Good news for long-distance couples where one partner is living in Germany, France, or Finland. All three European Union (EU) member countries have now lifted the EU travel ban on people coming from countries outside the European Economic Area (EEA) as of August 14, 2020. Couples, both married and unmarried, separated by the pandemic have now been in forced long-distance relationships (forced LDRs) for as long as five months. With this decision, the EU is now urging other member nations who still have travel bans in place to respect the wishes of couples seeking to get back together after the long period of separation. The tweet by the official EU account reads as follows: “Under the current legal situation, member states can allow unmarried partners with duly attested relationships to enter the EU, if they choose to do so.” With Switzerland joining the bandwagon just last week, a total of 10 EU countries are now accepting arrivals from countries that were formerly not in the "allowed" list, including the United States. The countries that have lifted the travel restrictions for partners in a long-distance relationship with EU citizens or residents are France, Finland, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Austria, Iceland, the Czech Republic, Denmark, and Norway. There are still 20 countries where the entry ban is still in place, which potentially affects hundreds of thousands of couples forced into separation by the sudden onset of the pandemic and the resulting panic that caused governments to shut their borders. Twitter groups like @LoveIsNotTourism and @LoveIsEssential have been putting pressure on government officials to allow couples to be reunited after nearly a year of forced separation. Now that three key member nations have lifted their restrictions on non-EU partners entering their borders for the sake of love, it is likely that other countries will follow suit. However, there is no official confirmation that this will happen in the near future. If you have been affected in this way by the pandemic, do consult with the relevant embassy to see what documents you will need to submit and what procedures are to be followed for you to be reunited with your partner. Governments typically require a negative COVID-19 test taken within a few days of the date of intended travel, and you may need to fill out certain forms to state your case. The process is usually quick, but get started right away so you can get there soon. Be sure to check with a travel agent about available tickets as well, as the current situation is very volatile when it comes to flights and other means of crossing the border. Good luck to you, and we hope you are reunited with your loved one soon!
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