How to get the EU Green Pass as an American Citizen

The European Union has instituted a Green Pass, a digital and/or paper form that will allow free movement for those people within its borders that are vaccinated against Covid-19. This pass will allow you to enter museums, eat indoors at restaurants, check-in to hotels, and more.

Currently, this Green Pass is only available to residents of the European Union, but that doesn’t mean that as an American you’re out of luck.

Here’s how to travel around Europe with no issues and get your own Green Pass

What is the Green Pass?

The Covid Green pass is required for travel across Europe and for most indoor activities upon your arrival. Each country has their own specific requirements of how to obtain one (for example, which documents you need) but the jist is the same:

• You must be vaccinated with either Pfizer, Moderna, J&J or AstraZeneca
• You have to have a negative Covid-19 test
• You have to show recovery from Covid-19

Each of the above requirements comes with a certain amount of validity. For example, the negative test pass only lasts 48 hours while the vaccination gives you six months of validity.

How can you get a Green Pass as an American?

There are two ways as an American to get a Green Pass. The first might seem kind of obvious, but it’s by being a dual citizen. If you only hold a USA passport, you won’t be able to get a green pass before you get to Europe.

Once you’re IN EUROPE, however, you can get a Green Pass by simply getting a Covid test in Europe. On our recent trip to Italy, we presented ourselves at a pharmacy, took a quick antigen test, and the Green Pass was in our email inbox within about 30 minutes.

No Green Pass, No Problem

As Americans can’t get the digital version of the Green Pass, all isn’t necessarily lost. If you have your CDC White Card showing your vaccination, this will be accepted in all establishments that require a green pass.

When we arrived in Italy, we showed the pass upon arrival and it was no problem. The same goes for the Vatican Museums, outdoor restaurants, and the train station.

When we went to the airport lounge, we had to have our Green Pass to get in. The lounge is considered indoor dining, so if you don’t have the pass, the lounge would not admit you.

What if you’re not vaccinated

The simple answer is that if you don’t have a vaccine, the ONLY way to travel to Europe is with a new test every 48 hours, as the Green pass version is good for only 48 hours.

The even more simple answer is that you should get the vaccine and wait 14 days after your second dose, that way you can travel to Europe and protect yourself and others.

Bottom Line

As an American, you won’t be able to get the Green Pass before you head to Europe. You will only be able to enjoy normal activities in Europe if you have a Covid test on European soil OR you show your CDC White Vaccination card along with your passport.

Author: Jon Nickel-D'Andrea

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11 Comments

    • Good call out. This will end in a week so let’s hope
      For an extension! Thanks for the comment

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    • France’s system has been so overloaded with Americans that the one-time 24 hour delay has stretched to the point that ours were not processed before we left the ocuntry a week later.

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  1. I have been innOtaly since July ans not having a green pass since August 6 is a problem. Many restaurants do not accept the vaccination card. Museums and government run establishments do but smaller businesses do not always recognize it. I got a green pass by going to the municipal office of the small town I was staying in and explained the problem (in broken Italian) ans they were able to send me a green pass to my email in a few hours. The system needs to be.better than it is and easier for American travelers to get a green pass because not everyone accepts the vaccine card as they are supposed to.

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  2. If this statement is true:
    “As Americans CAN’T get the digital version of the Green Pass, all isn’t necessarily lost.” (Emphasis on “can’t” added)

    How did you get a green pass in your email in 30 minutes?

    “On our recent trip to Italy, we presented ourselves at a pharmacy, took a quick antigen test, and the Green Pass was in our email inbox within about 30 minutes.”

    Post a Reply
  3. If this statement is true:
    “As Americans CAN’T get the digital version of the Green Pass, all isn’t necessarily lost.” (Emphasis on “can’t” added)

    How did you get a green pass in your email in 30 minutes?

    ” …. and the Green Pass was in our email inbox within about 30 minutes.”

    Post a Reply
  4. Good article! I am schedule to go to Italy soon. The green pass received with the in-country COVID test, is that good for a limited time (like 48 hours, etc.)? I have my CDC vaccine card but if I can get a digital, that seems easier.

    Thank you!

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    • You’re correct. I’d suggest carrying the CDC card as that’s accepted in 99% of the locations. You can get a rest if you feel better and want the digital version QR code.

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  5. I have used my CDC card everywhere I’ve gone in Italy that requires it. As I speak Italian, it has been no problem to provide additional explanation if requested. If you are traveling to Italy, I suggest you Google translate an explanation in Italian of our CDC card, print it out and carry it with you. Be sure to mention that our date format is opposite of the Euro one. They use day, then month. We use month, then day. That could cause some confusion when people see the date of vaccination.

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  6. My husband and I both got tested in Austria about a week ago and didn’t get the green pass, just an email with the test results. So this might be true for Italy, but not other countries.

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    • The email should work for most people in lieu of the green pass no? We had to ask the pharmacy to make sure to send the paper green pass via email

      Post a Reply

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