Italy has cautiously opened to tourism from EU countries and a select list of other countries including the US. However, if we have learned anything the last year it is how quickly requirements and rules can change. Now, a new rule is coming into effect that will be required to do just about anything once you are IN the country. From 6 August, residents and tourists alike will have to show a “Green Pass” in order to eat inside in a restaurant, visit a museum, go to the gym, and ride some kinds of transportation.
So what is it and how do you get one?
What is an Italian Green Pass?
The “Green Pass” is the unofficial term for a COVID-free certificate. In Italy, it is issued as a digital QR code. You can get an Italian Green Pass if you:
- Have been vaccinated (the pass is currently good for nine months* after your 2nd dose of a vaccine. Accepted vaccines include Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Johnson&Johnson)
- Have a doctor’s note certifying that you have recovered from COVID-19 in the last six months
- Have a negative test within the last 48 hours
*the time limits will likely be updated as the situation evolves
The Green Pass will be needed to visit:
- theaters and movie theaters
- indoor seating areas at bars and restaurants
The pass is required for anyone aged 12 and over.
So while the Green Pass is often called a “vaccine passport,” you don’t technically need to be vaccinated to get one. However, as Italy enters its fourth wave of infection, the Green Pass is absolutely being used to encourage all who are eligible to vaccinate and to protect social and cultural venues to avoid future lockdowns.
How to Get a Green Pass
Currently, because the digital Green Pass is an EU initiative, it is only available for EU citizens and residents who received their vaccinations within the EU. In short, to have an Italian Green Pass you need to have had your vaccines done within Italy.
If you are American, your CDC vaccination card currently serves as your Green Pass. You need to carry the card with you because it is unlikely that a photo or a photocopy will be accepted.
If you are in Italy and still going through the process of being vaccinated, the vaccination center should now issue the access code to get your digital certificate directly when you receive the vaccine.
If you have been vaccinated, there are three ways to get the QR code for the Green Pass:
- Go to the official government site https://www.dgc.gov.it and login with your tessera sanitaria card number or SPID.
- Add your information into the Italian government’s app Immuni
- Use the Italian app IO
As an alternative to the digital version, you can request the Green Pass at pharmacies or from your medico di base within the Italian Health System if you were vaccinated within the SSN.
A clear and consistent plan for how to validate CDC cards or to mark vaccines from other countries within the Italian health system remains unclear. Theoretically, you should be able to call your ASL (local health authority) and receive an access code to download the QR code. However, applying this has been inconsistent and some non-Italians have been granted the pass, while others have been denied by local authorities despite having the same documents.
What Happens if You Don’t Have Green Pass
Without a Green Pass, your options for going out in Italy are very limited. If you try to access the culture or leisure venues that require the pass, you will be turned away. IF you are allowed in without the pass, you and the owner of the venue each face a fine of €400-€1000.
There is some discussion about requiring the Green Pass for schools and workplaces in the future as well. A decision is likely after the summer season.
NOTE: Visitors to Italy are still required to present documents including proof of vaccination, proof of recovery or a negative test. You must also fill out a digital EU Passenger locator form before boarding. Some apps such as Verifly may also be accepted.