Green Pass: All you need to know about Italy's digital covid cert

Italy's vaccine certificate is required by all workers as well as for cultural and sporting events, long-distance travel, nightlife and indoor dining in restaurants.

Italy's Green Pass, or certificazione verde, is a digital or paper certificate showing that the holder has been vaccinated, tested negative or recovered from covid-19.

When it was first introduced in June, a few weeks before the EU digital covid certificate, the pass was designed primarily to allow people to attend large events, such as weddings, or visit nursing homes.

However the scope of the Green Pass - which does not apply to children under the age of 12 - has since been expanded progressively by the government of premier Mario Draghi.

Where is Italy's Green Pass required?

The first major change to the Green Pass occurred on 6 August when it became mandatory for dining indoors in restaurants as well as for museums, theatres, cinemas, gyms, swimming pools, spas, amusement parks, fairs, festivals and sports stadiums.

The pass is not necessary for consuming food or drink at outdoor restaurant tables or while drinking a coffee standing at the bar or when paying your bill at the cash desk (cassa). Neither is it required by hairdressers, taxis or on local public transport.

The continued expansion of the Green Pass is in line with the government's push to boost its covid vaccination campaign, with Draghi hailing the certificate as "essential if we want to keep businesses open."

Transport and education

On 1 September the pass became mandatory for long-distance trains and buses, domestic flights and ferries. It is not required on local or regional transport networks, or on the Strait of Messina ferry services.

At the same time the government made the pass obligatory for teachers and staff of schools and universities, as well as university students, however it is not required by school children.

Nightlife

On 11 October Italy's nightclubs, discos and dance halls were allowed to reopen, after being closed for more than a year and a half, with the Green Pass required and masks to be worn everwhere except the dancefloor.

Workplace

However the biggest change by far came on 15 October when Italy brought in a new decree that made the Green Pass mandatory for all workers, in both the public and private sectors.

The sweeping measure affects some 23 million people and is set to remain in force until 31 December when Italy's covid state of emergency expires.

The Green Pass is now required for every worker in Italy, with the exception of those who have a medical certification that exempts them from being vaccinated.

Unvaccinated employees can still enter the workplace but only if they undergo a covid test every 48 hours at a fixed cost of €15.

Penalties for violations

After an employee is off work for five days due to not having the Green Pass, their absence is regarded as "unjustified", leading to their employment suspended and pay frozen, however nobody can be fired.

Workers who ignore the restrictions and go to their workplace without a Green Pass risk fines of up to €1,500. Businesses who fail to carry out checks risk fines of up to €1,000.

Opposition to Green Pass

The Green Pass obligation in the workplace is backed by the country's trade unions and the majority of Italian workers however it has resulted in sporadic protests around the country, notably in Trieste and Rome.

Opponents say it tramples on their freedom and claim they are being penalised for choosing not to get vaccinated.

Some critics say the Green Pass obligation for workers is essentially forced vaccination by the back door.

Those in favour of the measure say it will incentivise people into getting vaccinated and reduce the spread of covid-19.

Italy's covid vaccination drive

On 20 October premier Draghi paid tribute to Italy's medical workers and everyone who chose to get vaccinated, including those who recently "overcame their hesitations" about the vaccine.Italy's vaccination campaign is moving faster than the EU average, Draghi said, adding that (as of 20 October) 86 per cent of the Italian population over the age of 12 has had at least one dose of the covid vaccine while 81 per cent are fully vaccinated.

The announcement by the prime minister came two days after Italy saw more than 1 million Green Passes downloaded in a 24 hours.

As of 20 October, just over 81 per cent of Italy's vaccinable population (over the age of 12) was fully vaccinated against covid-19.

How to get Italy's Green Pass

People in Italy can request the Green Pass which - in addition to Italian, is available in English, French and German - via the Certificazione Verde website.

To claim the Green Pass you must provide at least one of the following: vaccination certification, proof that you have recovered from covid-19, or a recent test with negative results.

People vaccinated in Italy are notified by email or text message with a scannable QR code giving access to download the Green Pass. This is issued generally 15 days after the first dose of the vaccine.

The final Green Pass, showing you are fully vaccinated with one of the four covid vaccines recognised in Italy - Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca or the single-dose Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) - is issued within two days of the second dose.

Where can I get Italy's Green Pass?

The digital cert can be obtained from the website as well as through your region's online health system (Fascicolo Sanitario Elettronico); SPID, Italy's digital identity system with access to public administration services; or via the Immuni contact-tracing app.

It is also possible to obtain a paper copy of the cert by requesting it from your pharmacy or doctor, using your tessera sanitaria health card.

How to get Green Pass without tessera sanitaria

If you do not have a tessera sanitaria, and are not registered with Italy's public health system, you can still obtain the pass via the website by selecting the 'Utente senza tessera sanitaria' option.

Here, enter the details of the type of document you provided when getting your covid test or when the certificate of covid recovery was issued, along with the code you received at the time.

How to get Green Pass without 'AUTHCODE'

After being vaccinated you should receive a text message or email from the health ministry with the so-called AUTHCODE. If this does not arrive, you can proceed via the public services app IO or on the dgc.gov.it website using your SPID credentials.

If you are not set up with SPID you can notify the call centre tel. 800 91 24 91  (active around the clock). The health ministry will then issue the authentication code with which you can download the cert from Immuni or from the website, without requiring SPID.

How long does Green Pass last?

For vaccinated people the Green Pass is valid for 270 days (about nine months) while for those who get the pass after recovering from covid, it remains valid for 180 days (about 6 months).

For people who test negative after an antigenic or molecular swab it lasts just 48 hours.

How does Green Pass work for people who travel to Italy from abroad?

Italy's Green Pass was introduced ahead of the EU Digital COVID Certificate (EUDCC) which has allowed free travel across the European Union since 1 July.

The Italian version of the Green Pass only applies to people who have been vaccinated, tested negative or recovered from covid-19 in Italy.

Travellers coming to Italy from within the EU can use the version of the Green Pass issued by their own countries, recognised across the EU.

Italian health authorities will also accept covid vaccination certificates - and medical documents certifying recovery from covid issued within the previous six months - from Canada, Israel, Japan, UK ad US.

Travel from Italy

The Green Pass website warns that the "certificate is not a travel document," with people advised to check the travel requirements of the country they wish to go by consulting the Viaggiare Sicuri website

Worth noting: for travel outside Italy the Green Pass is valid from the 15th day after the second dose.

Who can ask to see your Green Pass?

In addition to employers, people who can ask to check your Green Pass include the owners and managers of businesses where it is required. It can also be asked for by police officers and public officials.

Is there a cost for the Green Pass?

No, it is free.

Who to contact for Green Pass information

The Certificazione Verde website contains extensive information (in Italian) about how to obtain the Green Pass and how it works but for those who still need assistance, there is a call centre, tel. 800 91 24 91 (open daily 08.00-20.00) and an email address cittadini@dgc.gov.it.

For official information about the covid-19 situation in Italy - in English - see health ministry website.

Photo credit: MikeDotta / Shutterstock.com.