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COVID-19 RULES

Q&A: How will Italy’s new six-month Covid vaccine pass validity work?

With Italy about to cut the validity of its Covid-19 vaccination pass from nine months to six, we answer your questions about how the new rules will apply.

People show proof of vaccination against Covid-19, required to access many venues and services in Italy.
Proof of vaccination against Covid-19 is required to access many venues and services in Italy. Photo: Vincenzo PINTO / AFP

Q: What are Italy’s rules and when do they change?

A: Italy currently requires proof of vaccination against Covid-19 for many aspects of everyday life, from access to public transport to visiting restaurants, under its ‘reinforced’ or ‘super’ green pass scheme.

This pass is available only to those who have been vaccinated against or recovered from Covid-19 (and not via a negative test result).

Italy has a two-tiered green pass system in place, with a ‘basic’ version of the pass accessible via testing. However, this basic pass is accepted in an increasingly small number of venues as proof of vaccination instead becomes more essential.

READ ALSO: How does Italy’s Covid ‘super green pass’ work?

As it pushes to encourage further uptake of booster jabs, the Italian government announced at the end of December that the validity of all passes issued based on vaccination (with either two or three doses) will be cut from nine to six months from February 1st.

From that date, proof of vaccination issued based on jabs administered more than 180 days (roughly six months) ago will no longer be seen as valid under Italy’s Covid ‘green pass’ scheme.

Q: Who do these rules apply to?

A: Italy’s rules on the use of vaccine passes apply to everyone in the country aged over 12, and the rules are the same regardless of nationality or other factors.

It appears that upcoming changes will apply equally to foreign and Italian vaccination certificates, as was the case with a previous cut to the validity of vaccine passes (from 12 to nine months).

The British government’s travel advice for Italy, for example, warns UK nationals that “From 1 February your vaccination certificate will be valid for 180 days from the date of your final vaccination when visiting Italy.”

The new six-month validity period will apply to newly-issued vaccination certificates as well as to those dating from before February 1st.

A short list of exemptions includes people who can show medical certification proving that they could not be vaccinated for health reasons.

See more details about exemptions on the Italian health ministry’s ‘green pass’ website here (available in Italian only).

A bar owner shows a valid Green Pass on the VerifyC19 mobile phone application in central Rome on August 6, 2021

Italy’s reinforced green pass is now required to enter many venues including hotels and restaurants. Photo: Andreas SOLARO/AFP

Q: Is my foreign Covid vaccination certificate valid in Italy?

A: Anyone visiting Italy from abroad should have their vaccination certificate recognised as valid and equal to the country’s own vaccine pass (known as the ‘super’ green pass), provided that it proves they are fully immunised with a recognised vaccine and that the shots were administered within the required timeframe.

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. This is true regardless of where the vaccine was administered.

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.

Q: What if I’ve already had my booster shot?

A: The cut in validity to six months is intended to encourage people living in Italy to get their booster jabs. Boosters have only been available to the general population aged over 18 in Italy since December 1st.

But there is concern about how Italy’s new rules will apply to foreign visitors who were vaccinated much earlier in other countries such as the US.

As things stand, they will also be subject to the six-month limit, meaning many peoples’ certificates will be close to expiring – and fourth jabs aren’t an option at the moment.

This could present major problems for foreign visitors, as Italy’s vaccine pass is required for access to everything from hotels and restaurants to public transport across the country.

Because of this, the Italian government is now reportedly looking at keeping the validity period at nine months for those who have already had a booster jab.

A woman has her green pass checked as ski resorts reopen in Bormio, Italian Alps, on December 4, 2021.

A woman has her green pass checked at a ski resort in northern Italy. Photo: Piero CRUCIATTI/AFP

The rethink of the rules comes after regional authorities in Italy pointed out that the validity cut would have repercussions for the tourism industry.

This change is still being discussed at the time of writing and has not yet been confirmed.

We will update this article with any new information, and you can also find the latest news in our green pass news section.

Q: Does the new six-month validity rule also apply to proof of vaccination for travel?

A: As well as requiring a ‘super’ or ‘reinforced’ green pass (vaccine pass) for access to many venues and services within the country, Italy also requires all arrivals to show proof of vaccination against Covid-19 when entering the country.

As the rules change, there has been confusion over whether the new six-month validity rule will also apply when crossing the Italian border.

This does not appear to be the case. Italy’s ‘green pass’ rules are domestic only and cover things like entry to hotels and museums within the country.

International travel restrictions are dealt with separately under Italian law and so far the government has not made any reference to a change in the entry requirements for travellers.

The Italian foreign ministry states on its travel advice website: “The reinforced green pass obligation does not apply to international flights (and to transport in general) but only to flights connecting Italian cities (national flights, for example Rome – Milan).”

Find full details of the rules for travel to Italy from the Italian foreign ministry here.

Q: How do I book a booster jab in Italy?

A: Booster shots are now available to everyone in Italy aged over 18 from four months after completion of the initial vaccination cycle.

However, as with the first dose, the process of actually booking your shot varies from region to region in Italy due to the highly decentralised healthcare system – and there are still bureaucratic obstacles for foreign residents who are not signed up to the country’s national health service.

You may be able to book your vaccination online using Italy’s vaccination appointment booking portal – though this service is currently only available in certain regions including Abruzzo, Basilicata, Calabria, Marche, Sardinia, Sicily and Valle d’Aosta.

Each regional health authority also has its own booking system. Find links and contact details for your regional service here.

While you may be able to arrange to be vaccinated in an Italian region other than the one you are resident in, there are currently no provisions made for tourists hoping to get vaccinated while visiting Italy from abroad.

Q: Does my Italian green pass automatically update when I get a booster shot?

A: Yes, although you will need to take some steps to retrieve the new pass.

When you get your booster in Italy your personal data should be uploaded to the national health ministry database, which will then release an updated green pass automatically. 

“If you have had a booster dose of vaccine, remember that a new Covid-19 green certification will be issued,” states the health ministry’s official green pass website.

“You will receive a message via SMS or email with a new AUTHCODE code to download it.”

The process for downloading the certificate should be the same as the one by which you obtained your initial green pass. Find full details of how to do it here.

The health ministry states that “If you do not receive [the AUTHCODE] within 48 hours of vaccination you can try to retrieve it yourself on this site.”

This advice may not work for foreign residents who are not registered with the national health service, however.

If you have not received your updated green pass (including if you are not registered with the national health service) the current advice is to email your local health office (the ASL or USL) to request that the code be resent. You will need to submit proof of your most recent vaccination, a copy of your ID, and any other details requested by the office.

If this doesn’t work, you’ll likely need to make a phone call to your regional health authority or speak to your doctor or pharmacist to see how they can help you access your updated pass.

Find more information about Covid-19 vaccinations in Italy and the green pass system on the Italian health ministry’s website (available in English) and the official green pass website.

Do you have a question about vaccine passes that is not covered here? Email us at [email protected] and we will do our best to answer it.

Member comments

  1. Thank you for this article. Please continue to update on how the Italian Government addresses changes for visitors. I”m part of a group of 10 people from the US who plan to be in Italy for 5 weeks starting early May. We all got our booster shots when they first became available in the US so our Vaccine Passports would be considered expired by the current 6 month requirement yet we’re all fully vaxxed and boosted. Nothing more we could do to have our Vaccine Passport not expire.

  2. The rules for the expiration as it stands now will have massive negative effect on tourism as it starts to pick up in March. Many visitors from the USA have had their boosters as early as August 2021, and so will be barred from doing most things in Italy. The part that doesn’t make any sense is that no where in the world is a fourth booster required, recommended or even allowed, including Italy. So the expiration date of the super green pass, without an exemption for those who have already received the booster, seems like an oversight on their part. They are, in effect, breaking their own rules. Thanks for keeping up to date with this and I look forward to reading anything you find out. I’ve spoken directly with hotel and restaurant owners throughout Italy, and they have had no advice on what to do from the government.

    1. Just when we had hope, boom, Omicron and now the Super Green Pass. I agree with Elisabeth Minchilli’s comment. Tourism will be devastated again but this time, in a self destructive way. I work in tourism in Florence. This is the time clients start planning their trips and now they can’t. The Super Pass is fine but no expiry with three shots.

    2. I’m one of the potential visitors caught in this. My booster “expires” at 6 months on March 2nd. I’m due to land on March 1st.

  3. Thanks for the information. Had my third shot on Nov 20 ’21. Am scheduled to be in Italy from April 27 to May 22 2022. May 19 is 180 days from my third shot. Does the third shot even factor in to the rule or is the 6 months counted from the second shot? I hope this gets clarified soon. Deadline for getting refunds for travel insurance and accommodations are looming. Have been planning for this trip since March 2021.

  4. Good news! It appears that the duration of the green pass for those with a booster (third dose) will be pushed to 12 months or even forever. The Italian press is reporting that the official announcement will happen on February 1.

    1. No you don’t. The Local article is inaccurate and should have been rewritten or at least removed frrom the site. The correct answer is that anyone who has had two vaccine injections plus a booster — i.e. three vaccinations — is qualified for an unlimited green pass with no expiry date.

      1. Hi Andrea,

        Unfortunately that’s not true. There is speculation in the Italian media that this may become the case later this week, as the rules change from February 1st. However, it has not been confirmed and this is not the rule at the moment.

        The Local’s articles are based on the current official information from the Italian government. You can learn more about the rules here: https://www.dgc.gov.it/web/faq.html#gpr

        1. Corriere della Sera: https://www.corriere.it/cronache/22_gennaio_30/green-pass-mascherine-viaggi-negozi-nuove-regole-503829ca-81c8-11ec-9392-c3b5704e9a33.shtml

          Martedì 1 febbraio

          IL GREEN PASS
          Chi ha completato il ciclo vaccinale oppure è guarito dal Covid e ha ricevuto tre dosi avrà il green pass sempre valido. Le agenzie regolatorie Ema e Aifa non hanno autorizzato la quarta dose, dunque rimane valida la certificazione già ottenuta.

          Per chi ha ricevuto una o due dosi di vaccino rimane invece la scadenza di sei mesi dall’ultima somministrazione. Chi non farà il richiamo non avrà il green pass rafforzato che consente di andare al bar e al ristorante, svolgere attività sportiva, entrare nei cinema, nei teatri e negli stadi (sia pur a capienza ancora limitata), viaggiare, prendere autobus e metropolitane.

          1. Thanks, Andrea – for the moment though this remains speculation on the part of the Italian media, and nothing has yet been officially confirmed. We’ll update the article if and when any changes are announced by the government. This is expected to happen following a meeting on Monday afternoon.

          2. And then 6 months go by and you need a new shot and pass. Then another 6 months, new shot and pass. Then another 6 months…

  5. I have cancelled my 6 week Italy vacation because of the Super Green Pass. I am a physician. I received my booster early. My booster would run out and my Green pass cancelled in May.

    This summer – I am going to spend my time and money in Portugal!!!!!!!!

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For members

COVID-19 RULES

Reader question: What are Italy’s Covid quarantine rules for travellers?

Italy's quarantine rules have changed so many times over the past couple of years, it can be hard to keep track. Here's the latest information on when and how visitors need to self-isolate.

Reader question: What are Italy's Covid quarantine rules for travellers?

Question: “One of your recent articles says you can exit quarantine by testing negative for the coronavirus. But you can also exit quarantine by obtaining a certificate of recovery from Covid-19… true?”

Unfortunately, official proof of having recovered from Covid-19 won’t get you out of the requirement to self-isolate if you test positive for Covid while visiting Italy – though it can shorten your quarantine period.

The health ministry’s current rules state that anyone who tests positive while in Italy is required to immediately self-isolate for a minimum of seven days: that’s if the person in question is fully vaccinated and boosted, or has completed their primary vaccination cycle, or was certified as being recovered from Covid less than 120 days ago.

That period is extended to 10 days for those who aren’t fully vaccinated and boosted, or those who recovered from Covid or completed their primary vaccination cycle more than 120 days ago.

In either case, the infected person must have been symptomless for at least three days in order to exit quarantine (with the exception of symptoms relating to a lost sense of taste or smell, which can persist for some time after the infection is over).

READ ALSO: Travel in Italy and Covid rules this summer: what to expect

The patient must also test negative for the virus via either a molecular (PCR) or rapid antigen test on the final day of the quarantine in order to be allowed out.

Read more about getting tested while in Italy in a separate article here.

Quarantined people who keep testing positive for the virus can be kept in self-isolation for a maximum of 21 days, at which point they will be automatically released.

Italy does not currently require visitors from any country to test negative in order to enter its borders, as long as they are fully boosted or were recently vaccinated/ have recently recovered from Covid.

READ ALSO: How tourists and visitors can get a coronavirus test in Italy

Some countries (including the US), however, do require people travelling from Italy to test negative before their departure – which means visitors at the tail end of their journey could be hit with the unpleasant surprise of finding out they need to quarantine for another week in Italy instead of heading home as planned.

It’s because of this rule that a number of The Local’s readers told us they wouldn’t be coming on holiday to Italy this summer, and intend to postpone for another year.

If you are planning on visiting Italy from a country that requires you to test negative for Covid prior to re-entry, it’s a good idea to consider what you would do and where you would go in the unlikely event you unexpectedly test positive.

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 updates via our homepage or Italian travel news section.

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