Reader question: Do I need a Covid green pass for my trip to Italy?

If you're planning to travel to Italy soon, make sure you know the rules on using Covid-19 health certificates in the country.

Reader question: Do I need a Covid green pass for my trip to Italy?
Italy’s Covid green pass system has been in place since August 2021. As the rules have changed again April, here's what you need to know about using it now. Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP

Question: ‘I’m travelling to Italy in April and I’m fully vaccinated. I’ve read that I’ll need to show an Italian ‘green pass’ for entry to restaurants and other venues. How do I get one?’

Italy has eased some of its coronavirus containment measures as of April 1st, but its health certificate, known as the ‘green pass’, is still a requirement at many venues.

As travel restarts this spring, The Local has received dozens of questions like the one above from people planning to visit Italy from abroad, with confusion arising amid a series of rule changes by the Italian government over the past few months.

The good news for visitors is that you probably will not need to obtain an Italian green pass.

If you’re vaccinated, Italy recognises proof of vaccination issued anywhere in the world on par with its own ‘super’ green pass, so the vaccination certificate issued in your home country (such as a US CDC card) should get you into any venue in Italy that is subject to this requirement.

People who were vaccinated in the EU or UK will have received a QR code that can be easily scanned and checked just like an Italian green pass.

READ ALSO: How Italy’s Covid rules change in April

Those with a paper vaccination or recovery certificate without a QR code simply need to show their certificate to the person conducting the checks. You do not need a QR code for your certificate to be recognised.

Make sure however that your vaccination certificate will be seen as valid under Italian rules.

If you have been fully vaccinated and boosted, your proof of vaccination has indefinite validity as a ‘super green pass’ equivalent in Italy. If you haven’t had a booster dose but have completed the primary vaccination cycle, your certificate is valid for six months since the last dose.

You can find more detailed information about how the green pass rules work for vaccinated visitors to Italy here

If you have proof of recovery from Covid-19, you can also use this on the same terms as an Italian ‘super’ green pass. This must be a recovery certificate issued by a medical authority (evidence of a negative test result, for example, doesn’t count) and it will be seen as valid for six months since the date of infection.

If you have neither proof of vaccination nor recovery, you’ll need to show proof of a negative test result instead. This is where you would need to get an Italian green pass.

Many venues will now allow you to enter with just proof of a negative test result, known as a ‘basic’ green pass. This is a QR code issued based on a negative result after being tested at a registered facility, such as a pharmacy or clinic.

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

Visitors enjoy an outdoor lunch in Rome's Campo dei Fiori.

Visitors enjoy an outdoor lunch in Rome’s Campo dei Fiori. Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

The pass will be valid for 48 hours from the time the test was carried out in the case of a rapid test, or 72 hours in the case of a PCR test.

This means that if you’re in Italy for a longer visit you will need to be tested repeatedly to retain access to a valid pass.

You can find more details about getting a Covid test as a visitor to Italy here.

Where and when do Italy’s green pass rules apply?

For several months now, Italy’s ‘reinforced’ or ‘super’ green pass health certificate or an equivalent, showing that the holder is vaccinated against or recently recovered from Covid, has been required to access most venues and services across the country.

After the most recent rule change on April 1st, these requirements have been loosened.

Hotels and public transport are no longer subject to any green pass requirements. Proof of a negative Covid test result – the basic green pass, therefore – will be enough for entry to indoor bars and restaurants. If you’re sitting outside a bar or restaurant, you’ll no longer need any form of health pass at all.

Some spaces require only the ‘basic green pass’, which can be easily obtained via a negative Covid test result from a pharmacy for those without a vaccination or recovery certificate (see above).

The rules apply to everyone in the country aged over 12.

Italy’s green pass rules are expected to be eased further in May, and could be scrapped entirely by mid-June.

See full details of the green pass system and requirements by venue here.

At the border

For entry to Italy, you again do not need a ‘green pass’ specifically, but must show valid proof of vaccination, recovery OR a recent negative test result under the current travel rules, in place until at least April 30th.

As Italy has outsourced the enforcement of these rules to airlines and other transport operators, this documentation will be required when boarding your flight to Italy.

If you’re travelling by road or rail, there may instead be police checks at the border. 

For more information:

See the latest news from The Local about travel to Italy here.

Find more information about Italy’s Covid-19 health restrictions on the Italian health ministry’s website (available in English).

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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.