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COVID-19 RULES

Q&A: How will Italy’s new six-month Covid vaccine pass validity work?

With Italy about to cut the validity of its Covid-19 vaccination pass from nine months to six, we answer your questions about how the new rules will apply.

People show proof of vaccination against Covid-19, required to access many venues and services in Italy.
Proof of vaccination against Covid-19 is required to access many venues and services in Italy. Photo: Vincenzo PINTO / AFP

Q: What are Italy’s rules and when do they change?

A: Italy currently requires proof of vaccination against Covid-19 for many aspects of everyday life, from access to public transport to visiting restaurants, under its ‘reinforced’ or ‘super’ green pass scheme.

This pass is available only to those who have been vaccinated against or recovered from Covid-19 (and not via a negative test result).

Italy has a two-tiered green pass system in place, with a ‘basic’ version of the pass accessible via testing. However, this basic pass is accepted in an increasingly small number of venues as proof of vaccination instead becomes more essential.

READ ALSO: How does Italy’s Covid ‘super green pass’ work?

As it pushes to encourage further uptake of booster jabs, the Italian government announced at the end of December that the validity of all passes issued based on vaccination (with either two or three doses) will be cut from nine to six months from February 1st.

From that date, proof of vaccination issued based on jabs administered more than 180 days (roughly six months) ago will no longer be seen as valid under Italy’s Covid ‘green pass’ scheme.

Q: Who do these rules apply to?

A: Italy’s rules on the use of vaccine passes apply to everyone in the country aged over 12, and the rules are the same regardless of nationality or other factors.

It appears that upcoming changes will apply equally to foreign and Italian vaccination certificates, as was the case with a previous cut to the validity of vaccine passes (from 12 to nine months).

The British government’s travel advice for Italy, for example, warns UK nationals that “From 1 February your vaccination certificate will be valid for 180 days from the date of your final vaccination when visiting Italy.”

The new six-month validity period will apply to newly-issued vaccination certificates as well as to those dating from before February 1st.

A short list of exemptions includes people who can show medical certification proving that they could not be vaccinated for health reasons.

See more details about exemptions on the Italian health ministry’s ‘green pass’ website here (available in Italian only).

A bar owner shows a valid Green Pass on the VerifyC19 mobile phone application in central Rome on August 6, 2021

Italy’s reinforced green pass is now required to enter many venues including hotels and restaurants. Photo: Andreas SOLARO/AFP

Q: Is my foreign Covid vaccination certificate valid in Italy?

A: Anyone visiting Italy from abroad should have their vaccination certificate recognised as valid and equal to the country’s own vaccine pass (known as the ‘super’ green pass), provided that it proves they are fully immunised with a recognised vaccine and that the shots were administered within the required timeframe.

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. This is true regardless of where the vaccine was administered.

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.

Q: What if I’ve already had my booster shot?

A: The cut in validity to six months is intended to encourage people living in Italy to get their booster jabs. Boosters have only been available to the general population aged over 18 in Italy since December 1st.

But there is concern about how Italy’s new rules will apply to foreign visitors who were vaccinated much earlier in other countries such as the US.

As things stand, they will also be subject to the six-month limit, meaning many peoples’ certificates will be close to expiring – and fourth jabs aren’t an option at the moment.

This could present major problems for foreign visitors, as Italy’s vaccine pass is required for access to everything from hotels and restaurants to public transport across the country.

Because of this, the Italian government is now reportedly looking at keeping the validity period at nine months for those who have already had a booster jab.

A woman has her green pass checked as ski resorts reopen in Bormio, Italian Alps, on December 4, 2021.

A woman has her green pass checked at a ski resort in northern Italy. Photo: Piero CRUCIATTI/AFP

The rethink of the rules comes after regional authorities in Italy pointed out that the validity cut would have repercussions for the tourism industry.

This change is still being discussed at the time of writing and has not yet been confirmed.

We will update this article with any new information, and you can also find the latest news in our green pass news section.

Q: Does the new six-month validity rule also apply to proof of vaccination for travel?

A: As well as requiring a ‘super’ or ‘reinforced’ green pass (vaccine pass) for access to many venues and services within the country, Italy also requires all arrivals to show proof of vaccination against Covid-19 when entering the country.

As the rules change, there has been confusion over whether the new six-month validity rule will also apply when crossing the Italian border.

This does not appear to be the case. Italy’s ‘green pass’ rules are domestic only and cover things like entry to hotels and museums within the country.

International travel restrictions are dealt with separately under Italian law and so far the government has not made any reference to a change in the entry requirements for travellers.

The Italian foreign ministry states on its travel advice website: “The reinforced green pass obligation does not apply to international flights (and to transport in general) but only to flights connecting Italian cities (national flights, for example Rome – Milan).”

Find full details of the rules for travel to Italy from the Italian foreign ministry here.

Q: How do I book a booster jab in Italy?

A: Booster shots are now available to everyone in Italy aged over 18 from four months after completion of the initial vaccination cycle.

However, as with the first dose, the process of actually booking your shot varies from region to region in Italy due to the highly decentralised healthcare system – and there are still bureaucratic obstacles for foreign residents who are not signed up to the country’s national health service.

You may be able to book your vaccination online using Italy’s vaccination appointment booking portal – though this service is currently only available in certain regions including Abruzzo, Basilicata, Calabria, Marche, Sardinia, Sicily and Valle d’Aosta.

Each regional health authority also has its own booking system. Find links and contact details for your regional service here.

While you may be able to arrange to be vaccinated in an Italian region other than the one you are resident in, there are currently no provisions made for tourists hoping to get vaccinated while visiting Italy from abroad.

Q: Does my Italian green pass automatically update when I get a booster shot?

A: Yes, although you will need to take some steps to retrieve the new pass.

When you get your booster in Italy your personal data should be uploaded to the national health ministry database, which will then release an updated green pass automatically. 

“If you have had a booster dose of vaccine, remember that a new Covid-19 green certification will be issued,” states the health ministry’s official green pass website.

“You will receive a message via SMS or email with a new AUTHCODE code to download it.”

The process for downloading the certificate should be the same as the one by which you obtained your initial green pass. Find full details of how to do it here.

The health ministry states that “If you do not receive [the AUTHCODE] within 48 hours of vaccination you can try to retrieve it yourself on this site.”

This advice may not work for foreign residents who are not registered with the national health service, however.

If you have not received your updated green pass (including if you are not registered with the national health service) the current advice is to email your local health office (the ASL or USL) to request that the code be resent. You will need to submit proof of your most recent vaccination, a copy of your ID, and any other details requested by the office.

If this doesn’t work, you’ll likely need to make a phone call to your regional health authority or speak to your doctor or pharmacist to see how they can help you access your updated pass.

Find more information about Covid-19 vaccinations in Italy and the green pass system on the Italian health ministry’s website (available in English) and the official green pass website.

Do you have a question about vaccine passes that is not covered here? Email us at [email protected] and we will do our best to answer it.

Member comments

  1. Thank you for this article. Please continue to update on how the Italian Government addresses changes for visitors. I”m part of a group of 10 people from the US who plan to be in Italy for 5 weeks starting early May. We all got our booster shots when they first became available in the US so our Vaccine Passports would be considered expired by the current 6 month requirement yet we’re all fully vaxxed and boosted. Nothing more we could do to have our Vaccine Passport not expire.

  2. The rules for the expiration as it stands now will have massive negative effect on tourism as it starts to pick up in March. Many visitors from the USA have had their boosters as early as August 2021, and so will be barred from doing most things in Italy. The part that doesn’t make any sense is that no where in the world is a fourth booster required, recommended or even allowed, including Italy. So the expiration date of the super green pass, without an exemption for those who have already received the booster, seems like an oversight on their part. They are, in effect, breaking their own rules. Thanks for keeping up to date with this and I look forward to reading anything you find out. I’ve spoken directly with hotel and restaurant owners throughout Italy, and they have had no advice on what to do from the government.

    1. Just when we had hope, boom, Omicron and now the Super Green Pass. I agree with Elisabeth Minchilli’s comment. Tourism will be devastated again but this time, in a self destructive way. I work in tourism in Florence. This is the time clients start planning their trips and now they can’t. The Super Pass is fine but no expiry with three shots.

    2. I’m one of the potential visitors caught in this. My booster “expires” at 6 months on March 2nd. I’m due to land on March 1st.

  3. Thanks for the information. Had my third shot on Nov 20 ’21. Am scheduled to be in Italy from April 27 to May 22 2022. May 19 is 180 days from my third shot. Does the third shot even factor in to the rule or is the 6 months counted from the second shot? I hope this gets clarified soon. Deadline for getting refunds for travel insurance and accommodations are looming. Have been planning for this trip since March 2021.

  4. Good news! It appears that the duration of the green pass for those with a booster (third dose) will be pushed to 12 months or even forever. The Italian press is reporting that the official announcement will happen on February 1.

    1. No you don’t. The Local article is inaccurate and should have been rewritten or at least removed frrom the site. The correct answer is that anyone who has had two vaccine injections plus a booster — i.e. three vaccinations — is qualified for an unlimited green pass with no expiry date.

      1. Hi Andrea,

        Unfortunately that’s not true. There is speculation in the Italian media that this may become the case later this week, as the rules change from February 1st. However, it has not been confirmed and this is not the rule at the moment.

        The Local’s articles are based on the current official information from the Italian government. You can learn more about the rules here: https://www.dgc.gov.it/web/faq.html#gpr

        1. Corriere della Sera: https://www.corriere.it/cronache/22_gennaio_30/green-pass-mascherine-viaggi-negozi-nuove-regole-503829ca-81c8-11ec-9392-c3b5704e9a33.shtml

          Martedì 1 febbraio

          IL GREEN PASS
          Chi ha completato il ciclo vaccinale oppure è guarito dal Covid e ha ricevuto tre dosi avrà il green pass sempre valido. Le agenzie regolatorie Ema e Aifa non hanno autorizzato la quarta dose, dunque rimane valida la certificazione già ottenuta.

          Per chi ha ricevuto una o due dosi di vaccino rimane invece la scadenza di sei mesi dall’ultima somministrazione. Chi non farà il richiamo non avrà il green pass rafforzato che consente di andare al bar e al ristorante, svolgere attività sportiva, entrare nei cinema, nei teatri e negli stadi (sia pur a capienza ancora limitata), viaggiare, prendere autobus e metropolitane.

          1. Thanks, Andrea – for the moment though this remains speculation on the part of the Italian media, and nothing has yet been officially confirmed. We’ll update the article if and when any changes are announced by the government. This is expected to happen following a meeting on Monday afternoon.

          2. And then 6 months go by and you need a new shot and pass. Then another 6 months, new shot and pass. Then another 6 months…

  5. I have cancelled my 6 week Italy vacation because of the Super Green Pass. I am a physician. I received my booster early. My booster would run out and my Green pass cancelled in May.

    This summer – I am going to spend my time and money in Portugal!!!!!!!!

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COVID-19 RULES

Masks to remain mandatory on Italian flights after May 16th

It will still be obligatory for passengers to wear masks on flights to Italy until mid-June, despite the end of the EU-wide requirement on Monday, May 16th, the Italian government has confirmed.

Masks to remain mandatory on Italian flights after May 16th

The Italian government reiterated on Friday that its current mask-wearing rules remain in place until June 15th, reports newspaper Corriere della Sera.

This means the mask mandate will still apply to all air passengers travelling to or from Italy, despite the end of an EU-wide requirement to wear masks on flights and at airports across the bloc from Monday.

READ ALSO: Reader question: What type of mask will I need for travel to Italy?

National regulations take precedence, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) confirmed when announcing the end of the EU rules.

“Wearing face masks at airports and inflight should be aligned with national measures on wearing masks in public transport and transport hubs,” they said in a joint statement published on May 11th.

READ ALSO: Why are so many Italians still wearing face masks in shops?

“If either the departure or destination States require the wearing of face masks on public transport, aircraft operators should require passengers and crew to comply with those requirements inflight, beyond 16 May 2022.

“Further, as of 16 May 2022, aircraft operators, during their pre-flight communications as well as during the flight, should continue to encourage their passengers and crew members to wear face masks during the flight as well as in the airport, even when wearing a face mask is not required”.

The Spanish government also said on Thursday that air passengers would have to continue wearing face masks on planes.

Italy’s current rules specify that higher-grade FFP2 masks should be worn on all forms of public transport, including buses, trams, regional and high-speed trains, ferries, and planes.

Though rules were eased in some settings from May 1st, masks also remain a requirement until June 15th at Italy’s cinemas and theatres, hospitals and care homes, indoor sporting event and concert venues, schools and universities.

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