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EXPLAINED: How travel between the UK and Italy has changed

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EXPLAINED: How travel between the UK and Italy has changed
Photo: picture alliance/dpa/PA Wire | Kirsty O'connor

For people making travel plans between the UK and Italy, the rules have changed again following fresh government decisions in both countries. Here's a closer look at what they mean for people travelling between Italy and the UK.


Italian authorities announced on Thursday evening that all travellers from the UK would continue to quarantine for five days after arrival.

Health minister Roberto Speranza broke the news in a post on Facebook, just one day before the rule was due to expire - it has now been extended until August 30th, according to the government ordinance.

The Italian authorities first reinstated quarantine and double-testing requirements for all arrivals from the UK (including anyone who has transited there within the past 14 days) on June 21st amid concern about the Delta variant-driven surge in coronavirus cases in Britain.

READ ALSO: Which countries can use a Covid health pass to avoid quarantine in Italy?

The news will come as a blow to many of those who had been planning to visit Italy this summer for shorter periods, to attend weddings and other events.


Meanwhile, travel to the UK has eased as the government announced details on Wednesday of how fully vaccinated travellers from countries in Europe, including Italy, can skip the mandatory 10-day quarantine when arriving in England.

Here's what you need to know about travelling between Italy and the UK.

READ ALSO: When will Italy recognise UK vaccinations via the NHS app?

Travelling to Italy

Italy still requires two coronavirus tests and five days in quarantine for any travellers who have been in the UK in the past fortnight.

This includes the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (including Gibraltar, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands and the British bases on the island of Cyprus).

Compulsory quarantine applies to anyone who has been on UK territory in the 14 days before arrival in Italy, regardless of nationality.

The health minister did, however, announce that Italy would recognise the vaccination certificates or so-called 'green pass' for travellers from the UK for use in Italy.


These health certificates prove that someone is vaccinated against Covid, has tested negative within the previous 48 hours or has recovered from the virus with the last six months.
Italy will begin asking members of the public to show their health passes to gain entry into many sites across Italy from August 6th.

For travel to the country, the Italian rules state that passengers must show two documents: a negative test result from within the previous 48 hours – this can be either molecular (PCR) or a rapid antigen swab – and a completed 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.

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

 (Photo by Niklas HALLE'N / AFP)

You must test negative to be allowed to travel, but a negative result does not mean you can skip quarantine, which is mandatory regardless. A second negative test allows you to end your isolation period.

The UK does not allow people to get tested for travel via the National Health Service, so plan to pay for a private test before your departure.


Italy accepts either molecular (PCR) or rapid antigen swabs for both the pre-travel and post-quarantine tests.

For UK arrivals not following the rules set out in the ordinance, there are steep fines (you can find a complete guide here)

REVEALED: How strictly is Italy enforcing rules on Covid testing and quarantine for UK arrivals?

How do I report to the local authority once I've arrived?

Once you’re in Italy, protocol states you should contact your local health authority to report your presence within 48 hours of arrival.

Depending on where you’re going, this may involve filling out an online form, sending an email or calling a regional helpline. Find contact details here.

If in doubt, ask your local health authority or the regional Covid helpline for advice. 

If you're concerned about any language difficulties, some regional helplines do say they’re available in English and other languages. However, in practice it seems likely that you’ll need to speak to someone in Italian, at least initially. 

You are allowed to have someone else (such as an Italian friend or relative) phone on your behalf if you're worried about this, though they will need to be able to provide your personal details.

Find more details of the Italian quarantine rules here.

(Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP)

How do I organise my test in Italy?

You'll need to test negative to end your quarantine period.

You may be able to organise your own test via a private provider such as a pharmacy, or you might need to go through the public health service, depending on the rules in your region.

If you need to book a coronavirus test in Italy, find a complete guide to doing so here.

Are there any exemptions to the quarantine?


People transiting through Italy in a private vehicle for 36 hours or less do not have to quarantine. 

This is also true for people travelling for "proven reasons of work, health or emergency" for 120 hours (five days) or less, according to the Health Ministry.

There are also exemptions for transport crew, diplomats, business travellers and certain students, depending on how long they plan to stay.

There are no exceptions for people who have been vaccinated against Covid-19.

What about travelling from Italy to the UK?

Now from 4am on August 2nd any travellers from 'amber level' countries – which includes the majority of European nations –  arriving in Britain who have been fully inoculated with a vaccine recognised by the European Medical Agency or Swiss vaccination programme (Pfizer, Astra Zeneca, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson) don't need to complete the 10-day quarantine.


Fully vaccinated means you’ve had your final dose of one of these approved vaccines at least 14 whole days before you arrive in England. The day you have your final dose of vaccine does not count as one of the 14 days.

The Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said that the move allows people to "safely enjoy freedoms again", as seven in 10 adults in the UK are now double jabbed.

What do I need to do before departure?

Check the rules on where you're coming from, if you've been somewhere other than Italy in the previous 10 days.

"The rules you must follow depend on which countries or territories you’ve been in or travelled through in the 10 days before you arrive in England, as well as the one you’re travelling from," state the UK government guidelines.

So even if you travel from an 'amber list' country like Italy, but have been in a red list country in the 10 days before you arrive in England, you must follow rules for red list countries.

Here are the rules for red, amber and green countries.

Do I still need to take a Covid-19 test?

Yes. Apart from children under 10, all travellers  will still need to provide a negative test no more than three days prior to travel and take a PCR test on the second day after arriving in the country (apart from children aged 4 and under).

"Even if you’re fully vaccinated, you will need to quarantine for 10 days if your day 2 test is positive, or if NHS Test and Trace tell you that you travelled to England with someone who has tested positive", state UK government guidelines.

The day you arrive counts as day zero.

Passengers from all countries also cannot travel to the UK unless they have completed a Passenger Locator Form

The UK does accept lateral flow or antigen tests for pre-travel requirements.
Travel to Italy from the rest of the world
If you're travelling from the EU or outside the EU, here's a guide on travel to Italy and what you'll need once you're in Italy. Here are the countries that can avoid quarantine with a health pass.
Within the bloc, things are more straightforward, but Italy still has tight restrictions in place on travel from many non-EU countries.
Italy also allows entry from all EU and Schengen zone countries using the Europe-wide 'green pass' scheme, and has extended entry from some non-EU countries under the same terms – namely the US, Canada and Japan.

The Local will continue to follow the travel restrictions closely. Please check our homepage or travel news section for the most recent reports on any changes to the rules.

For more information about the current coronavirus-related restrictions on travel to Italy please see the Foreign Ministry’s website (in English).


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
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Anonymous 2021/08/05 11:29
Hi, I am a British resident in Italy and fully vaccinated (Pfizer). I need to return to the UK in October to stay with an unwell, elderly relative for up to 6 months. What are the rules when returning to my house in Italy? I understand there's a limit to how long I can be absent before my residency is revoked. Janette Bayliss
Anonymous 2021/08/01 18:29
Can anyone point to more information on the student exception to the 5 day quarantine rule? I'm supposed to be attending a 5 day summer school at an Italian university the last week of August and I can't manage to also do a 5 day quarantine first. The latest guidance (post 30 July) is available only in Italian and the PDF doesn't work with Google Translate:
  • Anonymous 2021/08/02 13:58
    Hi Elizabeth, You can find information about quarantine exemptions in English on the Italian government's website: There is an exception for travellers entering Italy "for proven reasons of work, health or emergency" for no more than 120 hours (five days). It's not clear that attending summer school would count as an emergency: I would suggest contacting the university and asking their advice. Incidentally, you can use Google Translate to translate PDFs by clicking 'Documents' and uploading the file. All the best, Jessica
Anonymous 2021/07/31 08:07
If I fly into the UK on Sunday 1st August and the new rule cokes into force at 04:00 the following morning, by having a green pass showing that I have been vaccinated twice, this should allow me to skip the 10-day quarantine period, right? Or does this mean that since I arrived the day before I will have to complete the 10 day quarantine period nevertheless
  • Anonymous 2021/07/31 08:07
    Rules not cokes btw!
Anonymous 2021/07/30 16:11
Can anyone help me with information on arriving in Liguria? Unlike many regions, Liguria appears to have only an email address as the contact for UK nationals arriving in Italy (not subject to exemptions.) sonoinliguria merely creates a blank email - no other information about who, if anyone, to inform of one's arrival, test status etc. I hope I am not being slow, but are we merely expected to declare our arrival plus the euplf and our test status? Feedback from anyone in LIguria who has successfully navigated the system would be appreciated.

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