Italy is making it easier for US and UK travelers to visit

People watch the sunset from the steps of San Miniato al Monte over the city of Florence and the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore otherwise known as the Duomo.
Italy is changing its COVID-19 travel policy again © WineDonuts/Shutterstock

As Italy prepares to end its state of emergency on March 31, it is also updating its entry rules and making it easier for travelers from outside the European Union to visit.

Starting March 1, visitors from outside the EU will no longer need to present a negative COVID-19 test if they can show proof of vaccination or a recovery certificate.

According to a new ordinance on Italy's travel restrictions, signed by Italian health minister Roberto Speranza this week, arrivals from countries such as the US, UK, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand and other non-EU countries, just need to show one of the above.

Couple enjoying the empty Pantheon in Rome, wearing protective face masks during COVID-19 pandemic
Italy will end its state of emergency on March 31 and begin a gradual easing of domestic restrictions © Getty Images

The new entry rules put travelers coming from non-European countries in line with EU citizens who can show their EU digital COVID certificates (or green pass) to avoid any additional entry rules when traveling to Italy.

"From March 1 for arrivals from all non-European countries, the same rules will be in force as already provided for European countries. One of the conditions of the green pass will be sufficient for entry into Italy: vaccination certificate, recovery certificate, or negative test," Speranza said.

However, Italy has yet to set out what counts as fully vaccinated for entry. Here's what we know so far.

Couple sitting outside cafe, Florence, Tuscany, Italy
Italy will gradually ease its green pass rules this spring © Innocenti/Getty Images

What documentation do I need to enter Italy?

If you are coming from the EU you just need to present your EU digital COVID certificate which shows proof of vaccination or recovery. If you are unvaccinated, you can present a negative COVID-19 test result taken from a lab-produced antigen test within 24 hours prior to departure or a PCR test taken within 48 hours. This rule is already in place.

Starting March 1, if you are visiting Italy from elswhere, you will be subject to the same rules as those coming from EU countries. This means that either a vaccination certificate in digital or paper format (for Americans it's the CDC card, for UK travelers it's the NHS Pass etc.), or recovery certificate, or negative test result will be sufficient to enter Italy without additional restrictions. 

Previously, both a vaccination certificate and a negative test result were required.

These rules apply to all arrivals over the age of six. Travelers over the age of 18 need to complete a passenger locator form (EU PLF) to enter or travel through Italy.

Officials still need to confirm what counts as fully vaccinated for entry, including whether a booster dose is required and what vaccines will be accepted. It is also unclear if Italy will end its travel ban on visitors from high-risk or ‘list E’ countries, who are currently subject to a 10-day quarantine on arrival. We will update this article when more information is available.

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COVID-19 restrictions to be lifted in Italy 

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi announced that the country will end its COVID-19 state of emergency on March 31 and ease restrictions.

The aim is to "reopen everything as quickly as possible" he told reporters on Wednesday.

While exact dates have yet to be confirmed, Draghi said that the use of the "green pass" (COVID pass) will be scaled back and the need to present proof of vaccination to enter certain venues or to board public transport will gradually be phased out.

"We will gradually put an end to the enhanced green certificate obligation, starting with outdoor activities including fairs, sports, parties and shows," he told reporters.

The green pass is proof of the holder's COVID-19 status and is required to enter indoor restaurants and bars, museums, nightclubs, hotels, and most leisure and cultural venues. It is also required to board trains, planes, buses and ferries in Italy.

How do I access a green pass in the meantime?

Tourists can use their official vaccination, recovery certificates, or EU digital COVID certificates as a green pass. However, it is only valid if the holder has received a booster shot or has completed their first round of vaccines less than six months ago.

If the certificate is more than six months hold, and does not include booster shot information, visitors will need to take a lab-produced antigen test every 48 hours or a PCR test every 72 hours to access venues the green pass is required.

This article was first published on September 1, 2021 and updated on February 24, 2022

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