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Reader question: Can I use a foreign vaccination certificate to access Italy’s ‘green pass’?

With Italy now rolling out its health pass, those who get vaccinated here will be able to download a digital health certificate - but what if you were vaccinated in another country?

Reader question: Can I use a foreign vaccination certificate to access Italy's 'green pass'?
Photo: Koen van Weel / ANP / AFP

Question: I’m an American and I’m not registered with the Italian national health service. Can I use my CDC vaccination card to obtain the Italian ‘green pass’ for travel?

Italy has now started issuing its certificato verde or ‘green pass’ – which will be valid for travel all over the European Union from July 1st.

The health passport is also required to attend larger events in Italy like wedding receptions, now that these are allowed to go ahead again.

EXPLAINED: What is Italy’s digital ‘green pass’ used for and how do you get it?

After using paper certificates since May, Italy is now making the pass available in digital (and printable) form, both online and via the government’s Immuni contact tracing app as well as its IO admin app.

You’re automatically entitled to the ‘green pass’ document if you have either been vaccinated, have recently tested negative, or can prove you’ve recovered from Covid-19 within the past six months.

But what happens if you were vaccinated outside Italy and therefore don’t have an Italian certificate to download?

For now, this will depend on where you were vaccinated.

Photo: Vincenzo PINTO / AFP

EU

If you were vaccinated in an EU/Schengen zone country, things should be relatively straightforward.

Every EU country is rolling out its own version of the ‘digital green pass’, and these can all be used to produce a QR code that can be scanned at any border within the Bloc.

Each country’s app should accept either a vaccination certificate or a recent negative test, or proof of having recently recovered from Covid-19.

If you were vaccinated in Italy, you should be automatically sent a code which you can use to access your certificato verde – whether or not you are enrolled in the national health service and have a tessera sanitaria (health card).

While Italy has not made provisions for people to register on the Italian app or website using non-Italian certificates, if you’re in the EU you can register using the equivalent version of the app in your country. The pass you get will be recognised when travelling to Italy and in all other EU member states.

The EU-wide travel pass scheme will be in operation from July 1st.

Outside the EU

Europe has not officially recognised health certificates from non-EU countries as equivalent under its ‘green pass’ scheme. However individual member states can choose to do so.

As of June 21st, Italy is now allowing fully-vaccinated travellers from certain countries with high vaccination rates to skip quarantine on arrival.

READ ALSO: What kind of coronavirus test do I need to take for travel to Italy?

Italy has so far allowed entry from the United States, Canada and Japan under the same terms as the EU’s ‘green pass’ scheme.

That means the ten-day quarantine rule will not apply to passengers from those countries who can provide proof of being fully vaccinated or having recovered from Covid-19, or can show a negative result from a test taken within the 48 hours before arrival in Italy.

What about other countries?

It’s not known yet when Italy may reach agreements with other individual non-EU countries.

This will depend on each country’s vaccination and infection rates, as well as logistical aspects.

The first issue is that the EU pass will only accept vaccine certificates from people who have received a dose of a vaccine licensed for use within the EU. At present these are Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech (also called Comirnaty), AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) or Johnson & Johnson (Janssen).

The second is that the EU and the non-EU country need to agree to recognise each other’s vaccination/test certificates.

Then there’s also the technical aspect – making sure all certificates can be scanned and the various apps ‘talk’ to each other correctly.

For the latest on travel rules in and out of Italy, see The Local’s travel section.

Member comments

  1. I would like to know if my friends in Belarus who have both had Covid and recovered from it would be able to travel to Italy this Summer. They tell can’t get a vaccine other than Sputnik and that Belarussian doctors wont vaccinate them till 3 months after recovery. Would a certificate showing antibodies after recovery suffice? All help greatly appreciated.

      1. Thank you. I thought that was probably the case but I am exploring all avenues. It seems it is much easier to get into Italy illegally than via the correct methods!

  2. I am a dual US / Italian citizen living in the USA. I obtained a Green Pass when in Italy last fall. I recently emailed documentation of my two booster immunizations to the Ministero della Salute, and I have now received a link and an authorization code to download my updated Green Pass.

    However, one piece of information the site requires is the type of ID shown at the time I received my two additional shots AND the number on the document. Example: my State of Maine driver’s license and number. But the website tells me the number is incorrect. It isn’t, but of course there is no US database the Ministero della Salute has access to in order to verify this. Whatever answer I enter in this block, it will be interpreted as incorrect.

    In the US, the number on the identification document you show when you receive your injection in not recorded anywhere. Has anyone else had a similar problem? If so, were you able to get it fixed?

    molte grazie!

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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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