Back in mid-December Italy made a surprise change to its risk categorisation for Singapore, moving it from ‘List D’ to ‘List E’, which suddenly meant those entering with a travel history including Singapore in the last 14 days would no longer be able to do so as tourists, while Italian residents faced 10 days of quarantine on arrival.
That’s because entry into Italy from List E countries is allowed only for specific reasons:
- Work reasons
- Health reasons
- Study reasons
- Absolute urgency
- Return to one’s domicile, home, or residence
Tourism is specifically excluded.
From these countries it is not possible to enter Italy for tourism reasons.Italian Ministry of Health
The change threw a huge spanner in the works for expat families planning to return to Italy for Christmas just days later, and for other Singapore residents heading to the country for a holiday.
It was originally due to last until 31st January 2022.
The ban has been extended
In the latest review on 27th January 2022, Italy’s health minister has decided Singapore will remain in this high risk List E category until at least 15th March 2022.
The extension comes despite the Italian Ambassador to Singapore suggesting the country’s downgrading from List D to List E in December may have been “a clerical mistake”.
It clearly wasn’t.
Italy was added to Singapore’s list of Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) countries on 19th October 2021, meaning Singapore residents only enjoyed two-way quarantine-free travel to the country for around eight weeks.
Having an EUDCC won’t help
All Singapore vaccination certificates are now part of the EUDCC scheme, however this unfortunately still won’t pass muster for entry into Italy quarantine-free as a tourist.
While the principle of the EUDCC is to ensure travellers should “not be subject to additional restrictions, such as tests or quarantine”, especially when travelling within the EU itself, member states are not obliged to follow the recommendations.
Border measures remain the sovereign right of independent nation states, and Italy (unfortunately for us Singaporeans) is legitimately exercising those rights in this case, by continuing to impose its own tougher restrictions.
Italy’s “COVID free corridors” won’t help
Italy has launched “COVID free corridors” for travel to selected List E countries on a controlled itinerary, including Singapore, between now and the end of June 2022.
The bad news is that these are designed only to be used by Italian residents, as the embassy explains.
The “COVID free corridors” are meant only for Italian residents who travel from Italy to specific countries on list E (including Singapore) travel packages bought through Travel Agencies / Tour Operators and for which, upon returning to Italy, isolation order is waived.Italian Embassy in Singapore
This may help some Italian residents get around the restriction and make a trip to Singapore and back, but it won’t be of use to the majority of our readers based in Singapore itself trying to do the opposite!
Singapore – Milan – Barcelona passengers
Singapore’s standing in Italy’s List E thankfully does not affect passengers in transit, who can continue to travel with Singapore Airlines to Barcelona in Spain on SQ378, or back to Singapore on SQ377/379, even given that the flights have a transit stop in Milan in both directions.
The new rules would only cause a problem if you need to physically enter Italy (i.e. clear immigration), which is not the case on these transit stops with Singapore Airlines.
Mask-wearing on Italy, Spain and Denmark flights
In early January 2022 Italy also beefed up its mask-wearing requirements, including the provision that all passengers on international flights to or from Italy must wear an FFP2 face mask during the journey.
That’s a stricter requirement than Singapore Airlines currently enforces for its other destinations, where only travellers aged six or above need to wear a mask, with no specific standard on the mark type imposed.
All travellers boarding a flight into/out of Italy will be required to wear an FFP2 face mask.Singapore Airlines
Since SIA flights to Barcelona and Copenhagen pass through (or are destined for) Italy during their journey to and from Singapore, this requirement is also extended to these flights.
You will still be able to travel quarantine-free to Italy if you have already spent 14+ days outside Singapore (and outside Italy’s “List E” countries).
Otherwise, you will still be able to travel from Singapore to Italy, but must undergo 10 days quarantine (self-isolation) if:
- you are an Italian, European Union or Schengen Area citizen, or hold long-term resident status in Italy; or
- you have a proven and stable emotional relationship (even if not cohabiting) with a European Union or Schengen Area citizen, or a person who is legally resident in Italy (long-term resident), and you are travelling in order to reach your partner’s residence in Italy.
For further details, including the relevant form for proving your relationship if required, see the Italian Embassy in Singapore page.
Travelling to Italy from within Europe?
If you’re a Singapore citizen or resident travelling to Italy for tourism, like all other visitors you must declare your travel history within the last 14 days on Italy’s Digital Passenger Locator Form (France, Malta and Slovenia also use the same system).
If your 14-day history includes Singapore, you still won’t be able to enter Italy, unless you are exempt (e.g. a long-term resident of Italy, who is happy to quarantine for 10 days).
If your trip outside Singapore (and other “List E” countries) has exceeded 14 days, for example if you’ve already spent a week in Spain and a week in France, you will be permitted to enter Italy as a fully vaccinated tourist.
The good news is with this latest update you will also no longer require a pre-departure COVID-19 test, like you did back in December (see the List C requirements here).
However, do note that If you are arriving in Italy with 14-day travel history including the United Kingdom (List D), you will need a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours of arrival or a negative antigen test (ART) taken within 24 hours of arrival.
By mid-March, when the next review is due, Italy will have banned tourists with a 14-day travel history including Singapore for a total of three months.
Italy became the first of Singapore’s VTL countries to impose an outright ban on tourist entry from the city-state, so now we just have to hope that by the time the next decision is made it can be upgraded to List D.
That doesn’t seem too much to ask – we’d be joining countries like Australia, the UK and the USA, all of which have lower vaccination and higher COVID-19 cases than Singapore.
One benefit from the latest changes is that those travelling from Singapore who are able to spend 14 days in Europe before heading to Italy now have a slightly easier journey, with no pre-departure testing requirement (if they also avoid the UK!).
Aside from a stricter mask policy, those travelling to Barcelona via Milan on Singapore Airlines continue to be unaffected by the extension of these restrictions.
(Cover Photo: Leonhard Niederwimmer)