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Can Americans travel to Italy for tourism this summer?

Recent changes to the travel rules have left many people unsure if or when they can visit Italy for a vacation this summer. Here’s the information available so far.

Can Americans travel to Italy for tourism this summer?
Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

For more than a year, vacations to Italy were impossible as most travel from the US – and many other countries outside Europe – remained heavily restricted amid the coronavirus pandemic.

But a recent rule change means travel to Italy for non-essential reasons is now possible once again – at least for some people.

‘Covid-free’ flights

Italy changed the rules in mid-May to allow tourism from the US on special Covid-tested flights.

“Travel for tourist purposes will be allowed from the USA, Canada and Japan, countries with which we’re strengthening Covid-free flights,” Di Maio wrote.

“Until now, with Covid-free flights, it was not possible to come to Italy for tourism from non-EU countries. Now we’re reopening to this opportunity, which allows safe travel without quarantine.”

So far, American Airlines (AA) and Delta have confirmed that they are now allowing passengers to travel to Italy for any reason on their dedicated Covid-tested routes.

However, the number of Covid-tested flights and routes available remains limited at the moment.

READ ALSO:

Travel for tourism is still not allowed on other, non-Covid-tested flights from the US to Italy. Passengers on these flights are subject to testing and quarantine requirements, as well as needing to be able to prove an essential reason for travel.

While AA and Delta both said in mid-May that they plan to make more of their current routes to Italy Covid-tested, neither airline has yet given an update on this.

Italy meanwhile plans to set up Venice and Naples airports to accept passengers on Covid-tested flights, though no date has been given yet for when the flights to those airports will start.

Will Italy relax the rules for vaccinated US tourists?

EU ambassadors for the 27 member states last week recommended that rules should be changed to allow non-essential visits into the EU by travellers who are fully vaccinated – in other words with both doses of a two-dose vaccine or one in the case of the Johnson & Johnson injection.

However on the unresolved question of how visitors will be able to prove they have been vaccinated, the EU said it will be up to individual member states to decide what evidence they will accept.

READ ALSO: What will Italy’s coronavirus rules be for summer 2021?

Photo: Piero Cruciatti / AFP

Italy has not confirmed any rules, or even when or if it will cut the quarantine requirement for vaccinated travellers arriving from outside Europe.

It is also not yet known if a testing requirement will remain in place.

It looks likely that Italy and other EU member states will allow travelers from certain non-EU countries deemed to be low risk if they are fully vaccinated, or potentially also if they can show a negative test result from a PCR swab test from within the 48 hours before travel to Italy. The rules however have yet to be confirmed.

At the moment, all travellers arriving in Italy must show a negative swab test result, including those from within the EU and those who are fully vaccinated.

While Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has said the country wants to cut quarantine for vaccinated tourists from the United States, Canada and Japan, there has been no confirmation yet of when or how rules could change for any non-EU visitors other than those on the special Covid-tested flights.

Delta and AA have stated that American travelers will be able to board the Covid-tested flights regardless of vaccination status.

On Covid-tested flights, there are no exemptions made to the testing requirement for those who are vaccinated.

When will the rules for summer be confirmed?

The Italian government is expected to make further announcements on the rules for travel from outside Europe this summer by the middle of June – when it says the country’s travel pass scheme is set to be rolled out.

Italian prime minister Mario Draghi said this week that the country’s so-called “green pass”, a health certificate that allows travel without quarantine, “will be ready by mid-June” – sooner than indicated by other EU officials.

READ ALSO: Can I use a foreign vaccination certificate to access Italy’s health passport?

The Italian prime minister gave an earlier release date compared to the EU Commission’s announcement, which estimated the certificate is “well on track to be ready end of June, as planned”.

Other officials have estimated that the scheme will be in operation by early July.

No details have yet been announced as to how the green pass will work for EU or non-EU travelers.

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

See The Local’s Italian travel news section for the latest updates.

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

Member comments

  1. Thank you for all of the great information! In the list of airlines, you do not mention United, but I am booked on a United flight that claims to be COVID-Tested. Can you confirm that United is offering Covid-Tested flights too?

  2. My friends flew from EWR to Rome on a United Covid-tested flight on Monday, 5/24, and presumably all went well. I don’t know why The Local keeps leaving United off the list, since it does offer Covid-tested flights to Rome and Milan.

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TRAVEL NEWS

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”

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