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EXPLAINED: What you need to know about travel between Italy and Canada

EXPLAINED: What you need to know about travel between Italy and Canada
Photo: Cole Burston/Getty Images via AFP
Travel from Canada to Italy has changed in response to the developing coronavirus restrictions in both countries. Here's what you need to know about testing, quarantine and the documents you'll need to access Italy's attractions once here.

From dropping quarantine requirements to agreeing to recognise health passes, Italy has made things considerably easier in recent weeks for those arriving from Canada.

Along with travellers from Israel, Japan and the US, people from Canada can now use health certificates issued in their own countries to avoid quarantine in Italy, the Italian authorities announced last week.

This allows Canadian visitors to skip a self-isolation period if they can show proof of vaccination, recovery or testing for Covid-19, and also allows them to visit Italy’s museums, indoor restaurants and much more under the same terms as the Italian ‘green pass’ scheme.

READ ALSO: Can tourists use Italy’s Covid health pass to access museums, concerts and indoor dining?

In an ordinance issued on July 29th, the Italian Health Ministry set out the travel rules that will apply throughout the peak summer period, from July 31st to August 30th.

Here’s a closer look at what you need to know about the latest travel requirements between Canada and Italy.

Photo: ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP

Travelling to Italy from Canada

(See below for information on making the trip in the other direction.)

Although the official Canadian government advice is to avoid non-essential travel outside Canada until further notice, Italy has relaxed its rules of entry for Canadian arrivals.

“A Covid Certificate compliant with Italian (and EU) rules or equivalent certificate will allow travellers from Canada, Japan or the United States to enter Italy without having to self-isolate and get tested after self-isolating,” stated the Italian authorities.

READ ALSO: Italy confirms it will recognise Covid certificates from five non-EU countries

People travelling from Canada can show proof of vaccination with a vaccine licensed for use in the EU (currently: Pfizer-BioNtech, Moderna, AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson) in order to avoid quarantine.

Without proof of a recognised vaccination, a five-day quarantine would be required, followed by a test.

Alternatively, you can show a medical certificate of recovery from Covid-19 within the past six months, or a negative test carried out within the past 48 hours.

Official certification from Canada, such as provincial immunisation cards, in digital or hard copy will be accepted in Italy.

Do I need to get tested for Covid-19 before travel even if I’m vaccinated?

No. The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that you must have “either”:

  • been vaccinated against Covid-19 with an EMA authorised vaccine and you have completed the prescribed vaccination cycle at least 14 days before travel;
  • received a negative result of a molecular or antigenic test carried out in the 48 hours before your arrival, or;
  • recovered from Covid-19 and are no longer under self-isolation. 

The proof can be shown using the Covid health certificate issued by health authorities in Canada. It does not need to be converted into an Italian ‘green pass’.

Click here for Canada’s entry requirements to Italy.

Photo: PIERRE TEYSSOT/AFP

You must fill also out a digital Passenger Locator Form before departure – or if you can’t access the digital version, you must complete a self-declaration.

Both digital and printed versions are accepted.

What if I can’t get a Covid certificate?

If you can’t show the requested documents, you can still enter Italy but it’s more complicated. According to the official advice, you must complete the following steps:

  • You must fill out a digital Passenger Locator Form (or a self-declarationand present it to the airline or any other authorised person, either printed or on your mobile device.
  • You must prove that you have undergone a molecular or antigenic test, carried out by means of a swab, with negative result, in the 72 hours before you arrive. 
  • As soon as you enter Italy, you must inform the Local Health Authority (ASL)
  • Once you reach the address indicated in your dPLF, you must self-isolate for five days. 
  • You must take another molecular or antigenic test, carried out by means of a swab, at the end of the 5-day self-isolation.

This is also what you need to do if you have stayed or transited in any List D country (other than Canada, Japan or the United States as these have special exemptions) in the previous 14 days.

If you do have to quarantine, the Italian Health Ministry’s website doesn’t specifically state whether the day of arrival counts as ‘day one’ or ‘day zero’.

Once you’ve reported to the local health authority in the region of Italy you’re staying in, they will inform you exactly when your quarantine period should end, and when you should get tested. Find contact details for local health authorities here.

If you need to quarantine in Italy, here’s how you can get tested to end the isolation period.

Photo: JACK GUEZ/AFP

How do I use my health certificate as a green pass in Italy?

Along with people from four other countries outside the European Union, travellers from Canada who have proof of Covid-19 vaccination, testing or recovery will be able to use it as a health passport in Italy.

From August 6th, people in Italy will need to show a ‘green pass’ to access most venues and events across the country, including indoor seating at restaurants and bars.

The government is also considering extending this to public transport, schools and workplaces too.

Previously, the authorities only outlined plans for how people across Italy and the EU or Schengen Zone could access the health certificate, but in an announcement made last week, the Italian Health Ministry confirmed that documents issued in Canada would also be accepted.

EXPLAINED: When, where and why will you need a Covid health passport in Italy?

Italy’s government has not specified how it will verify non-EU certificates, which do not necessarily contain a scannable QR code compatible with the EU-wide system.

Announcements on how the different countries’ certificates will be able to read QR codes issued outside the EU are expected in the coming days.

Travelling to Canada from Italy

Until further notice, only Canadian citizens and permanent residents, as well as their close family members (spouse or common-law partner, children and parents) may enter Canada, stated Italy’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

If you’re a Canadian citizen or permanent citizen returning to Canada, there is no quarantine provided that you were vaccinated at least 14 days prior to travel with one of the vaccines recognised in Canada (Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson).

Since this is the requirement for entering Italy, the requirements for the return journey should already be fulfilled.

The certificates must be uploaded to the ArriveCan app.

If you’re not in this category however, it should be noted that entry into Canada for tourism is still forbidden – with those who are allowed to enter the country subject to a 14-day quarantine.

There’s a fine of up to C$750,000 and/or imprisonment for up to six months for those violating the rules.

Do I need to get tested?

Yes. All travellers 5 years of age or older, regardless of citizenship, must provide proof of a Covid-19 test result to enter Canada within 72 hours of your departure time.

You must provide one of the accepted types of tests, which does not include an antigen test – this is also true for those who are fully vaccinated.

EXPLAINED: How tourists and visitors can get a coronavirus test in Italy

Canadian authorities accept a PCR test for travel.

You must show proof of your test results even if you:

  • have tested negative for Covid-19 previous to the 72 hour period;
  • have been vaccinated for Covid-19;
  • recovered from Covid-19 and no longer test positive;
  • recovered from Covid-19 and continue to test positive.

When you enter Canada, you’ll need to either take an arrival test at the border, or receive a home test kit. There’s no fee for this but everyone has to do it, even if fully vaccinated.

Is there a quarantine period?

If you’re fully vaccinated by an approved vaccine, you are exempt from quarantine on return to Canada.

Otherwise, there is a minimum 14-day quarantine period, which is mandatory even if you have tested negative or have recovered from Covid-19.

The self-isolation period also includes a compulsory 3 night pre-paid booking at a government-authorised hotel at your own cost and a testing requirement on day 8.

Even if you’re vaccinated, the authorities recommend making a quarantine plan in case you aren’t approved for exemption – which could happen if you show symptoms of the virus.

You can be stopped at the border and asked to quarantine for 14 days, with the period beginning on the day that you arrive in Canada.

Then you’ll need to complete daily coronavirus symptom self-assessments until the completion of your quarantine period – or until you report symptoms.

For everything you need to know about quarantining in Canada, check the official government advice here.

For further details of the requirements, see the Italian Foreign Ministry’s website (in English), or contact your airline or the Italian embassy in your country.

For a full checklist of what you need to do to enter Canada, check here.


Member comments

  1. Can anyone advise if the green pass requirement for tourists will cover those who have received at least one dose of an EU approved vaccine? We are travelling to Italy in early September and have two mixed vaccines – one Covishield and one EU approved vaccine.

  2. Sorry for the confusion.
    You have to test twice when you return to Canada: once in Italy, in the 72 hours prior to your departure from CDG, not FCO. This has to be a PCR test, which will cost around 70 Euros. You should be able to get the results within 24/36 hours so you can present them at CDG when you go to board your flight to Canada. I don’t think you’ll have to show the results at FCO, though. Still, you’ll have them with you.
    When you land in Toronto you have to take another test. I googled “YVR covid test arrivals” and found information and a link for pre-booking that way. I think it was on the YVR website. I’m definitely going to prebook because we’ll have a connecting flight to catch. This test is done in the arrivals area.
    I found the lab in Venice by searching on http://www.testfortravel.com. This is the best source I’ve found for information on PCR testing in Italy. There are lots of places to get a quick test, but Canada insists on a PCR.
    I hope this helps. If you still have questions, just ask again!
    And who knows, in a month or so the rules may have changed again.

  3. Thank you! I’ve pieced all this together myself, but it’s helpful to have it verified, all in one place.

    Canadians should know they can register for the arrival test online in advance, to reduce delays when they return to YUL, YYZ, YYC or YVR. After you’ve tested you are free to transfer to your final flight so it’s best to have a connection that will give you sufficient time for all this.

    I’ve also found a lab in Venice (not Mestre) where I can pre-book our 72-hour departure PCR tests with 24/36 hour results. It’s Bianalisi at P. Roma, Santa Croce 505.

    1. Likewise, I am sooo glad that I’ve just joined The Local to have access this info! And thanks for your tip about testing for return. The way I read the article, it seems to say that passengers can do the test on arrival in Canada, as long as it’s within 72 hours of departure. However, the over-arching point seems to be that you still must test before your flight, which is what I thought to be the requirement. When you say about booking the arrival test then transferring to your final flight, do you mean within Canada, e.g. FCO – YUL – YVR? My flight is YYZ – CDG (Paris) – FLR, so I just need to clarify if I should pre-book and do the test in Firenze before I leave there or in Toronto when I arrive. Not so much a question, but if you have anything to add, would be appreciated.

      1. I thought I replied to this, but I don’t see it. Anyway, I just checked the yvr.ca website to find the link for prebooking for a friend, and discovered the rules had changed. Here’s what it says now:

        If you’re connecting through YVR

        Fully-vaccinated passengers with a same-day connection will obtain registration instructions and day-1 take-home kit and proceed to the departures area.

        And if you aren’t connecting you just get a test kit to take home.

        You should check and see if this is the current information from YYZ.

        And yes, you still need to get a PCR test in Italy no more than 72 hours prior to when your flight to Canada takes off. (Not a connecting flight from Italy to Germany, etc.) A good place to find a lab near you with contact information, price, etc. is http://www.testfortravel.com.

        I hope this helps. I’ll check later and make sure this got posted.

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