June 2022 update
Visitors to Italy no longer require proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test result to enter the country.
This page is now for historical purposes only.
American citizens are receiving confusing messaging around the need for a “Green Pass” or “Super Green Pass” to enter Italy. Here we put the record straight: no you can’t get a Green Pass, but you don’t need one! If you’re vaccinated you will be just fine with your CDC vaccination certificate (or you can present a negative test result). However you do need to be aware of how to do it.
The “Green Pass” is just the term adopted by the Italian government for a way for people to confirm their Covid infection/vaccination/recovery status: the Certificazione verde Covid-19.
The Green Pass di Base (Basic Green Pass) does not require any vaccination, but does require a negative Covid test taken a few days before.
For people who are vaccinated, the Certificato verde Covid-19 (Green Pass) is the same thing as the EU Digital Covid Certificate, which is a system set up to provide robust confirmation of vaccination or recovery status for all citizens of the EU. Each country’s certification system is compatible each other EU country’s system, via the use of a unique QR code.
The Green Pass Rafforzato (Super Green Pass) is the same certificate, but one that shows that someone has completed a full vaccination course within the last six months, or that they’ve had a booster on top of a completed course (indefinite validity).
If you’re a vaccinated American citizen just visiting Italy, unless you have residency or you’re in Italy for an extended time, no you can’t get a Green Pass.
Also, the US and EU systems are not compatible, so the system that scans the EU QR codes will not recognise American ones.
The good news is that it doesn’t matter. the Italian government has stated explicitly that it will accept CDC Vaccination Certificates in place of the Italian Green Pass.
You should bring the certificate with you, and photo ID (passport or drivers license) to back it up.
The name on the photo ID must be the same as that on the certificate. In Italy it’s very important to bureaucrats that the name/date of birth, etc. is exactly the same between documents.
The practice of changing name when someone gets married is not followed in Italy so if you have one document in a married name and another in a maiden name, you may run into problems. A note on your passport that mentions that your surname has changed would be useful. If you find yourself having to explain, the term for “maiden name” is cognome di nubile (koh-NYOHM-eh dee NOO-bee-leh). People who work in tourism will likely understand, but the further off the beaten track you go, the more issues you may encounter.
If you are worried about your certificate, here is an anecdote that may help. A couple visiting from Michigan in October 2021 and touring Rome and Florence. They made photocopies of their CDC cards and laminated them. They also did the same with the photo page of their passports. They left the original documents in the safe in their hotel. These copies were accepted at all major monuments, museums, and restaurants.
Note that this is just an anecdote and doesn’t constitute advice.
The standard way of checking a Green Pass in Italy is with a cellphone app called VerificaC19. This is designed only to scan QR codes in the EU systems. It is not compatible with the CDC system.
The people whose job it is to check Green Passes are likely security guards or waitstaff. In highly touristed areas they will be familiar with the needs of tourists and will have seen many CDC cards and will let you in.
However, untrained or new staff, and staff outside tourist areas, are unfortunately not likely to be aware about non-EU exceptions to the rule.
Therefore you may occasionally run into problems in bars (cafes) or restaurants where the person checking your credentials doesn’t know they need to accept them and refuses entry. At this point you should produce the official documentation from the Italian government (printed out and carried in your bag just in case).
Bookmark the following website. Try showing the person the answer on this web page, near the bottom under the question “Quali altri Certificazioni extra-Ue vengono riconosciute come valide in Italia per spostamenti e attività?” The important laws (that you might want to idicate) are Ordinanza del 29 luglio 2021 del Ministero della salute, and Circolare del 30 luglio 2021 del Ministero della salute.
A recovery certificate (certificato di guarigione) is acceptable in place of a vaccination certificate, provided your recovery date is within 6 months of today.
As with your CDC vaccination card, it must be official and must have your name on it (and preferably date of birth) that matches your details on your photo ID.