New rules for Americans entering Italy

Updated on 16 October
I personally know 60+ people who have arrived in the last few weeks on nonstop flights from the US. One unvaccinated traveler was told in Atlanta that she could not travel because she was not vaccinated. She showed the desk agent where Delta’s own website said she could. The agent called global who then confirmed the traveler was correct. Several unvaccinated travelers were told by the agent in Rome that their negative test was enough, no quarantine needed. It seems that not everyone is on the same page yet. If you are traveling, be sure to check with your airline, but also be sure you have in your hand, or links to, official sites with the rules, in case a desk agent isn’t sure what they are.

As has been rumored for a few weeks, there are more restrictions for visitors to Italy beginning on September 1st.

The EU has made non-binding recommendations for all of the EU, meaning each country is able to make their own requirements.

Many people thought this would mean the borders would close again or that only vaccinated travelers would be allowed.

I was predicting and saying a week ago, that the only thing I thought would change, is that Italy would go back to requiring everyone to test, regardless of vaccination status. And that is what they did.

I obviously don’t make the rules or have a say in how things are worded, but it would be so much easier, and avoid any confusion, to say that Italy is open to anyone from the US who can pass a negative test.

Italian Ministry of Health

As you’ll see on the Italian Ministry of Health website

Requirements for entry into Italy

For all those who have stayed or passed through in the fourteen days prior to entering Italy in Canada, Japan, the United States and Israel, the legislation provides that upon returning to Italy it is mandatory:

Submit one of these documents, in paper or digital form, issued by the competent health authority of the country of origin:

  • Vaccination certificate confirming the fact that you have completed the prescribed anti-SARS-CoV-2 vaccination course for at least 14 days, or a certificate of recovery, whose validity is 180 days from the date of the first positive swab
  • Furthermore it is necessary to introduce also the negative outcome of a molecular or antigenic buffer made in 72 hours prior to entry into Italy. Minors under the age of 6 are exempted from taking the pre-departure swab

So as it’s been for the last few months, anyone who is vaccinated, or recently recovered, or tests negative can enter Italy. However, now everyone must pass a negative test, regardless of recovery or vaccination status.

Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

You can see here on the website for the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Persons travelling from Canada, Japan and the United States of America may enter Italy by presenting a ‘Green Pass’ (or equivalent certificate issued by the local health authorities attesting that they are fully vaccinate with a European Medicines Agency (EMA) validated vaccine), a negative swab test carried out within the previous 72 hours and a Passenger Locator Form.

A Green Pass, for the use in the national territory, is issued to all persons who have received at least one dose of vaccine or who have received a negative (molecular or antigen) swab test within the previous 48 hours, or who have recovered from COVID-19 in the previous six months. Please note that a certificate certifying the first inoculation of a two-doses vaccine (second dose pending) is not enough to enter Italy from abroad.

You see that a ‘Green Pass’ is still anyone fully vaccinated, or recently recovered, or testing negative. That has not changed, only the fact that vaccinated travelers now need to test.

What is a Green Pass?

In Europe there is an app. For visitors from other countries, your paper vaccine card (you must be fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior), or a letter from your doctor saying you’ve recovered, or a paper negative test from a pharmacy is all you need.

I just had a group in town. Some had their CDC card laminated, that was fine. Some had only a photo on their phone, that was accepted everywhere – I recommend you actually have the card with you. Those needing tests had a paper printed out from the pharmacy with the “negative” box checked. That was fine. In all cases, you should have your ID (passport) as well.

A five day quarantine?

Also from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Persons travelling from List D countries (this includes the US and Canada) may enter Italy with a ‘Green Pass’, a negative swab test carried out within the previous 72 hours and a Passenger Locator Form; otherwise, they must undergo a 5-day mini-quarantine and undergo a test at the end of isolation.

Again, from that same site, a ‘Green Pass’ is anyone fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior, or recently recovered, or testing negative.

So if you are vaccinated, but have not taken a test, or vaccinated and did not receive the second shot 14 days prior, that will require quarantine.

I don’t know how it would be possible, but if you are unvaccinated, and show up without a test, that will require quarantine.

The quarantine requires you to go by private transportation (such as a hired driver, but not a bus or train) to the place you indicated on your Passenger Locator Form (your hotel or BnB). You are to remain there for the five days and then go to a pharmacy to test at the end of those five days.

Delta Airlines

You can’t get much more official than the Italian Ministry of Health and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but you’ll see Delta has updated the requirements on their site as well…

Key requirements for travel from the U.S. to Italy

Fully Vaccinated Travelers

  • Vaccination Documentation: Must have documentation demonstrating proof of full vaccination
    Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson are accepted
    Must be fully vaccinated at least 14 days before arrival
  • COVID-19 Test: Required up to 72 hours before arrival
    Molecular or Antigen test are accepted; must be swab based
    Required for all travelers ages 6 and above
  • Forms: Must fill out the Digital Passenger Locator Form prior to arrival in order to board your flight. Must have either a printed copy or QR code to present at boarding.
  • Quarantine: Not required

Unvaccinated Travelers

  • Vaccination Documentation: Not applicable
  • COVID-19 Test: Required up to 72 hours before arrival
    Molecular or Antigen test are accepted; must be swab based
    Required for all travelers ages 6 and above
  • Forms: Must fill out the Digital Passenger Locator Form prior to arrival in order to board your flight. Must have either a printed copy or QR code to present at boarding.
  • Quarantine: Not required

Once in Italy

Things get a bit easier for the vaccinated and recently recovered once in Italy.

You need to show proof of vaccine, or proof you’ve recently recovered, or a negative test taken within the last 48 hours to do the following…

  • Eat inside a restaurant (no requirements for eating outside or standing at the bar)
  • Visit a museum
  • Fly on domestic flights
  • Intercity and high speed trains and long distance buses

For the unvaccinated, this means you’ll need to plan well to make the best use of your 48 hour negative test. It also means you’ll be spending a little more on your trip. Many pharmacies offer rapid tests for around €20, most will have you in and out in around 10 minutes. Some take reservations, but it’s easy to walk up without an appointment.

It’s also important to note that you don’t need an app. Your CDC card works for proof of vaccine, a doctor’s note works for recently recovered, and your paper negative test from any pharmacy works for a negative test.

Returning to the US

The US requires everyone to have a negative test before returning home.

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