Great news for anyone interested in traveling to Italy: It just got a lot easier. The Italian Health Ministry has announced that visitors from all non European countries will be subject to the same entry rules as EU travelers. This means that to visit Italy, travelers will only need to meet one of the following requirements:
- Vaccination certificate
- Recovery certificate
- A negative Covid-19 test result (either a Covid rapid antigen test within 48 hours prior to entry, or negative PCR test within 72 hours prior to entry)
Previously, non-EU travelers needed to show both proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid and a negative test result. This pre-entry testing requirement has been lifted for all but unvaccinated tourists and those who received vaccines, such as Sputnik, which are not authorized by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Lifting the testing requirement removes a big item off travelers’ to-do list, and greatly simplifies the process of taking a vacation to Italy.
Italy’s decision is consistent with a recommendation from the European Council, the EU institution that defines the general political direction and priorities of the European Union. The recommendation, which also comes into effect on March 1, states that all member countries “should lift the temporary restrictions on non-essential travel to the EU for people vaccinated with an EU or WHO approved vaccine, provided they have received the last dose of the primary vaccination cycle at least 14 days ago and no more than 270 days prior to arrival, or have received a booster dose.”
All visitors will still need to fill the Passenger Locator Form prior to entry to Italy. They can either save it on their phone or download the paper version. The PLF is used by public health authorities to facilitate contact tracing in case travelers are exposed to an infectious disease.
Currently, a “Super Green Pass” is required in Italy to access most public venues and transport, including bars, restaurants, hotels, museums, regional and high-speed trains, and planes. The Super Green Pass can only be obtained by people who have been vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19.
These restrictions are expected to be gradually eliminated after March 31, when Italy’s Covid state of emergency, which has been in place since January 31, 2020, will be lifted. In announcing the lifting of restrictions, Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi said, “Our goal is to reopen everything, as soon as possible.” It’s not yet clear how the other restrictions will be modified, but it has been hinted that the Super Green Pass rule will be removed gradually, starting with outdoor activities.