How can I reunite with my partner?
Here are successful stories from couples separated by travel bans
These stories are individual experiences, not official guidelines
Brian and Nane
United States of America (Nebraska) to Belgium
Third Country ?
November 3, 2020
Since September 1st, non-EU citizens are allowed to travel to Belgium to visit their partner. Instead of having to bring your proof to the airport/border control in Belgium, I had to submit a request for a travel certificate at the Belgian embassy/consulate in the US. Since the NY consulate has jurisdiction over my state, I contacted them. On their website they have written out all the different documents you need to submit, what they consider as proof. The biggest - and trickiest - requirement is that you need to have met twice for at least 20 days in total in the year preceding to when you submit. So when I requested my certificate in October, I had to prove I had seen my girlfriend twice for 20 days in total between October 2019 and October 2020. We wanted to make sure our request was going to be accepted before we booked the flights, so we submitted it first, got our approval a couple of days later and then proceeded with booking the flights. A week before my departure date, I received the 'essential travel certificate' by e-mail.
On the morning of departure, I got tested. This is not a requirement to enter Belgium but just wanted to be safe. I flew United all the way, and everything went smoothly. I had two layovers in the US, one in Chicago and one in Washington DC. They only requested to see my certificate when boarding the last flight, i.e. from DC to Brussels. No issues there.
At border control in Brussels, they asked the usual questions ("Why are you here?", "Where does your girlfriend live?", "How long will you be staying?") and they wanted to see the certificate and the Passenger Locator Form. Belgium requires everyone traveling to Belgium to fill out a form. On there, you also fill out a self-assessment that will determine how high the risk is that you are infected. If you are considered a high-risk, you will receive a message telling you to quarantine and get tested (although testing at that time was at full capacity and only people with symptoms were able to get tested). I never received a text message, so technically I didn’t have to quarantine but we did for a couple of days anyways. I also received my negative test results from the test I had done pre-departure about 10 hours after arrival.
All in all, the journey went super easy, and I will be doing it again for the holidays.