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
Dixie and Alex
Czechia to United States of America (Florida)
November 7, 2020
I am a British citizen but over the past 2 years I have been living and working in Prague, Czech Republic. I work in the film industry and my project got put on hiatus again the same week Boris announced another lockdown. I couldn’t face going back home to England to get stuck there so all very last minute I booked the trip to get to the USA to visit my parents (E2 visa) and my boyfriend (American citizen). Who I haven’t seen this whole year.
Probably the most stressful week of my life (not helped by hurricane ETA that decided to change course last minute 😬) but here goes. I chose Cancun over other places like Croatia because I wanted to get the long flight over with first so I could get over my jet lag. Plus I wanted some sun.
First thing I did was renew my ESTA which got approved in a couple of hours (I was a bit surprised they are still issuing them). I booked my flight on Monday to fly out that Saturday 7th November. I found it on skyscanner.com (private mode) and booked through Lufthansa. My flight to Miami I also found on sky scanner booked through American Airlines. Then booked a random flight (cheapest flight I could find) back to the U.K. in February. So I would be staying in the USA for 87 days. Before flying I printed EVERYTHING I could think of.
- A negative PCR covid test that I had through work on the Friday.
- a copy of all my onward flights
- Confirmation of my hotels
- Mexican tourist card (which I don’t think I really needed at all)
- the Mexican health declaration form. Which can be through mobile you just have to show the bar code. But they don’t advertise this. I only found through a lot of research and a guy on here. You have to fill it out on the day. You can find the link and more info on this website.
- copy and proof of travel insurance (bought through AVI-international
- emails from work saying I would be back in the new year
- my parents address in the USA and some maps and photos. (I wasn’t asked for any of this but I always say I’m visiting her and not my boyfriend because it’s usually easier)
You don’t need a negative covid test to enter Mexico but at the airline desk in Prague the lady asked me about the health form and I showed her both that and my covid test just to be sure. I was very nervous and wanted to have all my bases covered. And she asked for onward flights. Anyway first flight was great and if anyone is worried about flying in this pandemic don’t be. I’ve been on about 6 flights since March and I’ve not caught anything. Plus they hand out antibacterial wipes and the air is filtered.
Zurich airport was an absolute dream! If you have the choice I would definitely recommend laying over through here. It was very stress free and I called the embassy beforehand and you are totally fine passing through here. You don’t need a negative test. And all the staff were so lovely. But you will then have to show the Mexican health declaration form again.
The second flight was about ⅔ full and again was totally worth the money. No one sitting next to me and all very relaxing.
Whilst I was in the air Biden was announced the winner of the presidential election and then it was a little extra stressful for the duration I was in Mexico because cases were getting so high in the USA. Some states were locking down and needed negative test results for travel. And I wasn’t sure how trump was going to react if he would lock down out of spite but luckily he was so focused on the election. (I think Florida will never shut down again so I think Miami is a good bet to fly into)
Arriving in Mexico the lady at immigration asked for my onward flight and hotel confirmation for my entire stay. So I would definitely have that ready. And she stamped my passport and gave me an immigration form which you need to take back to the airport when you leave. So DO NOT LOSE IT. It is proof of your day of entry.
In Cancun the airport shuttle isn’t running because of covid so you need to book a private car/ taxi. They don’t have Uber there. I didn’t know this before landing but there are a lot of companies at the airport and I went with supershuttle. It cost 60 US dollars for transport to and from the airport. But I didn’t care this point. If You can book online before you go I would recommend.
I have a TransferWise card that acts like I debit card that I use internationally because I’m always away but I also took a couple of hundred US dollars in cash just in case. But I was advised not to change money at the airport in Cancun so I didn’t end up using it because everywhere took cards.
Into the hotel.
It was such a last minute booking and I found a good deal on hotels.com. The place was called ‘Suites Sina Cancun’ (sinasuites.com) and it was so much better than I expected. It is situated right at the top of the hotel zone. (Map attached) So it was about a 20 minute walk to the supermarket or the strip. But it was perfect and they upgraded me to a suite with a kitchen and a balcony because there really wasn’t anyone there. The people running it are soo nice and there is a little restaurant on site that does really good breakfasts, cocktails beers and sort of Tourist dinner food. But I basically had the pool to myself most of the time and it felt so safe.
One day I met a bunch of guys who were staying at the Mayan monkey hostel for a few dollars a night i think a good option if really on a budget and not worried about covid. Otherwise there are a lot of lovely resorts. That I snuck into and used the pools a few times because it really was quite empty and if you can afford it I would go for it.
The rest of Cancun.
I was pretty nervous about covid and stuff so I didn’t get any taxis anywhere so stayed in the hotel zone and just stuck to walking around. So I didn’t go out in the dark but otherwise I felt so safe walking about. And everyone was wearing a mask everywhere and every place I went for food they took your temperature and sanitized everything. It was the safest place I felt from covid. Only On the beaches were people maskless.
I have a few recommendations for food places all outdoor seated.
- the surfin burrito (quite cheap and small but amazing guacamole and coconut shrimp)
- tacos y tequila
(None like real Mexican food and I’m sure you can get better downtown. But still good like of tacos and nachos and margaritas) unfortunately a lot of the street food stalls and bars were closed down because of covid.
But as I said I had a little kitchen in my room so I cooked a bit there to save money and the supermarket in Cancun is amazing. Look up “super chedraui selecto”. It right on the top of the strip but it has everything you could ever need and very clean and pretty inexpensive. Especially alcohol.
Ok so after sunning it up on my own for two weeks (unfortunately my boyfriend couldn’t get off work) I almost forgot that I had to get on another flight. But it was so easy I was of course nervous again but I chose to check in at the airport not online prior because I had heard a few stories on this page where people’s Estas were cancelled. And at Cancun airport there was a little self check in station where I had to buy luggage also. And there was a few questions asking “have you been in Europe or China in the last 14 days?” No. Then take this to the desk and the lady checks Your immigration form (the one you must not lose) and then prints boarding pass and on to security. I wasn’t asked to show anything else here. No onward flights no proof of relation or anything.
Now the really daunting part. US immigration. It was a bit different this time. The queue was really quick in Miami and there are no e-gates working. Everyone must go through an officer. But you don’t have to fill in the usual blue immigration form at all. So at the desk they guy was asking questions like
“how long will you be here and who am I visiting?
“Oh, who’s she? Is she American”
no but she is here with her husband. And then he got a bit snarky like
“do you work?”
Yes I work
“how comes you can take so much time off?”
And I explained I work in the film industry and we are on hiatus. Then he let me through I didn’t have to give my fingerprints or anything.
Just don’t lie and be confident and have your documents just in case. But really it’s not bad.
So here I am. Yay!
I got a covid test before coming home. And it was negative within 24 hours. And now I’m spending this week only with my family (my step dad is high risk) and seeing my boyfriend after thanksgiving.
It’s super stressful before you travel but now after having done it it was so worth it. Might have cost a bit extra but if you can afford it I would recommend so now I can spend the holidays with loved ones. 🇬🇧🇺🇸❤️