From March 1st, the rules for arrivals from outside the EU will be simplified, Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza announced on Tuesday.
Non-EU arrivals will no longer need to show both proof of vaccination against or recovery from Covid and a negative test result.
Either a vaccination certificate, recovery certificate or negative test result will be sufficient for entry to Italy from that date.
The relaxation of the rules, which is hoped to boost Italy’s tourism sector following two years of Covid restrictions, means travel restrictions for non-EU travellers will be the same as for those coming from within Europe.
The health ministry has not yet updated the official information on its website, a copy of the ordinance text signed by Speranza has been published by Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera.
Here’s a closer look at the rules for based on the information available so far.
Paperwork to enter Italy
Just one of the following will now be required for non-EU arrivals: a vaccination certificate, certificate of recovery or a negative test result, Speranza said.
This follows Italy’s introduction of the same rule for EU arrivals on February 1st.
Therefore, vaccinated and recovered travellers won’t need to get tested as well for travel to Italy – though this still currently the rule until Monday, February 28th.
It also means unvaccinated travellers and those not recovered from Covid-19 will be able to enter Italy with just proof of a negative test.
Italy’s travel rules will be simplified for non-EU arrivals from next month. Photo by Pau BARRENA / AFP
The change applies to travellers from outside the EU, such as those from the UK, US, Canada, New Zealand, Israel and Japan, for instance.
Passengers can present certificates of recovery, vaccination or testing in digital or paper format.
You also still need to complete a digital passenger locator form (dPLF) – find the instructions and download link here.
As before, the dPLF must be completed by everyone arriving in Italy, by any means of transport, before entering the country. It can also be completed and shown in either paper or digital format.
Some exemptions apply, such as to those transiting through Italian airports to another country or to students attending a course in a country other than the country of residence, for instance.
The rules will continue to be enforced by airlines upon boarding: the new Italian ordinance specifies that carriers must check the dPLF and that travellers have one of the required entry certifications before boarding.
Carriers are also obliged to deny boarding to those who show Covid-19 symptoms.
Quarantine rules lifted
There’s no isolation period for non-EU arrivals. Quarantine on arrival only applies if you fail to produce the required documents.
In this case, you’d need to isolate at the address you listed on the digital Passenger Locator Form for five days, followed by a molecular or antigenic swab at the end of this period.
This therefore appears to include those arriving from ‘list E’ countries, who are currently subject to a 10-day quarantine on arrival. The Italian authorities are yet to update their official travel information or to confirm whether the current travel lists will remain in place, however.
Children under the age of six are exempt from testing requirements, according to the ordinance text.
No travellers will need to quarantine on arrival in Italy as long as they can show the required documentation. (Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP)
What type of vaccination certificate is valid?
While the new ordinance confirms that either digital or paper certificates are valid for entry to Italy, there is some confusion around what counts as “vaccinated” for entry purposes.
Neither Tuesday’s ordinance nor the previous set of rules for EU arrivals specified how many shots of a Covid-19 vaccine travellers must have had and within what timeframe, or whether the vaccine must be approved by the Italian or European medicines agencies.
Travellers who are in doubt as to whether their vaccination certificate will be recognised should contact their airline for advice before travelling.
Italy’s move followed a recommendation on Tuesday from the EU council, made up of member states, that all countries “should lift the temporary restrictions on non-essential travel to the EU for people vaccinated with an EU or WHO approved vaccine, provided they have received the last dose of the primary vaccination cycle at least 14 days ago and no more than 270 days prior to arrival, or have received a booster dose.”
However this recommendation is not legally binding and member states may apply their own rules as they see fit.
The rules once you’re in Italy
The change from March 1st applies only to the rules when entering Italy. Travellers should be aware that a different, stricter set of measures is in force within the country.
Italy has recently expanded the use of its domestic ‘green pass’ proving vaccination, testing or recovery.
So, even though you may 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 set to stay in force until at least March 31st.
The so-called ‘basic green pass’ (green pass base) obtained via a negative swab is restricted to shops, public offices and hairdressers, for example. Therefore, it’s not enough for travelling to Italy for tourism and all that entails – like staying in hotels and dining in restaurants.
Boarding a train or domestic flight in Italy is not currently allowed without proof of vaccination or recovery.
There are no restrictions for tourists travelling to the independent states of San Marino and Vatican City once in Italy.
Health passes based on recovery or two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine are valid for six months in Italy, while proof of full vaccination with a booster is valid indefinitely.
Travellers from any other European member state can show their country’s version of the green pass, or health pass – which is recognised on par with Italy’s – to gain access to all venues where it is required.
Italy also recently announced special exceptions for some non-EU tourists meaning they may not have to show the same proof of vaccination as residents.
Will the rules be extended past March?
The new set of rules will remain valid until March 31st, according to the ordinance text.
It appears unlikely that the rules will be tightened again after that – at least ahead of the summer tourist season.
“I think the ordinance gives an important signal to the tourism sector. We have in fact lifted the quarantine for all those arriving in our country from any country,” Health Undersecretary Andrea Costa told Sky TG24 news.
“For a country like Italy where the tourism sector is a fundamental element, it means being able to plan. And this is certainly a positive sign,” he added.
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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