Italy’s green pass ‘should last a year’, says health undersecretary

The certificate that allows people to travel to and within Italy should be extended from six months to a year, stated Italy's health undersecretary on Tuesday.

Italy's green pass 'should last a year', says health undersecretary
(Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP)

Italy introduced a so-called ‘green pass‘ to allow tourism to restart following Covid-19 restrictions, and will also be required to allow people to attend larger events such as wedding receptions from June.

READ ALSO: How to get Italy’s coronavirus immunity ‘green pass’ for travel

The document is currently in the form of a paper certificate proving that the holder has been vaccinated, has had Covid-19 and recovered, or has shown a negative test result within the previous 48 hours.

The pass is valid for six months for those who have been vaccinated or have recovered. But the government’s health undersecretary Pierpaolo Sileri said that the validity should be extended to a year for those who have been vaccinated, as “it is very likely that protection will last for that period.”

“However, the extension should be limited to those who have had the two doses of vaccine,” he told Rai Radio 1.

“It is clear that we have not seen a year of vaccinations, but it is very likely that protection is there,” Sileri said.

“But it should only be extended to those who have completed the vaccination cycle. It is true that the first dose gives immunity, but full, standardised immunity comes after the second dose,” he added.

READ ALSO: Italy pushes back Covid curfew to 11pm and makes six regions low-risk ‘white’ zones

Vaccinations accepted include Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca or the one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Those who have been vaccinated should be issued a certificate proving their immunity. This is the document currently being used as the ‘green pass’ in Italy.

If you’ve previously had Covid-19 and recovered, you’ll need proof by getting a document certifying that from your local health authority (ASL) or doctor.

Testing centres can also issue paper certificates proving a negative test result, though these are valid only for 48 hours.

Pharmacies in Italy also offer rapid testing for around 20-30 euros, and you can get a rapid antigen test for free at train stations in 11 Italian cities – the results of these rapid tests can be used for the green pass.


For those travelling from outside of Italy, the Italian government has previously said that it would accept equivalent documents issued in EU countries.

Anyone not falling into these categories can get the certificate by testing negative for Covid-19, which must be carried out within 48 hours of travel.

“Vaccination and recovery certifications will be valid for six months, the one relating to the negative test will be valid for 48 hours.”

“Certifications issued in European Union member states are recognised as equivalent, as are those issued in a third country following a vaccination recognised in the European Union,” stated the Italian government’s April decree.

Sileri has called for simplification of the process, saying, “If you’ve had the vaccine, in a few weeks you shouldn’t need the swab anymore.”

READ ALSO: Indoor dining and later curfew: Italy’s new timetable for easing Covid-19 restrictions

He also advocated postponing the second shot of a vaccine if the appointment falls while a traveller is on holiday.

If this is not possible, “vaccination hubs can be organised in holiday resorts”, although this is not confirmed, and Sileri conceded “it will be a question of putting all this in place and matching needs with reality”.

The undersecretary’s comments came after Italy announced it would be relaxing its nationwide coronavirus measures, extending the nightly curfew and dropping six regions into the lowest-risk white zone classification.

Beaches officially opened at the weekend, and tourists from the EU, Britain and Israel were allowed entry into the country on Sunday without the need to quarantine for five days.

Meanwhile for travellers from the US, Italy is once again open to tourists – but only to those arriving on Covid-tested flights.

Stay up to date with Italy’s travel rules by checking The Local’s travel section and checking the Italian Health Ministry’s website (in English).

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How many travellers are turned away at European borders because of 90 day limit?

Many Non-EU nationals, including Britons since Brexit, need to make sure they don't go over the 90-day rule in the EU/Schengen area. But how many people are turned away at European borders because they overstayed?

How many travellers are turned away at European borders because of 90 day limit?

The 2021 Ironman 70.3 World Champion, UK’s Lucy Charles-Barclay, may not be able to participate in the next race of the season, on the 21st of May in Kraichgau, Germany.

The reason? She has already used 88 of the 90 days she could spend in the Schengen area over a 180-day period, the athlete said on Instagram.

Non-EU travellers, who since Brexit include Brits, have to be aware of the 90-day rule when it comes to visiting the EU and Schengen area.

People can travel without border checks within countries that have signed up to the Schengen Agreement. These include EU members except for Bulgaria, Cyprus, Ireland and Romania. Non-EU members Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland are also part of the Schengen zone.

Non-EU passport holders who are allowed to visit Schengen countries without a visa can stay for maximum 90 days in any 180-day period, regardless of the number of states they go to. This means frequent visitors to EU countries, such as those who own second homes there, need to keep a careful check on how many days they have built up.

READ ALSO: How does the 90-day rule work for the EU/Schengen area?

The 90-day limit is meant for visits only, so people who intend to become residents have to follow different procedures.

Anyone who wants to stay longer than 90 days in every 180 must apply for a national visa for the country they intend to visit.

Passengers wait under panels at Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport, in the northeastern outskirts of Paris, on March 4, 2023.(Photo by Geoffroy Van der Hasselt / AFP)

If overstayers are caught they will most likely be ordered to leave, fined or even banned from the Schengen zone for a period of time. Since Brexit, these rules also apply to UK citizens, to the frustration of many second home owners in France and Spain.

The European Union plans to introduce a new border system, the EU entry/exit system, that will require biometric data, including facial images and fingerprints of all passengers entering the EU, helping authorities to systematically identify overstayers.

Travellers refused entry over the 90-day rule

Overall, some 141,060 non-EU citizens were refused entry into the EU in 2022 for various reasons, which are explained below.

Overall the largest number of refusals were reported by Poland (23,330), Hungary (15,780), Croatia (11,800) and Ireland (9,240). Ukrainian citizens accounted for the largest number of refusals, as has been the case in recent years.

According to the latest data published by the EU statistical office Eurostat, in 2022 almost 20,000 people (19,290) were refused entry at the Schengen area’s external borders because they has already exceeded the 90-day limit on previous trips.

This figure was a slight rise on the 2019 figure of 17,695. In the 2020 and 2021 the number dropped to around 10,000 travellers refused entry for having passed the 90-day limit, but the drop can be explained by fewer people on the move due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Of the 20,000 refused entry in 2022 over the 90-day rule, more than two thirds were stopped at the Polish (7,570) and Hungarian (5,475) borders. Again most of them were from Ukraine as was the case in 2019. It is not clear whether these were recorded before Poland and Hungary opened their borders to the hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian’s fleeing the Russian invasion in late February.

Among the countries covered by The Local, Italy refused entry to 695 non-EU citizens because of the 90/180 Schengen rule; Germany denied entry to 465; Spain 345; Switzerland 175; France 170; Austria 125; Sweden 40; and Denmark 30, according to data published recently.

Despite the confusion for Britons after Brexit it appears most travellers are at least aware of the 90 day rule given the small number that were refused entry.

Only 195 British citizens were refused entry into European countries in 2022 because of the 90 day rule. Of these, Switzerland rejected 25; Sweden, Austria and Denmark 10 each; France 5. The figure for Spain read “zero”, suggesting Spanish authorities had not made the data available.

For US citizens the number of travellers turned away at the EU borders last year for having already passed the 90-day limit was 90. The numbers were even smaller for Canadians and Australians but this will be likely linked not only to a low number of frequent travellers to the EU from distant countries. In other words if they have passed the 90 day limit they are unlikely to return within the 180 day period.

As for travellers from India, the 90-day rule does not apply to them because they need a visa to enter the Schengen area.

Other reasons non-EU citizens are turned away

Apart from the 90 day rule there are other reasons why non-EU travellers will be turned away at Europe’s borders ranging from whether they are considered to be public threat or an alert has been issued about them to the fact their passport may be out of date or they have no valid visa or residency permit. Officially non-EU visitors could be turned away if they are not considered to have the means to pay for their trip, however the figures show only 10 people were refused entry (all to the Netherlands) for this reason.

READ ALSO: Are UK tourists in Spain really being asked to prove €100 a day?

Whilst most non-EU travellers have been aware of the rules around valid travel documents it appears many Britons have been caught out since Brexit.

Visitors entering Schengen countries must have a document issued in the ten years before the date of entry and valid until three months after the planned departure date. Since Brexit many British travellers, unaware their passports were invalid, have been turned away at airports and ports.

France for example denied access to its territory – and the Schengen area – to 105 UK citizens because they held no valid travel document.

The total for British citizens turned away from European countries because of invalid travel documents was 335, with 40 denied access to Italy and 30 to Switzerland.

In total 1,305 UK nationals were denied entry at the European external borders in 2022 because of reasons ranging from overstays to no valid visa or document, insufficient means of subsistence or being considered a public threat.

France – which has the largest number of arrivals from the UK due to its proximity – recorded the largest number (440), followed by Switzerland (150), Sweden (75), Italy (60), Germany (45), Denmark (40), Austria (15). Data for Norway was not available at the time of publishing.

Sweden, where authorities have come under pressure over their treatment of British residents after Brexit, refused entry to 40 Britons in 2022 who did not have a valid visa or residence permit.

When it comes to other nationalities, some 1,020 American citizens were turned away at Europe’s borders for various reasons in 2022 and the figure for Indian nationals was 2,045. Just 140 Canadians were turned away and 50 Australian nationals.