What is a Super Green Pass and how do I get one?
Italy has its own system of Covid certification, which has evolved a bit over past year or so. The country’s Green Pass is a certificate proving that the holder has been vaccinated against Covid, recovered from Covid within the last six months, or tested negative in the past couple of days.
You can obtain a Green Pass valid for 48 hours by testing negative to a rapid Covid-19 test available from local pharmacies or test centres. The test provider will give you your test results, and will email you a unique code. Pop that in the government website, selecting option ‘Utente senza tessera sanitaria’ (‘User without a health card’).
A Super Green Pass is similar, but you need to have been vaccinated or recovered from Covid. So a test alone won’t do. Right now many indoor and outdoor venues insist you provide one – but don’t worry, the UK’s proof of Covid-19 recovery and vaccination record is seen as the equivalent to a Super Green Pass. Just make sure you have it in the form of a verifiable QR code to show at the door, and that the date of your last jab was no more than 180 days ago. Unless you’ve had a booster – then the validity doesn’t expire at all, under current rules at least.
As an American (or just a non-EU citizen) travelling in Europe, how can I prove vaccination status?
The safest way is to check on a country-by-country basis, as the rules are flexible and change. These vaccines are widely approved – Nuvaxovid, Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson – and so long as your country’s vaccination certification programme is deemed equivalent to that of the EU (like the NHS Covid Pass) there should be no problem filling in the relevant nation’s forms.
Bear in mind, you will also very likely have to provide a negative PCR test.
What is a passenger locator form?
A very important form indeed. The ‘PLF.’ helps authorities figure where you’ve been, where you’re going and where you are sitting on the plane, in order to keep track of infection. Fill it in within three days leading up to any flight, and check every detail very carefully – if anything on it is amiss, we might not be allowed to board you.
Which European countries require a test before you fly?
At the time of writing, Albania, Montenegro, Turkey, Serbia, Kosovo and Egypt all require a PCR test, if you can’t prove you’re vaccinated. They may well also test you on arrival.
But the situation is fluid, so check your local government advice and the country’s own websites in the days leading up to your flight to be totally sure.
I'm not vaccinated – can I travel anywhere? And what happens when I get there?
Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus , Egypt, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Jordan, Luxembourg, Monaco, Norway, North Macedonia, Portugal, Serbia, Slovenia, Turkey all currently allow unvaccinated travellers, usually the with caveat the you provide a test result before flying. You may be tested on arrival, and, if you test positive, required to quarantine.
I've had Covid – does that allow me to travel?
Yes, in fact many countries accept proof of Covid recovery in lieu of vaccine. Check the current policy before you book.
Do I have to wear a mask on the plane and in the airport?
Yes, for the time being at least. Face masks must be worn at the airport, at the gate when boarding the aircraft, and throughout the flight. Passengers not wearing a mask will not be able to board the aircraft.
I haven't had my booster – will I struggle with access?
Very possibly. Even if you’ve had two jabs, the vaccines’ effectiveness reduces over time, and many countries insist on a booster, or at least a recent PCR test. Take Austria, for example, where 270 days after being double jabbed you need a booster to gain entry – although those rules will soon be relaxed, all being well.
In Italy, the ‘Super Green Pass’ (see above) does not work if your second jab happened more than six months ago. You may be let into the country, but denied access to restaurants when you’re there – so getting a booster is your best bet.
In France, you need to have received a booster within four months of the second dose of your vaccine. This entitles you to the French ‘vaccine pass’ shown on the TousAntiCovid app – which is used for entering restaurants and museums, as well as for long-distance travel on public transport. The NHS Covid Pass will also work in France, as will a certificate of recovery between 11 days and four months ago.
France will shortly dial back its restrictions to a modest policy of mandating masks only on public transport – do bear in mind, ski lifts count as public transport.
The best advice is to check and re-check the government advice in the days and weeks leading up to your trip.
Is mask wearing essential – and which masks are OK?
For now, in most indoor settings – and especially on flights and public transport – masks are mandatory across Europe, despite not currently being required in most settings the UK.
While regular cloth masks offer some protection, your smartest bet is stocking up on FFP2 masks. In Italy, only FFP2-grade masks will do if you want to visit a concert, a restaurant or take a bus. Similar in Greece, a high standard mask is essential if you want to actually do anything, although some Greek venues will accept double-masking in lieu of FFP2.
To be safe, rather than sorry – get an FFP2.
Which European countries have the fewest Covid restrictions?
The UK has dropped the requirement to test before departure or on arrival, although vaccines are still encouraged. In Norway things are basically how they were pre-Covid, with the exception of the Svalbard archipelago which still requires testing. Iceland has downgraded the ‘pandemic’ to an ‘epidemic’ and welcomes non-vaccinated travellers.
Which European countries have the most Covid restrictions?
In Albania visitors are expected to follow a strict curfew between the hours of 11pm and 6am, although that is currently under review.
What happens if I catch Covid while I'm away?
If you feel unwell, get tested. It’s a good idea to pack a few lateral flows, just to check if you’ve got Covid or just a mild cold. If symptoms persist, seek a PCR test – you accommodation provider should be able to help out with this.
Depending which country you’re in, you may well have to quarantine for ten days, two weeks, or more. This, coupled with the fact you may well have to rearrange flights, can get pricey, so having comprehensive travel insurance is wise.
It’s worth checking with the Foreign Office, because the rules are (as ever) subject to change. In Italy, for one example, the expectation is you’ll quarantine in your accommodation ten days. You’ll only be released if you’re symptom-free for at least three days, and have also tested negative for Covid.