First Visit To Italy During Pandemic – What You Need To Know

Italy is one of the world’s top tourist destinations and with growing numbers of American Expats choosing to make it their home it’s never been more important to understand the current travel restrictions and regulations that are involved with a trip to the country from the United States.

Covid-19 swept the globe in 2020 and has caused nations around the world to rethink their policies relating to international and even domestic travel. Fortunately, for anyone with plans to travel overseas, governments and health authorities have done a decent job in getting the pandemic under control; however, there are still new measures in place to keep travellers and tourists safe.

Important Things To Keep In Mind About My Trip To Italy.

  • I traveled to Rome from Newark during the first week of October 2021. It was a direct flight. My flat is in Volterra and I typically travel to Florence and then rent a car and drive to Volterra. But there are no direct flights from Philadelphia, Newark or JFK to Florence. So I chose to fly directly to Rome instead of transiting through a third country to Florence. A transit might add additional Covid requirements (depending on the country through which you are transiting).
  • I am an United States citizen. The rules for non-United States citizens who are flying to Italy from the United States could be different.
Cheese Olive Meat
  • I am a huge fan of United Airlines (United Airlines has a direct flight to both Milan and Rome). After you book a ticket through United, they will send you a link to their “Travel Center”. You can start uploading your documents to the Travel Center one by one. Within a few minutes of uploading, the Travel Center will send you an email indicating whether they have approved your documents or not.
  • As always, you can check in online 24 hours before departure and print or email the boarding pass (I have the United Airlines App on my phone which has the boarding pass). I only had a carry on bag this time. So once I arrived at the airport, I went directly to security check. If you have bags that you have to check-in, you have to do that first before going to security check. No one at the airport checked any Covid related documentation (I had printed copies of the documents just in case).
  • You have to take a Covid RT-PCR test (within 72 hours before arriving in Italy). You have to do this whether you are fully vaccinated or not. You can do this test at CVS, Rite Aid or other pharmacies or Urgent Care centers. I found that CVS and Rite Aid were more expensive compared to the Urgent Care center near my condo in Center City Philadelphia.
  • In addition to the RT-PCR test results, I was asked by United to upload the following: 1) Copy of the EU Digital Passenger Locator Form (dPLF). This is a simple form that you can go online and complete (the airline will send you a link). 2) Copy of your passport (if you have the United App, you can scan the information). Once you have these forms uploaded and approved, you can check-in 24 before departure.
  • I also filled out the “Self Declaration Form”. There are different versions of this document online. But the airline did not ask for this declaration form.
  • I highly recommend that you have printed copies of all the documentation including the test results. But I have to mention that when I landed in Rome, no one at the airport asked for any Covid related documentation.
  • In Italy, you have to have a “Green Pass” to use restaurants, bars, museums, cafes, buses and trains. A “Green Pass” for American citizens is the vaccination card. Always have a printed copy of your card or a photo of your card with you. The only time someone checked my card was when I was traveling by train from Rome to Pisa. In other places, say when you enter a restaurant, they will ask you whether you have a green pass. If you say yes, they will let you in. Very rarely do they check the pass.
  • You have to take an RT-PCR test within 72 hours of returning to the United States and upload it to the airline website. I booked an appointment with a center that will provide the results in English (I think many airlines will accept the results in Italian also). Please keep in mind that outside of the major cities in Italy, there are not many test centers that will perform the test and provide the results on the same day. So plan ahead. The testing center that I went to in Pisa informed me that they stop taking samples at noon. My appointment was at 11:30 AM. They emailed the test results to me after almost 15 hours.

The Situation In Italy – Outlining The Basics.

Italy was one of the worst hit countries in Europe as the Covid-19 pandemic spread, with large outbreaks in some of its major cities. This caused Italy to declare a state of emergency and following several rolling national lockdowns the case numbers appear to be falling and international travel is now possible to the country from abroad.

In the early part of the pandemic Italy experienced some of the highest death tolls in Europe, only being eclipsed by the United Kingdom. Italy passed the 100,000 death toll figure in early spring of 2021 but after the vaccine campaign was rolled out the cases came down. Since the release of the vaccines, more than 80% of Italians are now fully vaccinated.

In fact, Italy was one of the first European Union nations to reopen their borders for travellers from a selection of non-EU countries, including Japan, the UK, Canada and the USA. There are, however, a number of restrictions which apply to travellers from the USA which mainly depend on their vaccination status and the results of recent RT-PCR testing.

Is It Safe To Travel To Italy From The United States?

You may still have concerns about the safety of travel in the post-Covid era however provided you have had an officially authorized vaccine you should have nothing to worry about.

On top of this, the Italian medical system is extremely high quality and as long as you have the right type of insurance policy in place you’ll receive fast and effective patient treatment if the worst were to happen.

Restrictions That Apply To Americans Travelling To Italy.

American visitors are being welcomed into Italy; not only because they play a vital role in the economy but also because many Italians have family members living in the US who are wanting to visit the country.

However, as you might imagine, there are certain restrictions which need to be complied with in order to travel to Italy from the United States. There are occasional changes to the details of the entry and exit requirements for Americans visiting Italy but you can always check for the latest details on the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website where you can find up to date guidance in English.

Entry And Exit Rules And Requirements For Americans Travelling To Italy.

  • Americans are allowed to visit Italy for any purpose, including tourism, business and personal family reasons.
  • Americans travelling from certain countries in the world may face stricter regulations but if you are travelling directly from the US to Italy then you should have no problems.
Beautiful sunset in Rome
  • The Italian government has announced that they may update these protocols in the future as new evidence comes to light; however, you can always find the latest guidance on the Italian Ministry of International Affairs website. You should always check the latest guidance before you book flights to Italy to ensure that you are clear with the current restrictions and requirements.
  • Anyone, including American travellers, must provide either Italian law enforcement officials or the airline you are travelling on with a Self Declaration Form before you begin your travel. You can find an English language Self Declaration Form in a Pdf format. But as I have noted before, neither the airline nor officials in Italy asked for this information.
  • You must also submit a EU Passenger Locator Form (dPLF) which is used by the Italian, and European, health authorities to inform you in case you may have been exposed to infection during your travels by plane, ship, bus, car or train. The dPLF is used to quickly contact you in your destination country in case you may have been infected in order to keep you safe and to stop any further spreading of the disease. You can find the dPLF app which is applicable for travel to Italy at: https://app.euplf.eu/#/
  • You must take a RT-PCR test within 72 hours of arriving in the country and produce a negative result in order to avoid mandatory quarantine on arrival.
  • Americans entering Italy need to have had one of the anti Covid-19 vaccines that are recognized by the European Medicines Agency and have a valid certificate (Green Pass). For Americans, the Green Pass is just your vaccination card which you should have with you while you travel. All the vaccines being administered in the United States are accepted by the Italian government, so don’t worry about which one you’ve had.
  • Italian airports will have various health screening services in operation so you may have to answer additional questions if requested by airport security; although this is unlikely you should nonetheless be prepared for this possibility.
  • Americans must take a RT-PCR test 72 hours before leaving Italy to travel back to the United States.

Are There Movement Restrictions In Place Within Italy?

Unlike other nations in the EU, there are no curfews or restrictions on travel within Italy once you arrive. There are various Covid measures that are in place but no restrictions on interstate or intercity travel.

There are changes that may come into force in the future but you can always check the precise details using an interactive map that the Italian government has provided. You can have the site translated into English using the Google translate option in the tab. You can find the region by region map produced by the Italian government.

Do You Have To Quarantine On Arrival In Italy?

US Citizens are not generally required to quarantine on arrival in Italy but in some cases you may have to. For instance, if travellers from the US cannot provide a valid vaccination card then they must be quarantined for five days before undertaking a rapid antigen test or a RT-PCR test, which must come up negative before they can carry on their travels within the country.

Transport in Italy – Is It Operational?

The extensive public transport system in Italy is still up and running although you are required to wear a face mask to keep you and other passengers safe.

All types of public transport are running in Italy, including airlines, buses and trains; although in many cases companies have reduced the overall frequency of their services. This means that you should check the relevant timetables to see if any recent changes have been made to the service they are providing.

Are There Fines In Place For Non-Compliance To Covid Regulation In Italy?

If you breach the Covid-19 restrictions and requirements while you are in Italy you could face fines. Fines can be charged for ignoring social distancing regulations and the mask mandates on public transport.

Emergency Contact Numbers For Americans In Italy.

If you believe that you may have developed Covid-19 or are experiencing symptoms you can call the Italian emergency number for Covid on 1500. For any other health emergencies you can call the 112 to get assistance. On both lines, operators who speak English are available if you don’t speak Italian.

Train at Roma Termini

For any other information about Covid-19 you can always check the website for the Italian National Institute of Health at: https://www.epicentro.iss.it/coronavirus/. The website contains detailed information about all aspects of Covid in Italy and is a good resource for staying up to date with any recent changes in government policy.

Travelling From The United States To Italy For US Citizens.

Although the Covid-19 pandemic had a severe impact on international travel in the early days of its spread the Italian government has managed to safely reopen their borders to travellers from the United States.

One thing that you should bear in mind is that it’s a much better idea to travel directly to Italy instead of stopping over in another country because passing through multiple countries en route will complicate the requirements on your arrival.

However, as an American you can travel to Italy for any reason, including tourism, business or personal reasons and so if you’ve been waiting to make a trip to Italy then now is a good time to make the bookings.

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