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TOURISM

UPDATE: What visitors need to know about getting Italy’s Covid green pass

Italy's Covid-19 health certificate is now a requirement everywhere from museums and sports stadiums to intercity trains. Here's what you need to know if you were vaccinated, tested or recovered in another country.

Italy's health pass is required to access everything from museums to high-speed trains.
Italy's health pass is now required to access everything from museums to high-speed trains. Photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP

What is the Covid green pass and where is it needed?

Italy first began using the so-called green pass or certificazione verde in June, primarily for international travel. Since then, the government has repeatedly expanded its scope, and it’s now also a requirement for many aspects of everyday life within the country.

The pass proves that the holder has either been vaccinated with at least one dose, recovered from Covid-19 within the past six months, or has tested negative in the previous 48 hours.

Many businesses, venues and cultural sites in Italy are legally required to ask their customers to show a green pass before they’re allowed to enter. 

EXPLAINED: Where do you now need to show a Covid green pass in Italy?

The pass must be shown at cultural and leisure venues including museums, theatres, cinemas, gyms, theme parks; conferences and trade fairs; bingo halls and casinos, and more.

The pass is also needed on to long-distance trains, domestic flights and interregional buses and ferries, and from October 15th it becomes a requirement at all workplaces.

Do I need to download Italy’s Covid-19 green pass?

The certificazione verde is available to anyone who has been vaccinated, tested or recovered in Italy, including those who have only had the first of two doses. 

If you got your shots, tests or treatment elsewhere, what you’ll need to do depends on the country.

If your certificate was issued within the European Union, you don’t need to do anything: the Italian green pass isn’t necessary, as each member state’s certificates are mutually recognised everywhere in the EU.

In other words, you should get your own country’s equivalent – the pass sanitaire in France, Impfpass in Germany, certificado COVID digital de la UE in Spain, or any other EU version – and use it when visiting Italy just the same as you would at home.

READ ALSO:

Photo: ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP

EU countries also recognise certificates from non-members that are part of the Schengen Zone, which means that health passports from Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein are equally valid in Italy.

You can’t upload these documents to the Italian system, but they should be recognised when scanned by Italian authorities and when entering businesses and venues.

Outside the EU, it gets more complicated:

Italy has confirmed that equivalent documents (including paper certificates) issued by health authorities in the following five non-EU countries will be accepted both at the border and for access to venues within Italy: Canada, Israel Japan, United Kingdom, and the United States of America.

Italy has not agreed to accept vaccination certificates from any other non-EU country, apart from the ones mentioned above.

People travelling from elsewhere may still be able to access the Italian certificate, however.

Can you ‘convert’ your foreign health certificate into an Italian green pass?

Using foreign certificates to obtain a green pass is now an option for those who would like to do so.

However, the process can only be completed while you are in Italy and the rules vary depending on which part of the country you’re in.

The process was initially intended for Italian citizens who were vaccinated abroad, though many local health authorities are now opening it up to anyone who is currently in the area they cover, including visitors. Find out more about how this works in a separate article here.

As you’ll need to submit your certificate to the local health authorities and wait for them to process it, it might not be the most convenient option for those here just for a short stay.

You’ll need to contact the local health office (Azienda Sanitaria Locale or ASL) for the part of Italy where you’re based, who will provide further information about which documents you should provide and how.

Getting tested in Italy

Travellers who were vaccinated outside the EU do have another sure-fire route to accessing the Italian health pass: by getting a coronavirus test in Italy.

Find out how to get tested in Italy here, and learn how to download the green pass using your test number here.

Remember that passes obtained via testing are only valid for 48 hours in the case of rapid testing, or 72 hours if you take a PCR test.

EXPLAINED: How can you get Italy’s ‘green pass’ if you’re not vaccinated?

The Italian government has promised to cap the price of swab tests in pharmacies and from other private providers over the coming months in order to reduce the financial burden on people who find themselves having to get tested repeatedly.

Once you have it, there are several different ways in which you may be able to download your pass, depending on the documentation you have.

See further information about how to access your green pass here.

Find the latest updates in our green pass news section and further details on the Italian government’s official website (currently only available in Italian).

Member comments

  1. Good morning, for all of you that tried to help in me achieving vaccination, thank you. I finally received my first jab 2 months ago and had my second a month ago. It certainly wasn’t easy but a kind doctor in Locorotondo managed to bypass the normal system and register using my codice fiscale. So many in the ASL just basically refused to help or passed me on to someone else who wouldn’t help. All done now so thanks for the support.

    1. Really glad to hear that, Ian. So often everything just depends on the person you’re dealing with.

  2. Hi. For UK people vaccinated in the UK, you CAN simply scan your second UK vaccination QR code obtained from the NHS app into the Italian Green Pass app and it WILL instantly produce the Green Pass. None of the complex admin described above is needed. Poor journalism.

    1. Hi, could you please direct to the app for the Green Pass. Is it the VerificaC19 to use the UK QR code from the NHS App? Many thanks

      1. Hi. No. That app only verifies a valid Green Pass. I used Green Pass Italia to generate the Green Pass I then validated it just to make sure that everything was ok.

  3. Hi.
    I successfully obtained a French green pass by submitting my Australian vaccination certificate details. This can be then loaded onto your smartphone using TousAntiCovid App. Otherwise you can store a PDF or hold a hard copy. This should be valid for Italy and the rest of the EU. French site has English option and is user friendly. Took about a month to respond. I added the vaccine batch numbers in the notes but not sure if this is essential. Website link is:
    http://www.demarches-simplifiees.fr/commencer/passe-sanitaire-etrangers

    Good luck and safe travels!

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For members

MONEY

How to avoid huge ‘roaming’ phone bills while visiting Italy

If you're visiting Italy from outside the EU you risk running up a huge phone bill in roaming charges - but there are ways to keep your internet access while avoiding being hit by extra charges.

How to avoid huge ‘roaming’ phone bills while visiting Italy

Travelling without access to the internet is almost impossible these days. We use our phones for mapping applications, contacting the Airbnb, even scanning the QR code for the restaurant menu.

If you’re lucky enough to have a phone registered in an EU country then you don’t need to worry, thanks to the EU’s cap on charges for people travelling, but people visiting from non-EU countries – which of course now includes the UK – need to be careful with their phone use abroad.

First things first, if you are looking to avoid roaming charges, be sure to go into your settings and turn off “data roaming.” Do it right before your plane lands or your train arrives – you don’t want to risk the phone company in your home country starting the clock on ‘one day of roaming fees’ without knowing it.

READ ALSO: Ten ways to save money on your trip to Italy this summer

But these days travelling without internet access can be difficult and annoying, especially as a growing number of tourist attractions require booking in advance online, while restaurants often display their menus on a QR code.

So here are some techniques to keep the bills low.

Check your phone company’s roaming plan

Before leaving home, check to see what your phone plan offers for pre-paid roaming deals.

For Brits, if you have a phone plan with Three for example, you can ask about their “Go Roam” plan for add-on allowance. You can choose to pay monthly or as you go. Vodafone offers eight day and 15 day passes that are available for £1 a day.

For Americans, T-Mobile offers you to add an “international pass” which will charge you $5 per day. Verizon and AT&T’s roaming plans will charge you $10 per day. For AT&T, you are automatically opted into this as soon as your phone tries to access data abroad.

READ ALSO: Seven things to do in Italy in summer 2022

These all allow you to retain your normal phone number and plan.

Beware that these prices are only available if you sign up in advance, otherwise you will likely be facing a much bigger bill for using mobile data in Italy. 

Buy a pre-paid SIM card

However, if you are travelling for a longer period of time it might work out cheaper to turn off your phone data and buy a pre-paid SIM card in Italy.

In order to get a pre-paid SIM card, you will need your passport or proof of identity (drivers’ licences do not count).

READ ALSO: TRAVEL: Why now’s the best time to discover Italy’s secret lakes and mountains

Keep in mind that you will not be able to use your normal phone number with the new SIM card in, but will be able to access your internet enabled messaging services, like WhatsApp, Facebook and iMessage. Your phone will need to be ‘unlocked’ (ask your carrier about whether yours is) in order to put a new SIM card in.

Here are some of the plans you can choose from:

WindTre

WindTre, the result of a 2020 merger between the Italian company Wind and the UK network provider Three, currently offers a “Tourist Pass” SIM card for foreign nationals. For €24.99 (it’s sneakily marketed as €14.99, but read the small print and you’ll see you need to fork out an additional €10), you’ll have access to 20GB of data for up to 30 days.

The offer includes 100 minutes of calls within Italy plus an additional 100 minutes to 55 foreign countries listed on the WindTre website. Up to 13.7GB can be used for roaming within the EU. The card is automatically deactivated after 30 days, so there’s no need to worry about surprise charges after you return from your holiday. To get this SIM card, you can go into any WindTre store and request it.

A tourist protects herself from the sun with a paper umbrella as she walks at Piazza di Spagna near the Spanish Steps in Rome.
A tourist protects herself from the sun with a paper umbrella as she walks at Piazza di Spagna near the Spanish Steps in Rome.

Vodafone

Vodafone has had better deals in the past, but lately appears to have downgraded its plan for tourists, now called “Vodafone Holiday” (formerly “Dolce Vita”), to a paltry 2GB for €30. You get a total of 300 minutes of calls and 300 texts to Italian numbers or to your home country; EU roaming costs €3 per day.

Existing Vodafone customers can access the offer by paying €19 – the charge will be made to your Vodafone SIM within 72 hours of activating the deal. 

READ ALSO: MAP: The best Italian villages to visit this year

The Vodafone Holiday offer automatically renews every four weeks for €29 – in order to cancel you’ll need to call a toll-free number. The Vodafone website says that the €30 includes the first renewal, suggesting the payment will cover the first four weeks plus an additional four after that, but you’ll want to double check before buying. You’ll need to go to a store in person to get the card.

TIM

TIM is one of Italy’s longest-standing and most well-established network providers, having been founded in 1994 following a merger between several state-owned companies.

The “Tim Tourist” SIM card costs €20 for 15GB of data and 200 minutes of calls within Italy and to 58 foreign countries, and promises “no surprises” when it comes to charges.

You can use the full 15GB when roaming within the EU at no extra charge, and in the EU can use your minutes to call Italian numbers. The deal is non-renewable, so at the end of the 30 days you won’t be charged any additional fees.

READ ALSO: MAP: Which regions of Italy have the most Blue Flag beaches?

To access the offer, you can either buy it directly from a TIM store in Italy, or pre-order using an online form and pay with your bank card. Once you’ve done this, you’ll receive a PIN which you should be able to present at any TIM store on arrival in Italy (along with your ID) to collect your pre-paid card. The card won’t be activated until you pick it up.

Iliad

Iliad is the newest and one of the most competitive of the four major phone companies operating in Italy, and currently has an offer of 120GBP of €9.99 a month. For this reason, some travel blogs recommend Iliad as the best choice for foreigners – but unfortunately all of their plans appear to require an Italian tax ID, which rules it out as an option for tourists.

Contract

Though buying a pre-paid SIM card is a very useful option for visitors spending a decent amount of time in Italy, as mentioned above, there’s a significant different difference between buying a one-time pre-paid SIM versus a monthly plan that auto-renews.

Make sure you know which one you’re signing up for, and that if you choose a plan that will continue charging you after your vacation has ended, you remember to cancel it.

UK contracts

If you have a UK-registered mobile phone, check your plan carefully before travelling. Before Brexit, Brits benefited from the EU cap on roaming charges, but this no longer applies.

Some phone companies have announced the return of roaming charges, while others have not, or only apply roaming charges only on certain contracts.

In short, check before you set off and don’t assume that because you have never been charged extra before, you won’t be this time.

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