Unmarried couples to be allowed to reunite in France despite Covid-19 travel restrictions

Unmarried couples to be allowed to reunite in France despite Covid-19 travel restrictions
Cross-border couples may soon be able to reunite in France. Photo: AFP
Lovelorn couples separated by coronavirus travel restrictions may now qualify for a travel exemption to reunite in France, the government announced.

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.

“This virus does not like love, we do!” said France's Secretary of State in charge of tourism, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne in a tweet published on August 8th.

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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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.

 

“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:

 

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.

READ ALSO: 'The pandemic closed the door to our relationship': Love and coronavirus in Sweden

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;

 

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.

'Love is not tourism': How Germany wants to bring couples separated by pandemic together

Not enough?

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.”

 


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