Following in the footsteps of Denmark, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands, France has decided to make it easier for international unmarried couples to reunite under Covid.
While travel is now possible between the majority of European countries, there are still strict restrictions in place for many countries outside Europe.
The French government had set up a “specific measure for partners separated by the border closures,” Lemoyne wrote, enabling people to send in “a request for a pass through (the border) to the closest consulate.”
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La France met en place un dispositif spécifique pour les partenaires de vie séparés par la fermeture des frontières. Dès cette semaine, une demande de laissez-passer peut être déposée auprès du consulat ?? le plus proche. Ce virus n’aime pas l’amour, nous si ! #LoveIsNotTourism https://t.co/MMIvzseBXa
— Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne (@JBLemoyne) August 8, 2020
Only couples where one partner has France as their main country of residence can apply for the pass.
'My heart breaks every day'
Long-distance couples have campaigned from all over the world for weeks under the slogans #LoveIsNotTourism and #LoveIsEssential, calling on governments to make allowances for those who are in serious relationships but are not married.
? For the people in the back ?
LOVE DOESNT START AT “I DO”, UNMARRIED COUPLES ARE FAMILY TOO!
— Jules (@juliabeate) July 30, 2020
“France, please!” wrote Paloma, a 24-year-old Brazilian who has been in a relationship with her France-based boyfriend, 26, for eight years now.
Separated for six months now, Paloma begged France to make exemptions for people in the same situation as her:
FRANCE, PLEASE! Open the borders for unmarried couples! My heart breaks every day. When will we get answers? When will this end? #loveisnottourism @GDarmanin @JY_LeDrian @francediplo @JBLemoyne @HConwayMouret @CLAPOTMireille @senateurJGM @JeanCASTEX @gouvernementFR @CBeaune ?? https://t.co/076QHfIafZ
— Paloma (@meneses_loma) August 7, 2020
The EU Commission on Friday called on governments to drop coronavirus border restrictions separating couples, following five months of separation for many in cross-border relationships.
Proof of 'durable sentimental relationship'
The recent French announcement was met by excitement in the community, however some wondered what exactly would be required to prove a relationship was important enough to get a pass;
Aaaaand France?!??Let’s see what they come up with exactly! “France is setting up a specific mechanism for life partners separated by the closing of borders. As of this week, an application for a laissez-passer can be submitted to the nearest Consulate(…) #LoveIsNotTourism https://t.co/KwTh9tVyge
— LOVE IS NOT TOURISM (@LovesNotTourism) August 8, 2020
Lemoyne told the Journal du Dimanche that, to get a laissez-passer (pass), the couples “must present themselves at the consulate with documents attesting to joint activities, their identity documents, proof of residence in France for the French partner, a return transport ticket, etc.”
They must also prove that their relationship is of a “sentimental, durable character,” according to the JDD.
The JDD listed “a rental lease agreement, common invoices or a bank account, the stamps on the passports establishing regular visits” as examples of such evidence.
Virtual exchanges will not suffice, according to the JDD.
In Switzerland, unmarried couples have to present “proof” of their relationship in the form of love letters, emails and holiday photos in order to be reunited again.
Contacted by The Local, Paloma said she worried her application would not be accepted based on these criteria.
“We only have pictures of us, social media publications, bank transcripts, airport stamps, tickets of frequent visits and WhatsApp conversations,” she said, adding:
“Why do we need to go through the consulates? There are people, like me, who don't have a consulate in their region, all of this will take so much time.”
Paloma lives in Fortaleza, the capital of the northeastern Brazilian state of Ceará.
“I'm ready to get tested, to quarantine, to do anything it takes.. I just want to see my boyfriend, like other people do every day.”