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Italy confirms it will recognise Covid certificates from five non-EU countries

People who have proof of Covid-19 vaccination, testing or recovery from one of five countries outside the European Union will be able to use it as a health passport in Italy, the Italian government has confirmed.

Italy confirms it will recognise Covid certificates from five non-EU countries
Israel's Green Pass is one of the non-EU Covid certificates accepted in Italy. Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP

As Italy prepares to extend the public spaces where a so-called ‘green pass’ is required, the government has given its first indications about how visitors from non-EU countries can access the scheme.

Travellers from any country in the EU or Schengen Zone can already use their national certificates in Italy as they would at home. 

READ ALSO: How is Italy using Covid health passes compared to elsewhere in Europe?

In its latest ordinance of July 29th, the Italian Health Ministry confirmed that documents issued by health authorities in any of the following countries would also be accepted in Italy:

  • Canada
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • United Kingdom (including England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Gibraltar, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands and British military bases on Cyprus)
  • United States of America

Certificates can be shown in digital or paper format, the Ministry said, without giving further details.

While visitors from Canada, Israel, Japan and the US can already use health certificates issued in their own countries to avoid quarantine in Italy, the Italian government has separate restrictions on the UK that oblige travellers to self-isolate for five days on arrival.

Quarantine applies to everyone arriving in Italy from the UK – even if they’re fully vaccinated or recovered, and including after they test negative for coronavirus in the 48 hours before their trip, as all people departing from the UK are required to do.

Those restrictions will remain in place until at least August 30th.

EXPLAINED: How travel between the UK and Italy has changed

In the meantime, Italy’s extended green pass will come into force from August 6th – after which a health certificate will be required to enter indoor seating areas at bars and restaurants as well as concerts, museums, galleries, theatres, cinemas, sports stadiums, theme parks, indoor swimming pools, spas, and other venues and large events.

People with a certificate from an EU or Schengen country can continue to show their own version of the pass, while the Health Ministry’s latest announcement suggests that people whose documents were issued in Canada, Israel, Japan, the UK or the US will be able to do the same.

The decree is not explicit on this point, however, and further announcements may follow in the coming days.

A US vaccination card bearing the CDC logo. Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP

While some other EU/Schengen countries that already recognise non-EU health passes, including France and Switzerland, allow vaccinated travellers to convert their home country’s certificate into a separate EU version, it is not yet clear whether Italy intends to add this extra step.

Until the government clarifies further, visitors should be prepared to show their existing documents – such as the Israeli Green Pass, CDC-approved vaccination cards from the US, provincial immunization cards from Canada, government-issued paper vaccination certificates from Japan, or NHS certificates from the UK – in Italy. 

READ ALSO: When, where and why will you need a Covid health passport in Italy?

Italy’s government has not specified how it will verify non-EU certificates, which do not necessarily contain a QR code compatible with the EU-wide system. 

The Italian version of the health pass, which is only available to people who were vaccinated, tested or recovered in Italy, comes in digital or paper form and can be checked using an official authentification app.

According to reports from users, Italy’s VerificaC19 app does not currently appear to read QR codes from certificates issued outside the EU, including via the UK’s NHS app.

As things stand, the only way for people who are visiting Italy to obtain the Italian pass is to get a coronavirus test here. Find more details here.

The Local will report any further details of Italy’s green pass as they become available. In the meantime, find more information on the government’s Digital Covid Certificate website (in Italian).

Member comments

  1. I live in Mexico and have received two shots of the Pfiser vaccine. I also have a document from the Mexican government attesting to this. Why am I excluded from traveling to Italy?

  2. So the NHS Covid vaccination App (or printed vaccination status) is perfectly fine for getting into places in Italy but not good enough not to quarantine for 5 days???? Of course the Italians can say that, there won’t be many UK nationals there anyway!!!

  3. I just become a member, I think I should have done it much earlier. However, both my husband (working in Italy) and some colleagues have been vaccinated at the same day in July. All of them have received the document with the QR code and can obtain a green pass, but I haven’t received only the attesto di somministrazione vaccinale. They don’t or want give me the reason for this. I tried to download the green pass for people outside the Italian health system, but that failed. Anybody who knows the reason, why I can’t get it? I am now in Canada, so there is no urgent need for it, but I think a need it when I return to Italy.

    1. Hi Bernardina,

      Thanks for becoming a member, and sorry to hear you’ve had this trouble. We’ve had a lot of reports from readers who have been unable to download their green pass because of various technical problems. I hope one of the following articles might help:
      https://www.thelocal.it/20210726/explained-how-to-get-the-green-pass-without-an-authorisation-code/
      https://www.thelocal.it/20210802/how-italy-just-made-it-easier-to-download-a-covid-19-health-pass/

      Best wishes,
      – Clare

  4. I’ve just became a member too and I’m soo grateful I found you guys!!!

    I’m coming in for the UK September 5th with no vaccinations.

    1.Does this mean I would have to get a Antigen test every 48 hours
    2.How do i get the results of the antigen test on my phone as a green pass?

    Thanks x

  5. “In its latest ordinance of July 29th, the Italian Health Ministry confirmed that documents issued by health authorities in any of the following countries would also be accepted in Italy” What qualifies as a “health authority” for the purpose of a recovery certificate from the U.S.? Does my doctor qualify as a health authority, or will they need something from a government body like the CDC or NIH?

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TRAVEL NEWS

REVEALED: Countries fear non-EU travellers face delays under new EES border checks

A number of countries in Europe's Schengen area admit they fear delays and insufficient time to test the process ahead of new, more rigorous EU border checks that will be introduced next year, a new document reveals.

REVEALED: Countries fear non-EU travellers face delays under new EES border checks

Schengen countries are tightening up security at the external borders with the introduction of a new digital system (EES) to record the entry and exit of non-EU citizens in May 2023.

The EES will enable the automatic scanning of passports replacing manual stamping by border guards. It will register the person’s name, type of the travel document, biometric data (fingerprints and facial images) and the date and place of entry and exit. The data will be kept in a centralised database on a rolling three-year basis that is re-set at each entry. 

What the EES is intended to do is increase border security, including the enforcement of the 90-day short-stay limit for tourists and visitors.

EU citizens and third-country nationals who reside in a country of the Schengen area will not be subject to such checks as long as they can prove residency in an EU country however they will still be caught up in any delays at passport control if the new system as many fear, causes longer processing times.

READ ALSO: Foreigners living in EU not covered by new EES border checks

But given its scale, the entry into operation of the system has been raising concerns on many fronts, including the readiness of the physical and digital infrastructure, and the time required for border checks, which could subsequently cause massive queues at borders.

A document on the state of preparations was distributed last week by the secretariat of the EU Council (the EU institution representing member states) and published by Statewatch, a non-profit organisation that monitors civil liberties.

The paper contains the responses from 21 countries to a questionnaire about potential impacts on passenger flows, the infrastructure put in place and the possibility of a gradual introduction of the new system over a number of months.

This is what certain the countries have responded. Responses from Denmark, Spain and Sweden do not appear in the report but the answers from other countries will be relevant for readers in those countries.

READ ALSO: What the EU’s new EES border check system means for travel

‘Double processing time’

Austria and Germany are the most vocal in warning that passport processing times will increase when the EES will become operational.

“The additional tasks resulting from the EES regulation will lead to a sharp increase in process times”, which are expected to “double compared to the current situation,” Austrian authorities say. “This will also affect the waiting times at border crossing points (in Austria, the six international airports),” the document continues.

“Furthermore, border control will become more complicated since in addition to the distinction between visa-exempt and visa-required persons, we will also have to differentiate between EES-required and EES-exempt TCN [third country nationals], as well as between registered and unregistered TCN in EES,” Austrian officials note.

Based on an analysis of passenger traffic carried out with the aviation industry, German authorities estimate that checking times will “increase significantly”.

France expects to be ready for the introduction of the EES “in terms of passenger routes, training and national systems,” but admits that “fluidity remains a concern” and “discussions are continuing… to make progress on this point”.

Italy is also “adapting the border operational processes… in order to contain the increased process time and ensure both safety and security”.

“Despite many arguments for the introduction of automated border control systems based on the need for efficiency, the document makes clear that the EES will substantially increase border crossing times,” Statewatch argues.

‘Stable service unlikely by May 2023’

The border infrastructure is also being adapted for collecting and recording the data, with several countries planning for automated checks. So what will change in practice?

France will set up self-service kiosks in airports, where third-country nationals can pre-register their biometric data and personal information before being directed to the booth for verification with the border guard. The same approach will be adopted for visitors arriving by bus, while tablet devices such as iPads will be used for the registration of car passengers at land and sea borders.

Germany also plans to install self-service kiosks at the airports to “pre-capture” biometric data before border checks. But given the little time for testing the full process, German authorities say “a stable working EES system seems to be unlikely in May 2023.”

Austria intends to install self-service kiosks at the airports of Vienna and Salzburg “in the course of 2023”. Later these will be linked to existing e-gates enabling a “fully automated border crossing”. Austrian authorities also explain that airport operators are seeking to provide more space for kiosks and queues, but works will not be completed before the system is operational.

Italy is increasing the “equipment of automated gates in all the main  airport” and plans to install, at least in the first EES phase, about 600 self-service kiosks at the airports of Rome Fiumicino, Milan Malpensa, Venice and in those with “significant volumes of extra-Schengen traffic,” such as Bergamo, Naples, Bologna and Turin.

Switzerland, which is not an EU member but is part of the Schengen area, is also installing self-service kiosks to facilitate the collection of data. Norway, instead, will have “automated camera solutions operated by the border guards”, but will consider self-service options only after the EES is in operation.

Gradual introduction?

One of the possibilities still in consideration is the gradual introduction of the new system. The European Commission has proposed a ‘progressive approach’ that would allow the creation of “incomplete” passenger files for 9 months following the EES entry into operation, and continuing passport stamping for 3 months.

According to the responses, Italy is the only country favourable to this option. For Austria and France this “could result in more confusion for border guards and travellers”. French officials also argue that a lack of biometric data will “present a risk for the security of the Schengen area”.

France suggested to mitigate with “flexibility” the EES impacts in the first months of its entry into service. In particular, France calls for the possibility to not create EES files for third-country nationals who entered the Schengen area before the system becomes operational, leaving this task to when they return later.

This would “significantly ease the pressure” on border guards “during the first three months after entry into service,” French authorities said.

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