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HEALTH

Reader question: What are the rules on travel to Italy from EU countries right now?

After Italy launched its version of the EU-wide digital ‘green pass’ on June 17th, there has been confusion about what changes for people travelling to Italy from other European countries.

Reader question: What are the rules on travel to Italy from EU countries right now?
Photo: Koen van Weel/ANP/AFP

Question: I live in a European country which has not yet released its version of the EU ‘green pass’, and I’m travelling to Italy soon. Am I allowed to enter the country at the moment? What are the requirements?

The health pass will be used to facilitate quarantine-free travel throughout the EU from July 1st, with certificates issued in any member state valid throughout the rest of the bloc, the European Commission says.

But some people planning to travel to Italy soon have said they are unsure about which rules apply until July 1st.

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

Not all countries in Europe have yet made their own version of the digital certificate available to residents.

As the map below shows, as of Wednesday most European member states have now begun issuing the pass but some, including Sweden and Belgium, are not quite there yet.

Map: European Commission

Italy launched its version of the pass on June 17th, allowing eligible people living in Italy to start downloading the digital health certificate immediately via an official website or app.

The Italian pass is designed for residents of Italy who were vaccinated, tested or recovered from Covid-19 here. 

That means that residents of other EU countries planning to visit Italy should claim a certificate from their own country, which will be accepted in Italy. 

READ ALSO: Who can travel to Italy right now?

But Italy has not started to require the green pass for international travel just yet.

The rules on entering Italy won’t change until July 1st, when the European-wide health pass system should become fully operational. 

By then, all member states are expected to be issuing their own version of the certificate for use throughout the bloc.

Between June 17th and July 1st, during what Italy’s health ministry has called the ‘implementation phase’, travellers must continue to follow the existing rules on travel to Italy from their country.

This may include quarantine and more than one test depending on which country you are travelling from. All arrivals currently need to complete a passenger locator form, available online here.

It is still possible to enter Italy for any reason from other EU countries. All arrivals currently need to show a negative PCR or antigenic test result to enter Italy – regardless of vaccination status.

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

Unlike some EU member states, Italy is not currently making any exceptions to its rules for those who are fully vaccinated.

Once the green pass scheme comes into operation on July 1st, however, those who are vaccinated will then be able to enter the country without needing to also show a negative test result.

Rules within the country, such as those on social distancing and masks, continue to apply to those who are vaccinated.

How do I get the ‘green pass’ for travel to Italy?

Any EU country’s version of the green pass will be valid for entry into Italy from July 1st.

The exact requirements for obtaining a green pass however vary depending on which country you are in.

For example, some countries only issue the certificate to those who have been fully immunised with either both required vaccine doses or the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Italy’s own health certificate is valid from 15 days after the first dose.

Because of differences in some rules between countries, the Italian health ministry advises people to check the requirements before their trip using the Re-open EU website.

If you’re travelling to or from a country outside Europe, the rules are more uncertain.

It is not yet clear if or how the EU will recognise vaccination certificates from outside the bloc, such as from the US or UK, or vice versa.

Find further information about accessing Italy’s ‘green pass’ in a separate article here.

For more information about the EU-wide health pass scheme, see the European Commission’s website.

See more on the current coronavirus situation and health measures in Italy on the Health Ministry’s website (in English).

Member comments

  1. Has anyone from the UK driven to Italy since the new quarantine rules applied on the 21st June? We are waiting to leave but we would like to see what others have experienced.

    1. I flew in from Stanstead on the 11th. My reply is to give you confidence to get driving.
      1. This site is reporting what it hears but it does not seem to gather info from real travelers’ and does not make it easy to contribute. Probably my lack of skill….

      2. This is Italy and it has its own “administrative process” still based on paper. The European dPLF is meaningless here. One has to fill in a form at the entry point. The ones at Malpensa airport are English one side and Italian the other so that is step up from 12 months ago, they have a QR code too but are manually filed somewhere! So get your dPLF for completeness. At the border the officer acknowledge I had an Antigen test but just wanted to get hold of my Italian paper locator form. I also had to pass through the digital passport scan station first…. I could scan a copy of the locator form for you because as it is, as usual, only 85% obvious what to write when under pressure in the airport environment.
      So message to The Local why do you not have a link to it?

      3. The Authorities are super welcoming as always but few are willing to use English still (despite obviously knowing it). So this made the following process difficult. Once you are settled and unpacked, and if not in a hotel, one has to register with the central health authorities in your Region by phone. That took me 3 days of waiting on the phone, being hung up on being told to use another number, etc. Even my Italian friend who eventually made a successful call for me had trouble passing over the info. All very friendly but seems the receptionists are still learning the ropes. However next day I received a very relaxed call from a Doctor in the Authorities who conversed as if English was his first language, checked my status, advised me to register with a local doctor for emergencies ( I have never gotten round to it despite being some years here) and requested I email a copy of my Antigen test to him (final someone wanted it!).

      4. I am going to drive back and forth instead of flying. I have in the past and often the Italian border posts were unmanned. Now with Brexit our UK passports must be stamped in and out of “The EU” so make sure you get a stamp at the European entry/exit Port….

      1. One more nugget. I used breathassured.com for my Antigen test. Benefit is they maximises your 48 hour period. Takes 20 minutes on a video call, Teams or Zoom and you have your certificate via email ready to travel essentially immediately.
        Buy a 2 pack (or 5 pack) and you have a return to UK Antigen test kit with you ready to complete via video call before you leave Italy.

        They also do the 2 and 8 day test kits. I will order mine when I know my my arrival date back in the UK i.e. will order the appropriate test kit at the time. Fingers crossed Italy is in the green zone or better!

  2. Freddie H.
    As a US citizen living in the UK with a US passport and having been fully vaccinated, does anyone know what the travel requirements would be for driving to France? Would one have to quarantine?

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READER QUESTIONS

Reader question: Do you need to cancel your residency when leaving Italy?

How do you cancel your residency permit when leaving Italy - and do you even need to do so at all? The Local looks into the rules.

Reader question: Do you need to cancel your residency when leaving Italy?

Question: My partner and I are leaving Italy after several years of living here. Do we need to cancel our residency? If so, can you advise us on how to go about doing this?

Most people know that you need to register as a resident in Italy if spending more then 90 days in the country. But what should you do if you decide to leave?

Do foreign nationals need to deregister as a resident, and under which circumstances? And how do you go about doing cancelling your residency?

We asked the experts to talk us through when you should deregister as an Italian resident and the the steps involved in cancelling your Italian residency.

Should you bother cancelling your residency?

As is so often the case when it comes to complex bureaucratic questions, the answer is: it depends. Both on your personal circumstances and on the type of residency permit you hold.

If you’re relocating away from Italy permanently then deregistering as a resident and informing the authorities of your new address is a legal requirement – and you’d want to do so anyway, says Nicolò Bolla of the tax consultancy firm Accounting Bolla.

READ ALSO: What’s the difference between Italian residency and citizenship?

On the other hand, if you’re moving away on a temporary basis, you’re not required to cancel your Italian residency.

“If, for instance, you undertake a two-year assignment somewhere, you can still remain a resident and benefit from all the coverage a resident has, such as healthcare,” Bolla explains.

You might want to hold on to your Italian residency in the short term if you're not sure whether the move will be permanent.
You might want to hold on to your Italian residency in the short term if you’re not sure whether the move will be permanent. Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP.

There’s no official time limit for this – you could leave Italy for a number of years while maintaining your residency and then return to live in the country as if there had been no break.

That means that if you’re leaving Italy and aren’t sure whether you want to return, you might want to keep your residency status, at least in the short term (it’s possible to be legally resident in both Italy and another country).

Financial planning and property consultant Daniel Shillito warns: “you want to be sure if you’re leaving the country that it was a permanent decision, and that you weren’t aiming to come back to live – because if you do want to, it could be tricky and quite administrative.”

For British citizens in particular, he points out, “having an Italian residency these days is a valuable thing, it’s not easy to get again.”

This all applies to those with permanent or long-term residency.

If you have a temporary residence permit, you will no longer be considered resident in Italy as soon as it expires – so you may decide it’s not worth bothering to cancel your residency if it’s due to expire anyway shortly after you leave.

Why does it matter?

There are multiple factors to consider here, the biggest of which is taxes.

If you’re resident in Italy, you’re expected to pay taxes here. However, if you’re moving to a country with which Italy has a double taxation agreement or dual tax treaty, you’re protected from being taxed twice on the same income. Many states, including the UK, America, Australia and Canada, have dual taxation treaties with Italy. 

READ ALSO: Can second-home owners get an Italian residence permit?

If you’re moving to a country which doesn’t have a double tax agreement with Italy, on the other hand, you’ll be legally required pay the full amount of Italian tax on your income even if you spend very little time in Italy, so will almost certainly want to cancel your residency.

Even if you’re moving to a country that does have a dual tax treaty with Italy, you may still want to deregister as an Italian resident in order to avoid having to deal with the paperwork involved in proving you’re a dual resident whose tax obligations are limited.

There’s also a third category of emigrant: for those moving to a country on the EU’s tax haven blacklist, such as Panama, simply deregistering as an Italian resident won’t keep the tax authorities at bay. The burden of proof is on the individual to demonstrate they actually reside in the blacklist country and aren’t just trying to evade Italian taxes.

In these situations, Bolla advises clients to register as resident in an intermediate third country after leaving Italy and before moving to the blacklisted country in order to avoid the extra bureaucracy.

READ ALSO: What taxes do you need to pay if you own a second home in Italy?

Do you need to cancel your residency when leaving Italy?

There are multiple factors to consider when deciding whether to cancel your Italian residency. Photo by FABIO MUZZI / AFP.

Other considerations

Besides where you pay your income tax, you’ll want to consider other factors such as official correspondence, tax breaks, and timeframes for residency-based citizenship applications, Bolla says.

If you maintain Italian residency, the authorities will expect to be able to reach you at your registered address, including for things like traffic fines or notifications of tax audits. If you no longer have any link to that address and no one to forward your correspondence on to you, you could end up in a sticky legal situation.

It’s also worth taking into account the fact that new Italian residents can access certain tax breaks that aren’t available to people who’ve lived here for a while. If you cancel your residency and then return to Italy at a later date, you’ll be eligible for those incentives in a way that you wouldn’t be if you’d kept your residency.

On the other hand, Bolla notes, maintaining Italian residency could work in favour of those interested in pursuing citizenship through residency.

An individual must be continuously resident in Italy for 10 years before they can apply for Italian citizenship based on their long-term residence status.

In theory, maintaining your Italian residency while you’re temporarily abroad could mean that period still counts towards towards those ten years and you won’t have to restart the clock on your return – though it’s important to consult a professional if you’re considering this option.

How can you go about cancelling your residency?

There’s no standardised national protocol for cancelling your residency. Instead, you’ll need to contact the comune, or town hall, you’re registered with to inform them of the change and ask them what you need to do.

The process could be as simple as sending a few emails, without even having to set foot in the building. There may also be a form to fill out. Because things vary from one municipality to another, you’ll need to contact your local comune to find out exactly what’s required.

Generally the process can only be completed after, not before, leaving the country, because you’ll need to provide your new address and possibly supporting documentation proving that you’re now resident elsewhere.

“You say me and my family – and then you list all the members – are no longer residing in your town, please deregister us, and our new address is (e.g.) 123, Fifth Avenue, New York,” says Bolla.

If you have a Spid (Sistema Pubblico di Identità Digitale or ‘Public Digital Identity System’) electronic ID, Bolla notes, in many towns and cities (such as Milan), the process can be completed online through the comune‘s website.

You should expect to receive confirmation that you and your dependents have been deregistered as Italian residents, so it’s worth following up until you receive this.

READ ALSO: How to use your Italian ID card to access official services online

Shillito advises using a PEC (Posta Elettronica Certificata, or Electronic Certified Mail) email account if you have one when communicating with your comune about deregistering. 

Messages sent between PEC accounts are certified with a date and time stamp to show when you sent them and when they were received, with a record of receipt automatically emailed to you as an attachment. Within in Italy they have the same legal value as a physical lettera raccomandata (registered letter).

“That secure email communication is official, you’ve got a receipt showing it’s been received,” says Shillito.

“That way you’ve got evidence and a record that you’ve communicated it to them, in case anything went wrong in the future and the Italian government decided to claim you were still living in Italy.”

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