This article will explain all the primary considerations with exchanging your foreign driver’s license in the Republic of Georgia. From when the exchange is necessary, through to the legal requirements and the process for making the exchange.
Do I Need To Get A Georgian Driver’s License?
- A foreigner is authorized to drive in Georgia for 1 year after their last entry into Georgia (unless the term of validity of their driver’s license expires before that).
- A foreigner is entitled to swap their foreign driver’s license with a new Georgian driver’s license.
Should I Exchange, Or Take The Local Driving Test?
The local driving test is reported as being easy to pass (if you study and are an experienced driver) in Georgian or Russian language. The English theory test, however, is renowned for being so poorly translated that you have a high chance of failing, even if you studied thoroughly. The requirements to pass are relatively simple, it is the translation that causes the issues.
An exchange of license does not require a test. But the documentary evidence needed for the exchange needs to be considered.
How To Exchange Your Foreign Driver’s License
Information on the process. The details are based directly on the legislation (Order 598, Article 49 – currently only available in Georgian)
- Your passport (translated and notarized in Georgia); OR, your Georgian residence permit and passport (in such cases, translation and notarization are not required).
- If you present only your passport, you will also need a document certifying your registration address in Georgia (e.g. an extract of the immovable property owned by you; or a friend’s/landlord’s consent for you to be registered in the property owned by the friend/landlord). Note: This is the address where you will receive any fines and other information.
- A Legalized/apostilled copy of your valid foreign driver’s license. (See notes below)
- Your original foreign driver’s license. Note: You will have to leave their foreign driver’s license in the Agency.
- A document (issued by the relevant administrative body of the foreign country) indicating:
a) That you have been granted the driver’s license;
b) The date when the driver’s license was issued;
c) The category (vehicle types) of the driver’s license.
Note: This document has to be legalized/apostilled, translated, and notarized.
- A Form 100/a (ფორმა IV-100/ა – about the your health condition) issued within the last 180 days.
Note: Many hospitals, clinics, and individual practitioners can issue this document; it is issued after answering a few simple questions and/or taking a simple test; its price varies, but usually it is around 15-25 GEL.
- Visit the Service Agency (of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia).
Address: 5a Petre Kavtaradze St, Tbilisi
- Submit the documents.
- Take a photo (at the Agency).
- Pay the fee (15+1 GEL) (a bank is located in the same building).
- If approved, receive a new (Georgian) driver’s license in approx. 15-20 minutes.
What is the validity of your new Georgian Driver’s Licence?
From Article 41.5:
- for categories A, B, BE, T, S, A1, and B1 – 15 years;
- for categories C, CE, D, DE, C1, C1E, D1, and D1E – 5 years.
How do I get my documents apostilled/legalized?
This process can only be provided by a recognized authority of the country which issued the documents. Contact your country’s embassy/consulate in Georgia for advice on how to proceed.
How do I get my documents translated/notarized?
Any Notary Public in Georgia can assist with this. In situations where you are engaging ExpatHub to provide legal services, we can also assist with the translation service.
What sort of document is required to satisfy item 5 above (the document from the authorities stating when the license was issued etc.)?
In our opinion, if the apostilled driver’s license states all the information (including issue date and vehicle category) then, it, in itself, would be a legal document confirming such things. However, the Georgian authorities seem to be confused about this and you may get mixed results with arguing this.
If you cannot successfully argue this, contact your local authority in your home country to request if a document of this nature can be provided.
Can I exchange the Georgian licence for one in another country if I leave Georgia?
That would depend on the country in which you wish to make the exchange and you should seek advice from the relevant authorities in that country.
If I can drive legally in Georgia so long as my last legal entry was less than 1 year ago, do I need a Georgian license if I leave and return more than once a year?
This is a bit of a grey area. If your passport shows your last entry as less than 1 year ago, then you most likely can drive on your foreign license, even if you have been mostly in Georgia for many years. What the law says and how the law is enforced tends to differ in some instances so all we can comment is that, if you have not got a visa stamp proving you have been in the country for less than 1 year, definitely don’t drive on a foreign license.
If you normally live here, and have for more than 1 year, but do have a last entry of less than 1 year, then the risk is on you if you continue to drive on the foreign license. We can’t say for sure how the law would be applied in this case.