Switzerland agrees to open borders to unmarried couples

Switzerland agrees to open borders to unmarried couples
Foreign partners of Swiss residents will be allowed to come to Switzerland. Photo by AFP
Following the lead of Denmark, Norway and Austria, Swiss authorities will exceptionally lift restrictions on entry to people from third nations whose ‘significant other half’ lives in Switzerland.

As residents of many countries outside the EU and Schengen zone are not allowed to enter Switzerland, couples where one partner lives in Switzerland and the other abroad have been separated since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The only third-country nationals permitted to come to Switzerland at the present time are people from Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.

Also residents of some EU states outside the Schengen area — Bulgaria, Ireland, Croatia, Romania and Cyprus — are granted access.

READ MORE: Switzerland opens borders to travellers from certain countries outside Europe 

But people from other nations considered to be ‘at-risk’ due to the high number of coronavirus infections are kept away.

A large-scale social media campaign, “LoveIsNotTourism”, has been launched in Denmark, Norway and Austria to demand that states make an exception and lift their restrictions on unmarried couples waiting to be reunited.

The governments of these three countries agreed to let the foreign partners in.

Now Switzerland is set to follow this example.

“We have a lot of understanding for people in this situation. We will adjust our entry conditions as quickly as possible”, Barbara Büschi, deputy director at the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) said in an interview.

However, strict criteria will be set regarding the eligibility of foreigners to reunite with their partners in Switzerland.

“We are in contact with customs and the Department of Foreign Affairs to set the criteria for entry clearance”, Büschi said.

What is certain is that people who met on online dating sites but who have not yet met in person will not qualify to enter.

Nor will anyone trying to immigrate to Switzerland under the guise of a reunion.

Switzerland will decide on the controls to be implemented before the end of July, and enforce the policy by the beginning of August.


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