UPDATED: Is Italy likely to place new restrictions on travel from the US?

UPDATED: Is Italy likely to place new restrictions on travel from the US?
Photo: MARIO TAMA/GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP
Italy’s coronavirus-related rules on travel from the US are up for review by the end of August. As the deadline approaches, what are the chances that restrictions could be reinstated as case numbers rise in both countries?

As The Local reported earlier in August, the coronavirus infection rate in the United States has now risen well above the threshold for removal from Europe’s travel ‘safe list’ and the figures have caused concern that Italy or the European Union may consider imposing new restrictions on US travellers.

On Monday the European Council updated its ‘safe list’ of countries from which non-essential travel is allowed and, as expected, it did remove the US.

What this means is that the EU now recommends that travel from the US is once again restricted to essential travellers, meaning EU citizens or residents in the EU or essential workers. 

However the EU still recommends vaccinated travellers from third countries such as the US are allowed to travel to EU nations, even if that country is not on its safe list. 

In other words unvaccinated travellers from the US could face tighter restrictions such as lengthy quarantine or simply not be allowed to travel.

But just because the US was removed from the European Union’s “safe list” this does not automatically mean Italy, or other EU states will tighten travel restrictions for American tourists.

The EU list is non-binding, meaning the last word on whether or not to follow it is down to each individual EU country’s government. Countries can also impose their own restrictions separately.

On Sunday Italy’s health ministry announced that from August 31st it would end the mandatory 5-day quarantine for fully-vaccinated arrivals from the UK.

The same announcement stated that existing rules for other countries would remain in place, without singling out any other countries or going into further detail.

Italy’s government has not stated whether it plans to now change the current restrictions on US travelers following the change to the European travel list,

Italy doesn’t always follow the EU-level recommendations – though after the United States was added to the ‘safe list’ in June, Italian authorities immediately allowed travel to restart for all US visitors who could show proof of vaccination, recovery, or a recent negative test result.

READ ALSO: What documents can non-EU visitors use as a Covid pass in Italy?

Italy says its travel rules are based on coronavirus infection and vaccination rates in other countries.

Data analysis from Our World In Data shows the seven-day average of Covid-19 cases in the US now stands at around 467 per million people – nearing the UK’s figure of 497 per million. Italy’s rate is 107.

After strict health measures amid the pandemic made most travel from the US to Italy impossible for 16 months, many American travellers are still hoping Italy will continue to allow restriction-free visits for now in the interest of supporting the country’s tourism industry.

But there are no guarantees. While tourism is an important part of Italy’s economy, authorities here have so far been more cautious when it comes to travel restrictions than in some other tourism-reliant southern European nations such as Spain.

Note that the rules are based on which country you travel from, and not on which passport you hold.

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

For detailed information about the current rules on travel to Italy from any country, please see the Foreign Ministry’s website (in English).


Member comments

  1. We are leaving from the US to Italy on Sept. 1st. I see United Air changed it’s requirements to have a 72 hr COVID test provided. This is on top of providing my proof of vaccination. It is a good thing I purchased a 6 pack of the Binax now COVID test kits. They did work pretty fast. The test time was 15 minutes, but I would allow about 45 from start to finish.

  2. Hi, John

    Where did you get the information that the policy that Italy issues today: August 30th, extends to October 25th. I thought it was every 30 days. We are intending to travel to Italy from October 20-November 2nd is the reason I ask.

    Thanks

    Carolynn

  3. It’s all here – http://www.viaggiaresicuri.it/approfondimenti-insights/saluteinviaggio.

    Presentare al vettore, all’atto dell’imbarco, e a chiunque sia preposto a effettuare i controlli, un certificato che attesti il risultato negativo di un test molecolare o antigenico, condotto con tampone, effettuato nelle settantadue (72) ore precedenti l’ingresso in Italia, da mostrare a chiunque sia preposto ad effettuare questa verifica. Il termine è ridotto a quarantotto (48) ore per gli ingressi dal Regno Unito.

      1. Some news stories initially made it sound as though EU was recommending no tourism from the US, etc. But now I’m noting that the new EU advice “is without prejudice to the possibility for member states to lift the temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU for fully vaccinated travellers.” In other words, Italy’s current rule of allowing vaccinated and tested tourists would not fly in the face of the new EU recommendation. https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2021/08/30/covid-19-council-removes-5-countries-and-one-entity-territorial-authority-from-the-list-of-countries-for-which-travel-restrictions-should-be-lifted/

      2. It is confusing but the way I read it, the 48-hour requirement is listed in parentheses along with two others needed to obtain a Green Pass issued by the country’s health authority. The 72-hour test requirement is listed along with the Green Pass and the EU Digital Passenger Locator Form.
        I would try and get that test (tampone) done within 48 hours just to be safe. That should be doable these days with an antigen test.

        1. Thanks so much. Also–would you know if that means having a test 48 hours prior to departure (flight take-off time) or 48 hours before arrival in Italy?

          1. I’m pretty sure it’s the arrival. I don’t think they care much about how long it takes you to get there 🙂

  4. A few hours the New York Times reported that the EU is expected to take the US off the safe list. Does this mean Italy will follow suit?

    Published Aug. 29, 2021
    Updated Aug. 30, 2021, 6:57 a.m. ET
    BRUSSELS — The European Union is set to advise member states that they should reintroduce travel restrictions for visitors from the United States, three E.U. officials said on Sunday, as coronavirus infections and hospitalizations have surged in the U.S. in recent weeks.

    Starting Monday, the officials said, the United States will be removed from a “safe list” of countries whose residents can travel to the 27-nation bloc without additional restrictions, such as quarantine and testing requirements. The suggested restrictions, made by the European Council, will not be mandatory for member countries, and it will remain up to those countries to decide whether or not to impose them.

Become a Member to leave a comment.Or login here.