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EXPLAINED: How Italy’s new travel rules apply to children

Since the rules on travel to Italy have changed again, many readers have contacted The Local to ask how children travellers will be affected. Here's what you need to know.

How children passengers are affected by Italy's new travel rules.
How children passengers are affected by Italy's new travel rules. Photo by Ina FASSBENDER / AFP

The Italian government announced new rules for entry into Italy on Tuesday, coming into effect on Thursday, prompting many to revise their Christmas travel plans.

In the wake of rising infections and the spread of the Omicron variant, Italy brought back a requirement for arrivals from other EU countries to take a coronavirus test before departure, while unvaccinated arrivals must quarantine for five days.

For families making trips to see relatives this holiday season, here are the rules for those travelling with children, based on the new ordinance signed by the Italian health minister, Roberto Speranza.

These restrictions remain in force from Thursday, December 16th until at least January 31st.

Explained: How Italy’s travel rules change on Thursday

Travel from within the EU

  • Children aged 6-17

The new rules mean all EU travellers, including children between 12 and 17 years old, who are double or triple-vaccinated against Covid-19 must now also show a negative test result from within the 24-hour period before departure (for rapid antigen tests, also known as lateral flow or LFTs) or the 48 hours before departure (for PCR tests).

Children over six years old must undergo the mandatory testing too.

Adults and those over 12 who have not completed a vaccination cycle or those can’t show a certificate of recovery must take a pre-departure test, undergo a five-day quarantine period on arrival in Italy, and then test for release.


Children in this age group – from six to 17 – are not subject to the five-day quarantine rule if they are travelling with adults who are vaccinated or have recovered from Covid.

READ ALSO: What will Italy’s Covid restrictions be this Christmas?

If the parents, however, are not vaccinated or recovered, the children are obliged to remain in quarantine.

Italy defines a full vaccination cycle as two doses of a jab approved by the European Medicines Agency (Pfizer, Moderna or Astrazeneca) or the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

  • Children under 6

The same isolation conditions as above apply to children aged 0-5. Minors in this age group are exempt from quarantine if they are accompanied by a parent who can show proof of full vaccination or a certificate of recovery.

However, children under six are always exempt from testing, both the molecular or the antigen.

The health ministry’s new ordinance extends the provisions made for minors under a previous ordinance issued on October 22nd.

In general, the new ordinance keeps all other previous rules for EU travellers in place.

This also covers travel to Italy by air, road, rail or any other mode of transportation.

While international air and rail passengers should have pre-departure tests checked ahead of boarding, those arriving via road may be subject to checks when crossing the Italian border.

If you’re unable to show both proof of vaccination and a valid negative test result, you won’t be turned away from entering the country, but you will have to undergo the five-day quarantine and double testing requirement.

Non-EU countries

For everyone arriving from the UK and northern Ireland, including children aged 6-17, the Italian health ministry’s ordinance stated that molecular (PCR) tests must now be taken within the 48 hour period before departure and rapid antigen (LFT) tests in the 24 hours before arrival, instead of 48 as was previously the case.

As with EU arrivals, children from 0 to 5 years of age do not have to undergo a molecular or antigenic test.

READ ALSO: ‘Fit to fly’: Are Covid lateral flow tests valid for travel to Italy?

The rules for arrivals in Italy from the UK, northern Ireland and the British Isles otherwise remain unchanged under the new update. Travellers were already subject to a testing requirement, as well as the five-day quarantine period if unvaccinated.

The rules on quarantine for children are the same as for EU arrivals.

For other non-EU countries on Italy’s travel list D, including the United States and Canada, the new ordinance effectively extends existing measures and there are no changes.

Italy has also extended its ban on travel from eight countries in southern Africa, which was implemented in late November following the detection of the Omicron variant.

The Italian health ministry is updating its online guidance for travellers (here in English) based on the new ordinance.

When in Italy, do children aged between 12 and 18 need a green pass?

Yes, the same rules apply as for adults.

The so-called ‘green pass’ has been extended and is now needed to access most forms of Italian public life.

Green pass rules apply equally to everyone in Italy regardless of residency or nationality, so foreign tourists over 12 years old are also required to show a health pass or equivalent proof of vaccination, with some variation to the rules depending on the country you come from.

All Italian citizens living abroad and their family members who have completed a vaccination cycle (two doses, except for the one shot J&J), can apply for the ‘green pass’ by going to their local health authority. This is allowed even if they are not registered with the national health system, the SSN (Il Servizio sanitario nazionale).

Other foreign nationals entering Italy are not required to download the Covid health certificate, as long as they have certification of vaccination from the authorities in their country of origin.

This certification must be written in Italian, English, French, Spanish or German – any other language requires a sworn translation. It must contain details of the holder and the vaccine date(s) of administration, plus information of the person who issued the certificate.


Do children need a green pass for travel within Italy?

Children aged between 12 and 18 must have a green pass to travel. For trains and planes, you need a ‘basic’ green pass – as opposed to the ‘super green pass’ or ‘reinforced green pass’, as the government calls it.

You can get a basic green pass for travel by taking a molecular swab, valid for 72 hours, or an antigen swab, valid for 48 hours.

Do children aged between 5 and 11 need a green pass?

Italy has begun vaccinating this age group this week and those who are vaccinated will get a green pass, but there is no obligation to present it.

This goes for children from other countries, where vaccination for this age group may not have been rolled out.

Please note The Local cannot advise on individual cases. For further details about how Italy’s current Covid-19 health measures apply to you, please consult the Italian embassy in your country or see the Italian health ministry’s website (available in English).

You can also fill out the Italian Government’s online questionnaire (in English) for more travel advice.

Member comments

  1. Thanks for this helpful clarification.

    Can someone advise, if you test positive on a home rapid test in Italy are you obliged to call your local health authority and get officially tested, or is it ok just to ride it out at home (of course strictly observing recommended 10 days isolation)? I want to do the right thing, just not sure what the rules are.

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