Coronavirus: transnational couples separated by travel bans

Meet the couples who are handling love being in limbo thanks to coronavirus-induced travel restrictions.
Meet the couples who are handling love being in limbo thanks to coronavirus-induced travel restrictions.

Love is stuck in limbo as hundreds of couples are separated by Covid-19 travel bans.

Handling restrictions on love

The last time Sarah and Alec saw each other, they were in Vienna getting engaged.
The last time Sarah and Alec saw each other, they were in Vienna getting engaged.

One group still very much feeling the effects of Covid-19 are transnational couples who remain separated by travel restrictions. Most are Europeans who have non-European partners. The last time students Sarah, 22, and her partner Alec, 22, saw each other, they were in Vienna and got engaged. That was more than five months ago, at the end of February. Since then, the couple have been separated. Sarah, a French-Swiss national, lives in Angers, while Alec has American, Canadian and Brazilian nationalities and lives in Florida, where he returned after they were engaged, assuming he could come back easily.

People currently in the US are not yet permitted to enter France, unless they are French or EU citizens (who may be accompanied by their spouse or children), residents of France or of another EU country and transiting through France to get there, or they work in a field relevant to combating Covid-19. Sarah is one of hundreds of French people in a transnational relationship now fighting for non-married couples to be afforded the same right as married couples in being permitted to travel to see their loved ones.

“If it wasn’t for the Covid-19 pandemic and travel bans, we would be married by now,” she said. “Why shouldn’t we be able to join each other to finally get lawfully ...

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