Who is allowed to travel to Italy at the moment?
Like many people, when Coronavirus hit at the beginning of March I packed a small bag and headed home, in my case to London, to wait out the storm. Who could have guessed that four months later I would still be sleeping in my childhood bedroom with all of my clothes and worldly belongings waiting for me in Rome. For anyone else in my boat, I have extensively researched the question of “how can I return to Italy” and here are my findings:
If you are European
Italy’s borders have been open to European countries since June 4th (this includes England, Ireland, Andorra, Monaco, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland as well as all EU member states). Once you arrive in Italy you can move freely around the country and enjoy museums, hotels, beaches, restaurants etc. Of course expect social distancing rules, masks indoors, temperature tests and reservations are recommended.
If you are travelling to Sardinia, Sicily, Puglia or Calabria you need to register your arrival on their website and fill in a self signed form, but once you’ve done that you can enjoy unrestricted travel.
While Italy’s borders are open, it is worth double checking your own country’s current guidelines for travel. For example, the UK has just announced its “travel corridors”, which allow free travel between destinations without the need of quarantine from July 6th. The full list of countries will be announced in the upcoming days but includes Italy, France, Spain, Greece and Germany.
If you are not European
Italy, and all of Europe, is effectively closed to non-European travel. However, the EU recently released a list of 15 “safe” countries which will be allowed to fly into Europe over the summer from July 1st. Here’s the list of the approved countries: Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay and China*. The USA, Russia and Brazil are not on the list.
China* is with an asterisk because it will be on the list only if it will guarantee entry to Italians into China. Flights are open to these 15 “safe” countries but anyone coming from these countries will still have to quarantine for 14 days.
If you have an essential reason you can travel to Europe from outside of the EU, but you must fill out a self declaration form, announce your arrival to the local police and quarantine for 14 days. This quarantine starts from the moment you land, so you cannot take public transport from the airport.
Keep in mind, if you have been anywhere outside of Europe in the last 14 days before your flight into Italy you will be asked to quarantine for 14 days.
What is an essential reason to travel to Italy if you are not European?
- You are an EU citizen
- A Non-EU citizen who is a permanent resident of an EU country and needs to return home
- Healthcare worker involved in essential coronavirus work
- Front-line worker
- Delivery driver
- Officials and diplomats of the EU, international organisation in performance of their essential duties
- Students attending study programs abroad
- Travelling through Italy for max. 36 hours in oder to return to their country of residence.
If you have already done a 14 day quarantine in another European country before arriving in Italy the rules are more blurry. I advise you to get in touch with the local embassy as the rules vary from region to region, you could be asked to quarantine again on arriving in Italy.
Which airlines are flying?
Most major airlines have started flying again this past week and are planning to gradually increase their routes and flights throughout July within Europe, this includes Ryanair, British Airways, Alitalia, Iberia, Wizz Air, Air France, Vueling and Easyjet. All major airports are open in Italy, although it is worth doubling checking the arrivals page to make sure flights from the airline you are planning to book are definitely landing. For instance in Rome many more flights are landing in Fiumicino than in Ciampino and a few of the smaller cities such as Pisa have less flight routes open. Flight options are going to increase in July.
Flights from outside of Europe are also running, including (but not limited to:) Alitalia, Delta airlines, Korean Airlines, Etihad, China Eastern Airlines and Aeroflot. Once again double check the arrivals page to confirm your airline is definitely landing in Italy as some of the airline websites can be misleading.
New rules on the plane and in the airport
You must wear a mask in the airport, on the airplane and on all public transport to and from the airport. You must change your mask every four hours, so be sure to travel with enough of them!
In some airports they advise you wear gloves (for example Tuscany) so be sure to double check and come prepared.
Keep at least one meter of social distancing from everyone in the airport. Italy has dropped the rule of social distancing on the airplane as long as the plane has a High Efficiency Particulate Air filter (these catch more than 99% of airborne microbes and replace cabin air entirely every two minutes).
Leave lots of extra time when flying as due to social distancing rules it will take longer to check-in, board, disembark etc.
Pack light, you cannot put items in the overhead compartment at the moment, so only one small piece of hand luggage per person.
You might have your temperature taken at any point during your travel and if you have a fever you will not be able to fly.
Fill out a self certification form declaring you do not have Covid-19 nor have you been in close contact with anyone who has shown symptoms. Symptoms include (as if you didn’t already know!: fever, coughing, difficulty breathing, loss of taste and smell, diarrhoea). On the form you are also agreeing to inform the local health authorities if you get any symptoms in the following eight days. Print this out and have it ready before you arrive in the airport.
Things to keep in mind before you fly
Scientists have said that airplanes are very safe as the air is regularly changed, there are also currently much less people flying, so try not to worry as you fly.
A local fare-up of coronavirus could happen while you are travelling in Italy and you could be asked to quarantine in Italy until the situation is under control. Be prepared to be flexible given the changing nature of the situation.
A quick summary of the key points:
- Europeans can fly to Italy
- If you are part of the list of “safe countries” you can fly to Italy
- Non-europeans can only fly to Europe for an essential reason
- Airlines will start flying more regularly in July
- You must wear a mask and comply with social distancing rules while travelling
The rules are changing all the time in Italy and abroad, it is always worth checking the latest updates with your embassy before making any travel plans.