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Travel from UK to Italy during COVID-19 pandemic

This blog is a bit different from all those I have written earlier.

Traveling to the country on yellow list

In June 2021 we had to go from UK to Italy; at that time Italy was on yellow travel list and only essential travel to those countries was allowed. Now, about a month later, some rules, for example, regarding self-isolation for double-jabbed travellers, have changed. However, the basics still are the same and I was thinking that this information may be useful for others traveling from UK to and returning from any yellow list country.

I did a lot of research to find out what is required in practice and how to save some money finding cheaper test providers. Of course, at the first instance, I recommend to follow Government guidance, in particular foreign travel advice, which is being updated regularly. This blog is more about my findings and practical tips to make this process less painful if you attempt to go through it the first time and will focus on departure part of the trip.

Rules for travel to Italy

As I mentioned above, things may change, so all rules I mention here were valid at the time we were preparing for our trip.

We were lucky that Italy required to present the airline with a negative COVID-19 rapid antigenic or molecular swab test taken no more than 48 hours before travel (PCR was rather your choice than requirement). At that time, there was no longer a requirement to quarantine on arrival in Italy from the UK, unless travellers arrive without proof of a negative test, however it changed a few days after our arrival – lucky again!

You may check most up to date travel advice to Italy on Government web page and also Italian embassy COVID-19 advice (in English).

Before travel, we had to complete an online digital form. This generated a QR code, which had to be presented at the gate before boarding the flight. And here is the first tip. Although, it was allowed to complete one form for family, something did not work out with the digital form – only one surname appeared on the screen of my mobile (as they say, only one person from the group should complete the PLF and the details of the rest of the group members should then be included in this PLF; that this applies only to families and groups of people that will take part in the same activities and stay at the same place during their visit to the destination country). Fortunately, I also had printed paper form with me and we were allowed to board after showing that.

Everyone arriving in Italy must also call the COVID-19 helpline for the region you are travelling within 48 hours, to inform them of your visit.

Test providers

Funny enough, nobody at the airport asked us to show test results, however that might rather be an exception because some people I know had to do that but were less bothered about passenger locator form.

I spent quite a lot of time in finding decent pre-departure test provider. Many of those offering lowest prices as a rule did not have any stock; I got an impression that they never do at all. We decided to book the test with Medicspot. I am not advertising them here, although our experience with them was really good. After submitting our rapid antigenic test results, we got the response in less then an hour. Cost of one test was £45.

Most probably, this was the main reason why we decided to book our Day 2 and Day 8 tests at Medicspot too. But this relates to the return to the UK from the country on yellow list and that is a topic of another blog. Only to add that Italian border crossing was smooth and there is nothing important to add to this.