Essential travel for

Binational couples with a durable relationship

Do you wish to visit your other half during during these strange times? No worries, we got you covered. We want to help you get to your lover or help getting your lover to Belgium.

If you wish to consult the specific procedures for your country, we suggest looking for help in the general Love is Not Tourism Facebook group (or the one dedicated to your country).

 

Short recap of the situation

For months binational couples have been denied to travel to one another. Only recently have governments started giving instructions to embassies and authorities to allow couples to reunite. Couples need to provide a few documents to prove their relationship is durable.

This is necessary for the universal recognition and approval of essential travel. Certificates for essential travel overwrite travel restrictions (only to the destination country) when approved by the destination country. Though, it should be mentioned that this certificate does not guarantee the flight.

Durable relationship definition

The ‘durable relationship’ terminology differs per country. In Belgium (which is moderately strict) this means you must have:

  • A relationship for a minimum of 12 months. During this relationship you must have met physically at least 2 times with a combined total of at least 20 days; or
  • Lived together for a minimum of 6 months; or
  • A relationship with a child in common.

In case you (almost) meet the requirements, we advise you to contact the embassy of the destination country in the departure country.
For instance, the Canadian girlfriend or boyfriend contacts the embassy of Germany in Canada if she/he wishes to visit her/his German partner.

Note that: You cannot be married to apply for this procedure.

 

We'll break it down for you

Documents for essential travel - de facto partners

  • Proof of durable relationship (photos together, flight tickets, printscreens of conversations or call history, projects together, gifts, …);
  • (Schengen) health insurance with a minimum coverage of at least 30.000 euros during the stay;
  • Passports of both partners;
  • Declaration of sufficient financial resources or document of financial dependency (in Belgium: 3bis) – a copy is okay;
 
  • While traveling: Health declaration/ Passenger locator forms to and through countries like Netherlands, Belgium, …;
  • While traveling: Guarantees of return (returning flight ticket);
  • Optional: self written invitation letter inviting your partner to come for the desired period. State the names, passport nr., location and dates. (Check if necessary for your country.)
  • Before travelling: negative COVID-19 test taken 72 hours before departure. (Check if necessary for your country.)
 
Frequently asked questions

Additional info for documents needed to travel​

What do I need to send to prove my relationship is durable?

Any photos, conversations you feel like sharing, a call history suffices as well. No geolocalization is necessary for photos, though you can add locations and dates if you want. Calls and text messages on 1 platform is sufficient, you can always add more. Remember: employees at the embassy are humans too, they know people want to reunite.

 

What dates do I state?

I would suggest adding milestones like:
– The official starting date of your relationship
– The dates of the first, second, … visit
– Dates of gifts received with a photo (optional)
The main takeway is to convey you have been in a relationship for almost/more than 1 year.

 

Which flight to take?

Honestly there is no 100% certainty. From our experience (long distance relationship Belgium-Mexico) we would not recommend flying with TUI  right now (even if it is the only direct itinerary). KLM and Aeroméxico seem most reliable to travel from Mexico to Belgium through The Netherlands. Though, again from our experience Aeroméxico was very unreasonable upon departure and did not communicate well with us for questions about departure.

 

Is an invitation letter required?

A self written invitation letter is not required for Belgium. Some other countries do require this document.

 

Financial documents - additional info

You either show through your bank statements that you can afford to sustain yourself (sufficient personal means of subsistence) in Belgium. In Belgium: €45 per day (€95 per day if you stay in a hotel).
OR the partner in Belgium fills in a 3bis document and gets a signature from your town hall (id required to validate the signature). It can also be a family member of the partner signing the 3bis document, as long as the document gets validated by someone with a stable income (3 last payslips).

The town hall does NOT have to send this document to DVZ (foreign affairs, takes 4 weeks or more) — the embassy only needs a signed (validated) document from the town hall. In our case, the town hall gave me no option and wanted to send it anyway. In that case: ask a copy with the signatures of you and the town hall. Dutch 3bis | French 3bis (Both in English as well)

 

Last step - sending everything to the embassy

First of all: try to add all photos and documents in a single PDF-file, we listed the ones we sent in the image on the right/below as an example. Make sure that the file size is not too large.

Next step: send it to the embassy of Belgium in CDMX (mexico@diplobel.fed.be) asking for a travel certificate.
OR to the embassy following the Canadian/German example I mentioned.

Finally: check to see if they received it and after a week to see when they can process it.

Do not spam the embassy, rather keep an eye on the progress in a friendly way. Also, make sure you send it enough in advance, it might take several weeks.

This procedure is a light version of VISA C due to it’s similar requirements.

 

Conclusion

Traveling internationally to meet your partner doesn’t come easy. In fact, we experienced several major setbacks regarding flights and check-in procedures. However, we managed and so will you.

 
Evidence of durable relationship