What is the Italy Green Pass? Why do you need it and how can you get it?
A lot of travel rules have changed in 2021. Before you visit Italy, find out what you need to do and what to bring with you so everything goes smoothly.
Ever since the EU came out with the idea of a Covid "Green Pass", I've received a lot of questions about what it is, why you need it, and how to get one.
There are two major reasons you are hearing about the Italy Green Pass.
First, it is required for entry into Italy and other EU countries.
Second, you now need a "Green Pass" to enter sites, museums, restaurants, and more.
As people prepare to travel to Rome and Italy, I'm getting more and more questions about the Italy Green Pass so I thought I'd bring all the details together on this page for you.
On this page, we'll cover:
You may want to visit my other two related pages:
Watch my Green Pass video on YouTube:
The EU created the concept of a "Green Pass" as a way to allow citizens and legal residents of EU member countries to travel more easily within the EU.
The certificate is now being used across the EU, and also in non-EU countries Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, San Marino and Vatican City. As of October 29, the UK NHS app is also recognized by the EU system as a valid certificate, as long as the QR code in the app was created after October 29.
This certificate is officially called the EU Digital COVID Certificate. It serves as proof that a person either:
To get the certificate based on vaccination, a person must be fully vaccinated using one of the 4 EU approved vaccines (Moderna, Pfizer, Astrazeneca, or Johnson & Johnson.)
The certificate can also show a negative test result or doctor's certificate of recovery from Covid-19.
Each EU country, including Italy, issues their own digital Covid certificates to their respective citizens/residents, but the codes used within the national systems are readable across the different countries.
Of course, citizens/residents of these countries can already legally move freely among them. So this is not about freedom of movement per se.
For example, France and Italy now require this certificate in order to enter sites, museums, restaurants, gyms, and other indoor/closed venues.
In addition, the certificate can be used when traveling between different EU countries, to prove that you have complied with all relevant travel requirements.
Whether you are coming from an EU or Schengen country, or from outside the EU, the documents you need may vary.
As normal, you will need ID, usually your passport (if coming from outside the EU).
In most cases, you will need one or more of the following:
Individual countries set their own rules, and each country has rules that may be different when traveling to or from any given country. These rules can be changed with very little notice, and the airlines themselves also have slightly differing rules. So the best thing to do is to first check here for the country-specific rules:
And then you should check and double check with the airline with which you will travel.
This is extremely important because airlines can have slightly differing rules so it's crucial to know what you need to have with you.
To enter Italy, you have to fill out a Digital Passenger Locator Form, which you should do in advance to avoid delays when you arrive.
If you are transiting through another EU country on your way to Italy, you will need to check their specific requirements in case another form is needed - for example, if you are transiting through Ireland, you will need to fill out their Passenger Locator Form even if you don't leave the airport.
The Green Pass is not by itself a way to avoid quarantine, but may be used as a tool to validate if you are eligible for doing so. Italy has different quarantine requirements in place for different countries.
If traveling from an EU or Schengen area country, to avoid having to quarantine upon entering Italy, you will need the EU Digital COVID Certificate to evidence one of the following:
If traveling from Japan, Canada, the USA or the UK to avoid having to quarantine upon entering Italy, you will need to evidence the following, with your country's equivalent documents:
In all cases, children under the age of 6 do not need to provide documentation, and do not have to take a test before traveling.
For information about specific countries, visit the official website of the Italian Ministry of Health.
The Italy Green Pass is for Italian residents, as well as people who have been vaccinated or tested in Italy.
Every EU member issues their own Digital Covid Certificates to their citizens/residents, but they are all readable across the different countries who are part of this program, with each country having their own national version.
On September 20, the Vatican announced that as of October 1, a Green Pass will be needed to enter Vatican City. This applies to Vatican citizens/residents, people who work there, members of the clergy and visitors.
Proof of vaccination, recovery from Covid-19 or proof of a negative test will all be accepted, including foreign vaccination or recovery certificates.
This means that you will need to evidence your Covid-19 status if you enter Vatican City. The Vatican police will be monitoring this, although it is not clear yet where the checkpoints will be.
The only exception to evidencing your status is if you are there solely for the purpose of attending a liturgical celebration, when you may enter without certification only for as long as strictly necessary.
Italy originally decreed in July 2021 that in order to visit museums and cultural sites, dine seated indoors, go to a gym or sporting event, you would need to provide proof of vaccination, or proof of a negative test, or proof of recovery from within the last 6 months.
This was later extended to include a requirement to show the Green Pass to take domestic flights within Italy, travel on long-distance trains or
ferries which cross more than 1 region or long-distance buses which
cross 2 or more regions. It was then further extended to be necessary for employers to check if all their employees had the Green Pass.
As of December 6, the Green Pass requirements are being further extended, with a two-tier system being put in place.
ONLY proof of vaccination or proof of recovery will be accepted to do the following:
Proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative test result (within 48 hours for antigen tests and 72 hours for PCR tests) is necessary to do the following:
It also still remains a requirement to show a Green Pass to go to work, although this is not something that will have any impact on your visit to Italy.
In essence, the Italian Government is restricting the activities of those people who are not vaccinated, with only essential activities like travel and work open to those who are using tests to get the Green Pass.
If you are visiting from outside the EU, the Italian government has confirmed that in place of the Green Pass, equivalent documents from the USA, Canada, Israel, Japan and the UK will be accepted. Documents from any other countries currently will not be accepted. So, this means you will need to have one of the following:
You will very likely need to show photographic ID to prove that you are the same person as named on the vaccination or recovery record. This can be any government-issued photo ID, such as a driving license. I would recommend leaving your passport in your hotel room or apartment, and carry a color photocopy/save a picture of it on your smartphone or tablet.
Children under the age of 12 do not need to show any documentation, although you may need to show proof of their age if challenged.
Note that the age limit of 12 for the Green Pass access differs from the lower age limit of 6 years old for child entry into Italy. So if you have an 8 year old child, you will need to arrange for pre-departure testing for them, but you will not have to have documents for them to access the Italy Green Pass.
The Italian Government has confirmed that in order for non-EU documents to be accepted, they need to be in at least one of Italian, English, Spanish or French. They can be in either digital or paper format, as long as the certificate has the following necessary information on it.
The certificates of vaccination/recovery needs to state:
While the Italian Green Pass is activated for Italians who have received only a single vaccine dose, it is not yet clear if this is the same for non-Italians. If you are not yet fully vaccinated, be prepared that some venues may challenge you on entry.
For countries such as New Zealand and Australia, presumably there will be announcements about their documentation once travel opens up from there.
You may also check on the official website of the Italian Ministry of Health.
You do not need the Italy Green Pass to consume food/drink:
If you are traveling from Italy to another EU or Schengen country, you will need to check with the airline and destination country as to what documents they need you to provide.
If you are an Italian citizen or legal resident of Italy and you have been vaccinated in Italy, you will receive an AUTHCODE on your mobile device.
This will allow you to get your Italy Green Pass.
For further details, visit the official page of the EU Digital Certificate in Italy.
While it's straightforward and simple to get your Italy Green Pass if you are an Italian citizen or legal resident, AND if you've been fully vaccinated in Italy, many Italian citizens/residents (including me) have been vaccinated outside of Italy and these vaccination records are not in the Italian system.
This means that these people, while fully eligible to get an Italy Green Pass (they legally reside in Italy and have been fully vaccinated), are not in the system automatically.
And while documents from abroad (USA, Canada, Japan, UK, Israel), and from other EU countries are valid in Italy and will be accepted where necessary, many eligible people would prefer to have an Italy Green Pass.
For an Italian citizen/legal resident who was vaccinated outside Italy, here is the procedure to get your official Italy Green Pass:
If you are from the USA, Canada, Japan or the UK and have your proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid-19 from when you entered Italy, this will be sufficient to enter sites and dine indoors.
If you only had proof of a negative test, or come from a country whose vaccination or recovery records are not accepted, you can still gain access to some aspects of the Italy Green Pass by taking a rapid antigen test in Italy.
It is very easy to get an antigen test in Rome. Nearly every pharmacy has tents set up outside. This is where they do antigen testing (many of them also provide blood tests for Covid although this is not necessary for any tourism purposes.)
To get an antigen test in Rome, you will need to book at the pharmacy. Usually you can book for the same day. The easiest way is to walk-in but of course you can also call or have your hotel concierge call for you, and some pharmacies in cities also offer a simple online booking service. The cost starts from 15€, payable by cash or credit card.
You will need to fill out some basic paperwork when you arrive, and then once this is checked, they will take a nasal swab. You will need to wait at the pharmacy site for around 15-30 minutes for them to test your swab, and then you will receive a written document that will suffice for allowing you to visit the types of businesses specified in the decree.
You will also be sent a unique code via text or email to the information you provide on the form, which allows you to see your test result online. This code can be used on the Italy Green Pass website to generate a QR code in the Digital Covid Certification system, and will stay valid for 48 hours.
If you have had a PCR test in Italy, you will receive a code in the same way, but this will be valid for 72 hours instead.
The Vatican Museums website confirms that:
This rule applies in addition to the other requirements for mask-wearing, temperature checks and online booking - all details are on the Vatican website. Be prepared to show photo ID on arrival also.
It has not been announced yet if the change in Green Pass rules from December 6 will be followed by the Vatican Museums or if they will keep their current rules - I will update this page as soon as we know more!
The CoopCulture website (official ticketing agency for the Colosseum) advises:
Proof of vaccination from the UK (NHS certificate/card) is also acceptable to enter the Colosseum/Palatine Hill/Roman Forum area, although be prepared to be asked for photo ID to validate the details on the certificate.
Again, confirmation of any change in requirements from December 6 is pending, but it seems likely the Colosseum will follow the general Italian rules.
At the time of this writing, face masks are generally not required if you are outside and not in a crowded setting.
However, when visiting sites and museums you will be required to properly (covering the mouth and nose) wear face masks at all times.
Face masks are always required indoors, so when inside shops or churches, on public transport or inside bars/restaurants unless you are eating or drinking.
The Italy Green Pass, EU Green Pass, or similar Covid digital certificate will likely be the most important requirement for entry to museums and restaurants as we move forward.
But the indoor face mask requirement is unlikely to be removed anytime soon, so I suggest you always carry at least 2 face masks with you just in case.