Long-distance relationships are challenging at the best of times. But as countries suddenly shut their borders during the coronavirus pandemic, unmarried couples living in different parts of the world found themselves unable to visit each other as governments classed such trips as “non-essential”.
While many travel restrictions have now been eased, and couples and families from different European countries have been able to reunite since June, the ongoing European ban on most US travelers means transatlantic couples have now been separated for almost eight months.
Travel from the US to Italy is possible if you're the spouse or child of an Italian citizen (among other exemptions to the travel ban.) However, unmarried partners are cut off, as they have no automatic right to enter the country under existing rules.
“I haven't seen my partner, who lives in Lucca, Italy, since Valentine's Day,” reader Sarah in Washington DC tells the Local. “I had visited and the day after I landed back in America, Covid erupted in Italy. We've been apart ever since.”
“I had a crazy plan to visit her in early July to propose near her birthday. Which is ambiguously postponed for now,” she said.
American academic Anna has been trying to visit her Italian fiance in Sicily since June. She bought three separate sets of plane tickets amid repeated flight cancellations and earlier uncertainty about the rules.
Unable to get clarification on the travel rules in June, she says she was turned away at the airport in New York by Alitalia airline staff.
#LoveIsNotTourism @GiuseppeConteIT @YlvaJohansson @AdinaValean We have the wedding bands, the venue – Villa Barbarigo in Noventa and we've been together for years but all of this isn't enough for us to reunite after almost 8 months apart? Shame on you Italy! pic.twitter.com/AzLOvRlDh3
— Chef Lupo ??❣️?? (@lupo_chef) August 27, 2020