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Q&A: Answers to your questions about Italy’s new travel rules

Q&A: Answers to your questions about Italy's new travel rules
Photo: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP
Italy's new travel ordinance came into force on August 31st, and many readers have contacted The Local to clarify what the latest rules entail. Here we answer your questions about some of the issues that affect you the most.

The Italian health ministry’s new travel ordinance came into force at the end of August, tightening restrictions on travel from some countries, and lifting them for others.

New restrictions on arrivals from the US, Canada, Japan and Israel mean they must now show proof of vaccination plus a negative test result (not one or the other as was previously required).

Meanwhile the quarantine requirement for UK travellers was lifted, providing they can also show proof of vaccination and a negative test result.

Below are some of the questions readers are asking most frequently following the latest changes.

Q: What documents do I need to avoid having to quarantine in Italy?

A: Anyone entering Italy from the United States, Canada, Israel, or Japan or who has passed through one of these countries in the past 14 days must now present:

  • Either a Covid-19 vaccination certification showing that they have completed a full vaccination cycle for at least 14 days, or a certification showing that they have recovered from Covid-19 within the past 180 days, from their local health authorities.
  • And negative results for a molecular (PCR) or rapid antigen test taken in the 72 hours before their arrival in Italy.

Anyone entering Italy from any other List D country, including the UK, or who has passed through one of these countries in the past 14 days will need to present:

  • A Covid-19 vaccination certification showing that they have completed a full vaccination cycle for at least 14 days from their local health authorities.
  • And negative results for a molecular (PCR) or rapid antigen test taken in the 72 hours before their arrival in Italy. For UK arrivals, this is reduced to 48 hours.

All arrivals from List E countries, including Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India, and Brazil, who may not enter for tourism purposes, are subject to a ten-day quarantine under all circumstances.

Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

Q: What happens if I arrive in Italy without the required documents?

According to the website of the Italian embassy in Canada, it is possible for arrivals from the US, Japan, Canada, or Israel to enter Italy without one of the required documents, but passengers who do so will be subject to a five-day quarantine, at the end of which they must take a test. The Ministry of Health website does not currently make reference to the situation of passengers who arrive from these countries without both items. 

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Health told The Local on Tuesday that passengers arriving from these countries with only a negative test result and no other certifications may enter the country, but are subject to a five-day quarantine with the requirement to take a test at the end of the self-isolation period.

The Ministry of Health website makes clear that arrivals from all other List D countries, including the UK, are subject to the five-day quarantine rule if they don’t have both proof of vaccination and a negative test result.

Q: What language do my certificates/test results need to be in?

A: According to a circular published to the Ministry of Health’s website on Thursday:  

  • Vaccination certifications will be accepted in Italian, French, English, or Spanish; vaccination certificates in any other language will need to be accompanied by a notarised translation (presumably to Italian).
  • All Covid recovery certificates will need to be accompanied by a notarised translation (presumably to Italian).

The guidance on the Ministry of Health’s website itself does not differentiate between different types of certificates, but simply says: “Certifications must be submitted in one of the following languages: Italian, English, French or Spanish.”

Neither the health ministry’s website nor the foreign ministry’s Travel Safe website currently make specific reference to Covid test results needing to be in a particular language. The Italian government has not previously required test results to be provided in Italian, English, or any particular language.

We will provide updates as we receive more information.

LENNART PREISS / AFP

Q: What information should my Covid vaccination or recovery certificate contain?

A: According to a circular published on the Ministry of Health’s website on Thursday, vaccination certificates should provide:

  • The holder’s name, surname, and date of birth.
  • The type and batch of each vaccine administered.
  • The date(s) on which the vaccine(s) were administered (holders must have completed a full vaccination cycle, but a Johnson & Johnson cycle is considered complete after one shot).
  • The name of the State and the health authority that has issued the certificate.

All vaccines must be EMA-recognised, i.e.: Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.

Recovery certificates should provide:

  • The holder’s name, surname, and date of birth.
  • “information about the holder’s past SARS-CoV-2 infection, following a positive test” (exactly what information isn’t specified, but as the certificate must be issued by a health authority, one or two lines from the authority summarising the nature of the holder’s past infection is likely to be what’s required).
  • The date of the holder’s first positive Covid test (the certificate is valid for 180 days from this date).
  • The name of the State and the health authority that has issued the certificate.

Q: Do I still need to complete a passenger locator form when travelling to Italy?

A: Yes. The rule requiring all passengers to complete a digital Passenger Locator Form (dPLF) before entering Italy remains in place.

One form must be completed for each adult passenger; accompanied minors can be registered on the form of the accompanying adult. Find further information about completing the form here.

One passenger who recently travelled to Italy from the US said it took around ten minutes, and advised: “I would recommend people complete the form ahead of time (before they get to the airport) to save trouble before boarding”.

Q: If I come to Italy from the US via another EU country, what rules apply to me?

A: If you’ve been in the US, Japan, Canada, or Israel in the 14 days before your arrival in Italy, you are subject to the US, Japan, Canada, and Israel travel rules, regardless of whether you plan to transit though a country for which Italy has less stringent entry requirements.

This holds true unless you’ve been in List D or List E country with stricter entry requirements in the 14 days before entering Italy, in which case you must follow Italy’s rules for those territories.

Photo: Andreas SOLARO/AFP

In short, you should look at where you’ve been or plan to go in the two weeks before your travel to Italy, and follow the strictest set of rules that apply to the countries you’ve passed through.

Check the Italian government’s current restrictions on arrivals from any country using this online questionnaire from the Foreign Ministry.

Q: What counts as ‘passing through’ another country on my way into Italy?

A: Italy’s health ministry and ‘Travel Safe’ foreign ministry websites do not currently define what the government considers to count as ‘passing through’ or ‘transiting in‘ in another country en route to Italy. 

It’s safe to assume that if you have a layover in another country on your way to Italy and do not leave the airport, you are not considered to have entered that country as far as Italy’s travel rules are concerned.

If your layover involves leaving the airport eg. to stay in a hotel overnight, it’s a good idea to double-check with your airline which rules will then apply to you.

Q: What format does my vaccine certificate and negative test result need to be in?

A: You may present your Covid vaccination or recovery certificate and negative test result in either digital or paper format, according to the Italian health ministry’s latest travel ordinance. That means an email shown on your phone containing your test result and/or certificate will be accepted.

Q: I’m vaccinated, but I’m travelling with children who aren’t. What are the rules for us?

A: Children under six years of age are exempted from taking a pre-departure Covid test to enter Italy, according to the latest guidance from the Italian embassy in Washington; all children above this age must take the test, whether they are vaccinated or not.

Several readers have asked what the quarantine rules are for unvaccinated minors travelling with adults who are in possession of Covid vaccination or recovery certificates.

According to the Italian tourism board: “Persons under the age of 18 are exempted from the obligation of isolation (where applicable) only if they are accompanied by an adult (parent or other companion) in possession of a Covid green certificate (green pass).”

READ ALSO: What changes for tourists coming to Italy in September?

Photo: Andreas SOLARO/AFP

Q: I’m fully vaccinated, but with mixed doses. Can I still travel to Italy?

A: To be valid for travel to Italy, your Covid vaccination certificate should have been issued by your local health authority, show that you completed your vaccination course at least 14 days before travel, and that both doses are from European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved vaccines.

Mixed vaccine doses are not uncommon in Italy, and there are no reports of residents who received mixed doses having trouble accessing Italy’s ‘green pass’.

However, The Local has sought confirmation from the Italian Ministry of Health that mixed dose vaccination certificates are accepted.

READ ALSO: EU recommends tighter restrictions on American tourists as US removed from Covid safe travel list

Q: How far in advance of my arrival in Italy do I need to take a test?

A: According to the health ministry’s ordinance, anyone arriving from any List D country apart from the UK – that includes the US, Japan, Canada, and Israel – will need to be able to present the negative results of a test taken in the 72 hours before their arrival in Italy, in addition to other required documents.

Anyone arriving from the UK will need to take a test in the 48 hours before their arrival in the country.

Anyone arriving from a List E country, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, or Brazil, which is permitted only under certain circumstances and not for tourism purposes, will need to take a test in the 72 hours before their arrival in Italy, according to the foreign ministry’s Viaggiare Sicuri (Travel Safe) website.

Marco Bertorello / AFP

Q: When does the window for taking a Covid test open? 72/48 hours before I arrive in Italy, or 72/48 hours before my departure to Italy?

A: The health ministry’s ordinance makes clear that you will need to take the test in the 72/48 hour window (depending on which timeframe applies to you – see above) before your arrival in Italy, not your departure to the country, so make sure to factor all your travel time into your calculations.

Q: What about time differences between different countries? Are they taken into account?

A: The time difference between your country of departure and Italy is not taken into account for the purposes of validating your negative Covid test result. You must have taken your test in the 72/48 hour window before your arrival in the country, regardless of any time difference.

Q: Do I need to take a PCR test to come to Italy?

A: No. The Viaggiare Sicuri website makes clear that Italy currently accepts rapid antigen tests (known in the UK as lateral flow tests) for all arrivals from List D and E countries, including the UK, the US, Canada, Japan, Israel, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India, and Brazil.

Q: Do I need to take a PCR test when I complete my quarantine in Italy?

A: No. Rapid antigen tests are valid for all those who need to take a test upon completion of their five-day (or, in the case of List E countries, 10 day) self-isolation period.

All individuals subject to quarantine in Italy are required to take a test upon completion of their quarantine period.

Q: Is the Italian government likely to change any of the rules before October 25th?

A: While the Italian government could announce changes if the health situation develops significantly, it is unlikely to revoke the recent rule changes. This has not happened before with Italy’s Covid travel restrictions. So far, Italy has only lifted previous similar travel restrictions on their expiry date.

While it looks unlikely, the Local will continue to follow updates closely and report on any changes to the rules.

Piero CRUCIATTI / AFP

Q: How long do I need to quarantine for if I’m required to quarantine?

A: All those coming from any List D country, including US, Japan, Canada, and Israel, and the UK, who meet the requirements for quarantine (see above) must do so for five days, according to the ordinance.

All those arriving from any List E country, including Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, or Brazil, must quarantine for ten days under all circumstances, according to the Viaggiare Sicuri website.

Q: If I need to quarantine in Italy, what are the rules?

A: It appears that arrivals from the United States, Canada, Israel, or Japan who are subject to quarantine would need to follow the same five-day quarantine rules which were already in place for UK arrivals.

READ ALSO: What are the new rules for travel to Italy from the US and Canada?

The existing rules for UK travellers state that they can quarantine anywhere they choose – you don’t need to go to a designated ‘Covid hotel’. Your own residence, a second home or holiday rental are all accepted places to self-isolate. 

You can also quarantine at a friend’s house, but you should avoid close contact with anyone else living there (unless they are also prepared to observe quarantine).

Andreas SOLARO / AFP

Hotels and private accommodation advertised on booking sites are also acceptable places to isolate for the mandatory five days, but the managers/property owners may refuse. Contact the accommodation before booking to find out what its policy is.

Wherever you decide to quarantine, you should go directly there when you arrive in Italy – by private means of transport such as a hire car or taxi – and settle in for the entire quarantine period: moving from one location to another during your isolation period would be considered a breach of quarantine.

READ ALSO: Q&A: Your questions about Italy’s quarantine for UK arrivals answered

If you are unable to find anywhere suitable to quarantine in Italy or cannot reach your destination safely, the local authorities reserve the right to put you in accommodation of their choosing, such as a designated hotel, at your expense.

Some quarantine rules may vary by local authority. For further information about quarantining in Italy, contact your local health authority or the regional Covid helpline.

Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

Q: How do I get tested to end quarantine?

A: Once your five-day isolation period is over, you can leave isolation in order to get a test, as long as you have not developed any Covid-19 symptoms and your local health authority has not instructed you otherwise. Children under the age of six who have been quarantining are exempted from this requirement.

Whether the local health authority will book your test for you or you’ll need to organise your own via a private provider depends on the rules in each Italian region: ask your local area’s health authority (ASL) or the regional Covid helpline for advice.

You must continue avoiding contact with others until you receive confirmation of a negative result.

If you do get symptoms, you should remain in isolation and inform your local health authority.

See more details about getting a coronavirus test in Italy here.

For more information on the requirements for travel to Italy:

You can also call the Italian coronavirus information line:

  • From Italy: 1500 (toll-free number)
  • From abroad: +39 0232008345 , +39 0283905385

Please note that The Local cannot advise on specific cases. For more information about how the rules may apply to you, see the Italian Health Ministry’s website or consult the Italian embassy in your country.

You can keep up with the latest news updates via our homepage or travel news section.


Member comments

  1. Also–has anyone attempted to enter Italy with a verified self-test (antigen), at least the type that is proctored with a telemedicine guide, giving your “official” results and documents on your phone/email? I have used these to re-enter the US–the kinds that are acceptable to the CDC–but not to enter another country.

  2. Any chance folks are aware of how Ontario (Canada) covid certificates have been received? We don’t have anything fancy, quite literally an email printout with the ministry of health logo (no bar codes, no app etc). Any intel would be much appreciated!
    By my read of the Ministero della Salute website to enter Italy we need to have the proof of vaccination, the negative antigen or PCR test within 72 hours of landing, the Self-declaration form, as well as the passenger locator form.

    1. A friend from Ottawa was in Italy for a couple of weeks in August and had one small problem: at the Palazzo Cini in Venice she had to explain her form was the equivalent of the Green Pass, and then they let her enter. Are you sure we need the Self-declaration form as well as the DPLF?

  3. I just want to note that most airlines use the IATA for their travel regulations. And sometimes the IATA rules do not match the country’s current travel rules. This happens when country rules rapidly change and IATA data is outdated. I learned this last year when both the Italian and German embassies told me I was good to travel, but the airline still kicked me off the flight. So my advice is to check the IATA site for information and also confirm with the airline in advance if you have any doubts. Here is the IATA link:

    https://www.iata.org/en/publications/timatic/

  4. I believe there’s an error in this Q&A.This article, in the first Q & A suggests you have to be vaccinated to avoid quarantine. On the Italy website, in English is says the entry also goo with a negative test when entering from the USA.
    Do I have this wrong? Where is it in the Italian site that there’s a 5 day self quarantine, and where is this supposed to be done? Thanks in advance.

    (https://www.salute.gov.it/portale/nuovocoronavirus/dettaglioContenutiNuovoCoronavirus.jsp?lingua=english&id=5412&area=nuovoCoronavirus&menu=vuoto&tab=6_

    Quote from above link:
    Fulfilments for entry into Italy
    For all the people who, in the fourteen days prior to entering Italy, have stayed in or passed through Canada, Japan, the United States and Israel, the legislation provides that, upon returning to Italy, the following is mandatory:

    show one of these documents, in paper or digital form, issued by the competent health authority of the Country of origin:
    Vaccination Certificate confirming that the prescribed anti-SARS-CoV-2 vaccination cycle has been completed since at least 14 days

    or

    Certificate of recovery, valid for 180 days from the date of the first positive swab test

    or

    that you have taken a negative molecular or antigen swab test in the 72 hours prior to entering Italy. Children under 6 years of age are exempt from the pre-departure swab test.

    fill in the Digital Passenger Locator Form before entering Italy. The form replaces the self-declaration made to the transport operator.

    1. Maybe the text in the link you gave has changed since you visited it, as I don’t see the language you quote. It appears to me that the above article is correct.

  5. My wife and I are due to fly to Italy on September 14th, we are fully vaccinated but unfortunately we both received the Covishield for our first injection. Will we be able to enter Italy or should I postpone our flights?

  6. Thanks The Local and everyone for all the valuable information. I leave in two weeks time and gathering all the info I can before I go. I have a couple of questions — has anyone had experience with the intercity trains? At what point do they ask for the Green Pass or equivalent? Are they ok with the white CDC card? Does it have to be the real thing or can it be a photocopy or print out. I think the advice to get everything on paper is useful.

    Also for return to the US (I am returning from Rome) we need to get a negative test in order to board the plane back. How easy is it to do that and how quick the turnaround? And looking at the worst case scenario, what happens if you test positive? How long is the quarantine – 5 or 10 days? Thanks all.

    1. I have the same question. While the CDC card is more or less specifically spelled out as alternative proof of vaccination (as opposed to the EU digital), in general info regarding the US, Canada, and Japan, the Health Ministry’s statement about long-distance trains and air travel does NOT list this alternative method of proof. I will be taking twelve clients to Italy next month, with domestic travel via IC train as well as a PMO-FCO flight, so I am very keen to find the answer to this one as well. Although it would be logical to assume this is ok, I never wish to underestimate the Italian bureaucracy.

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