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UPDATE: When will Americans be allowed to travel to Italy again?

UPDATE: When will Americans be allowed to travel to Italy again?
Photo: Andrea Pattaro/AFP
With many people in the US anxious to get back to Italy as soon as they can, here's what is happening with the Italian travel rules for Americans right now.

This article was last updated on May 10th

Italy’s government is keen to restart tourism, and has said it will soon start welcoming back tourists using a new travel ‘green pass’.

While the country “hopes” to open to some tourists from mid-May, the Italian Foreign Minister said, ministers are currently looking at June for US arrivals.

No specific date and no further details have yet been given, although it looks likely that Italy will allow US tourists to enter the country using a new EU-wide digital ‘green pass’ for travel.

READ ALSO: How will the EU’s ‘Covid passport’ system work for tourists in Europe?

The European Commission has suggested opening the external European borders to vaccinated non-EU travellers – although the final decision on this will be down to each individual member state.

Italy has been hesitant to announce a firm date for restarting travel this summer, as the country’s health situation remains delicate.

At the moment, the Italian rules for people wanting to visit Italy from the US remain the same as they have been for months: non-essential travel is not allowed.

And the US government in April increased its travel warning for Italy to ‘Level 4 – Do Not Travel’, citing “very high” Covid numbers.

There are exemptions in place for certain categories, including for Italian citizens and people who have their permanent residence in Italy, and for types of travel deemed essential.

And it’s important to note that the travel rules are based around where you are coming from, not what passport you hold. So a US citizen travelling from Germany, for example, would be permitted to enter Italy.

But traveling from the USA for tourism is currently not possible.

How long will the travel ban stay in place?

Italy is set to relax the rules for tourism from within the EU from May 15th. However, no firm date has yet been given for arrivals from other countries.

The government has been hesitant to commit to firm dates so far amid still-high infection rates, and with Italy’s vaccination programme still making relatively slow progress.

At the moment, Italy has strict quarantine or testing rules in place for almost all international travelers, including those from within the EU.

There are also restrictions in place on domestic travel as certain regions are still deemed high risk.

Italy plans to extend the availabiliy of ‘Covid-tested’ flights into the country, but there are currently a limited number operating between the US and Italy and, at the moment, passengers may still only travel for essential reasons.

READ ALSO: The parts of Italy hit hardest by the loss of American tourists

Rome’s Fiumicino airport. Photo: AFP

While it remains complicated, not all travel to Italy is impossible.

There are exemptions for what is considered “essential travel”.

What is “essential” travel?

The EU does not define what counts as an ‘imperative reason’, however people who can travel into the European bloc now include:

  • Citizens of an EU country
  • Non-EU citizens who are permanent residents of an EU country and need to come home
  • Healthcare workers engaged in crucial work on the coronavirus crisis
  • Frontier workers and in some circumstances seasonal workers
  • Delivery drivers
  • Diplomats, humanitarian or aid workers
  • Passengers in transit
  • Passengers travelling for imperative family reasons
  • Persons in need of international protection or for other humanitarian reasons
  • Third country nationals travelling for the purpose of study
  • Highly qualified third-country workers IF their employment is essential from an economic perspective and cannot be postponed or performed abroad

Find more details on the exemptions here.

Who else can travel to Italy?

US citizens who are permanent residents of Italy can travel, but they will need to show proof of residency at the border and they will still be subject to quarantine rules..

Some travelers warn that even though they were entitled to enter Italy – for example being a resident, or the spouse or child of an Italian citizen – they still faced difficulties and lengthy checks at the border.

READ ALSO: 

On September 7th. the Italian government also signed off on a travel ban exemption for those in “stable” relationships – meaning people can travel from outside Europe to visit their partners even if they are not married or cohabiting.

However, anyone allowed to travel to Italy for reasons deemed essential will stlll need to undergo quarantine on arrival in Italy.

You will also be subject to any other travel rules associated with travel from those countries.

As the travel restrictions change frequently you are advised to check for updates regularly on the Italian government’s Viaggiare Sicuri website.

The Italian government has created an interactive questionnaire which gives updated information on which restrictions apply to you depending on your travel plans and your personal circumtances. It is available here in English.

Photo: AFP

Will US travellers arriving in Italy have to quarantine?

Yes, if you can prove your trip is essential and are allowed into Italy, you will have to quarantine yourself for 14 days after you arrive.

Even travellers from countries on the EU’s “safe list” are still required to quarantine on arrival in Italy, which is not the case in other EU member states.

You will also need to complete a self-certification form (available in English here) informing authorities of where you plan to isolate yourself and your arrangements for getting there. You must not travel by public transport.

If you’re not able to quarantine at your home address, Italian health authorities will require you to stay at a state-run facility. Readers have asked if they could spend spend the period at a regular hotel, but most are carefully screening guests for Covid symptoms and may choose not to accept guests hoping to quarantine on their premises.

Other travel rules

Upon arriving in Italy, you will also need to fill in extra paperwork at the airport relating to the purpose of your trip and a contact locator form providing details for how you can be contacted if one of your fellow passengers later tests positive for Covid-19.

Finally check carefully with your airline on any extra rules, especially around masks. Some airlines specify that medical-grade masks must be worn and you can be denied boarding if you turn up at the airport without the correct type of mask.

Are there many flights available from the US to Italy?

Some flight connections have been reinstated, such as Alitalia’s Rome-New York route, and passengers can freely purchase tickets. Yet this does not mean that restrictions for travelling into Italy have been lifted.

In fact many of those hoping to travel on these flights told The Local that they were turned away at the airport.

Delta in partnership with Alitalia is currently operating ‘Covid-free’ flights between the US and Italy, however passengers are still allowed to travel for essential reasons only.

Stay updated

At the time of writing, the US government has a Level 4 travel warning in place urging citizens not to travel to Italy due to Covid-19.

Anyone planning to travel is advised to check the latest updates from the US State Department and Centers for Disease Control, and to find out whether they are covered by their travel insurer. Otherwise, and unless you are an Italian resident registered with the Italian health authorities, you can incur medical bills if you fall sick while in Italy.

The US Embassy in Rome directed us to the following advice for any US citizens planning to travel to Italy:

This also applies to those who are entering Italy via another European country on a connecting flight, such as via Germany or the UK, if they have been in the US (or anywhere else outside of Europe) within the past 14 days.

For more details travellers are advised to check the relevant country information on the ViaggiareSicuri websiteYou may also wish to check the Italian Foreign Ministry’s website (in English) as well as the latest advice from the government of any countries you’re travelling to or from.

Please note: The Local is not able to advise on specific cases. Contact your embassy for official guidance.


Member comments

  1. if italy has chosen to divide france in “regions” and force travelers from “red” regions to have a Covid test before entering italy, why can’t they do the same in the usa, and allow travelers RESIDING in “green states” to enter italy with a Covid test just to be safe? this will allow the USA eastern states, including New York, to travel to italy without endangering the Italian country and still bringing much needed tourist dollars in italy . can you pass it on to the ministry of italy?

  2. I agree! I am trying to get to my new home in Puglia which I bought in February. Its driving me crazy. Considering going to France for a couple of weeks and then going to Puglia from there. Anyone have experience with this?

  3. I believe it is possible to go to another EU country that will allow travelers from the US and stay for 14 days before entering Italy. Try Croatia. Cheaper and closer to Puglia than France.

  4. What will the procedures be once we have received the vaccines? Will quarantine still be necessary?

  5. Johann F
    Minister Di Maio made an announcement a few hours ago saying quarantine would be removed for EU, UK, and Israel if they meet the criteria (vaccinated, negative test, recovered), but for the US he said it’d be in June 🙁

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