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Reader question: When will Italy review its restrictions on travel from the US?

Reader question: When will Italy review its restrictions on travel from the US?
Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP
At the moment Italy allows arrivals from the US for any reason, including tourism. But as coronavirus infection rates rise in both countries, readers have asked if and when the rules could change.

Question: We are traveling to Italy soon and are hearing rumors concerning Italy or the EU imposing new restrictions on US travelers. Do you know if and when this is likely to happen?

As the coronavirus infection rate in the United States has now risen well above the threshold for removal from Europe’s travel ‘safe list’, there has been media speculation in recent days about whether a change to the rules is imminent.

The European Commission regularly reviews its ‘safe list’ of countries from which non-essential travel is allowed, and news reports from Reuters and Bloomberg this week have cited EU officials saying rules for those arriving from the United States could be reconsidered under the next review.

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

After initially saying the ‘safe list’ review could come as soon as next week, the same officials have now reportedly stated that it will happen in two weeks, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.

The rate of new coronavirus cases in the US has risen to 270 per 100,000 inhabitants over the previous 14 days, according to data from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). The EU’s ‘safe list’ limit is 75 new cases.

The seven-day average of Covid-19 cases in the US now stands at around 100,000 per day, up from under 20,000 in June.

Since reopening to travel from the United States, the European Commission has repeatedly pushed for Washington to allow EU citizens entry to the US on the same terms. So far, the Biden administration has not reciprocated.

Most recently, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called for the US to lift its travel ban for EU citizens in an interview with German outlet RND last week.

“The epidemiological situation in the US and the EU today is very similar. We need to solve the problem as soon as possible and are in contact with our American friends. This must not drag on for weeks,” von der Leyen said.

Last week, White House officials revealed that the government is working on a plan to require all international visitors to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

Because of this, some media reports speculate that any new restrictions recommended by the European Commission in its next review would likely only apply to US travelers who are unvaccinated.

However no official statements have been given regarding any possible new EU restrictions.

And if the US is removed from the European “safe list” in future, this would not necessarily mean Americans would be barred from Italy.

The EU list is non-binding, meaning the last word on whether or not to follow it is down to each individual EU country’s government. Countries can also impose their own restrictions separately.

Italy does normally follow the EU-level recommendations. After the United States was added to the ‘safe list’ in June, Italian authorities immediately allowed travel to restart for all US visitors who could show proof of vaccination, recovery, or a recent negative test result.

However, Italy has recently reinstated strict quarantine rules or travel bans on other countries where the health situation has abruptly worsened due to the spread of the more infectious delta strain of coronavirus.

Italy reinstated quarantine restrictions for arrivals from the UK in June as Britain’s infection rate had begun to rise sharply. No exceptions to the quarantine rule are made for fully vaccinated British travellers.

Italy also currently has travel bans in place for India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Brazil.

READ ALSO: What are the rules on travel to Italy right now?

After strict health measures amid the pandemic made most travel from the US to Italy impossible for 16 months, American travelers are hoping Italy will continue to allow restriction-free visits in the interest of supporting the country’s tourism industry.

But there are no guarantees. While tourism is important to Italy’s economy, authorities here have so far been more cautious when it comes to travel restrictions than in some other tourism-reliant southern European nations such as Spain.

So far, there has been no indication from the Italian government as to whether or not they plan to review the rules for travellers from the US in the coming weeks or months.

Any updates to Italy’s international travel restrictions are made via ordinances from the health ministry, with changes to various rules covering different countries usually issued together within one ordinance.

The next such ordinance is due by August 30th.

Note that the rules are based on which country you travel from, and not on which passport you hold.

The Local will continue to follow any updates to the travel restrictions closely. Please check our homepage or travel news section for the most recent reports on any changes

For more information about the current coronavirus-related restrictions on travel to Italy please see the Foreign Ministry’s website (in English).


Member comments

  1. What has your country of origin got to do with it? Surely, if you’ve received two doses of an approved vaccine and a Covid test before and after entering the country, you should be as safe as anyone.

    1. I agree that we should be safe in theory if we have been vaccinated and tested. However, this dang Delta variant is a headache….aaannnndddd please do not call me Shirley.

  2. Unfortunately the next time Italy revises its entry rules is 30/Aug. We (4 pers) are on the verge of cancelling a 17 day trip due to the quarantine (5 days). We depart Seattle 30 Aug. and arrive LHR 31 Aug. with a few hour layover and transit on to arrive in Rome. Our itinerary is all based off our 31 Aug. arrival, Umbria, Tuscany, & Rome. All vaccinated but all plans out the window!

    1. We have a trip planned to Italy starting 1 September. I wonder if they change the entry rules on 30 August if it will go into effect immediately or if it will start at some future date.

    2. It is my understanding that, as of today and with your transit at London Heathrow, you will be deemed to have spent time in England and thus subject to the same rules as if you were coming from England (i.e. a quarantine).

      1. We have similar plans o travel to Italy thru London. We are flying British Air. I called them and they replied that as long as we were just in transit, we would have no problems.

        1. Please see this official Italian government site: https://infocovid.viaggiaresicuri.it/index_en.html
          If you complete the questionnaire set forth in this site, you will see that it doesn’t matter whether you stay in or transit through the UK — and in either case you are subject to quarantine (at least according to this site). Italy may not be enforcing the quarantine for those who just transit LHR, but the above site seems to say quarantine is required. For this reason, I re-routed my trip to Italy to avoid a transit in LHR.

          1. British Airways partners with American Airlines and Iberia. If there’s a direct flight to Italy on American I’d see if BA can put you on that, otherwise see if they’ll let you go via Madrid on Iberia. Strictly speaking you need to quarantine if going through the UK. You might get away with it as in transit you won’t have a UK stamp in your passport but I wouldn’t guarantee it

  3. Same situation as Art Lange, we depart the US on the 31st of August and arrive September 1st.
    We are in limbo. Hopefully, the Italian government will signal their intentions before the 30th. (HA)

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