Back in mid-December 2021, amid rising cases of the Omicron COVID-19 variant, Italy tightened its COVID-19 restrictions and reviewed its risk categories for travel history, downgrading Singapore from “List D” to “List E” in the process.
That was terrible news for those planning a trip, since 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, while returning residents faced 10 days of self-isolation.
Even the ambassador was unhappy!
The short-notice change threw a huge spanner in the works for expat families planning to return to Italy for Christmas last year, and for other Singapore residents heading to the country for a holiday.
The Italian Ambassador to Singapore even suggested the country’s downgrading from List D to List E in may have been “a clerical mistake”.
Unfortunately Mr Vattani’s hope that it was indeed a mistake turned out not to be the case.
The ban, which was originally set to last until 31st January 2022, was recently extended to 15th March 2022.
Italy will reopen to Singapore travellers on 1 March
Finally there’s some good news to report.
Following a recommendation of the Council of the European Union on 22nd February 2022 that “member states should lift the temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU for persons vaccinated with an EU- or WHO-approved vaccine”, Italy will now align its restrictions for non-EU arrivals to match those for travellers arriving from within the bloc.
Roberto Speranza, Italy’s Minister of Health, has confirmed that effective from 1st March 2022 travellers from outside the EU will be subject to the prevailing entry restrictions “as already provided for European countries”.
That means that Italy will eliminate its list of countries and regions, harmonising its entry requirements for all international travellers, with the process based on vaccination status rather than country of origin or travel history.
New rules for travelling to Italy
According to the Italian Embassy in Singapore, entry into Italy from Singapore on or after 1st March 2022 will be allowed by presenting:
- The Digital Passenger Locator Form (or a paper version); and
- A COVID-19 vaccination certificate (Singapore vaccination cert is recognised), or a COVID-19 recovery certificate (details to be confirmed)
Those neither fully vaccinated nor fully recovered, an unlikely group among our readers travelling from Singapore on a VTL trip, can still fly to Italy by presenting a negative COVID-19 pre-departure ART test within 48 hours of arrival, or a negative PCR test within 72 hours of arrival.
In the worst case, if you can’t produce any of the above (?), you will still be able to travel to Italy and serve quarantine for five days, with the obligation to undergo PCR or ART ‘release test’ at the end of that period.
For most of our readers travelling to Italy fully vaccinated on a VTL trip, there will now only be the passenger locator form to complete and your vaccination certificate to present.
That will also make Italy the 11th country on Singapore’s VTL list requiring no pre-departure testing for fully vaccinated travellers, quite a shift overnight from effectively being banned from entering!
What about children?
Children aged six or above will have to follow the requirements for adults when entering Italy (i.e. fully vaccinated, or recovered, or tested pre-departure).
Children aged five or below are exempt from all requirements when travelling to Italy.
Travelling to Italy from the UK?
Currently if you’re travelling to Italy with a 14-day travel history including the United Kingdom (UK), which is on 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, even as a fully vaccinated traveller.
This shift by Italy to treat fully vaccinated travellers from all non-EU countries the same as those from EU countries from 1st March 2022 means this condition will also be scrapped, and will move in line with the simplified arrival requirements outlined above for Singapore.
For some of our readers that will make life simpler when planning travel to the UK and Italy in the same trip (e.g. Singapore – London – Milan – Singapore).
VTL flights from Italy
You can currently take SIA’s non-stop VTL flights from Milan to Singapore to arrive under the VTL scheme without any arrival quarantine, or fly from Rome via Copenhagen to Singapore.
As we recently reported, Rome – Singapore flights are converting to non-stop VTL services (without the Copenhagen layover) from June 2022.
Here’s the full list of these VTL services from Italy to Singapore (click to expand):
Finally Singapore residents can start planning leisure trips to Italy from next month, two weeks before the rules were expected to be relaxed, thanks to a new agreement among EU nations to recognise non-EU vaccination status and harmonise international arrival requirements.
This will end an effective two-month ban for Singapore residents to travel to Italy, and will also come as welcome news to Italians living in Singapore, many of whom have had to put trips home on hold due to quarantine requirements.
The updated rules will also allow a simpler arrival process into Italy from the UK, which is currently an annoying sticking point for those making multi-country Europe trips.
Will you plan a quarantine-free trip to Italy from March with this latest news? Let us know in the comments section below.
(Cover Photo: Shutterstock)