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EXPLAINED: What are the Covid travel rules between Italy and Australia?

If you're planning a trip to Italy soon, here's a look at the latest Covid-19 rules for arrivals from Australia.

EXPLAINED: What are the Covid travel rules between Italy and Australia?
The rules on travel between Italy and Australia have changed. Here are the latest requirements. (Photo by Saeed Khan / AFP)

The rules on travel to and from Italy have changed multiple times in recent months, in response to the ever changing Covid-19 situation.

Another update is in force from Tuesday March 1st, following an announcement by Italy’s Health Minister Roberto Speranza.

Italy plans to simplify the entry requirements for arrivals from Australia and all other non-EU countries, by dropping the testing requirement for vaccinated or recovered travellers.

Here’s a closer look at what you need to know when travelling in either direction.

Travelling from Australia to Italy

According to the latest ordinance on Italy’s Covid travel restrictions, travellers entering Italy from non-EU countries like Australia will no longer need to show both proof of vaccination against or recovery from Covid and a negative test result.

That means if you’re vaccinated or recovered, you won’t need to show proof of a negative test as well for travel to Italy, which had been the case until the end of February.

On the other hand, if you’re unvaccinated or haven’t recovered from Covid-19, you will be able to enter Italy from Australia with just proof of a negative test from March 1st.

READ ALSO: Italy to ease Covid travel rules for non-EU arrivals on March 1st

The change puts Australia, and other non-EU countries, on a par with travellers coming from Europe, since Italy already made this the rule for EU arrivals on February 1st.

Essentially, all you need to enter Italy from Australia from March 1st are:

  • the Passenger Locator Form (PLF) in digital of paper format;
  • the Covid-19 health certificate (vaccination certificate, recovery certificate or negative molecular or antigen test) – also in digital or paper format.

With regards to what constitutes as vaccinated, the latest ordinance states that the new rules take into account a previous circular effective from September 23rd, 2021, as confirmed in the latest update from Italy’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

Italy therefore recognises the equivalence of several vaccines administered by foreign health authorities.

Travellers are advised to contact their airline for advice on whether their vaccination certificate is valid before travelling.

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

The timeframe of vaccination validity is as follows, according to the relevant ordinance and Italy’s official travel advice:

  • Full vaccination with recognised vaccine, carried out less than nine months ago;
  • Full vaccination with recognised vaccine and booster dose (equivalent certification to EU digital certificate for Italian authorities accepted);
  • Recovery certificate from Covid-19 less than six months ago (equivalent certification to EU digital certificate for Italian authorities accepted);
  • Negative result of molecular swab test within 72 hours prior to entry into Italy or antigenic swab test within forty-eight 48 hours prior to entry into Italy.

If you have been boosted after undergoing a full primary cycle, the certificate is valid indefinitely 

For the digital passenger locator form (dPLF), you can find the instructions and download link here. If you fail to present this or the one of the required documents above, the carrier may prevent you from boarding.

Also, if you show any Covid-19 symptoms, they are obliged to prevent you from boarding and entering Italy.

There is no quarantine on arrival in Italy, unless you fail to provide the required paperwork. In which case, you’d be obliged to undergo a five-day quarantine at the address you listed on the digital Passenger Locator Form.

This would then be followed by a molecular or antigenic swab at the end of the isolation period.

Travel within Italy

While these are the rules for entering Italy from March 1st, Australian travellers need to be aware of a different, stricter set of restrictions once in the country.

Italy has extended the use of its domestic ‘green pass’ proving vaccination, testing or recovery to cover almost all aspects of life in the country.

Although you will be to enter Italy with just a negative test, once you’re here you’ll need to be either vaccinated or recovered to access everything from hotels and restaurants to public transport under rules in force until at least March 31st.

There are two types of green pass – you can obtain a basic green pass after testing negative to an antigen or molecular swab test.

READ ALSO:

But this is restricted to much fewer services such as shops, public offices and hairdressers, for example.

If you’re travelling to Italy for tourism and all that entails, like staying in hotels, eating out and visiting museums or sport stadiums, it’s not enough.

super green pass on the other hand is for those who have completed a full course of an approved vaccine or who have recovered from Covid-19.

Italy’s travel rules are simplified for non-EU arrivals from March. Photo by Pau BARRENA / AFP

Boarding a train or domestic flight in Italy is not currently allowed without the super green pass, i.e. proof of vaccination or recovery.

Following a decree announced by Italy’s health minister on February 2nd, foreign visitors, including those from Australia, who are boosted against Covid-19 with a vaccine recognised by Italy can access all venues and services in the country on an indefinite basis.

Those who have completed their primary vaccine cycle more than six months ago but have not received a booster shot can still access all services and venues (such as hotels, restaurants and public transport) by taking a rapid antigen or PCR test from a certified provider (e.g. a pharmacy).

A negative rapid test result will produce a pass that is valid for 48 hours; a negative PCR test result will produce a pass that is valid for 72 hours.

READ ALSO: At a glance: What are the Covid-19 rules in Italy now?

You’ll need to be aware of a number of other measures, including the requirement to wear masks indoors – the requirement to wear masks outdoors has now been dropped. You’re obliged to wear the more protective FFP2 masks in some places including cinemas and on public transport.

Find more information on how Italy’s vaccine pass rules apply to visitors and check the validity of different vaccine certificates here.

Travelling from Italy to Australia

For the return journey from Italy, the Australian authorities recently updated their guidelines, effective from February 21st.

If you are fully vaccinated, you can travel to Australia without the need to apply for any exemption. That means, you don’t need to seek extra permission on top of being fully vaccinated.

You are automatically exempt if you are an Australian citizen, permanent resident of Australia, immediate family member of an Australian citizen or permanent resident, visa holder – including the tourist visa, New Zealand citizen usually resident in Australia and immediate family members and if you’re transiting Australia for 72 hours or less.

Photo by Ina FASSBENDER / AFP

If you’re an Australian citizen or permanent resident who can’t be vaccinated for medical reasons, you are treated as vaccinated for the purposes of travel.

For other categories exempt – and for what to do if you don’t fall into the exemption group – see here.

If you are unvaccinated or only partially vaccinated (1 in 2 doses), you will need a travel exemption to enter Australia and will be subject to the quarantine requirements of the destination states or territories.

Fully vaccinated in terms of international travel, according to the Australian government, is completing a primary vaccination cycle approved or recognised by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) at least seven days before travel.

This includes mixed doses. Recognised vaccines and dosages accepted for travel are:

– Two doses at least 14 days apart of:

  • AstraZeneca Vaxzevria
  • AstraZeneca Covishield
  • Pfizer/Biontech Comirnaty
  • Moderna Spikevax or Takeda
  • Sinovac Coronavac
  • Bharat Biotech Covaxin
  • Sinopharm BBIBP-CorV (for people under 60 years of age on arrival in Australia)
  • Gamaleya Research Institute Sputnik V
  • Novavax/Biocelect Nuvaxovid.

– Or one dose of:

  • Johnson & Johnson/ Janssen-Cilag COVID Vaccine.

However, you’ll need to bear in mind that states and territories may have separate rules. Check the particular state you’re travelling to here.

All children aged under 12 years and 3 months count as fully vaccinated for travel purposes.

Travellers to Australia who are fully vaccinated must provide proof of a Covid-19 test in addition to showing their vaccination certificate.

This can be:

  • a PCR or Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) carried out within three days of departure;
  • Or, a medical certificate showing a negative Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) within 24 hours prior to travel to Australia.

You’ll also need to complete the Digital Passenger Declaration, which must be submitted within 72 hours before your departure.

There are fines of up to $6,660 AUD and there may be delays on arrival in Australia if you don’t meet this requirement.

Depending on the state you enter, there may also be quarantine and post-arrival testing. Be aware that they can change at short notice – to check the rules on the state you fly to, see here.

For more information on the requirements for travel to Italy:

You can also call the Italian coronavirus information line:

  • From Italy: 1500 (freephone number)
  • From abroad: +39 0232008345 , +39 0283905385

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 news updates via our homepage or travel news section.

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COVID-19 RULES

Masks to remain mandatory on Italian flights after May 16th

It will still be obligatory for passengers to wear masks on flights to Italy until mid-June, despite the end of the EU-wide requirement on Monday, May 16th, the Italian government has confirmed.

Masks to remain mandatory on Italian flights after May 16th

The Italian government reiterated on Friday that its current mask-wearing rules remain in place until June 15th, reports newspaper Corriere della Sera.

This means the mask mandate will still apply to all air passengers travelling to or from Italy, despite the end of an EU-wide requirement to wear masks on flights and at airports across the bloc from Monday.

READ ALSO: Reader question: What type of mask will I need for travel to Italy?

National regulations take precedence, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) confirmed when announcing the end of the EU rules.

“Wearing face masks at airports and inflight should be aligned with national measures on wearing masks in public transport and transport hubs,” they said in a joint statement published on May 11th.

READ ALSO: Why are so many Italians still wearing face masks in shops?

“If either the departure or destination States require the wearing of face masks on public transport, aircraft operators should require passengers and crew to comply with those requirements inflight, beyond 16 May 2022.

“Further, as of 16 May 2022, aircraft operators, during their pre-flight communications as well as during the flight, should continue to encourage their passengers and crew members to wear face masks during the flight as well as in the airport, even when wearing a face mask is not required”.

The Spanish government also said on Thursday that air passengers would have to continue wearing face masks on planes.

Italy’s current rules specify that higher-grade FFP2 masks should be worn on all forms of public transport, including buses, trams, regional and high-speed trains, ferries, and planes.

Though rules were eased in some settings from May 1st, masks also remain a requirement until June 15th at Italy’s cinemas and theatres, hospitals and care homes, indoor sporting event and concert venues, schools and universities.

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