“This virus does not like love, we do! ”In an interview with Sunday newspaper, published in early August, the Secretary of State for Tourism Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne announced the establishment of a derogatory proceduree allowing the 2,000 unmarried or non-civil union French binational couples to meet despite the border closures, decreed with the coronavirus epidemic. A decision that would have been made possible, among other things, thanks to the launch of a unifying and global hashtag #LoveIsNotTourism, on June 4, 2020, declined since in an Internet site and several Facebook groups, the main one of which has over 31,200 members.
Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands were the first to hear this cry from the heart and to welcome again the foreign companions of their fellow citizens, regardless of their nationality, provided they can justify a negative Covid-19 test. . Since then, thirteen other countries including Germany, France and Spain have followed suit, encouraged by the European Commission to clarify this situation. However, these steps are far from being without obstacles.
In France, 20% of applications rejected
In France, couples must in particular put together a complex file proving the anteriority of their relationship (more than one year), the passage of the spouse on French soil or even the certification that the latter is from a country that allows the returns of its nationals. Online relations and foreign employees are excluded from the procedure. About 20% of requests are rejected, without a word or explanation from the consular administration, as reported France Culture. So in the name of love, and sometimes risk, many skim international laws and share their experiences online to meet at all costs, despite the spread of the virus.
In video, despite the confinement, a couple get married by videoconference
In search of a third country
“Human nature shows that when you can’t go through the door, you go through the window”, concedes Nicolas Perret, one of the administrators of the Facebook group LoveIsNotTourism France. Since January 15, the 50-year-old has not been able to hug his Russian companion, with whom he has shared a relationship for more than a year and a half. He is one of the few who can hope to get a special pass to bring his partner in by Christmas. “As long as it is not there, nothing is played”, assures the one who also looks with interest at the alternatives offered by the users of the group, but who also says himself “too old” for all these adventures.
This is not the case with Mathieu who tells on Facebook how his Russian friend Oksana “forced the passage” by turning to Greece, a country once again issuing a Schengen visa. In practice, the latter allows a person to travel to all countries of Schengen area for a period of 90 days. Once said sesame was obtained at the Greek embassy in Moscow, a plane trip followed with 2 connections – Minsk and Paris – to arrive at destination – Marseille – with in all and for all “barely a check” on the capital. Did you say impossible? “Perhaps the fact of never believing in anything just does not make things happen, concluded the young man. Courage to you all, and fight, the reunion is worth it.”
Turkey, Albania and Croatia are also opening their borders to tourists and especially lovers, subject to, according to restrictions, a screening test and quarantine. This was the option chosen by Erika, an American wishing to join her Italian partner. If some binational couples go to a third country to mix reunion and vacation during a short stay, the young woman tries another plan, blown away by the LoveIsNotTourism community. “Take a flight to Zagreb, stay in quarantine, spend an extra week in the city, then ask my partner to come and pick me up to cross Slovenia to Italy,” she explains.
Two flights, three countries and four border crossings later, the operation was successful. “I feel so much better to be on the same continent and the same time zone as him,” she concludes in her diary.
For lack of money or for fear of failure, other couples favor the ultimate alternative: the wedding, irrevocable proof of their relationship in the eyes of the law to win a pass. And when you google “the easiest place to get married in Europe”, the search engine gives priority to Gibraltar, this British overseas territory located on the southern tip of Spain. Here, by simply presenting passports, birth certificates and booking a night in a local hotel, lovebirds from all walks of life can legally say yes to each other.
“We were just tired of being constantly disappointed with all of the immigration restrictions that worked against us,” theNew York TimesJe’nell Griffin, a 36-year-old American engaged to a Briton. On site, discovering the ceremonies celebrated on the chain and in fifteen minutes top time in an impersonal room of a yacht-hotel, the young bride is not disappointed. Even during the first kiss with the obligatory mask. “In the end, the reality of being married to the person I love got the better of my vision for my marriage,” she says.
Since confinement, wishes are also exchanged online via webcam interposed, in particular in the United States. A company, WebWed has made its livelihood, tells us the site USA Today and has hosted over 6,000 weddings for people in nearly all of Uncle Sam’s states and 38 countries on six continents. The global package, priced at around € 762, includes taking charge of the process to obtain a remote marriage license, an officiant available 24 hours a day and a live video transcript to share this moment with relatives.
It still remains to have it validated in the country of the cohabiting partner. French and Canadian courts, for example, do not recognize this type of marriage. “Putting the ring on your finger is not on my to-do list, the long-term relationship on the other hand yes, Lucie exasperates on the #LoveIsNotTourism group. It’s nice to say “until death do us part”, except that for my boyfriend and I I’m afraid this whole administrative side will be taking care of it. “For the better. and for…