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UPDATED: How do Italy’s Covid ‘green pass’ rules apply to visitors?

Italy is updating its Covid restrictions from April 1st - so what does that mean for those travelling to Italy on holiday? Here's how to navigate the updated rules as a visitor.

How can foreign visitors without a 'super green pass' access Italian public life?
How can foreign visitors without a 'super green pass' access Italian public life? Photo by Miguel MEDINA/AFP

Since early January, Italy’s ‘reinforced’ or ‘super’ green pass health certificate, showing that the holder is vaccinated against or recently recovered from Covid, has been required to access most venues and services across the country.

From April 1st, all that changes, as Italy will start relaxing its Covid rules.

READ ALSO: How do Italy’s Covid rules change in April?

The number of venues and services that require the ‘super green pass’ (or its equivalent in the form of a foreign-issued vaccination or recovery certificate) is reduced from this date.

Some of these spaces will now only require a ‘basic’ green pass – which can also be obtained via a recent negative Covid test result from a pharmacy carried out in the preceding 72 hours (for PCR tests) or 48 hours (for rapid tests); while other venues will dispense with the green pass requirement altogether.

Access to hotels, outdoor dining at restaurants, local public transport services, shops, banks and hairdressers will no longer require any kind of health certificate from April 1st. Indoor restaurant dining, long-distance public transport services, and outdoor shows and events will require only the basic green pass. 

You can find a complete list of all the places that require a reinforced or basic green pass from April 1st here.

From May 1st, this is all set to change again, as the green pass (both reinforced and basic) is set to be scrapped almost everywhere in Italy apart from in health facilities and care homes – but for the month of April, the above-mentioned updated green pass rules will remain in force.

So what do these rules mean for travellers visiting from abroad who don’t have the Italian health pass?

Using a foreign vaccination or recovery certificate in Italy

While the health restrictions apply equally to visitors and residents in Italy, the good news is that if you’ve been fully vaccinated elsewhere you probably will not need to get hold of an Italian green pass for your trip.

If you were vaccinated in another European Union member state or the UK, and have a pass or certificate with a QR code issued by that country, you don’t need to do anything: this will be recognised on par with Italy’s own ‘super green pass’ vaccination certificate.

For those vaccinated outside of the EU, you’ll need to check that your certification complies with Italian rules.

Since September 23rd, Italy’s government has recognised proof of vaccination with all European Medicines Agency (EMA)-approved Covid vaccines and three additional vaccines as equivalent to Italy’s reinforced green pass.

The vaccines currently recognised by the EMA are:

  • Cominarty (Pfizer)
  • Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)
  • Spikevax (Moderna)
  • Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) 
  • Nuvaxovid (Novavax)

The additional vaccines recognised in Italy are:

  • Covishield (Serum Institute of India), manufactured under license from AstraZeneca;
  • R-CoVI (R-Pharm), manufactured under licence from AstraZeneca;
  • Covid-19 vaccine-recombinant (Fiocruz), manufactured under licence from AstraZeneca.

This is true regardless of where the vaccine was administered – so anyone visiting Italy from abroad should be able to access any venue or service that still requires a ‘super green pass’, provided they have proof that they are fully vaccinated with one of the vaccines listed above.

To be recognised, the certificate should contain the holder’s ‘personal details’ (full name and date of birth), information about which vaccine was administered on which date(s), and the identity of the certificate’s issuer.

The certificate must also be in Italian, English, French, Spanish or German. If in another language, it must be accompanied by a sworn translation.

Under the current rules, certificates showing the holder is fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and has received a booster shot have indefinite validity.

Certificates showing that the holder has undergone only a primary vaccination cycle, or has recovered from Covid but is not vaccinated, on the other hand, are valid for just six months from the date of the last dose or first Covid infection.

However, visitors with expired vaccination or recovery certificates can convert these into the equivalent of a ‘super green pass’ if they also take a Covid test from a pharmacy or other certified provider in Italy. 

These passes will be valid for 72 hours from when the test was carried out in the case of a PCR test, or for 48 hours from when the test was carried out in the case of a rapid test (see ‘Green pass based on a negative test result’, below, for more information).

READ ALSO: Can foreigners in Italy use the national Covid vaccination booking website?

A vaccine pass is now required to access most venues and services in Italy.
A vaccine pass is now required to access most venues and services in Italy. Photo: JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP
In practice, some visitors to Italy have reported having had their vaccine certificate rejected by restaurants, hotels and travel providers, despite it meeting all of the Italian government’s criteria.

When this happens, it can be helpful to have the official government guidance ready to show the service provider, in English and in Italian (the relevant information is contained in the last paragraph in the grey box).

Italy’s Covid restrictions have changed at a rapid pace in recent months as the government grapples to curb the country’s rising infection rates, and some places have struggled to keep up with the changes.

For those travellers who find their vaccination certificate repeatedly getting rejected, there’s another avenue to explore: converting your certificate into an Italian green pass.

The government has said this option is open to Italian citizens residing abroad or people who are registered with Italy’s national health service. 

However, it may also be possible for foreign nationals who are not registered in Italy to have their vaccine certificates converted. 

Reader question: Can I convert my foreign vaccination certificate into an Italian Covid green pass?

It all depends on the local health authority (Azienda Sanitaria Locale or ASL) of the area you’re visiting or living in, as each ASL is responsible for setting up its own system for handling the process.

One Veneto health office, for example, invites people who were vaccinated abroad to email a copy of their passport and their foreign-issued vaccine certificate to receive a green pass.

It’s worth noting that all health authorities say that the process must be completed while you’re in Italy (and in the comune covered by the relevant health office) – so you couldn’t apply for the pass from another country in advance of a trip to Italy.

The process is likely to take some time and effort, so it’s not a solution for those making short trips – but it could make your life easier if you’re planning on staying in the country for a longer period.

Green pass based on a negative test result

To obtain Italy’s ‘basic green pass’, by contrast, the process is very simple: you can get either a rapid antigen or PCR test from most pharmacies in Italy. 

Once you receive your negative result (the test can not be a home test but must be administered by the pharmacy itself), the pharmacy will issue you with a basic green pass that contains a QR code.

READ ALSO: How tourists and visitors can get a coronavirus test in Italy

The pass will be valid for 48 hours from the time the test was carried out in the case of a rapid test, or 72 hours in the case of a PCR test.

You can find detailed guidance on getting a Covid test as a visitor to Italy here.

Find more information about Italy’s Covid-19 health restrictions on the Italian health ministry’s website (available in English).

Member comments

  1. I downloaded the Verifica C19 app, which is used to check the Green Pass in Italy. You can scan your UK NHS Covid vaccination QR code yourself to confirm that it is valid.

  2. I am having difficulty in having my CDC card accepted in the town of Vignola in Emilia Romagna. I am trying to get the digital green pass since I have dual citizenship and am waiting. I have just screenshot the above and will try and get breakfast out this morning. Fingers crossed . I have been boosted and my CDC card with Pfizer should be accepted. I had no problems when I was here in October/November.

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Will Italy drop its Covid isolation rule as the infection rate falls?

The health ministry is reviewing its quarantine requirements as the country's Covid-19 health situation improved again this week, according to Italian media reports.

Will Italy drop its Covid isolation rule as the infection rate falls?

Italy has taken a more cautious approach to Covid in recent months than many of its European neighbours, keeping strict isolation rules in place for anyone who tests positive for the virus.

But this could be set to change in the coming days, according to media reports, as one of Italy’s deputy health ministers said the government is about to cut the isolation period for asymptomatic cases.

“Certainly in the next few days there will be a reduction in isolation for those who are positive but have no symptoms,” Deputy Health Minister Andrea Costa said in a TV interview on the political talk show Agorà on Tuesday.

“We have to manage to live with the virus,” he said.

Italy’s La Stampa newspaper reported that the compulsory isolation period could be reduced to 48 hours for those who test positive but remain asymptomatic – provided they subsequently test negative after the day two mark.

Under Italy’s current rules, vaccinated people who test positive must stay in isolation for at least seven days, and unvaccinated people for ten days – regardless of whether or not they have any symptoms.

READ ALSO: How tourists and visitors can get a coronavirus test in Italy

At the end of the isolation period, the patient has to take another test to exit quarantine. Those who test negative are free to leave; those who remain positive must stay in isolation until they get a negative test result, up to a maximum of 21 days in total (at which point it doesn’t matter what the test result says).

Health ministry sources indicated the new rules would cut the maximum quarantine period to 15 or even 10 days for people who continue to test positive after the initial isolation period is up, La Stampa said.

The government is believed to be reviewing the rules as the latest official data showed Covid infection and hospitalisation rates were slowing again this week, as the current wave of contagions appeared to have peaked in mid-July.

However, the national Rt number (which shows the rate of transmission) remained above the epidemic threshold, and the number of fatalities continued to rise.

The proposed changes still aren’t lenient enough for some parties. Regional authorities have been pushing for an end to quarantine altogether, even for people who are actively positive – an idea Costa appears sympathetic to.

“The next step I think is to consider the idea of even eliminating the quarantine, perhaps by wearing a mask and therefore being able to go to work,” he told reporters.

“We must review the criteria for isolation, to avoid blocking the country again”.

At least one health expert, however, was unenthusiastic about the proposal.

Dr Nino Cartabellotta, head of Italy’s evidence-based medicine group Gimbe, tweeted on Tuesday: “There are currently no epidemiological or public health reasons to abolish the isolation of Covid-19 positives”

Massimo Andreoni, professor of Infectious Diseases at the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery of the Tor Vergata University of Rome, was more ambivalent about the prospect.

The isolation requirement for asymptomatic cases should be “revised somewhat in the light of the epidemiological data”, he told reporters, but urged “a minimum of precaution, because the less the virus circulates and the fewer severe cases there are, the fewer new variants arise”.

When the question was last raised at the end of June, Health Minister Roberto Speranza was firmly against the idea of lifting quarantine requirements for people who were Covid positive.

“At the moment such a thing is not in question,” he told newspaper La Repubblica at the time. “Anyone who is infected must stay at home.”