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Italy approves travel ban exemption for separated international couples

People living outside of Europe can now travel to visit their partners in Italy, as Italian government has signed off on an exemption to the travel rules.

Italy approves travel ban exemption for separated international couples
It is now possible for people in Italy to be reunited with their partners living outside of Europe after a rule change on September 7th. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

The travel rules were relaxed for unmarried couples from September 7th as part of the latest Italian emergency decree signed by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Monday evening.

READ ALSO: Italy's new emergency decree extends most rules until October 7th

While most of Italy's travel restrictions remain in place under the new decree, there is an exception to allow the reunification of international couples separated due to the travel rules: partners living abroad can now enter Italy to reach “the person with whom they have a stable emotional relationship, even if not cohabiting.”, the decree text states.

Those travelling to Italy for this reason must undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine period upon arrival, and will need to complete a self-certification form (which has not yet been released), Italian newspaper La Repubblica reports. This self-certification form will be sent to local health authorities.

It is not yet clear what evidence travellers must provide to prove their relationship is “stable”.

The change came after thousands of unmarried couples joined the “Love is not tourism” movement, demanding that countries including Italy relax coronavirus rules and allow couples to reunite.

In Italy those with a partner outside Europe have been separated for almost eight months due to travel restrictions.

READ ALSO: 'We're not tourists': The separated US-Italian couples demanding change to Covid travel rules

A couple walk in front of the Spanish Steps in centrral Rome beforethe coronavirus outbreak. Photo: AFP

Under the rules in place until now, travel from the US to Italy was possible for the spouse or child of an Italian citizen (among other exemptions to the travel ban.) However, unmarried partners were cut off.

Exemptions were otherwise only allowed for those able to prove they have an urgent need to travel to Italy for work, health, study or emergency reasons.

From September 7th, partners can travel to Italy from non-EU countries to be reunited with their loved one.

However some confusion remains over the details and requirements – particularly as to how authorities will expect couples to prove the “stable” relationship status.

Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands and six other countries had already changed their own travel rules in order to allow partners of their citizens to enter, provided they can show a negative Covid-19 test result.
Bureaucratic hurdles apply in those countries: Norwegian authorities say couples must have met at least once before and have been together at least nine months. The Netherlands says three months, but that couples must have “regularly” visited each other. France wants couples to provide proof of their relationship status to a consulate.
The Italian requirements are expected to be clarified by ministers in the coming days.
The exemption was one of the few changes made in the latest decree, which extended most of the current restrictions for one month.

Member comments

  1. This law is present and has been put to reduce pressure on the loveisnottourism campaign but In reality the Italian Consulate in Dubai rejected my application to see my Fiance of 6 years inspite of providing them with all the necessary documents.

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Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”