Whatever answer I enter in this block, it will be interpreted as incorrect.

    In the US, the number on the identification document you show when you receive your injection in not recorded anywhere. Has anyone else had a similar problem? If so, were you able to get it fixed?

    molte grazie!

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Passports: What are the post-Brexit rules for dual-nationals travelling in Europe?

People who have more than one citizenship often hold multiple passports, so what does this mean for crossing borders? Here's what you should know.

Passports: What are the post-Brexit rules for dual-nationals travelling in Europe?

For many readers of The Local, gaining citizenship of the country where they live helps them to feel more settled – but there are also travel benefits, including avoiding the long ‘non EU’ queue when coming back into the Schengen zone.

But this week the problems associated with travelling while holding dual citizenship came to light, leaving many people wondering what they should know when they are entering different countries.

Put simply – which passport should you use? And do you have to carry both with you?

Financial Times journalist Chris Giles tweeted that the UK Border Force “detained” his dual-national daughter while she was travelling from France into the UK with her German passport – and not her British one. 

He went on to say that UK border guards released his daughter. According to Giles, the border staff said she should have had both passports with her “and asked why she was travelling on her German one”.

The rules on dual-nationality have not changed, but now that the UK is not in the EU, there are strict rules on non-Brits who enter the country (and vice-versa) which has made it trickier for travel.

For instance, UK nationals receive a stamp in their passport when entering Schengen member states because they are only allowed to stay up to 90 days within an 180 period (unless they have a visa or residency card).

READ ALSO: Brexit: EU asks border police not to stamp passports of British residents 

People coming from the EU to the UK can generally visit as a tourist for up to six months without a visa – but are not allowed to carry out any work while there.

So which passport should you show?

The first thing to be aware of is there are no specific rules on travelling with more than one passport. 

Travellers can choose to use whichever passport they prefer when going to a country. 

But one thing to note is that it’s worth using the passport that is best suited to your destination when travelling there. Each country has its own set of immigration and visa rules that you’ll need to research closely.

It could be that one passport is better suited for your trip – and you may be able to avoid visa requirements.  

READ ALSO: How powerful is the German passport?

In the case of the UK, many people are still getting to grips with the different rules that apply because it’s not in the EU anymore.

A question submitted to the Secretary of State for the Home Department in September 2021 provided some insight into this issue. 

The question from Labour’s Paul Blomfield asked what steps the UK government “is taking to enable dual UK and EU citizens to travel to the UK on an EU member state passport without having to further prove their UK citizenship?”

The Conservatives Kevin Foster said: “Border Force Officers examine all arriving passengers to establish whether they are British citizens, whether they require leave to enter or if they are exempt from immigration control.

“Where the passenger claims to be British, but does not hold any evidence of British citizenship, the officer will conduct all relevant checks to satisfy themselves the passenger is British.

Border control at Hamburg airport.

Border control at Hamburg airport. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christian Charisius

“When dual nationals who are eligible to use e-gates travel to the UK, they will enter via the e-gates without being examined by an immigration officer.

“We recommend all dual nationals, including EU citizens, travel on their British passport or with evidence or their British citizenship to minimise any potential delay at the border or when commencing their journey.”

The Local contacted the UK Home Office to ask if there was any official advice. 

A spokesman said: “An individual can present whichever passport they desire to enter the UK, however they will be subject to the entry requirements associated with the nationality of the passport they present.”

They said anyone who is looking for more information should check out guidance on entering the UK and on dual nationality.

In short, if you present a German passport on entry to the UK you will be treated the same as any other German citizen – which can include being quizzed about your reasons for visiting the UK – as border guards have no way of knowing that you are a dual-national. 

Do I have to carry both passports?

There’s no rule requiring you to have both passports, but you won’t get the benefits of a British passport (entry into the UK without questions) if you don’t show it.

Likewise if you are a French-British dual national and you enter France on your UK passport, you will need to use the non-EU queue and may have your passport stamped.

Should I think about anything else?

An important thing to remember is that if you apply for a visa and register your passport details, the same passport has to be used to enter the country. 

It could also make sense to travel with both passports, just in case. 

However, note that some countries – like the US – require that US nationals use a US passport to enter and leave the States even if they are dual nationals. 

In general, it’s best to use the same passport you entered a country with to depart.

The rules and systems are different depending on the country. But many countries require people to show their passport when leaving – and they will either stamp or scan the passport – this is how authorities know that a foreign visitor hasn’t overstayed their time in the country. 

So if your passport is checked as you leave the UK, you should show the one you arrived with, just to ensure there is a record of you arriving and leaving.

However as you enter France/Germany/other EU destination, you can show your EU passport in order to maximise the travel benefits of freedom of movement.

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