Visas and visa exemptions in Georgia (the country)

Visas and visa exemptions in Georgia (the country)

Unlike the list of countries that can enter Georgia visa-free for a year, this post will be short. The government has made the visa regime quite simple and very liberal, and while it might change in the future, the current situation is probably one of the best in the world if you’re looking for a place to settle down for a while without having to do a lot of paperwork.

Visa-free entry

I’m not sure why some of these are “otherwise noted” instead of just put into a different category altogether, but if you’re from one of these countries you have pretty good odds of being able to come and go from Georgia as you please!
Source

Basically, if you’re a citizen of one of the 98 countries on the list, you can just show up at any port into Georgia and get a full year automatically. I hear it used to be 360 days, but the official government sources I found all say “one full year” now.

If you leave and re-enter before the year is up, you’ll be given another full year, and as far as I can tell, they have no hard limit on how many times you’re allowed to do this. I’ve heard from people with 20-30+ visa-free stamps that they don’t usually get a second look. Yes, it’s really that easy—when I entered (albeit, only one time so far), my passport got stamped so fast I almost blinked and missed it. Seriously, it was easier for me to get into Georgia than it is for me to land back in my home country of the U.S, where I typically get yelled at by airport workers, biometrically logged, and lightly interrogated.

Here’s the catch, though: this unlimited in-and-out applies to everyone in theory, but in practice, citizens of WEIRD (Western Educated Industrialized Rich Democratic; basically North America, Europe, Australia) countries have the easiest time. Or so I’ve heard—as a WEIRD person myself, I don’t have anything else to compare it to. What this means is that after a few visas there’s a small possibility that Asian/African/South American citizens may get some questions. I’m not making any generalizations about Georgian attitudes or anything here—just reporting the buzz I’ve heard, largely from social media (which is to say, take it with a grain of salt).  

There’s more detailed information at the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website.

What can I do on a visa-free entry?

Good advice–also a good bar.

Pretty much whatever you want–Georgia doesn’t really restrict your activity on a tourist visa. Here are a few things you can do in Georgia on a visa-free entry:

  • Rent an apartment (you may or may not sign an actual contract)
  • Open a bank account (with a passport)
  • Study
  • Work (online or in Georgia)
  • Become a tax resident (I think it’s the case that after 183 days you can become a Georgian tax resident and get their extremely generous tax rates on foreign-earned income)
  • Get a driver’s license/buy a car
  • Eat delicious food
  • Get toasted on Georgian wine

Countries that need a visa

List of countries that require a visa and have limited stays in Georgia.
Source

For countries not in the 98 listed above, requirements will vary, but mostly they need to apply for a multiple-entry e-visa that is valid for either 90 out of 180 or 30 out of 120 days. Basically, spend 90 days in Georgia, 90 days out; 30 days in; 90 out. There are actually some surprises on this list, like China, Hong Kong, and India, all of which are subject to the 30/120 rule.

Getting in with a visa from another country

This one is a little weird for me, but as I understand it, if you already have a visa or residency permit for certain countries, you can enter Georgia visa-free for 90 days in a 180-day period. It seems as if it counts as your visa for Georgia. Maybe this is just something I haven’t bothered to notice in other countries, but it’s an interesting idea! Perhaps the assumption is that if these countries will let you in you’re a safe bet?

Countries that can’t enter at all

A helpful map of countries that are allowed to enter Georgia (green) and countries that are not (red). If you like “Where’s Waldo” books you’ll have fun trying to find the red one.

It’s Taiwan. Literally just Taiwan. This is a little bizarre, given that even North Koreans can get visas, but it’s definitely on the books. This is most likely due to pressure from China, which doesn’t like other countries to recognize Taiwan/the Republic of China as a sovereign nation, and Georgia’s not in much of a position to refuse.

Other visas

There are a few other categories of Georgian visa, but because they’re a bit more specialized I won’t really cover them in detail here. The short version:

  • Diplomatic visas (you’ll know if you need this)
  • Special visas (covers a lot of random categories, mostly related to state and non-state organizations)
  • Immigration visas (Coming to study, work, see your family, or otherwise stay for a while? This is for you!)
  • Transit visas (You can stay for 10 days on this)

For more detailed information on visas and procedures, you can check out the Georgian government’s immigration website.

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