EXPLAINED: How do Italy’s Covid vaccination rules apply to visitors?

How can foreign visitors without a 'super green pass' access Italian public life?
How can foreign visitors without a 'super green pass' access Italian public life? Photo by Miguel MEDINA/AFP
Italy's vaccine pass is now required to access most venues and services in the country - so what does that mean for those travelling to Italy on holiday? Here's how to navigate the new rules as a visitor.

Since January 10th, Italy’s ‘reinforced’ or ‘super’ green pass health certificate, showing that the holder is vaccinated against or recently recovered from Covid, has been required to access most venues and services across the country.

Restaurants, hotels, ski resorts and public transport services, as well as museums, galleries, cinemas and sports stadiums now all require a ‘super green pass’, which takes the form of a QR code that can be easily scanned and checked by public sector and service industry workers.

But what does that mean for travellers visiting from abroad who don’t have the Italian health certificate?

Since September 23rd, Italy’s government has recognised proof of vaccination with all European Medicines Agency (EMA)-approved Covid vaccines and three additional vaccines as equivalent to Italy’s reinforced green pass.

The vaccines currently recognised by the EMA are:

  • Cominarty (Pfizer)
  • Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)
  • Spikevax (Moderna)
  • Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) 
  • Nuvaxovid (Novavax)

The additional vaccines recognised in Italy are:

  • Covishield (Serum Institute of India), manufactured under license from AstraZeneca;
  • R-CoVI (R-Pharm), manufactured under licence from AstraZeneca;
  • Covid-19 vaccine-recombinant (Fiocruz), manufactured under licence from AstraZeneca.

READ ALSO: Can foreigners in Italy use the national Covid vaccination booking website?

This is true regardless of where the vaccine was administered – so anyone visiting Italy from abroad should be able to access any venue that requires a ‘super green pass’, provided they have proof that they are fully vaccinated with one of the vaccines listed above.

To be recognised, the certificate should contain the holder’s ‘personal details’ (full name and date of birth), information about which vaccine was administered on which date(s), and the identity of the certificate’s issuer.

The certificate must also be in Italian, English, French, Spanish or German. If in another language, it must be accompanied by a sworn translation.

A vaccine pass is now required to access most venues and services in Italy.
A vaccine pass is now required to access most venues and services in Italy. Photo: JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP
In practice, some visitors to Italy have reported having had their vaccine certificate rejected by restaurants, hotels and travel providers, despite it meeting allof the Italian government’s criteria.

When this happens, it can be helpful to have the official government guidance ready to show the service provider, in English and in Italian (the relevant information is contained in the last paragraph in the grey box).

Italy’s Covid restrictions have changed at a rapid pace in recent months as the government grapples to curb the country’s rising infection rates, and some places have struggled to keep up with the changes.

Be aware that Italy has also repeatedly cut the validity period of its green pass since it was first implemented, from 12 to nine and, from February 1st, six months from the date of your last dose.

While Italian authorities have not explicitly stated that foreign vaccination certificates are valid for the same period in Italy, this appears very likely to be the case. The Local is seeking confirmation of the rules.

For those travellers who find their vaccination certificate repeatedly getting rejected, there’s one other avenue to explore: converting your certificate into an Italian green pass.

The government has said this option is open to Italian citizens residing abroad or people who are registered with Italy’s national health service. 

However, it may also be possible for foreign nationals who are not registered in Italy to have their vaccine certificates converted. 

Reader question: Can I convert my foreign vaccination certificate into an Italian Covid green pass?

It all depends on the local health authority (Azienda Sanitaria Locale or ASL) of the area you’re visiting or living in, as each ASL is responsible for setting up its own system for handling the process.

One Veneto health office, for example, invites people who were vaccinated abroad to email a copy of their passport and their foreign-issued vaccine certificate to receive a green pass.

It’s worth noting that all health authorities say that the process must be completed while you’re in Italy (and in the comune covered by the relevant health office) – so you couldn’t apply for the pass from another country in advance of a trip to Italy.

The process is likely to take some time and effort, so it’s not a solution for those making short trips – but it could make your life easier if you’re planning on staying in the country for a longer period.

Find more information about Italy’s Covid-19 health restrictions on the Italian health ministry’s website (available in English).

Member comments

  1. I am having difficulty in having my CDC card accepted in the town of Vignola in Emilia Romagna. I am trying to get the digital green pass since I have dual citizenship and am waiting. I have just screenshot the above and will try and get breakfast out this morning. Fingers crossed . I have been boosted and my CDC card with Pfizer should be accepted. I had no problems when I was here in October/November.

  2. I downloaded the Verifica C19 app, which is used to check the Green Pass in Italy. You can scan your UK NHS Covid vaccination QR code yourself to confirm that it is valid.

  3. Thank you. I am following with interest since my booster will be 6 months old on February 25, the day before we arrive in Italy. Second boosters are not yet available.

    1. Also following with interest as my booster will ‘expire’ during my time in Italy. Hard to imagine a fully vaxxed and boosted certificate can ‘expire’ when there are no more vaccines available at this time. Hope the Government clarifies soon.

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