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15 Oct 2020

Can I travel to Italy? Latest advice on coronavirus tests and quarantine

Italy has been removed from the UK's travel corridors list, so you will have to quarantine for 14 days at home after visiting the country as of 4am on 18 October.

If you are willing to isolate on return however, you need to also take into account the need for a negative Covid-19 test result, which Italy now requires if you are visiting from the UK.

Travellers must take a test no earlier than 72 hours prior to entering Italy, or be tested on arrival no later than 48 hours after landing in the country.

The UK is one of six countries affected by the coronavirus test entry rules to Italy. Visitors from Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Czechia and Spain will also have to provide a test to Italian authorities.

Italy, however, is not the only country that requires UK arrivals to take a test. Cyprus, Jersey, Bermuda, the Seychelles, Mauritius, Maldives and Cambodia have similar rules.

The test requirement may prove problematic for UK holidaymakers booked to travel to Italy for half-term. Travellers have been told they are not able to get a test on the NHS. Instead, they will need to turn to private tests, which are not always available and expensive,or get tested in Italy for free, but have to quarantine until their results are returned.

Find more unbiased advice on travel and coronavirus, award-winning investigations and legal advice on holiday refunds and cancelled flights with Which? Travel

Do I have to take a coronavirus test before I travel to Italy?

No. Some Italian airports provide free tests on arrival and results may be issued within the hour in some cases. You will need to check the airport websites individually, or ask your package holiday provider for guidance.

However, if you do not get tested prior to travel and the airport is not offering tests you will have to isolate within your hotel until you can get a test locally. You must continue to isolate until a negative result is issued. To arrange a test, call the Covid-19 helpline. You may be issued with a fine if you do not comply with the rules.

Regardless of whether you have had a test or not, you should call the local helpline to inform them of your visit to Italy, according to the UK government.

In addition to the test, you must complete a self-declaration form from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before travelling to Italy and have it ready to hand to your airline or border police.

Where can I get a coronavirus test prior to travel or a holiday?

Coronavirus test

You should get tested at a private facility. The government insists travellers should not use the NHS testing service to enable you to travel to another country.

Some private labs in the UK do offer the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test. Ask the clinic issuing it if the sample will be tested in a UKAS-approved laboratory. Tests also need to be CE-marked, as this ensures it has been approved by the regulator.

Italy's new entry rule to Brits requires the test to be taken no earlier than 72 hours before travel so make sure you do not get tested sooner than this. The certificate also must be ready before you travel.

How much will the test cost?

Tests vary in price, but most are at least £100 per person - we've even seen some as high as £250. For a family of four this could add a £1000 to the cost of their holiday. Tests in Italy are free, but you run the risk of having to quarantine first.

If my test is positive, will I have to quarantine in Italy? How long for?

Yes. If you test positive for coronavirus in Italy you will be asked to quarantine. You will not be sent back to the UK to do this.

Your isolation period could be anything from a few days up to a few weeks. You can only stop isolating once you have had two consecutive negative tests.

If I test positive, can I get a refund for my holiday to Italy?

Probably not. It is not a legal requirement for airlines, hotels or package holiday companies to refund you for illness. However, if you take the test before you fly, some of the better package holiday companies may allow you to postpone your trip out of goodwill. Once you land in Italy, if you test positive for Covid-19 it is unlikely you'll gain any form of refund from a company.

You may be able to get an accommodation refund if you booked a refundable room rate - check the terms and how close to the travel date you can cancel free of charge.

The only way to recover costs would be if you booked a package holiday, as now the FCDO is advising against travel there, your travel provider will likely cancel the holiday and offer a refund. Alternatively, if you'd taken out travel insurance that covers you for coronavirus disruption, such as more recent policies covering coronavirus with Staysure.

Woman trying to get coronavirus credit card refund

Can I cancel my half-term holiday to Italy if I don't want to get tested? Will I get a refund?

If you cancel your trip you are not entitled to a refund.

If you are travelling during half-term, you still have time to discuss options with your travel company. Better package holiday providers may be flexible and allow you to push your holiday back or offer an alternate destination, but they aren't obliged to unless the terms and conditions say so.

If your booking is flight only, you may be able to move the travel date. Airlines such as easyJet, British Airways and Jet2 offer flexibility to move flights without paying a rebooking fee on most tickets. You will have to pay for any price difference in the fare.

Now that the UK has added Italy to the quarantine list though, your package holiday company will likely cancel your trip and refund you. This will not be the case for flight-only or hotel-only bookings.

Should I travel to Italy?

Only if you're prepared to quarantine in the instance of a positive covid-test, as dictated by the new Italy travel restrictions. Your best bet is to get one before you fly. A negative result means you can avoid isolation on arrival and you won't lose the money paid towards a holiday.

If don't want to go, don't cancel your holiday until you have checked with your airline and holiday provider about flexible rebooking options. If you cancel the trip, you will lose your right to a refund or rebooking.

You must now also be willing to quarantine on return. As of 4am on 18 October, the UK will require you to isolate after visiting Italy.


Do I have to quarantine on return from Italy?

Yes, after 4am on 18 October. This could change though if Italy's Covid-19 rates drop. Travel corridor list updated for English residents each Thursday, and irregularly for residents of Scotland, Wales and Norther Ireland. The FCDO also updates its advice each Thursday. If it advises against travel to Italy, it is likely your holiday company will refund you for a package booking but airlines will continue to fly and refuse refunds.

Find out the country quarantine information in our travel corridor Q&A