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
Kenny and Cheryl
Belgium to United States of America (Illinois)
November 12, 2020
Written by Cheryl about Kenny's journey to the USA from Belgium
My boyfriend is from Belgium & flew out of Brussels. We have been together for a couple years now (I’m bad with dates). I have a great job here in the states and I also have children, etc. Therefore, he is the traveler. Last year, he spent 6 months here. He planned to be back in April and well, we all know the nightmare that followed.
An online Facebook group gave us a wealth of information. It is because of the members of that group, that we are together today.
On Nov. 28th, 2020, boyfriend flew into Chicago. It had been 10 months since we touched each other. Our relationship consisted of hours on hours of messenger video - especially now that I’m working at home. Hell, we even sleep like that. Anyway, I’m going to share the process here. We are so thankful and want to pay it forward.
Kenny is from Belgium and could not fly directly to the USA without quarantining. After researching, we chose Mexico. Why? Well, it was cheaper and it was easier to directly fly on into the states.
I researched Mexico and played around on AirBnb. We are not independently wealthy and can’t just throw money out, so we found the cheapest suitable Airbnb. It was a room within a lady’s house. Kenny had his own bathroom and shared other parts of the home. We spent $235.00 for all 16 days. It was located outside the city in a Cancun. The owner of the home gave Kenny a number of an “Uber” guy that drove a lot of her renters to and from the airport.
We used Kiwi.com to find a flight. It wasn’t super easy to find a good flight from Brussels to Mexico without giving up your arm and leg. The flights included ridiculous layovers. When using Kiwi on the computer, you can filter your searches. We weren’t sure about all of the Covid rules or ESTA rules and to avoid any drama, we filtered out the countries he couldn’t layover in. Many of these flights had layovers in the USA, Europeans can’t do that. No one tells you that when you purchase.
Anyway, we filtered out the USA, Switzerland because they aren’t part of the EU and we weren’t sure of their rules, Spain because their rules are strict etc. and any other country we thought may ask for a covid test or additional documentation. We were lucky to find a $600.00 flight from Brussels to Frankfurt with only a 2 hour layover. This flight was with Lufthansa and was a good flight.
We were also concerned about baggage. Baggage was $80-100 on most carriers and we were worried about cancellations and paying so much for baggage, so he packed a carry on bag 🤷♀️. If you change carriers, you pay baggage every time so - we just kept this in mind. We can purchase whatever he needs here and save money.
Also, Kenny’s return flight had been booked prior to all of this. TAP airlines owed us a flight because of April’s cancellation. So there was no charge for that and we didn’t have to search that one.
Lufthansa flights were easy. They didn’t require any covid testing and didn’t ask for anything out of the ordinary. They asked for proof of all the other flights and Kenny’s ESTA, but nothing out of the ordinary.
He spent his days bedding down in Mexico and then back to the airport. We had him booked on Spirit. Mexico to Chicago is generally very cheap, but the holidays bumped it up. We paid about 200.00 for that flight. Only because we wanted him here as soon as he could get here after his quarantine. Would have been cheaper to wait til next week anyway..
Cancun did ask a lot of questions. They checked his ESTA and return flight. He had to provide all of the info as to where he was staying. They did not ask for a Covid test and they did not check his temperature.
After reaching Chicago Ohare, they did the regular grilling there. He has been here four times now. Two times ( including this time ) they pulled him aside. They did take his phone for 30 minutes. I wrote a letter for him to bring along this time - only because they called and asked me so many questions before. I provided my employment information including how much I make. I told them he was staying with me and I’d “support” him while he was here. I even sent a copy of my drivers license. By the way, they did ask him for my license. The entire process was about two hours with NO MENTION OF COVID OR EVEN QUARANTINE. Although, Spirit told them they needed to quarantine upon arrival in the USA.
“Where there’s a will; there’s a way.”
Our hearts are better today. ❤️💕🙄👌