What Is a Green Pass? (And Why Do I Need One?)

This post is preempting some of the other blog posts I was planning to do about summer in Italy, and rightly so. The Green Pass has been in almost every headline in the Italian news lately, because starting from August 6, 2021, you can’t do much of anything in Italy without it. Here are some answers to some of the most important questions people are asking about the Green Pass.


What Is a Green Pass?

A Green Pass is a certification that you have gotten both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. It basically says that you are free to go anywhere and do anything without risking your health or the health of others.

You can also get a temporary Green Pass if you get a negative COVID test, recover from COVID, or get the first dose of the vaccine.

You can keep a digital copy on your phone or print out a paper copy. It has important information like an identification code, the date you got the vaccine, and a large QR code that will be scanned at the establishments that require it, such as bars, airports, etc.


How Do I Get a Green Pass?

The only ways to get the official, Italian Green Pass are to use your tessera sanitaria to do one of the following:

  • get both doses of the vaccine and wait 14 days to be considered fully vaccinated (in which case your Green Pass lasts for nine months)
  • get one dose of the vaccine and be considered partially vaccinated (in which case it lasts until you get the next dose)
  • get medical proof of having recovered from COVID and being deemed safe to travel around (in which case the certificate is temporary)
  • get a negative COVID test result (in which case the certificate is temporary)

You don’t have to request the certificate: if you get the vaccine in Italy, you have to sign up with your tessera sanitaria and phone number, and they text you the link to download the certificate when it is time. It’s a fairly simple process, because at that point all you have to do is put in your name, birth date, and a few numbers from your tessera sanitaria and click the reason you’re getting the Green Pass (one of the ones listed above), and you’re all set! You just download the certificate and keep it on your phone and/or print it out at your leisure.


Why Do I Need a Green Pass?

Even after all this time, there are still a lot of people who would prefer not to get vaccinated. While that is their choice, it also means that those people will not be able to do a lot of things in Italy starting on August 6, 2021. After this date, a Green Pass will be required for entry into bars and restaurants with indoor dining, museums, public pools, movie theaters, gyms, amusement parks, fairs, and other places in which one usually finds crowds and/or enclosed spaces.

So, basically, if you want to do much of anything in Italy this summer, you’re going to need a Green Pass!


Does My U.S. Vaccination Card Count as a Green Pass?

This was a bit of a grey area at first, but I believe that now a U.S. vaccination card is being recognized as the equivalent of a Green Pass for tourists. As always, though, check the rules for your region/comune to be sure!


Final Thoughts

A lot of people are upset about the implementation of the Green Pass, but the goal is to keep people safer without having to keep continuously having lockdowns as new variants of COVID arise. So, if you want to make the safest (and, in my opinion, most convenient) choice for you and everyone around you, get the vaccine! While there are other ways to get the Green Pass, this one is the most “permanent” one and will require the least upkeep. You just have to have a couple days of discomfort from the shot (if that), then you will be free to move around Italy as you please without endangering yourself or others.

If you are nervous about getting the vaccine in Italy, you can check out my other post detailing my experience, which I have just updated after getting the second dose!


What are your thoughts on the Green Pass? Let us know in the comments section! (But please, be civil. Judging by other groups and websites, this is a “hot topic” that can lead to a lot of arguments.)

An expat I know with a Tessera Sanitaria is fully vaccinated. She provided her phone number and the card; but hasn’t ever received an SMS with the special code needed to download the certificate online. It’s been almost two months since her second vaccine. How does she deal with this?

It is my understanding that she can contact her primary care physician, who can access the database on her behalf and get her a green pass. I believe she may also be able to bring her tessera sanitaria to the farmacia and they can also access it for her.

Sorry for the delay, I was traveling back to the U.S. last week! Thomas, I wonder if maybe there was some sort of mistake made with her phone number or something, because everyone I know has had the SMS sent right after the vaccine was given. I would follow Gail's advice and call the doctor or perhaps even the place where she made/went to the appointment. It may just be that some wires got crossed somewhere! Let us know how it turns out!

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