France introduces Covid travel exemption for unmarried couples

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A new “exemption procedure” must be put in place after MEPs and the European Commission have debated the subject and recommended the establishment of a derogation, said Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, young Minister of Tourism told the newspaper Sunday Newspaper (JDD) on weekends.The European Commission has even declared that it “actively encourages all EU countries to allow the entry without delay of unmarried partners of EU citizens and residents into the EU”.

When European borders reopened, some couples were able to reunite, but others – especially those from “at risk” countries which are still on “no travel” lists – still have not been able to do so.

From now on, a new “pass” or exemption will allow separated couples to travel – despite persistent restrictions – and to meet in France. Mr. Lemoyne made the decision after discussing the issue with the “Love Is Not Tourism” lobby group, which had campaigned for the move.

Couples wishing to benefit from the new pass can apply for one at “their nearest consulate,” Lemoyne said in a tweet following the interview with the JDD.

Couples will need to provide the following:

  • Documents proving that their relationship is serious, long-term and genuine (such as emails, letters, photos)
  • A valid ID
  • Proof of residence in France for their partner
  • A return ticket

Mr. Lemoyne declared: “These exemptions will be validated by [crisis commission] the Interministerial Crisis Commission, and will give people a “laissez-passer” when necessary. “

Some other European countries have already implemented a similar process. However, in response to Mr. Lemoyne’s tweet, some users feared that the new measure would not work as well as hoped, as consulates were “already overwhelmed”.

One response said: “I would have liked to celebrate but this announcement scares me very much. Precisely because of Covid, the consulates are already overwhelmed and it is impossible to contact them. A measure that requires this process only makes things more difficult. “

Couples in love with limbo

End of July, Connection spoke to many couples in “love limbo” due to travel restrictions.

A woman, Sarah, 22, who is Franco-Swiss and lives in Angers, France; is engaged to Alec, her 22 year old fiance, of American, Canadian and Brazilian nationality, and lives in Florida.

After seeing each other and getting engaged in Vienna in February, the two separated when Alec returned to Florida, assuming he would be able to return easily. Almost six months later, they are still separated.

Sarah said Connection: “Without the Covid-19 pandemic and the travel bans, we would be married now. Why can’t we join together and finally get married legally? Married couples are no less likely to catch or transmit Covid than unmarried couples. “

Campaign for love

Many groups have arisen fighting for the right of couples to be reunited in recent months.

One, Love Is Not Tourism – who had spoken to Mr. Lemoyne before his decision to introduce the new travel exemption, and who can be found on Twitter via the hashtag #LoveIsNotTourism – has more than 10,000 members.

Another, Separated couples, also lobbied French politicians on the issue and found the support of MPs Mireille Clapot (LREM) and Jean-Paul Lecoq (French Communist Party).

Mr. Lecoq also wrote to the Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian to ask him if something could be done to allow these couples to reunite.

Mr. Lemoyne seemed sympathetic to these requests. In his Tweet he wrote: “This virus doesn’t like love… but we love it! “

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