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TRAVEL

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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VISAS

Reader question: What happened to Italy’s planned digital nomad visa?

Italy's digital nomad visa was approved this March. Why haven't we heard any more about it since then, and when can we expect the permit to be finalised? Here's how things look.

Reader question: What happened to Italy's planned digital nomad visa?

Question: ‘I am extremely interested in the (theoretical) digital nomad visa that was approved earlier this year. I’m wondering what the current status is and what you might know about how the new election will affect the eventual availability of this visa?’

After Italy’s digital nomad visa was enacted into law at the end of March, the implementing decree setting out how exactly it would work should have been released within the following 30 days.

But we’re now midway through October and no such decree has been passed, which means no digital nomad visa – yet. So what happened to it?

The Italian Foreign Ministry, Labour Ministry and Interior Ministry all have to weigh in and sign off on the implementing decree, and the fact that it wasn’t released within the 30-day deadline likely means they weren’t able to find common ground, notes Pietro Derossi, an immigration lawyer at Lexia Avvocati.

And they’re unlikely to do so any time in the near future, thanks to the unexpected collapse of the government over the summer and Italy’s subsequent snap elections in September.

READ ALSO: Remote workers: What are your visa options when moving to Italy?

While those elections did result in a clear winner in the hard-right coalition led by Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party, the new government is still being formed – a process which will take several more weeks at least.

Once the government is sworn in, it will have several urgent issues to focus on, including presenting next year’s draft budget to the EU for approval (in a normal year, the deadline for this is mid-October), and addressing Italy’s cost of living and energy crises.

All of this means the digital nomad visa is unlikely to be at the top of the new government’s agenda. 

Then there’s the question of what view the next executive will take of the planned permit. The visa was proposed by MPs from the populist Five Star Movement, which is no longer in power, and approved by a broadly centrist coalition government with a very different set of priorities to that of Italy’s incoming leaders.

The Five Star MP backing the visa scheme, Luca Carabetta, was not re-elected to Italy’s new parliament and it’s unclear if others will push the scheme forward on his behalf.

READ ALSO: The five biggest challenges facing Italy’s new hard-right government

On the one hand, incoming prime minister Giorgia Meloni is staunchly anti-immigration (though focuses almost all her anti-migrant rhetoric on ‘illegal immigrants’ and asylum seekers) and is an impassioned promoter of nativist policies, who has accused previous administrations of trying to “replace” the Italian population with foreigners.

While Meloni has not criticised the digital nomad visa specifically, it’s reasonable to suspect she might not be the biggest champion of a scheme promising to make it easier for non-Italians to move to the country.

But at the same time, any government has to reckon with the fact that Italy is suffering from a brain drain and a steady population decline, combined with an increasingly ageing populace that needs supporting by an active workforce. Those behind the digital nomad visa suggest it could be one answer to this problem.

Exactly when we can expect an update on the visa’s progress, and what it might look like when finalised, is still unclear at this stage. Based on the current political situation, it will likely take several more months to be resolved – at the very least.

As Derossi writes: “The number of people who are enchanted by the possibility of pursuing the Italian dream while keeping their job is probably big. A lot is at stake, and we can expect only a very united set of ministers to be capable of finding an agreement on how to give birth to this new revolutionary type of visa.”

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