Thursday. 01.12.2022

Belgium opens borders to unmarried partners in long-term relationships

Unmarried non-EU citizens who are in a lasting relationship will be able to enter the European county to visit their partners.

"Love knows no boundaries," Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes said at a press conference.

20 August 2020, Belgium, Brussels: Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes attends a press conference, following a meeting of the National Security Council, to discuss the security measures amid the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak. Photo: Olivier Matthys/dpa.
Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes attends a press conference, following a meeting of the National Security Council. Photo: Olivier Matthys/dpa.

Unmarried couples separated by the coronavirus will soon be able to reunite in Belgium: as of September 1, non-EU citizens who are in a lasting relationship will be able to enter the European county to visit their partners.

They will still have to abide by the general coronavirus measures, such as taking a coronavirus-test if returning from a so-called red zone and going into quarantine, Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes announced on Thursday.

"You know that love knows no boundaries," Wilmes said at a press conference following a meeting of the Belgian security council. "The physical separation of certain couples is not tenable anymore."

The European Union had closed its borders to all but essential travel to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Until now, entry to Belgium - and most other European Union countries - was only possible for family members, but not for those in a long-term relationship that are unmarried.

This sparked global outrage and a campaign dubbed LoveIsNotTourism.

Relationship must be proven

With this move, Belgium follows a handful of other EU countries, including Germany, the Netherlands, and Denmark, which had already opened their borders to unmarried couples.

The couples will have to be able to prove that they are in a committed relationship.

Belgium also relaxed some other measures, such as lifting its limit for spending time in a shop and allowing two people to shop together.

After having been reduced at the end of July, the maximum for people will double again to 200 people for inside events, such as concerts or sport events, and 400 for those outside. As of 1 September, 50 people will be allowed to attend a funeral.

Belgium opens borders to unmarried partners in long-term relationships
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