The pandemic has forced countries around the globe to close its borders. Italy, as well as the rest of Europe, have implemented several travel restrictions to safeguard the population.
Italy’s lockdown to manage Covid-19
On March 9th, 2020, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte imposed a national quarantine which restricted the population from moving except for work, health circumstances, and necessity.
Non-essential shops and businesses closed too.
The lockdown was necessary, as Italy had been one of the European countries hit hardest by the pandemic. On August 26th, 2020, there have been 261K reported cases, out of which 206K patients have recovered while 35,445 people have died.
Italy extended the lockdown on several occasions. On March 21st, Conte announced that all non-necessary businesses and industries had to shut down. On April 1st, Minister of health Roberto Speranza announced the extensions of the lockdown until April 13th.
On April 26, Italy’s Prime Minister announced the country would enter “Phase 2”, which started on May 4th.
Current Travel Restrictions to visit Italy
All travellers arriving in Italy from abroad are required to self-isolate for 14 days unless they are travelling from an exempted country.
There are 6 lists of countries with different limitations.
A Countries – San Marino and Vatican City
These two micro-states have no limitations to enter Italy
B Countries – EU Countries, Schengen, UK, Northern Ireland, Andorra, Monaco
This list excludes Croatia, Greece, Malta, Spain, Romania, and Bulgaria.
Movements to or from EU countries are allowed without the need for justification. People traveling from these countries are able to enter Italy for tourism purposes and without the obligation to self-isolate on arrival or when going back to their home country.
All travellers must complete a self-declaration document.
Croatia, Malta, Greece, and Spain
From August 12th, 2020, those who enter Italy coming from these 4 countries must:
- Present a statement that they have undergone a molecular or antigenic test carried out by means of a swab and a negative result within 72 hours before entering the national territory
- Or, they must undergo a molecular or antigenic test; to be swabbed upon arrival at the airport, port, or border location (where possible) or within 48 hours of entering the national territory at the reference local health unit
Any individual that has stayed or transited in these countries must communicate their entry to the Prevention Department of the competent health authority upon arrival in Italy.
C Countries (Bulgaria and Romania)
Entry to and from these countries is allowed for any reason. However, when entering Italy the traveller is obligated to isolation and health surveillance. They will need to fill in a self-declaration document. To reach their final destination they must do so by private means (airport transit is allowed, without leaving the areas of the terminal).
This list is composed of: Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, Rwanda, Republic of Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay.
Movements from or to these countries are allowed for any purpose, including tourism.
Travellers must undergo fiduciary isolation and health surveillance. They must complete and sign a self-declaration document and reach their final destination by private vehicle. (Airport transit is allowed, without leaving the areas of the terminal).
This list is made up of the rest of the countries in the world. Travel is allowed only for specific reasons such as work, health, study, absolute urgency, return to home, or residence.
Travel and tourism are not allowed.
The return to Italy from this group of countries is allowed to Italian nationals, EU and Schengen citizens and their family members. Upon arrival, they must go under fiduciary isolation and health surveillance. In the self-declaration document, they must indicate the reason for the return.
F – Countries
This list consists of Armenia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Chile, Kuwait, North Macedonia, Moldova, Oman, Panama, Peru, Dominican Republic.
A ban on entry into Italy is still in force for travellers coming from these countries, with the exception of EU citizens (including Italian citizens) and their family members who have been residents of Italy since before 9 July 2020.
Crews, onboard personnel, and diplomatic and military officers and agents in the exercise of their functions are excluded from the prohibition of entry.
Urgent travel or for specific reasons is allowed. Upon arrival, it is necessary to go under fiduciary isolation and health surveillance.
Travel for tourism is not permitted for nationals coming from these countries.
What is the self-declaration document to enter Italy?
The self-declaration document for entry into Italy from abroad is a document that must be given to the transportation carrier.
The self-declaration requires that the travellers provide their full name, date of birth, email, citizenship, and residence.
The visitor declares that:
- They are aware of the COVID-19 containment measures in force in Italy, and of the provisions contained in the Prime Ministerial Decree of August 7th, 2020.
- They have not tested positive for coronavirus, and have strictly followed the health protocols.
- If they have tested positive, they have strictly followed the health protocols laid down by the authorities of the country where the test was carried out, have self-isolated, and no longer have any symptoms
In the declaration, foreigners must also indicate whether they have stayed in other countries, and markdown which list of countries they belong to.
The traveller must sign the declaration and is aware that criminal penalties will be applied in case the information provided is false.
Covid-19 testing upon arrival
Covid-19 testing procedures in Italy vary by region. Upon arrival, it is advisable to consult regional health authorities for support and guidance.
In general, the first step is to take a blood test to identify the presence of antibodies that are found in the blood following contact with the virus. Travellers would need to go to an authorized public or private laboratory with a prescription from a physician. This test cost approximately 15 EUR, paid by the visitor.
If the result of the test is positive, a nasal swab test is needed immediately to determine if the virus is active or if there’s risk of passing it on to others. The nasal swab test is coordinated by the Italian National Health System (SSN).
Travel and transport measures taken by the EU
Containing the spread of the virus has been a joint effort between European nations.
The European Commission proposed on May 13th, 2020, to all Schengen countries, to gradually reopen their internal borders. The emphasis is on coordination and not discrimination based on nationality.
Most member states lifted their restrictions on June 15th, and some later the same month. EU interior ministers agreed to continue coordinating closely under the Commission’s recommendations and guidelines.
The Commission has been facilitating common guidelines to make sure that “workers in critical sectors, as well as deliveries of goods and services in the single market, are guaranteed”.
The European Union launched a web-platform called “Re-open EU” to give travellers information to plan their trips. The site provides updates and current information on travel restrictions. It is available in 24 languages.
Guidelines and recommendations for tourism and transport have been provided by the Commission to support EU countries coordinate the lifting of travel restrictions and protect travellers.
Another priority for the EU was ensuring the continuous flow of goods and services. In March, the EU installed “green lane” border crossings to secure “the supply of essential goods and cital medical and protective equipment within the single market”.
Urgent measures were taken almost unanimously to handle the pandemic. Three urgent proposals approved in March were:
- Corona Response Investment Initiative – meant to channel 37 billion euros from EU funds to citizens, regions, and countries hit the hardest by the virus
- Extension of the EU Solidarity Fund – to cover public health emergencies
- Temporarily suspending EU rules on airport slots – to stop air carriers from operating empty flights during the pandemic
European Commission recommendations for safe travel
The European Commission advises EU nationals and foreign visitors to follow these recommendations:
- Book tickets and check-in online whenever possible
- Travellers should respect social distancing while boarding, going through security checks, dropping off luggage, and baggage claim
- Travellers may be asked to sit at a distance from other passengers that are not part of their household
- Wearing a face mask may be required whenever social distancing is not possible
- It is possible that food and beverages onboard are not available to avoid contact
- Some transport companies may install protective barriers to protect the driver and all passengers
- Doors should open automatically to avoid passengers touching buttons or handles
- Transport should ensure proper ventilation
- Airports, stations, and ports should enforce regular cleaning procedures and disinfection