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Rules on travel between Italy and the UK

Published: 23/01/2021 By Thje Abode Team

With two different sets of coronavirus measures to navigate, plus new restrictions due to Brexit, travel between the UK and Italy is anything but simple right now. Here's what you need to know about the current rules.

Italy was among the countries which closed their borders to travellers from the UK in late December during the 'mutant Covid' scare. Entry to Italy is still not allowed if you have been in or transited through the UK within the past 14 days, with the exception of those who are legally resident in Italy - whether or not they are Italian citizens - and those with essential reasons for travel, such as for work. “Until March 5th, entry into Italy from the UK is currently only permitted for those with official residency in Italy or those with absolute necessity, which must be declared in writing,” the UK government’s website states. Those allowed to enter Italy from the UK will be required to take two coronavirus tests - one before and one after the flight - and to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine after arriving in Italy.

What proof of residency is needed?

“If you are a UK national resident in Italy, we advise carrying proof of your residence when entering Italy,” the UK government states on its website, without giving further details. The Italian government has not specified which documents are required to prove residency, leading to some confusion. “Our advice is to carry your passport and an “attestazione” of registration in the “anagrafe” Citizens’ rights group British in Italy advise. “If you are resident but do not have an “attestazione” yet because you only arrived recently, then take as much proof of residence as possible - employment contract, letting agreement, airline tickets, utility bills, etc,” British in Italy advised. Italy's British residents cannot use their Italian ID cards as travel documents. Some residents of Italy have reported being barred from boarding flights from the UK to Italy, apparently due to confusion among airlines about the paperwork required to prove Italian residency. The British government recommends that travellers check requirements with their airline before flying.

Coronavirus testing and quarantine requirements.

Italy requires all arrivals from the UK to show a negative test result, taken no more than 48 hours before travel, as well as to undergo a second swab test on arrival in Italy, and a 14-day period of mandatory quarantine. Those who are eligible to enter Italy must be able to show two negative test results. A molecular or antigen swab test must be carried out in the 72 hours prior to entering Italy, the Italian consulate in London stated. If arriving in Italy by plane, another test needs to be carried out at the airport. If you travel by car you must contact the health authority in the region you are in to arrange a test. “Whatever the result of the two swab tests, those arriving in Italy from the UK must also report to their local health authorities on arrival and must self-isolate for 14 days,”  the UK government website states. “Everyone arriving in Italy must also call the covid-19 helpline for the region you are travelling within 48 hours.” All travellers to Italy also need to download and complete a self-declaration form from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before travel. You must give this form to your airline or to the border police if you are stopped for checks.

Brexit rule changes.

The UK government has chosen to end freedom of movement for people from the EU and therefore its own citizens as a result, so changes to travel rules began on January 1st 2021. These changes impact certain passport validity, border checks, EHIC cards and of course entry requirements. Before December 31st, British nationals could travel freely throughout Europe and only needed to make sure their passport was valid for the duration of their trip. On its website, the UK government states that British residents of Italy now need to show proof that they live there. “From 1 January 2021, UK Nationals, resident in Italy by 31 December 2020, will need to show proof of residence when re-entering Italy.” “This could include an identity card, a registration certificate or a utility bill in your name.”

Passport rules and border checks

"From January 1st 2021, you must have at least six months left on an adult or child passport to travel to most countries in Europe (not including Ireland)," the UK government says. This requirement "does not apply if you are entering or transiting" your EU country of residence, however. So Britons returning to their homes in France, Spain, Germany etc in the New Year should be able to enter if they have less than six months validity on their passport. As a non-EEA national, different border checks will apply when travelling to other EU or Schengen area countries. You may need to show a return or onward ticket and that you have enough money for your stay. "You may also have to use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing. Your passport may be stamped for visits to these countries," the UK government says. The British Embassy in Rome told British nationals resident in Italy to show residency documents if border officials attempt to stamp their passports. Make sure you always travel with your valid passport and residence document. Showing your residence document should negate any stamp in your passport when entering or exiting the external Schengen Border.
Travel from Italy to the UK

If you’re travelling back to the UK from Italy, restrictions also apply. The UK on January 8th announced a testing requirement for all arrivals. The requirement covers all travellers into the country, including British citizens, with only a small number of exemptions. The test must have been taken in the 72 hours prior to travel. One aspect of the regulation has caused concern among Brits in Italy this week and no doubt in other countries. "Your test result must be in either English, French or Spanish. Translations will not be accepted, and you must provide the original test result certificate," reads the government rule. The British Embassy in Rome confirmed that results in Italian are not accepted