How to resume travel to and from Italy in summer 2021: the EU introduces COVID passport

Digital Green Certificate

Learn more about travel to and from Italy thanks to the Digital Green Certificate

Itching to Travel? We are too. It looks like there will be a silver lining in 2021 after all. Stay up-to-date with all the latest news and regulations regarding non-essential travel starting as early as summer 2021

Over the past few weeks the European Union has been swiftly working to devise a plan to begin re-opening up the bloc for free movement and travel, including tourism, after battling three waves of Covid-19. There is, indeed, a light at the end of the tunnel, but what does all of this mean? How will it affect travel to, from, and within Italy? Will movement actually be free? It’s a bit complicated, but the solution the E.U. is proposing is the rollout of the so-called vaccination passport, referred to as the Green Pass or “Digital Green Certificate”. Although this “Green Pass” does not exist yet, the European Commission has prepared a set of guidelines and trials have begun throughout the E.U., including here in Italy.

EU Guidelines

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has stated that the Green Pass is expected to roll out across the entire E.U. as early as June 2021 to kick-start the resumption of tourism. The pass will be issued to those applicable who either:

  • Have received both doses of the Covid-19 Vaccine or have been vaccinated with Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose serum 
  • Have recovered from Covid-19 in the last 6 months 
  • Did an antigenic or rapid swab test within the past 48 hours and tested negative 

Those who obtain a green pass from another E.U. member state can also use it in Italy, and vice versa. It will be possible to request a certification at facilities where the requester had been hospitalized, been treated by practitioners or pediatricians, or health facilities where the vaccination had been previously performed. The expiration of the certificate will be variable depending on the date of issue to the requested, but once issued, the pass will be valid for 6 months and can be presented either digital, via QR code, or paper copy

Non-EU Members

On April 25, in an exclusive interview with The New York Times, it was announced that the E.U. is also preparing to resume travel for some non E.U. citizens. Fully vaccinated Americans will be able to visit some of their favorite European destinations as soon as this summer. U.S. citizens alone contribute 10% to the E.U.’s GDP and create more than 26 million jobs according to the European Union Tourism Trends report. In Italy alone, tourism & travel makes up 13% of the country’s GDP, nearly half of that coming from U.S. travelers. The U.S.’s quick and efficient distribution of the vaccination against Covid-19 has made a very clear case for the European Commission to create a policy to restart trans-Atlantic leisure travel. Since the vaccinations used in America are all European Medicine Agency-approved, according to President von der Leyen, it will therefore allow free movement in travel. There is no set date yet as to when travel will resume or exactly how vaccine certificates will look from country to country to be used without restrictions. Amongst all the “what-ifs” and “maybes” one thing we can walk away with assured by von der Leyden herself is this: “All 27 member states will accept, unconditionally, all those who are vaccinated with vaccines that are approved by E.M.A.”

As we sift our way through developing news and details, it is important to keep in mind the E.U. ultimately cannot decide for its member states, but only provide concrete suggestions. The government in each country will make their decisions regarding re-opening, tourism resumption, and free-movement.  

Be sure to check back for more updates and latest news as we quickly head into the summer months. 

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