Visa and Residency

Immigration Guide to Georgia: Visas and Permits

In this article we explain you everything you need to know about the immigration laws in Georgia.

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Immingration in Georgia

Have you ever imagined your work day ends with a glass of nice wine somewhere on a cozy Tbilisi street, and weekends spent exploring the ruins of Vardzia or tanning on a beach in Batumi? Wait, wait. Before you pack your things and book your flight to Georgia, let’s sort out the legal aspects of the topic. 

Who needs a Visa to enter Georgia?

Citizens of over 90 countries, including the United States, Australia, and several European nations, enjoy visa-free entry to Georgia and unrestricted stay in the country for up to one year. So, if you’re a citizen of one of the countries on the list, you can stay in Georgia without any additional restrictions. 

List of Visa-free countries

Below is the list of countries which citizens can enter Georgia visa-free:

EU States
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Iceland
Montenegro
Singapore
Australia
Botswana
Israel
Honduras
Armenia
Azerbaijan
Brazil
Canada
Norway
Thailand
Albania
Brunei
Qatar
Oman
Tajikistan
Andorra
Moldova
Columbia
Panama
Uzbekistan
Antigua and Barbuda
Japan
Costa Rica
Russia
Ukraine
Argentina
Denmark Territories
Republic of Korea
French Republic Territories
Uruguay (90 days)
New Zealand
Dominican Republic
Lebanon
San Marino
Kuwait
Barbados
Ecuador
Liechtenstein
Saudi Arabia
Kazakhstan
Bahamas
El Salvador
Mauritius
South Africa
Kyrgystan
Bahrain
Turkey
Malaysia
Serbia
Switzerland
Belarus
Turkmenistan
Mexico
Seychelles
Chile (90/180 days)
Belize
Iran (45 days)
Monaco
Saint Vincent and Grenadines
Holy See
United States of America
British Overseas Territories
British Dependent Territories
United Arab Emirates
Netherlands Territories
Jordan

Visa Types

For all the citizens of other countries, Georgia has several types of visas suitable for different purposes and stay periods. In general, Georgia has 5 types of visas:

  • Diplomatic (A)
  • Special (B)
  • Ordinary (C)
  • Immigration (D)
  • Transit (T)

Immigration (D-category) Visa

For the purposes of this article, we will focus on the D-category visa type, as it is suitable for most laborers, business people, and entrepreneurs seeking to work in Georgia.

D1 Visa – For work

D1 is the primary visa for those seeking labor activities in Georgia. It is suitable for:

  • Representatives and consultants of international companies and firms traveling to Georgia to perform their official duties.
  • Individuals entering the country to work under the signed contract.
  • Individuals entering the country to perform entrepreneurial activities under the Law of Georgia on Entrepreneurs.

D2 Visa – Professional activities

This type of visa works for:

  • Individuals involved in sports, scientific, cultural, and educational activities.
  • Freelancers
  • Foreign individuals engaged in volunteering or internship activities on the territory of Georgia.
  • Mass media workers arrive in Georgia to perform their job activities.

D3 Visa – Study and research

This visa works for individuals who come to Georgia to study and conduct research or to study within international programs. 

D4 Visa – Family reunification

D4 Visa applies to individuals arriving in Georgia for family reunification.

D5 Visa – Real estate ownership

This visa type is available for individuals with the right of ownership of the real property owners (excluding the agricultural land) and their family members. The property owned by the individual seeking the D5 visa must correspond to the following requirements:

  • The market value of the property should exceed USD 100,000 equivalent in GEL. 
  • The property’s market value should be established by the Independent real estate appraiser

Steps to obtain a Visa in Georgia

Obtaining a visa to enter Georgia requires careful planning and completion of specific steps:

Visa Application

  • Form: Fill in the visa form online (VISA PORTAL). After filling in the relevant form online, it must be physically presented at the diplomatic mission/consular office of Georgia abroad. And if the applicant is on the territory of Georgia and has the right to stay in the country for another 45 days, he/she can apply for a visa without leaving the country directly at the House of Justice.
  • Content: Provide accurate and complete information as required by the form.
  • Language: Ensure the form is filled in both Georgian and your native language.

Required Documents

  • Consult the Government of Georgia ordinance for the specific documents needed for your visa category. These may include your passport, travel itinerary, proof of accommodation, etc. 
  • Gather all required documents and ensure they are valid and translated into Georgian if necessary.

Interview

Be prepared for a possible interview with a visa officer to discuss your application further.

Invitation

  • Specific visa categories require an invitation from a Georgian resident or organization.
  • Obtain and submit the invitation along with your application.

Processing Time

  • Short-term visas: Expect a decision within 10 calendar days for standard applications and 5 working days for e-VISA PORTAL applications. Extensions are possible for complex cases. Exemptions exist for specific situations, allowing faster processing.
  • Long-term visas: Expect a decision within 30 calendar days for most D-category visas, except for the D5 visa, which takes 10 days.

Visa Fees

Visa fees vary depending on your nationality and visa category.

Who needs a Residence Permit in Georgia?

You got it with visas, but what about when you want to stay and operate in Georgia long-term? 

The individuals who don’t require a visa to enter Georgia and reside here for up to a year are also allowed to work in the territory of Georgia without any additional permit for the period of their stay. 

Here’s what legislation say about it:

According to the Ordinance № 255 approved by the government of Georgia, citizens and stateless persons permanently residing in the – any visa free travel country – may enter and stay in Georgia without a visa for 1 (one) full year. Citizens of any visa free travel country, who are staying in Georgia legally, may also apply for residence permit through the powers of the Legal Entities under Public Law (LEPL) within the Ministry of Justice of Georgia – LEPL, Public Service Hall, or LEPL Public Service Development Agency.  

Though a year may seem like a limited period, the immigrants often resort to the visa-run practice. By crossing the border with neighboring countries, such as Armenia, Azerbaijan, or Turkiye, the immigrants reverse their stay in Georgia and prolong their residence for one more year. To avoid visa-runs, a residence permit is a good solution.

Types of Georgian residence permits

Below are all the options available to obtain a residence permit in Georgia

Work Residence Permit

For the citizens of the countries not-included in the 1 year stay permit, a work residence permit is needed to perform labor activities on Georgia’s territory. The conditions to obtain the work residence permit are the following:

  • It is issued to individuals carrying out entrepreneurial or labor activities in Georgia.
  • Requires documented evidence of activity and income exceeding a set threshold.
  • Annual turnover of employing enterprises (except education/medical institutions) must reach at least GEL 50,000 per applicant.
  • For education/medical institutions, the minimum annual turnover is GEL 35,000 per applicant.

On May 17, 2023, the Georgian Parliament amended the Law on Labour Migration, bringing essential changes concerning Work Residence Permit and D1 Visa. Previously, the working contract that was the primary condition for obtaining a D1 Visa and Work Residence Permit could have been fixed-term or indefinite. Now, the period of employment contract must be fixed

In addition, a new procedure of registering labor immigrants in the labor immigrants database was implemented. The employer is required to report the foreign employee within 30 days after the contract is signed. Failure to register the employee can result in fines, and obtaining the D1 Visa and Work Residence Permit without both the contract and the employee’s registration in the database is impossible. 

Investment Residence Permit

Georgia also provides residence permits based on investments and entrepreneurial activities. The types of investment / entrepreneurial permits are the following:

  • Issued to individuals who invest at least USD 300,000 equivalent in GEL or own immovable property (excluding agricultural land) exceeding USD 300,000 equivalent in GEL.
  • Requires market value certification by an accredited assessor.
  • Family members include spouses, minor children, dependent beneficiaries of support, and legally incompetent dependents.

Short-Term Residence Permit for Property Owners

  • Issued to individuals owning immovable property exceeding USD 100,000 equivalent in GEL and their family members.
  • Requires market value certification by an accredited assessor.

Residence Permit for the Unlimited Period

  • Issued to aliens and their families holding an investment residence permit based on investments exceeding USD 300,000 equivalent in GEL, achieving specific annual turnover thresholds during their first 5 years of entrepreneurial activity in Georgia, or owning an immovable property worth more than USD 300,000 equivalent in GEL for 5 years after receiving the initial investment residence permit.
  • Family members include spouses, minor children, dependent beneficiaries of support, and legally incompetent dependents.

Additional cases when a foreign individual may obtain a residence permit that are worth mentioning are:

Study Residence Permit

Issued for pursuing studies at an authorized educational institution in Georgia.

Family Reunification Residence Permit

Issued to family members of individuals holding a Georgian residence permit.

Former Citizen Residence Permit

Issued to individuals who previously held Georgian citizenship.

Permanent Residence Permit

Issued to spouses, parents, and children of Georgian citizens.
Also issued to individuals residing in Georgia for 6 years with a temporary residence permit (excluding study, medical treatment, and diplomatic missions).

Wrapping Up

While the legal aspect of immigration may seem scary and hard to deal with, Georgia’s legal procedures on visas and work / residence permits are quite straightforward. The citizens of the 90+ countries mentioned are free of any restrictions for one year of the allowed residency on the territory of Georgia. And for the prolonging of the stay, the visa-run practice is a method to go. 

For the residents who do need a visa to enter Georgia, the D1 type of visa is the most common choice. For the work permit, a contract with an established working period and online registration are the only two you and your employer must take care of. Otherwise, your evenings on the cozy Tbilisi streets and a nice wine await you. 

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