You Must Take a COVID Test Before Going Here—Even If You're Vaccinated
Strict new regulations apply to everyone, including those with proof of vaccination.
Getting vaccinated against COVID has become more than just an essential way to protect yourself against the virus—it also allows you to bypass many of the pandemic restrictions still in place. From concerts to sporting events to live theater, unvaccinated individuals have been required to get a COVID test and provide negative results, while vaccinated people have been able to glide through with proof of vaccination alone. But as the Delta variant continues its rampage, some places have added new restrictions, and now, proof of vaccination alone won't be enough in certain situations.
If you're planning on international travel anytime soon, make sure you're aware of the latest guidelines. On Aug. 30, the European Council removed the U.S. from the European Union's (EU) safe travel list, recommending that member countries now tighten their restrictions against American travelers due to a rise in COVID cases throughout the country. As a result, Italy has just added testing requirements for anyone traveling from the U.S., regardless of vaccination status.
Under Italy's new rules, all U.S. travelers must present negative COVID test results that were received within 72 hours of arrival in order to enter the country, effective Aug. 31 and valid until Oct. 25. Results can be either from a PCR or rapid antigen test, and this requirement applies to any traveler six years or older. Before these new requirements, U.S. travelers in Italy were only required to show proof of vaccination, proof of recovery, or a recent negative COVID test.
Alongside the new negative testing requirements, travelers will still need to show proof of vaccination. If not, you must show a medical certificate confirming recovery from COVID dated no more than six months before departure in order to avoid quarantine requirements. Those who are unvaccinated and unable to present a recovery certificate will be required to self-isolate for five days after arriving in Italy, and then take another COVID test at the end of their isolation. According to the U.S. Embassy, antigen test costs about $25 in Italy, while PCR tests cost around $75.
Proof of vaccination is also important in Italy if you're planning on participating in a number of activities. In order to access many indoor "restaurants, bars, museums, exhibitions, cultural sites, sporting events, swimming pools, gyms, concerts, fairs, conferences, amusement parks and other venues," Italy has been requiring people to present a Digital Green Certificate or Green Pass since Aug. 6.
A white vaccine card from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is "considered the equivalent of the Italian Green Pass where this requirement exists," according to the U.S. Embassy. If you don't present this vaccination proof, you have to provide a recovery certificate or a negative COVID test taken within 48 hours before entering any of these spaces.
It's not yet clear whether more European countries will add testing requirements for vaccinated U.S. travelers due to the country's safe list removal. As The New York Times reports, the U.S. had been on the EU's safe travel list since June, which allowed American travelers to visit many of these countries without quarantining. Now, the European Council is urging EU countries to reinstate mandatory quarantine and testing requirements, including for vaccinated individuals. Ultimately, it's up to each country to decide on future requirements for visitors.