On September 1, 2014 Georgia will introduce a new Law entitled ‘The Legal Status of Aliens and Stateless Persons’. Amongst other measures this will include new provisions on visas for Georgia.
Types of Visas
Under the new law, visas will be divided into the following categories: A – Diplomatic, B – Special, C – Ordinary, D – Immigration and T – Transit.
(A) Diplomatic – issued to officials of legislative and executive bodies of foreign countries to Georgia on state, official, business, friendly, unofficial visits, officials of the highest and high level delegations, accompanying family members or these persons, employees of diplomatic and other equivalent representative offices accredited to Georgia; to employees of representative offices of International organizations located in Georgia who were granted a diplomatic status by Georgia and to their family members; to diplomatic couriers, persons visiting Georgia on special diplomatic missions, to honorary consuls of Georgia.
(B) Special - issued to members of foreign delegations, their accompanying family members and other persons, administrative – technical and service personnel of foreign diplomatic missions, consular staff and service personnel of consular offices, and to their family members, employees of international and humanitarian organizations in Georgia and their family members who live with them, persons visiting Georgia on the basis of international bilateral and multilateral treaties of Georgia, members of peace-keeping forces and other military contingents deployed on the territory of Georgia under international treaties.
(C) Ordinary (TOURIST) – issued to persons who visit Georgia for tourism purposes and to visit relatives and friends, freelancers (persons, whose purpose of visiting Georgia is not paid labour activity), persons coming to Georgia for business meetings and negotiations, the participants of scientific workshops, conferences and other scientific-research, pedagogical, cultural or sports events; persons coming to perform journalistic activity.
(D) Immigration – issued to persons (and accompanying family members) who visit Georgia to conduct labour activities; representatives, consultants of companies or firms visiting Georgia to perform work duties; workers of mass media who visit Georgia to perform work duties; aliens who visit Georgia on the basis of labour contracts; persons who visit Georgia to conduct entrepreneurial activity; aliens who come to Georgia to study at educational institutions and to reunite with their families.
D Category visa is a precondition for issuing a residence permit. Immigration visas are always issued for a long-term.
(T) Transit- issued when transiting Georgia to enter a third country.
Visa Free Nationals – see below
Duration of Stay
The ability to stay 360 days in Georgia without the requirement for a Residence Permit has been abolished. But see “For those Already in Georgia” below.
Visa Nationals may now stay on the basis of holding either a short term or long term visa:
A short term visa will be issued according to the length of stay requested on the visa application form, but for a stay of no more than 30 days. This will only be a single entry visa.
Those wishing to stay longer than 30 days, should apply for a long term visa, which can be issued for a maximum 90 day stay within a 180 day period. This will be a multiple entry visa enabling the holder to return to Georgia as many times as they like within the 180 day period, providing the total stay does not exceed 90 days.
Visa Free Nationals are subject to the same duration of stay conditions, but do not require a visa for entry.
Visa Free Nationals
The Member countries of the European Union, the Commonwealth of Independent Countries (CIS), the North Atlantic Organization (NATO), and Schengen. Visa Free Nationals do not require visas to enter Georgia, but are subject to the same duration of stay provisions as Visa Nationals.
Single Entry Visas/Multiple Entry Visas
All short term visas will be restricted to single entry. Long Term Visas will be multiple entry. You will not be granted a multiple entry visa unless you have previously held a single entry visa and complied with its conditions.
You cannot change visa type in Georgia. You would need to leave the country and apply at a Georgian Embassy.
Visa Application Process
With effect from 1 September Georgian visas will only be issued by Georgian Diplomatic Missions abroad. Visas will no longer be issued at the border/airports/sea ports.
We do not yet have detailed information about visa application procedures, but have been told that these will be available soon.
Meanwhile, please contact the Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia at 6 Chitadze, Reception Hall during working hours: 10:00-13:00, or call +995 32 294 5050 for detailed information or your local Georgian Diplomatic Mission.
Under the new law, the following residence permits will be issued to aliens (foreigners):
- Work residence permit
- Study residence permit
- Family reunification
- Former citizen
- Stateless person
- Special residence permit
- Permanent residence permit
- Investment residence permit
When applying for a Georgian Residence Permit, the applicant should first hold a valid long-term Georgian visa issued for the same purpose for which they now require a residence permit. For example, a person who is interested in obtaining a residence permit for work or entrepreneurial activities should hold a D1 (Work) or D2 (entrepreneurial) immigration visa as mentioned above and so on.
Resident Permit Application Process:
The applicant can only apply for a residence permit while in Georgia. Applications should made at the LEPL Public Service Development Agency within the Ministry for Justice of Georgia and at branches of the LEPL Public Service Hall. The process should take approximately 30 days. Once a Residence Permit has been issued, the process to obtain an Residence ID Card takes a further additional 10 days. Click here for steps to apply for residence permits.
For those already in Georgia
Foreigners who are currently here under the 360 day provision (whether they be a Visa National or a Visa Free National) can continue to remain in Georgia under this condition. However, after September 1 2014, if such a person leaves Georgia, but plans to return and stay for more than 90 days, they will be required to obtain the relevant visa at the Georgian Embassy overseas. When they return to Georgia, they will then have to apply for a residence permit.
However, foreigners who are currently here under the 360 day provision and planning to leave the country after 1st of September 2014 with the aim of returning to Georgia, can also apply for a residence permit at the LEPL Public Service Hall before 1st of September. Click here for steps to apply for a residence permit.
Please visit the Q&A document on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website for more detailed information.