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EXPLAINED: What documents can non-EU visitors use as a Covid pass in Italy?

With proof of Covid-19 vaccination, recovery or a negative test now required to enter venues all over Italy, the government has clarified what documents certain visitors can show instead of an Italian certificate.

EXPLAINED: What documents can non-EU visitors use as a Covid pass in Italy?
A bar owner uses the VerifyC19 mobile phone application to scan a Green Pass. Here's where the super green pass is still needed in Italy. (Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP)

As of August 6th, Covid-19 certificates are required to enter indoor restaurants, museums, concert venues, gyms, spas, theme parks and more in Italy. 

From September, they’ll also be needed to board long-distance trains, coaches and domestic flights.

As visitors flock to Italy for the summer, many are wondering how what documents they’ll need to comply with the new rules.

Q&A: Your questions answered about Italy’s new Covid health pass

Italy’s so-called ‘green pass’ is designed for people who got vaccinated, recovered or tested in Italy, which means that people immunised overseas won’t usually be able to swap their vaccination certificate for an Italian one.

But the good news – at least for some people – is that certain visitors don’t need to. 

Anyone who lives in another EU or Schengen country can simply show the same certificate they use at home throughout Italy, as part of the bloc’s agreement to recognise each other’s documents.

Separately, Italy has also agreed to accept certificates from five countries outside the EU or Schengen Zone. 

Which non-EU Covid certificates does Italy recognise?

In an ordinance of July 29th, the Italian Health Ministry confirmed that documents issued by health authorities in any of the following countries would 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

What if I was vaccinated somewhere else?

The five countries above – plus members of the EU or Schengen Zone – are the only ones whose certificates Italy has agreed to recognise. 

That means that travellers from any other countries, including those who are fully vaccinated or recovered, will not be able to use their certificates as a health passport in Italy.

In this case, you should plan on claiming an Italian green pass by getting a coronavirus test: find out more information here

Which vaccines does Italy accept?

If you were vaccinated in one of the five selected countries, Italy will only recognise your shots if you received a Covid vaccine that is approved for use in the EU.

Currently that includes four vaccines:

  • Comirnaty (made by Pfizer-BioNTech)
  • Spikevax (Moderna)
  • Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca)
  • Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)

What information should the certificate contain?

With certificates varying considerably from country to country or even between states and provinces, the Italian government has since specified what exactly the documents need to show.

According to a Health Ministry circular of 30th July, your certificate needs to state:

  • Your full name
  • Your date of birth 
  • Name and batch number of vaccine 
  • Date(s) you got your jab(s)
  • Details of the authority that issued the certificate, such as your country’s national health service, ministry of health or local health authorities

What language should it be in?

The circular states that your certificate should be in “at least one” of the following languages:

  • Italian
  • English
  • Spanish
  • French

Certificates in any other language must be accompanied by a certified translation.

Is my vaccination certificate valid in Italy if I’ve only had one dose?

According to the government’s circular, certificates from one of these five non-EU countries have the same terms of validity as the equivalents issued in Italy. 

So since Italy issues its own green pass after the first dose of any vaccine – including ones that require two shots total – presumably a single dose would also suffice for people vaccinated in one of the countries on the list.

The circular does not explicitly state this fact, however, and there is likely to be some confusion over the matter among venues checking certificates. Be prepared to face at least some extra questions if your overseas certificate only lists the first of two doses.

READ ALSO: ‘Do you have your green pass?’: Tourists caught short as Italy brings in new Covid rules

Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP

How do you prove you recovered from Covid-19 outside the EU? 

Italy will also recognise medical certificates of recovery from Canada, Israel, Japan, the UK or the US, so long as they were issued within the past six months. 

They should contain at least:

  • Your full name
  • Your date of birth 
  • The date you first tested positive for coronavirus
  • Details of the health authority that issued the certificate

All recovery certificates must be accompanied by a certified translation into Italian. 

Does Italy accept paper vaccination certificates from outside the EU?

The Health Ministry says visitors from one of the five selected countries can show their certificates – whether for vaccination or recovery – in digital form or as hard copies.

Visitors from the US, for example, should be able to show either their CDC-approved vaccination card or a digital certificate within their state’s official app. 

However, some users have reported that Italy’s health pass verification app does not appear to recognise QR codes of digital certificates issued outside the EU (you can check by downloading the Italian government’s free VerificaC19 app and scanning yours). 

If you’re planning to use a digital certificate, make sure that it displays all the information listed above – not just a QR code – and to have a back-up, consider bringing the paper version with you to Italy too.

Find the latest updates in our green pass news section and further details on the official website (currently only available in Italian).

Member comments

  1. What do you think are the chances of Italy staying open to the U.S in September? I have a trip planned September 3rd-14th. I’m worried much of Europe is likely going to close to us with soring covid cases :(.

    1. They will probably wait until the end of the tourist season and lockdown in October like they did last year with European tourists. I think it’s unlikely. I’m expecting they will try to stay open through they holiday season this year.

  2. I’m also going in September. Hoping they will keep accepting vaccinated people. September is a big month for tourism and Italy needs to boost their economy, so…….

  3. So annoying, NHS QR code works perfectly with TousAntiCovid , you can even add it to your certificates on that app and the french app scans and recognise it but the Verifica19 app doesn’t recognise the NHS certificate. Why could’t they have used the same scan app? or italy update theirs?

    We had to explain for 10 min that our NHS app was allowed in italy……

    1. True, it doesn’t seem to work.
      Click where it says “Quale sono i motivi di non validità?” and in the accompanying notes (second from last FAQ) it states that the UK cert is equivalent and acceptable. Hopefully it will do the trick if you show this:
      Quali altri Certificazioni extra-Ue vengono riconosciute come valide in Italia per spostamenti e attività?
      Con l’ordinanza del 29 luglio 2021 del Ministero della salute le certificazioni rilasciate dalle autorità sanitarie del Canada, Giappone, Israele, Regno Unito di Gran Bretagna e Irlanda del Nord… e Stati Uniti d’America, sono riconosciute come equivalenti a quelle dell’Unione Europea emesse dopo la vaccinazione oppure un test negativo oppure la guarigione da COVID-19.

      Le certificazioni possono essere esibite in formato digitale o cartaceo, nel rispetto dei requisiti della Circolare del 30 luglio 2021 del Ministero della salute per quanto riguarda vaccinazione e guarigione. Le Certificazioni permettono di accedere ad attività e servizi in Italia al pari della Certificazione verde COVID-19.

    2. It does work with the VerificaC19 – but it only does so with the second vaccination QR code – there are two QR codes on the NHS “travel” version – one for each does, so if you are using the version on an phone, swipe left to get the second dose QR code & try that.

  4. They will probably wait until the end of the tourist season and lockdown in October like they did last year with European tourists. I think it’s unlikely. I’m expecting they will try to stay open through the holiday season this year.

  5. So if you are guaranteed to know that everybody in a museum is vaccinated, why do you still have to wear a mask?

  6. Hi – I just got back to Umbria after 3 days in Venice and all the museums accepted my vaccine certificate issued by the Ministry of Health in Singapore which is on the EU list of officially recognised countries although not the Italian list. I had a hard copy and my Singapore ID card and they were all very happy to take that.

  7. You need to be careful, my NHS code works fine, BUT you have to use the second vaccination QR code, not the first one, when you open the NHS app the first vaccination QR code is there, you need to swipe left to get the second QR code and then the VerificaC19 Italian App will accept the QR Code.

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Italian government begins talks on Covid ‘super green pass’

Italy is set to tighten the rules on its health certificate scheme from December as Covid-19 contagion and hospitalisation rates continue to rise.

Employees in Italy must show Covid health passes to access workplaces.
Employees in Italy must show Covid health passes to access workplaces - but are the rules about to get stricter? Photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP

Note: This article is no longer being updated. Please find the latest news here.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi will hold a meeting with regional leaders on Monday evening, beginning several days of talks on a new government decree which is expected to be announced by Friday, reports national broadcaster Rai.

As the health situation has worsened across Italy in recent weeks – particularly in the north-eastern regions of Friuli Venezia Giulia, Veneto and the autonomous province of Bolzano – leaders of local governments are increasingly pushing for new measures, mainly in the form of further restrictions on the unvaccinated under a so-called “super green pass” scheme.

KEY POINTS: Italy’s new plans to contain the Covid fourth wave

Italy began rolling out its health certificate or ‘green pass’ for domestic use in August, initially making it a requirement at many leisure and cultural venues such as cinemas and indoor restaurants, before extending its use to workplaces and some forms of public transport. 

The certificate shows that the bearer has been vaccinated against Covid-19, has recovered from the disease within the last six months, or has tested negative in the last few days.

Instead, the proposed ‘super green pass’ would only be issued to those who are vaccinated or recovered, with passes issued based on testing in future only valid for entry to workplaces.

Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

While no concrete decisions have yet been made, sources within the health ministry have indicated that it is considering the measure for any region declared a higher-risk ‘orange’ zone.

“Closures and restrictions must not be paid for by the vaccinated,” said Health Undersecretary Andrea Costa, adding that the ‘super green pass’ plan would “guarantee the unvaccinated access to workplaces and basic needs, but certain activities such as going to a restaurant, cinema or theatre should be reserved for the vaccinated if the situation worsens.”

“It is clear that we must bring in new initiatives,” he said in an interview with Sky TG24 on Sunday.

EXPLAINED: Will Italy bring in a Covid lockdown for the unvaccinated?

At the moment all of Italy remains in the lowest-risk ‘white’ zone, with few health measures in place.

However several regions are now nearing the thresholds at which they would be moved into the ‘yellow’ zone next week, and – if the situation continues to worsen – then risk being placed under orange zone restrictions two weeks later.

Costa said a planned third dose obligation for health workers “is already foreseen and I think it will be approved this week.”

Health Minister Roberto Speranza put forward proposals last week to make third doses obligatory for the healthcare staff already subject to a vaccine requirement, and also to cut the validity of Italy’s Covid-19 health certificate – the so-called green pass – from 12 to nine months for people who are vaccinated, including with a third dose.

READ ALSO: Italy to start Covid boosters for over-40s on Monday as infection rate rises

The changes have not yet been formally approved, but are expected to come in from December 1st under the planned new decree set to be signed into law by the end of the week.

Other measures the government is reportedly considering include cutting the validity of green passes based on PCR test results from 72 to 48 hours, and those from the results of rapid testing will be reduced from 48 to 24 hours.

There have also been calls from health experts and regional leaders to stop issuing green passes based on rapid test results altogether, as these are less reliable than the results of a PCR test.