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How the rules for travel from Italy to the UK change from March 18th

If you're planning on travelling to the UK from Italy this Easter, here's everything you need to know about the UK government's eased rule changes that come into force on Friday March 18th.

How the rules for travel from Italy to the UK change from March 18th
The UK is dropping all Covid travel restrictions, but what does that means if you're travelling to or from Italy? Photo by Niklas HALLE'N / AFP

All Covid entry restrictions to the UK will be dropped from March 18th, British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced on Monday.

What does this mean for travel from Italy?

This means that from 4am on March 18th, no one entering the UK from Italy or any other country needs to take any Covid tests or even complete a passenger locator form.

The changes apply to both vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers, meaning that those in Italy who are not fully vaccinated will no longer have to take pre-departure tests or a day 2 post-arrival test.

READ ALSO: How Italy’s travel rules changed in March

This is good news for those planning on travelling back home to the UK to see friends or family over the Easter break, with travel hopefully set to be as easy as it was before the pandemic began. 

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “I said we wouldn’t keep travel measures in place for any longer than necessary, which we’re delivering on today – providing more welcome news and greater freedom for travellers ahead of the Easter holidays.

I look forward to continuing to work with the travel sector and partners around the world to keep international travel moving”.

Mask mandates in the UK are also changing. From Wednesday March 16th, the UK’s biggest airport London Heathrow has said that while mask-wearing is still encouraged, it will no longer be mandatory. Airlines British Airways, Tui, Jet2 and Virgin Atlantic have also stated that they will drop mask rules under certain circumstances. 

However, masks are still required on planes if you’re flying into Wales or Scotland. 

Jason Mahoney, BA’s chief operating officer, said: “From Wednesday March 16th, customers will only be required to wear a face-covering on board our flights if the destination they’re travelling to requires it,” which suggests that they will still likely be required when returning to Italy, but perhaps not when travelling to the UK.

If in doubt, it’s best to bring a mask as you will definitely still need them in the airports in Italy.

The move comes as part of the UK government’s Living with Covid plan, which saw them drop all restrictions within the country at the end of February 2022. The UK has also been steadily lifting its entry requirements since the new year, dropping both the need for the pre-departure tests and the Day 2 Covid tests for vaccinated travellers. 

While the tourism industry and airline officials have applauded the move, doctors, as well as leaders in Scotland and Wales have expressed their concern over the UK government’s plans. 

What are the requirements for travelling from the UK to Italy?

While the UK is removing all its travel restrictions, there are still some restrictions in place for those travelling to Italy.

At the beginning of March, Italy updated its rules for arrivals to mean just one of the following documents is now required for all non-EU arrivals: a vaccination certificate, certificate of recovery or a negative test result.

Therefore vaccinated and recovered travellers from the UK won’t need to get tested as well for travel to Italy.

It also means unvaccinated travellers will be able to enter Italy with just proof of a negative test.

Everyone travelling into Italy, regardless of where they reside or their vaccination or recovery status, must complete a digital passenger locator form (dPLF) – find the instructions and download link here.

READ ALSO: How to use Italy’s Covid passenger locator form for travel

Once in the country, visitors should also be aware that Italy requires proof of vaccination or recovery for entry to almost all venues and services under its ‘green pass’ health certificate system.

Tourists will be able to enter hotels and restaurants with just a negative test result from April, before all health pass requirements are set to be scrapped in May.

Find out more about how the Italian green pass rules currently apply to visitors here.

For further details about Italy’s current Covid-19 health measures please see the Italian health ministry website (available in English).

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AMERICANS IN ITALY

US citizens in Italy now allowed to renew passports online

The US Department of State has announced a new scheme enabling Americans living in Italy to pay to renew their passports online.

US citizens in Italy now allowed to renew passports online

The US State Department’s ‘online payment program’ allows adult Americans in Italy to pay to renew their passport over the internet, according to a recent announcement published on the website of the US embassy to Italy.

The scheme means US citizens can now apply to renew their passport without having to make an in-person appointment at the US embassy or a general consulate in Italy, as was previously the case.

Applicants can pay the $130 renewal fee via the US government’s secure payment site and will then need to post their application documents to the embassy or a consulate (a tracked courier service is highly recommended).

Once the new passport is ready, they can opt to collect the travel document in person or receive it via courier, completing the entire process remotely.

The announcement states that the service, which opened on May 22nd, is open to US citizens over the age of 16 who are officially resident in Italy or the Republic of San Marino – with some restrictions.

To be eligible for the online payment service, applicants must have been at least 16 years old when their most recent passport was issued, and the passport should have been issued no more than 15 years ago and should have a 10-year validity period.

The applicant must have a valid Italian mailing address and be able to send their undamaged passport to the US embassy or one of the general consulates in Florence, Milan or Naples.

Parents can not use the service when applying for new passports for their minor children under the age of 16, but must continue to apply in person.

16 and 17-year-old applicants require parental consent and must make an appointment to apply in person, though they can still make the payment online.

The announcement highlights that the service is available only for the renewal of passport books, and not passport cards.

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