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 ?

    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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TRAVEL: Delays expected as Italian airport workers strike on Friday

Passengers travelling to and from Italian airports were warned to expect delays on Friday, January 27th, due to strikes by baggage handlers and other staff, with Milan's Linate set to be worst affected.

TRAVEL: Delays expected as Italian airport workers strike on Friday

Strike action on by staff from airport ground service companies may result in delays and queues at some Italian airports, with ticket desks, check-in and baggage handling likely to be affected.

At the national level, ground support staff will take part in a strike held by several of Italy’s biggest trade unions during the day, while an additional strike by baggage handlers at Milan’s Linate airport is expected to cause further disruption.

“It won’t be so much a problem of cancelled flights, even if sometimes the airlines seize the opportunity to cancel one that would leave half empty, but of delays,” Renzo Canavesi, CUB union leader for the Lombardy region, told La Stampa.

READ ALSO: Should you travel in Italy when there’s a strike on?

At Linate, ground service company Swissport Italia and handling companies Airport Handling and Air Cargo plan to strike on Friday.

Staff from Swissport Italia will hold a 24-hour strike at Linate, while the other two ground operators will strike for four hours (from 10.30am to 2.30pm for Airport Handling; from 9pm to 1am of the next day for Airport Cargo).

Passengers are advised to arrive early for flights and to check the status of their service before leaving for the airport.

Passengers may be entitled to compensation in the event of severe delays or flight cancellations. See our guide for further details.

You can keep up to date with the latest strike news from Italy HERE.