Reader question: Will Italy change the rules on travel from the UK at the end of August?

Reader question: Will Italy change the rules on travel from the UK at the end of August?
Photo: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP
With Italy set to review its Covid restrictions on travellers from the United Kingdom by the end of August, many readers have contacted The Local to ask whether the existing quarantine and testing rules are likely to be extended or scrapped. Here's what we know so far.

Question: We are planning to visit Italy in September. Do you know how likely the five-day quarantine rule for arrivals from the UK is to remain in place after August 30th?

Italy reinstated quarantine and double-testing requirements for all arrivals from the UK (including anyone who has transited there within the past 14 days) back in June amid concern over the highly contagious Delta variant, and then extended the measure on July 29th just hours before the rule was due to expire.

The next review is set to come before the expiry date of August 30th.

Q&A: Your questions about Italy’s quarantine for UK arrivals answered

As Italy is not currently making any exemptions for those who are vaccinated, and with steep fines for anyone found not following the rules, the last-minute extension proved a major problem for many of The Local’s readers – particularly those who had been planning to visit Italy this summer for shorter periods to attend weddings and other events.

The last-minute nature of the announcement left many people scrambling to change their travel plans – and travel businesses furious about the loss of income during peak tourism season.

And those with bookings for September are now anxious about whether or not to cancel.

Unfortunately there has been no indication yet from any official sources as to whether the government is likely to extend the measure, change it, or scrap it altogether from that date.

Any updates to the international travel rules are usually announced via ordinances from the Italian health ministry.

But if previous reviews of Italy’s travel rules are anything to go by, it’s unlikely that the government will announce anything until, at most, a few days before the August 30th deadline.

The last deadline was July 30th and the extension of the quarantine rule for UK travellers into August was only announced on the evening of July 29th, via the Italian health minister’s Facebook page.

With no word yet from any official source on what could happen at the end of August, it’s impossible to predict which way things will go.

However, as Italy says its travel rules are based on coronavirus infection rates in other countries, this doesn’t look good for the UK where numbers have risen again throughout August after a drop at the end of July.

The 7-day average number of of cases per million people in the UK is more than four times higher than that in Italy – although the UK is currently carrying out around three times as many tests.

While summer travel and tourism is an important part of Italy’s economy, authorities here have so far been more cautious when it comes to travel restrictions than some other southern European nations such as Spain.

REVEALED: How strictly is Italy enforcing rules on Covid testing and quarantine for UK arrivals?

The UK is currently the only country facing the so-called ‘mini-quarantine’ rule, while India, Bangladesh and Brazil face a stricter travel ban which is also up for review on August 30th.

Italy is allowing entry from all EU and Schengen zone countries using the Europe-wide ‘green pass’ scheme, and has also allowed entry from some non-EU countries under the same terms – namely the US, Canada and Japan.

While Italy recognises proof of vaccination issued by the UK’s NHS and allows it to be used in place of a ‘green pass’ within Italy, having this certificate does not also allow UK arrivals to skip the quarantine requirement.

It is also not known whether Italy may soon place renewed restrictions on arrivals from the US, where the infection rate has also risen again and is now around the same as the UK’s.

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

You can find further details about the current Italian quarantine rules in a separate article here.

Please check our homepage or travel news section for the most recent updates regarding any changes to the rules.

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. Really hoping the rule is removed. I’m due to travel on September 12th and don’t want to quarantine! Still no word on whether a taxi from the airport to the cruise terminal counts as transitting.

  2. I contacted ENIT by email and asked the following questions re the 5 day quarantine for UK travellers. I await a reply. My questions were-
    Can I hire a care on arrival to get to my booked accommodation?
    Can I stop to do some shopping on the way from the airport
    If I change from 1 property to another do I need to advise the local Covid office if this is after the 5 day quarantine is over

    I await a response
    I emailed them on Sunday

      1. If transmitting Italy in a private car for less than 36 hours, then the isolation rule doesn’t apply. There is an exemption on the PLF.

  3. And while the UK restrictions are indeed more onerous, those of us in the US are wondering if we will have restrictions added on. And whether any other countries in the EU will have increased restrictions as we will be traveling from Croatia to Italy and whether either of the countries will increase their restrictions on the other.

    1. Hi Claire,
      We have a trip on the books leaving NYC to Rome on Sept. 30th. We haven’t started to plan our itinerary, since we don’t know what the EU or the Italian government will announce. We are fully vaccinated and by the time we are scheduled to leave NYC we will have our booster shot.
      Thanks,
      josephine

  4. We are traveling to Rome from LV, NV on September 4th – we purchased our tix from BA and have a 1.5 hour layover from Heathrow to Rome. This is “airside”. Will we still have to quarantine in Italy (fully vaccinated & will have PCR within 48 hours before departure from Las Vegas)? Our departure flt. is operated by American Airlines Who can answer this using the regulations currently I place?

    1. Similar itinerary..

      Everything I have read indicates that they do not care whether or not you stay airside. We are hoping for changes on Aug 30 or figure out a re-route.

    2. In case it helps, I believe that the pre-flight tests need to be within 48 hours of -entry- into Italy, not 48 hours before departure from wherever your journey starts. However, at least from the UK, a rapid antigen test is enough, which gives results in 30 minutes or less. You might be able to book one at Heathrow if they offer them airside.

      Tom

    3. Hi, we would recommend checking this with your airline, but here’s the information we have about transit under the rules set by the Italian health ministry:

      Compulsory quarantine applies to anyone who has been on UK territory in the 14 days before arrival in Italy, regardless of nationality.
      That means anywhere in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands, Gibraltar, or British bases on Cyprus.
      It also applies to people who transited through any of these places.
      It applies regardless of whether you enter Italy by plane, ferry, train, coach, private car or any other means of transport.

      More here: https://www.thelocal.it/20210623/italy-new-quarantine-rules-uk-travel/

      Best wishes,
      – Clare

    4. Thanks for the replies. I did call British Airways yesterday and when I posed my question I was told that I would not have to quarantine upon arrival in Italy. I can’t say I’m wholly confident in the answer but I have prepared as best as I can according to the current guidelines. Now, if it changes to include the US that will change everything. If I could change flights to bypass LHR I would but it’s a BA flight.

      1. Hi Rich, we are in the exact same situation but unfortunately i think BA is wrong and that even an airside transit requires a quarantine so that is what we are planning on doing unless things change on Aug. 30.

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