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TRAVEL

What is Italy’s ‘green pass’ for travel and how do you get it?

The Italian government has announced the introduction of a new Covid 'green pass' for travel and events. But what exactly is it, and when is it needed? Here's what we know so far.

What is Italy's 'green pass' for travel and how do you get it?
Photo: Piero Cruciatti/AFP

**NOTE: This article is no longer being updated. Please find the latest news about Italy’s green certificate here.**

Following a string of announcements and updates about the ‘green pass’ from the Italian government in recent weeks, here’s an updated summary of what we know about the scheme.

Who needs a ‘green pass’?

Italy’s certificazione verde or ‘green pass’ was first introduced to allow domestic travel between regions, and people who live in Italy can also use the pass to travel overseas and return to Italy without quarantining.

The Italian government has said the pass will soon be extended to foreign visitors to Italy, and that it will also be required for anyone attending wedding receptions, concerts and other large events in the country once they are permitted again from mid-June.

READ ALSO: Italy’s travel ‘green pass’ to be valid from first Covid-19 jab

Children under the age of two are exempt from the requirement.

The pass will be available to anyone who has either been vaccinated, has tested negative for coronavirus within the past 48 hours, or has recently contracted and recovered from Covid-19.

For the moment, people coming to Italy from outside the European Union will still need to follow quarantine and testing rules, which vary depending on the country you are travelling from.

Travellers to Italy from EU and Schengen zone countries, the UK or Israel may enter the country if they can show proof of a negative PCR test result from within the previous 48 hours. The previous quarantine requirement from these countries has now been scrapped.

What exactly is the ‘green pass’?

This is the name being used in Italy at the moment for any document which certifies that the holder has either been vaccinated, has tested negative for coronavirus within the past 48 hours, or has recently contracted and recovered from Covid-19.

While a digital version of the certificate is expected to be available by summer, passes issued in Italy are currently in the form of a paper certificate – or three different certificates, to be precise.

These are in fact the same documents already being issued to those who have tested negative, recovered, or vaccinated.

A passenger shows her negative coronavirus test certificate before boarding a Covid-tested train on the Milan-Rome route. Photo: Piero Cruciatti/AFP

While paper certificates can easily be forged, the penalties if you’re caught doing so are severe.

The Italian government’s latest emergency decree states that the possible prison term for anyone using counterfeit or altered official documents will be increased by a third.

Anyone found making false statements to obtain the pass could be fined up to 3,000 euros.

How do I get a ‘green pass’?

In Italy, the paper certificates are issued by the vaccination centre, or in the case of recovery, by a hospital, family doctor or pediatrician.

For those who are vaccinated, the certificate will be issued from the first jab, Italy’s government has confirmed.

It had previously said that certificates issued after recovery or vaccination would remain valid for six months, though in the case of vaccination this has now been extended to nine.

Photo: Piero Cruciatti/AFP

Certificates obtained by testing negative, meanwhile, are to be valid for 48 hours and can be issued by testing centres or pharmacies in Italy.

The results of rapid antigen tests available for free at train stations in some Italian cities can also be used as certification.

Italy has confirmed that for now it will recognise equivalent documents issued in EU countries, and those certifying certain vaccinations in non-EU countries.

“Certifications issued in European Union member states are recognised as equivalent, as are those issued in a third country following a vaccination recognised in the European Union,” stated the Italian government’s April decree.

The vaccines approved by the EU regulator are currently Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, though four others are under review.

Is this the same thing as the European green pass?

Italy has chosen to start using paper certificates while it waits for an EU-wide travel pass scheme to launch.

The document is expected to go digital once Italy adopts the EU version in mid-June.

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

The European green pass is expected to be accessible using a smartphone app with a QR code.

Travellers will need to show the code along with a passport or ID card when entering any EU country.

However, even after this is introduced, rules may still vary around Europe as countries may keep additional measures in place, such as a testing requirement or quarantine period.

The Italian government has not yet given any further details of the requirements for arrivals from non-EU countries to be able to use the green pass scheme.

For more information on the current restrictions and health situation in Italy please see the Health Ministry’s website (in English).

Member comments

        1. @D.B. Cooper ….and how do you propose proving who you are, without your ID doc? You could be giving anyone’s name, address & phone number.
          I read the link you sent, I am bilingual, and it states clearly that you are obliged to give your details.

          “Chi viene però fermato dalla polizia, dai carabinieri o da altra pubblica autorità è obbligato a fornire le proprie generalità.”

          This means that you HAVE TO give your details to the authority that asks for it.

          But you don’t have to believe me, I wouldn’t risk it though.
          Perhaps @Clare Speak of The Local could confirm?

          1. Yes, you are correct that you have to give your details to the authority that asks for it. The Supreme Court of Cassation has upheld multiple times that those details can be given verbally and citizens are NOT required to carry identification at all times.

            “Il rifiuto di fornire la prova delle proprie generalità non costituisce la contravvenzione in esame.”

            In practice, it is necessary to carry appropriate identification in order to drive a vehicle or check-in to a hotel, but it is not a legal requirement when walking outside.

          2. Also, is your phone number shown on your ID? I have the old paper carta d’identità and my wife has a CIE and neither of ours list a phone number.

  1. As an Italian resident in Austria, in possession of a vaccination card issued in German, will this be valid in Italy?

  2. If Americans have proof of; vaccination, Covid free test, and proof of ownership, will property owners be allowed into Italy mid May? I am very happy to quarantine at my home in Italy. Thank you.

  3. What am I missing?
    The title of the article is “how to get” but it doesn’t say where/how.

  4. I’ve been trying to get instructions on how to obtain a Green Pass if you have been vaccinated outside of the EU. In my case, in the USA. There seems to be no way to obtain the Pass for my situation. Nor does there seem to be a way to send an inquiry to the authorities.

  5. If you have had your two vaccinations here in Italy, what happens if you have to visit UK. Do you still need to quarantine there? or do they accept Italy Green Pass or certificate proof?

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For members

READER QUESTIONS

Reader question: Do you need to cancel your residency when leaving Italy?

How do you cancel your residency permit when leaving Italy - and do you even need to do so at all? The Local looks into the rules.

Reader question: Do you need to cancel your residency when leaving Italy?

Question: My partner and I are leaving Italy after several years of living here. Do we need to cancel our residency? If so, can you advise us on how to go about doing this?

Most people know that you need to register as a resident in Italy if spending more then 90 days in the country. But what should you do if you decide to leave?

Do foreign nationals need to deregister as a resident, and under which circumstances? And how do you go about doing cancelling your residency?

We asked the experts to talk us through when you should deregister as an Italian resident and the the steps involved in cancelling your Italian residency.

Should you bother cancelling your residency?

As is so often the case when it comes to complex bureaucratic questions, the answer is: it depends. Both on your personal circumstances and on the type of residency permit you hold.

If you’re relocating away from Italy permanently then deregistering as a resident and informing the authorities of your new address is a legal requirement – and you’d want to do so anyway, says Nicolò Bolla of the tax consultancy firm Accounting Bolla.

READ ALSO: What’s the difference between Italian residency and citizenship?

On the other hand, if you’re moving away on a temporary basis, you’re not required to cancel your Italian residency.

“If, for instance, you undertake a two-year assignment somewhere, you can still remain a resident and benefit from all the coverage a resident has, such as healthcare,” Bolla explains.

You might want to hold on to your Italian residency in the short term if you're not sure whether the move will be permanent.
You might want to hold on to your Italian residency in the short term if you’re not sure whether the move will be permanent. Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP.

There’s no official time limit for this – you could leave Italy for a number of years while maintaining your residency and then return to live in the country as if there had been no break.

That means that if you’re leaving Italy and aren’t sure whether you want to return, you might want to keep your residency status, at least in the short term (it’s possible to be legally resident in both Italy and another country).

Financial planning and property consultant Daniel Shillito warns: “you want to be sure if you’re leaving the country that it was a permanent decision, and that you weren’t aiming to come back to live – because if you do want to, it could be tricky and quite administrative.”

For British citizens in particular, he points out, “having an Italian residency these days is a valuable thing, it’s not easy to get again.”

This all applies to those with permanent or long-term residency.

If you have a temporary residence permit, you will no longer be considered resident in Italy as soon as it expires – so you may decide it’s not worth bothering to cancel your residency if it’s due to expire anyway shortly after you leave.

Why does it matter?

There are multiple factors to consider here, the biggest of which is taxes.

If you’re resident in Italy, you’re expected to pay taxes here. However, if you’re moving to a country with which Italy has a double taxation agreement or dual tax treaty, you’re protected from being taxed twice on the same income. Many states, including the UK, America, Australia and Canada, have dual taxation treaties with Italy. 

READ ALSO: Can second-home owners get an Italian residence permit?

If you’re moving to a country which doesn’t have a double tax agreement with Italy, on the other hand, you’ll be legally required pay the full amount of Italian tax on your income even if you spend very little time in Italy, so will almost certainly want to cancel your residency.

Even if you’re moving to a country that does have a dual tax treaty with Italy, you may still want to deregister as an Italian resident in order to avoid having to deal with the paperwork involved in proving you’re a dual resident whose tax obligations are limited.

There’s also a third category of emigrant: for those moving to a country on the EU’s tax haven blacklist, such as Panama, simply deregistering as an Italian resident won’t keep the tax authorities at bay. The burden of proof is on the individual to demonstrate they actually reside in the blacklist country and aren’t just trying to evade Italian taxes.

In these situations, Bolla advises clients to register as resident in an intermediate third country after leaving Italy and before moving to the blacklisted country in order to avoid the extra bureaucracy.

READ ALSO: What taxes do you need to pay if you own a second home in Italy?

Do you need to cancel your residency when leaving Italy?

There are multiple factors to consider when deciding whether to cancel your Italian residency. Photo by FABIO MUZZI / AFP.

Other considerations

Besides where you pay your income tax, you’ll want to consider other factors such as official correspondence, tax breaks, and timeframes for residency-based citizenship applications, Bolla says.

If you maintain Italian residency, the authorities will expect to be able to reach you at your registered address, including for things like traffic fines or notifications of tax audits. If you no longer have any link to that address and no one to forward your correspondence on to you, you could end up in a sticky legal situation.

It’s also worth taking into account the fact that new Italian residents can access certain tax breaks that aren’t available to people who’ve lived here for a while. If you cancel your residency and then return to Italy at a later date, you’ll be eligible for those incentives in a way that you wouldn’t be if you’d kept your residency.

On the other hand, Bolla notes, maintaining Italian residency could work in favour of those interested in pursuing citizenship through residency.

An individual must be continuously resident in Italy for 10 years before they can apply for Italian citizenship based on their long-term residence status.

In theory, maintaining your Italian residency while you’re temporarily abroad could mean that period still counts towards towards those ten years and you won’t have to restart the clock on your return – though it’s important to consult a professional if you’re considering this option.

How can you go about cancelling your residency?

There’s no standardised national protocol for cancelling your residency. Instead, you’ll need to contact the comune, or town hall, you’re registered with to inform them of the change and ask them what you need to do.

The process could be as simple as sending a few emails, without even having to set foot in the building. There may also be a form to fill out. Because things vary from one municipality to another, you’ll need to contact your local comune to find out exactly what’s required.

Generally the process can only be completed after, not before, leaving the country, because you’ll need to provide your new address and possibly supporting documentation proving that you’re now resident elsewhere.

“You say me and my family – and then you list all the members – are no longer residing in your town, please deregister us, and our new address is (e.g.) 123, Fifth Avenue, New York,” says Bolla.

If you have a Spid (Sistema Pubblico di Identità Digitale or ‘Public Digital Identity System’) electronic ID, Bolla notes, in many towns and cities (such as Milan), the process can be completed online through the comune‘s website.

You should expect to receive confirmation that you and your dependents have been deregistered as Italian residents, so it’s worth following up until you receive this.

READ ALSO: How to use your Italian ID card to access official services online

Shillito advises using a PEC (Posta Elettronica Certificata, or Electronic Certified Mail) email account if you have one when communicating with your comune about deregistering. 

Messages sent between PEC accounts are certified with a date and time stamp to show when you sent them and when they were received, with a record of receipt automatically emailed to you as an attachment. Within in Italy they have the same legal value as a physical lettera raccomandata (registered letter).

“That secure email communication is official, you’ve got a receipt showing it’s been received,” says Shillito.

“That way you’ve got evidence and a record that you’ve communicated it to them, in case anything went wrong in the future and the Italian government decided to claim you were still living in Italy.”

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