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EXPLAINED: How Italy’s international travel rules change in February

Italy's entry rules for international arrivals have been updated. Here's what you need to know if you're planning to travel.

Passengers wearing protective masks walk across a terminal at Milan's Linate airport.
Photo: Miguel MEDINA / AFP

This article was last updated on February 7th, 2022.

On January 27th, Health Minister Robert Speranza signed an ordinance updating Italy’s international travel rules. The new rules came into force on February 1st and will be in place until at least March 15th.

Starting on February 1st, Italy also slashed the validity of its Covid vaccine pass to six months from the last dose, which was set to impact the ability of foreign visitors who had received their last dose more than six months ago to enter the country.

This rule was amended in a new decree that came into force on February 5th, which states that vaccine certificates showing that the holder has undergone a full primary vaccination cycle (one dose of Johnson & Johnson or two doses of all other recognised vaccines), and received a booster shot, now have unlimited validity.

Here’s how all these rule changes affect visitors travelling to Italy from abroad:

Travel from within the EU

On January 27th, the Italian government confirmed there would be a change for arrivals from the EU from the start of February: anyone travelling to Italy from within the bloc now needs to show proof of vaccination, recovery, or a recent negative Covid test to enter the country without a self-isolation requirement.

This simplifies previous rules, which required travellers entering Italy from within the EU and Schengen area to show both proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid and a recent negative test result. Anyone unable to provide both was formerly subject to a five-day quarantine period.

READ ALSO: How do Italy’s Covid ‘super green pass’ rules apply to visitors?

Under the new rules, for those without proof of either vaccination or recovery, Italy accepts a negative result from a rapid (lateral flow) test taken within 24 hours of arrival in the country, or from a PCR (molecular) test taken within the 48 hours before arrival.

Bear in mind that the test must be from a certified provider that issues you with a certificate containing your full name, personal information, and a time stamp showing when the test was taken – a DIY home test result will not be accepted unless it meets this criteria. 

These rules are set to be reviewed again by March 15th.

Another change to be aware of at the EU level from February 1st is that health passes issued based on two vaccine doses are now valid for nine months. These rules apply when crossing international borders within the European Union and Schengen area.

READ ALSO: How the rules of the EU Covid certificate for travel will change from February

Passengers keep a safe distance while checking in at Milan's Linate airport.
Passengers keep a safe distance while checking in at Milan’s Linate airport. Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP

Travel from outside the EU

According to the Italian foreign ministry’s Viaggiare Sicuri (Travel Safe) website, the existing rules for all other countries are extended for six weeks until March 15th, 2022.

The website refers to the same January 27th ordinance that announced the changes to intra-EU travel restrictions.

This document states that rules on travel to and from “foreign countries or territories continue to apply, until the date of March 15th 2022, with the remaining measures set out in the ordinance of the Minister of Health of October 22nd, 2021 and the order of the Minister of Health of December 14th, 2021”.

That means that for all countries on Italy’s travel ‘List D’, which includes the US and Canada, it remains the case from February 1st that tourism to Italy is permitted without a self-isolation requirement, provided the traveller produces a valid vaccination or recovery certificate and a negative test result.

Based on Italy’s new vaccine pass validity rules that came in on February 1st, a foreign-issued vaccine certificate based on two doses (or one for Johnson & Johnson) is valid for entry to Italy for six months from the date of the last dose. A vaccine certificate based on a booster shot, by contrast, has indefinite validity.

For more details about these rules, see the Italian health ministry’s existing travel guidance on their website.

The test result can be from a PCR (molecular) test taken in the 72 hours before arrival or a rapid (antigen) test taken within the 24 hours before arrival in Italy.

The exception is the UK: if coming from here, passengers must take a PCR test within the 48 hours before arrival or a rapid test within the 24 hours before arrival.

Those whose vaccination certificate is expired may still enter the country, but must self-isolate for five days on arrival and test negative for Covid to exit quarantine. They must still take a PCR test within the 48 hours before arrival or a rapid test within the 24 hours before arrival in order to enter Italy.

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

For countries on Italy’s more restricted ‘List E’, it remains the case that travel to Italy is permitted only for work, health, study, absolute necessity, to return to one’s residence, or to reunite with an Italian resident with whom the traveller is in a “proven stable relationship”.

Travellers from countries on this list must present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival or a rapid test taken within 24 hours of arrival in Italy; and must quarantine for ten days on arrival and test negative for Covid to exit quarantine.

Please note that The Local is not able to advise on individual cases. For more information about how Italy’s travel rules apply to you, please see the Italian government’s travel website here or consult the Italian embassy in your country.

Find all the latest Italian travel news updates from The Local here.

Member comments

  1. The way it is written in the article “a PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival or a rapid test taken within 24 hours of arrival in Italy” makes it sound like the tests are to be taken after arrival into Italy. In fact, the tests must be administered prior to travel, and negative results presented at the time of travel.

    1. Hi Pamela,

      Thanks for pointing this out. The wording has now been clarified.

      Best wishes,
      – Clare

  2. How is it possible to drive from the UK to Italy via France and Switzerland in less than 24 hrs, if a test must be taken within 24hrs prior to arrival? Or should I look at rules for entry to France and rely on passage from an EU country ?
    Peter

    1. we did this last year peter, we had to do a lateral flow test during the evening of our overnight stop in france. this was submitted online and the result comes back within minutes in a format that is suitable for entry purposes. the main problem was that the poor wifi at the gite wasnt stable and the mobile phone signal one bar. it was frustrating that the signal dropped out and it took several attempts to send a photo of the test and we only had one hour after registering the test to complete it. at least now you dont have to fill in transit forms for switzerland 24 hours before entry which we also did at the gite. we used project screen for prenetics and bought them several weeks before travel.

      1. However, if you are travelling from an EU country into Italy why is it therefore necessary to have the test done for entry to Italy? Or is the info ambiguous?

  3. Have been looking at holiday in Thailand – I have an invite from friends in Hua Hin a couple of hours from Bangkok, but cannot travel on a return flight via Bangkok as they are on the E List.

    However, Phuket is OK as there is a Travel Corridor between the Island of Phuket and Italy – but for the rest of Thailand it is on List E, that means 10 days isolation on return. However Thailand has now brought in a test and release test on arrival and results same day and your free to go anywhere – additional test on day 5 is required. Prior to this all tourists had to comply to the sandbox rules ie. couldnt leave Phuket .. but now they can… the regulations are only valid until the 15th March so hoping … Has anyone seen or heard anything about putting the whole of Thailand on the Safe Travel corridor .. sees crazy that you can fly in and out of Phuket and declare your flights in accordance with the regulations – but in the meantime go off on a jolly that effectively know one would know about.. This is a massive loop hole …

  4. Hallo, would anyone be able to tell me if, in order to enter Italy, from a D ist country, the vaccination certificate still has a validity of 270 days? With all the Super green pass information recently for what is required to access venues, transport etc in Italy, there seems to be a lot of confusion if same timelines apply also just to travel to Italy – especially for who has not received booster i.e if you don’t have booster then completed vaccination certificate is valid only for 180 days when in Italy but what about to travel to Italy – is that 180 days or 270 days for people who have not yet received their booster, especially for children who might not have the possibility to receive boosters. The Viaggiare Sicuri web sites and questionnaire do not mention expiration/validity of vaccine certs for entry requirements. Many thanks

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VENICE

EXPLAINED: How will the tourist-control system work in Venice?

Venice is introducing a new system to discourage day-trippers in hopes of curbing problems with overtourism in the popular hotspot. Here is what you need to know.

EXPLAINED: How will the tourist-control system work in Venice?

After years of discussing a possible “tourist tax”, the city of Venice has confirmed it will make day-trippers pay from €3 to €10 for access to the city centre starting on January 16th.

Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro said the goal of the new tourism fee is to discourage day tourism at certain times of the year and encourage overnight tourism. Day-trippers will have to pay a fee, but those who stay overnight continue only to have to pay the city tax of €2 to €5, according to a government press release.

The Commission and the City Council will now examine the regulatory text for the final green light scheduled for the summer.

“We are the first in the world to introduce this system, and we are aware that not everything will work well from the beginning, but we will be ready to improve in the course of work. We want to guarantee the tourist the best quality of the visit and make sure that the city is able to give visitors all the services they need”, said Tourism Secretary Simone Venturini.

READ ALSO: After flooding and coronavirus, is it time Venice stopped relying on tourism?

How much will I have to pay?

The contributo di acesso, or access contribution, will cost from €3 to €10, depending on factors such as tourism numbers for the day and season.

The city will determine a certain threshold of tourists, after which people will be required to pay higher sums. Travellers are encouraged to book in advance to avoid price increases.

Does the payment have to be made in advance?

The government said that nobody would be denied entry to Venice, meaning a pre-registration is not necessary. However, the mayor said that those who book their visit in advance would be “rewarded”. The reward will likely discount the fee.

How will the system work? Where do I pay?

According to the City of Venice, the payment is an alternative to the city tax. It will be required from every person that goes to the old city centre of Venice, as well as other major tourist destinations and islands in the region.

READ ALSO: 16 surprising facts about Venice to mark 16 centuries of the lagoon city

A single payment guarantees access to the old town and the smaller islands.

Tourists will be able to pay through an online and “multilingual” platform where they will receive a QR code to present in case of controls. Tickets should also be available to buy in connection with public transport – so if you are arriving by train, it will be possible to buy the train ticket and the entry pass together.

Who is excluded or exempt from the payment?

There are several exceptions to the payment, according to the website. Among them are residents from the Comune di Venezia, those who work or study there, and those who own homes in the city.

Additionally, exceptions include those born in the Comune di Venezia, children under six years of age, people with disabilities and their accompanying person, public workers, volunteers, people visiting family members, prisoners, or attending funerals, and many others.

Residents of the Veneto region “up to the thresholds that will be set by a specific Council resolution” are also exempt.

Those who stay overnight and, therefore, already pay the city tax through their hotel or short-term rental booking are also exempt from the fee.

The city of Murano, in the metropolitan region of Venice (Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash)

What about people arriving on cruises?

Venice is a very popular stop for cruise ships and people visiting the city on a cruise tour will also have to pay the fee as they disembark in the old town. However, the City of Venice said they might determine a lump-sum measure in agreement with the relevant carriers.

READ ALSO: OPINION: Why more of Italy’s top destinations must limit tourist numbers

Which smaller islands are included?

Only one ticket and payment is required for those travelling to multiple islands, including Venice. The islands that are part of the group are:

  • Lido di Venezia
  • Pellestrina
  • Murano
  • Burano
  • Torcello
  • Sant’Erasmo
  • Mazzorbo
  • Mazzorbetto
  • Vignole
  • S. Andrea
  • La certosa
  • S. Servolo
  • S. Clemente
  • Poveglia

What if I simply don’t pay?

If you fail to produce proof of payment or that you are exempt from the fee, the sanction is from €50 to €300. The fine is the same in the case of people making false statements trying to obtain exemptions or reductions.

Additionally, visitors who don’t pay in advance will have to pay the full €10 fee.

For more info click here.

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