Germany announced Friday it will allow unmarried partners separated by coronavirus travel restrictions to once again see each other — on the condition that couples can prove their relationship.
Following pressure from the European Commission, visitors from a list of non-EU “third countries” will be able to travel to Germany from Monday if they have a partner there.
Unmarried partners from a separate list of “high-risk” regions and countries will also be allowed in, but will have to undergo mandatory testing and must quarantine until they have a negative test. Countries on the high-risk list include the US, Turkey and Iran.
Couples will have to provide proof of their long relationship, either with a previous joint residence abroad or a documented previous in-person meeting in Germany.
The partner living in Germany will also have to provide a formal visit invitation and the couple must sign a joint declaration, affirming the existence of their relationship.
Read more: Lovers press European states for ‘sweetheart' exemptions
State regulations should be considered
Additionally, each German state may have separate rules to do with quarantining and compulsory testing that may apply to arrivals from non-EU “third countries.” A spokesman for the German Interior Ministry told DW on Saturday that travelers should check the official measures of the specific German state they plan to visit ahead of their arrival — and ensure compliance.
“I am delighted that we are now able to make this work within a European framework,” German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer wrote on Twitter.
Most non-European Union borders have been closed to non-EU travelers since March, with exceptions made for essential workers and those married to EU residents.
Read more: Coronavirus digest: Travelers to Germany must be tested or face €25,000 fine
‘Love is not tourism'
The decision came shortly after the European Union launched a fresh appeal for member states to allow so-called sweetheart visas for unmarried partners of EU residents to enter the country.
“Currently, only a minority of member states [allow this],” said Commission spokesperson Adalbert Jahnz earlier on Friday.
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According to the “Love is not tourism” movement on social media — an online campaign that called on the EU to act — only eight European countries have so far allowed these partners in. Denmark and the Netherlands were among the first to pave the way for unmarried partners to visit their partners.
Proponents of the cause will hope that Germany, one of the bloc's biggest countries and the current holder of the EU Council's presidency, will set an example for other countries.
Compulsory testing, quarantines and bans on non-essential travel are in place for travelers to Germany from many non-EU regions, regardless of their nationality or reason for travel.
ed/stb (AFP, dpa, Reuters)