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
Nathalie and Axel
United States of America (Wisconsin) to Sweden
December 7, 2020
Axel (Sweden) and I (USA) met during university in the US - we dated for a few months before the pandemic hit, but when our university went online we lived together at my family home until he was able to safely return to Sweden in June, post-graduation. After he left, I had intended on visiting him a few weeks later, but the travel ban made that impossible (not to mention my flight getting cancelled). With him starting up his first semester of graduate school in Switzerland, and me starting up my final year of undergraduate studies in the US still, we set our sights to the wintertime.
We were lucky enough for Axel to have a student residence permit in Switzerland - one of his classmates told him about a travel ban exemption for unmarried partners of Swiss residents We had known Sweden's exemption was only for married couples and/or couples that intend on moving in together permanently, but the Swiss exemption allowed entry into the country with just proof we had been dating for longer than the pandemic had been happening. I wrote to the Swiss embassy, providing pictures of our relationship (with time stamps), a written letter from him inviting me into the country, his residence permit/passport, my passport, and other minor supporting documents of the validity of our relationship. I sent the info via email, and received my Laissez-Passer within a few days.
I flew from ORD - IAD - ZRH - I needed to show my Laissez-Passer when obtaining my boarding passes in Chicago, as well as at the gate in Dulles to make sure my documents were correct prior to entering Switzerland. Once I entered the country, I was asked my intent for visiting, arrival and departure dates, and where I would be staying. At the time of my arrival, the USA was not on Switzerland's quarantine list, so I was able to move freely throughout Switzerland (masked and distanced, of course). However, shortly after my arrival, the US was reintroduced to the quarantine list, in which case I would have needed to quarantine for 10 days before being able to freely move (they enforce this with phone calls and visits to the quarantine location for accountability).
After six days in Zurich, we traveled to Sweden (ZRH - ARN) to spend the holidays with his family. Due to inter-EU (and Schengen) travel being open, aside from obtaining my boarding passes, I did not need to show my passport or obtain a stamp before entering Sweden. We made it!
We spent a few weeks in Sweden, before I returned home via ARN - ZRH - ORD (through Zurich again just in case I was rejected at the Swedish border). I did not need to quarantine upon my return, but did just in case. The Swiss airport gave me a contact tracing sheet to fill out on the airport - however, the border patrol agent did not take it at the US border.
We were incredibly lucky to have this opportunity to see each other in person, even through these difficult times. We wish the best of luck to all couples separated by travel bans!