Georgia (Country) is now encouraging remote workers stuck in countries with oppressive corona regulations, or foreigners traveling in countries where their visas may already have expired, to come to Georgia.

For the first time, this new regime will allow people from countries on the COVID banned entry list (like the UK and USA) to cross the border, enter Georgia and live and work here legally for 365 days.

If you can prove you have a stable remote income, you can come and enjoy low cost of living here in Georgia.

To protect those already in the country from further outbreak, remote workers arriving will be required to attend mandatory quarantine on arrival.

We’ll be updating (last updated 13th Feb 2021) this article as and when things develop.

You will also find our new FAQs section and a case study at the bottom of this article as there is a lot of mis-information circulating on Facebook etc. If you have successfully applied and/or entered Georgia using the Remote Worker permit, we’d love to hear your story so we can use that information to help others get to Georgia. Please email tom@expathub.ge 

Major Changes Since 1st Feb 2021

Georgia eased border restrictions on Feb 1st 2021 which means that for countries that qualify (Including USA, UK, EU, Israel, UAE, Turkey and a few others) you will no longer need to go through the remote worker process in order to arrive to Georgia. Proof of income and the other requirements are removed for persons from those countries. Read more about who qualifies and the new entry requirements here.

If you do not qualify with the new rules (countries including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa and more) then you can still follow the remote permit application process in order to enter Georgia, the conditions remain the same as outlined below.

What Is The Georgian Remote Worker Regime?

This new regime will allow anyone who qualifies under the general conditions of the permit (see below) and who is from one of the 95 countries that would normally qualify for the 365 day visa waiver, to enter the Republic of Georgia to live and work, so long as they qualify – more on the requirements below.

The country list includes:

  • USA
  • UK
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Canada
  • Israel
  • EU countries
  • South Africa
  • As well as many more!

However, if you are from one of the 18 countries in the EU with special entry status to Georgia during COVID, entry is easier and you don’t need the remote work permit. Read more here.

This new remote worker regime is not a visa as such, it is a permission to travel and cross the border into Georgia, which was closed to most countries since March.

The visa itself is Georgia’s standard 365 day visa on arrival that allows you to live and work without restriction in Georgia. This is not a new visa, it’s one of the most flexible tourist visas in the world and Georgia has been offering this to foreign visitors for years.

Who Can Apply / What Are The Requirements?

Remote workers including employees, freelancers and entrepreneurs.

The following requirements are explained within the new legislation Order №1-1 / 334 by the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia:

  • Remote workers need to prove $2,000 USD equivalent per month income by uploading their past 12-months of bank statement or contracts showing future income. It has also been proven multiple times that showing you have >$24,000 USD (or equivalent in any currency) in savings will be sufficient. Essentially, anyone showing means that total around this sum, seems to have been accepted.
  • The regime, as announced in the official legislation said it only applies to citizens of the 50 countries listed in Ordinance 256. In practice, it has definitely applied to the longer list of countries from Ordinance 255. Which is the exact same list of countries who qualify for the visa waiver program (note, the free edition of this document is from 2015, since which Jordan has also been added to the list).
  • You must prove you have health insurance for at least 6 months. Local Georgian health insurance is sufficient.
  • You must undergo an 8-day quarantine (Previously 12-day) on arrival at own expense (This will be at a hotel. Prices vary depending on where you choose to stay – you must select from the government list of approved accommodation, starting at $45 per room per night.)
  • Your passport, submitted digitally.
  • A travel partner from any country can be added to your application, they do not need to meet the income requirements. They must have/obtain a visa/visa waiver in order to enter.
  • Applications are typically processed within 10 business days – if additional information is requested, this will likely lengthen the process beyond 10 working days.

Additional requirements for freelancers:

  • Provide copies of contracts with clients from the last 12 months

Additional requirements for remote employees:

  • Details about your employer
  • Letter of confirmation from your employer (Confirming your employment)

Additional requirements for entrepreneurs:

  • Information about your role in the company
  • Proof of your ownership/partnership in the company

Regarding travel insurance, we suggest you get a policy which has a cancellation policy if you do not travel, so if your application is rejected you can get a refund.

Learn how to make your Georgia remote worker application below.

Why Come To Georgia To Work Remotely?

We might be a little biased, but there are some really good reasons why we at ExpatHub decided to stay in Georgia permanently:

  • Very low cost of living – simply good bang for your buck. Prices are comparable to Thailand. A nice city centre 1 bedroom apartment is around $300 USD per month.
  • Active young expat/remote worker community (including digital nomads who stayed when borders closed) best for ages 21 to 55 – this is not a retiree destination! The capital Tbilisi mixes history and modern conveniences as well as fast fibre optic internet (20 to 100MB typically).
  • Amazing nature just 30 minutes from the capital. Hikers love Georgia’s mountains. Affordable skiing too!
  • The food and wine! If you are a fan of comfort food, you’ll love Khinkali (big meaty dumplings), khachapuri (cheese breads) and more. Georgia has the oldest proven wine history – 8,000 years – and artisan wineries, making natural bio wine are all over Georgia.
  • Access to the sea at Batumi.
  • If you intend to stay longer than 6 months, and make Georgia your tax home, there are also some fantastic tax benefits, like the 1% individual entrepreneur tax rate. But you should explore these options before you arrive, not once you hit the 6 month mark, as if you have intent to stay 6+ months, it can be very costly if you don’t organises the good tax rates from the get go.
  • So much more! Especially some of the best hospitality in the world from the Georgian people.

How To Apply For The Remote Worker Regime

Applications can now be made via an online electronic form.

You will enter your personal details and supporting documents will be submitted digitally. Applications should be processed within 10 days. If additional information is requested, the process could take longer.

The form now has the list of nationalities which corresponds to the 95 or so countries that are already eligible for the visa waiver. You can only apply if you are a passport holder of one of these countries. Your travel partner does not have to be from one of these countries but they must still have/obtain the legal right to enter Georgia (Visa/Visa Waiver)

NOTE: When the application form went live, it was publically promoted on the government website. Then it was taken down again – though you can still access it with the above link. If you make an application and have any problems, please report them to us using the contact below, so we can update this article with any potential issues. Thanks.

NOTE: The above information is not legal advice and we take no responsibility for the results you get from your application if following our advice. If you have additional questions, or would like to share your success or failure with applying/arriving contact us here.

FAQs

These FAQs refer specifically to the remote worker permit (not the business traveler permit or EU country agreement entry). At this time, there are different conditions for each type of permit.

We are still awaiting official comment from the government on a few key questions. Some others are answered based off anecdotal evidence, we’ll indicate when that is the case.

As with the rest of this article, we cannot guarantee or be held liable for anything. We endeavour to be as accurate as possible.

About The Conditions Of The Permit

Is the permit a visa?

NO. The permit is simply a right to cross the border and bypass COVID entry restrictions. You, and any travel partner, must still have a legal visa, or the right to enter on the visa waiver program (Ordinance 255 – same countries as the work remote permit + Jordan, which was added to this ordinance more recently)

What are the conditions of the quarantine?

You are required to stay in a quarantine hotel, at own expense, for 8 days after arrival in Georgia. Following the 8 days you will be tested for COVID, at your own expense, if you are clear, you will be able to leave the quarantine zone.

How many PCR tests will I need to take before or after arrival in Georgia? What will they cost?

From Sept 15th 2020 onwards, there is conflicting information that you are required to take a PCR test not more than 72 hours before landing in Georgia, as well as a PCR test on arrival. Or that the on arrival test alone is sufficient for initial arrival. If in doubt, get a test at home before arriving too. But the on arrival test is enough for this specific entry permit. Tests at own expense.

After your 8 day stay in quarantine, you will take and pay for one more test before you can leave quarantine. If you arrived on a flight after midnight on your first day, then quarantine can effectively be 9 days rather than 8.

Multiple reports suggest the PCR test at the airport is 250 GEL ($85 USD). Results will be sent to you by email within 24 hours. That said, some people have not been made to take the test at all, and are just taken direct to their quarantine hotel.

The enforcement of PCR tests by border staff has been intermittent. We have received anecdotal reports of both additional tests that were unexpected, as well getting through without any testing.

How much do the quarantine hotels cost? Which hotels can I stay at?

The full list of hotels assigned as quarantine hotels for the remote worker permit is here:

https://registration.gov.ge/hotels/index.php

Prices vary from around $40 USD per night to close to $170 USD per night.

Is food provided at hotels? Can I order delivery? How much does it all cost?

Every hotel has different conditions. All provide breakfast. All allow you to order delivery, which will be brought to your room. Delivery can include restaurants but also pharmacies, supermarkets and direct deliveries from friends (You can get point-to-point delivery using the glovo app very cheaply)

Some hotels provide a room service a la carte menu. Some provide a full board supplement, as low as around $10 USD per day for lunch and dinner. We can’t vouch for the quality at this price, but if you choose to order delivery food instead, prices in Georgia are cheap compared to the EU/US – so $15 per day for delivery per person is typically adequate for regular food. Less if you order from supermarkets.

At which borders can I enter Georgia? (land / air etc?)

Recently the work remotely application has been updated to allow applicants to enter any border – including land borders, airports and seaports.

Entering Tbilisi Airport, book tbilisi hotels and transfer from the airport is included.

If entering via Azerbaijan or Armenia, you will be required to pay for a transfer to your Tbilisi quarantine hotel. Contact the hotel directly.

Entering via Kazbegi (Russian Border) choose the Gudauri hotel options.

Entering from Turkey, Batumi, Po’ti – sea, land or air, then book Mirage Hotel Shekvetili in Guria.

If entering via Kutaisi airport, order a transfer to Tbilisi or to the Mirage in Guria – up to you.

If you choose to cross a land border on the work remote permit, or if you book a private transfer, I’d suggest bringing a document from the hotel, written in Georgian, which details the hotel booking, has contacts for both the hotel and your direct transfer driver and phone numbers so the border guards can confirm your transfer is authorised and liaise with the driver directly for your pickup.

The hotel will give you a quote on an approved driver. You can elect to get transferred straight to Tbilisi direct from any border or airport if you prefer, so long as the driver is booked through the hotel.

Making An Application

How many months/days should I put on the form? What is the maximum and minimum stay allowed?

UNCONFIRMED: Between 90 and 365 days is our recommendation at this time. The visa allows stays up to 365 days. It is designed for those looking to stay long term, so a longer stay is likely to give you a stronger chance of getting accepted, in our opinion. However, the government has not commented on their expectation, so this is still conjecture. Around 6 months seems to be the safest bet. The number of days does not appear to be binding, so you still get a max of 365 days, no matter what you put on the form.

For the “Are you going to travel to Georgia alone” section, who will be approved without needing to send their own application or have their own $2,000 per month income? 

Only the main applicant needs to prove their income. Travel partners, even those that are not a spouse, may be approved without income requirements.

Spouse and children are most likely to be approved, but we have heard of plenty of non-married partners also being approved – this has not been specifically confirmed by government sources at this time. But in practice, non-married partners have definitely entered in this way. Even friends.

Your travel partner MUST have the legal right to enter Georgia – either by being from a country eligible for the visa waiver program (same passports as the remote permit) or by applying for a legal visa. The remote entry permit is NOT a visa and is not sufficient to cross the border. You can apply for the remote worker permit first, once approved, your travel partner can apply for a visa if required.

ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE: the visa applied for has actually been the D1 (to work in Georgia) rather than C1 (tourism) or C2 (visit friends/family). The approval as travel partner on the remote permit was used as supporting evidence to get the D visa. The D visa allows 3 months entry, and extension for 3 more months from within Georgia. After this, you could look at other residence options.

Will those traveling with me who are not required to prove income, be required to fill any additional documentation beyond my own application? Or will they be approved automatically if my application is successful?

If the assessor of your application deems those travelling with you to be valid candidates, the only additional documentation they should need to provide would be passports and possibly proof of relationship (though non family and non spouse +1s have definitely been accepted with no questions asked). However, you may be contacted regarding additional documentation if the government decide it is necessary. It seems they are being quite lenient on travel partners at this time, and most are qualifying easily.

NOTE: Applicants do not always receive written, named confirmation of travel partner approval. This does not seem to have been a big problem at the Georgian border, though it does cause delays while they have to take extra time to verify the travel partner was approved. However, it can cause issues when trying to board the flight to Georgia as airline staff need evidence that you will be allowed to enter Georgia, otherwise you cannot board. Follow up with your application to get evidence for the travel partner and tell them that you need it so they can board the flight. 

What type of insurance do I need? Can it be a Georgian insurance company? Or must it be an international insurance company? 

You do not have to use an expensive international provider, local Georgian health insurance companies are able to provide the required insurance. That said, expat insurance may offer you more and better quality than a local insurer.

Do I just need health insurance, or complete travel insurance?

Any type of health insurance is sufficient. Full travel insurance is not required, though we recommend it for your own personal peace of mind. You do not have to use an expensive international provider, local Georgian health insurance companies are able to provide the required insurance.

For those nomads who already use Safetywing – reports suggest that will be accepted.

What do I put in the “Organization ID” field? (Employee applications only)

This is the unique ID number of the company you work for. Ask one of your managers or the accounting department to provide this.

After Making An Application

How long will it take for my application to be accepted? How will I be contacted about the status of the application?

The official wait time is 10 business days. Some applicants have reported turnaround as quick as 2 to 3 days. If there are any errors or additional information required to be submitted, you should be contacted by email with a request for that information. If you have not received any contact within 10 business days, it’s worth contacting the ministry of economy to check on the status of your application +(995 32) 299 11 11

You can also try emailing travel@moesd.gov.ge and/or remotelyfromgeorgia@gnta.ge

If your application is successful, you should receive an email with information and your entry permit documents and further instructions for entry to Georgia.

What do I do if my application is rejected?

A lot of applications are being rejected for very small mistakes on the forms. If after 10 business days you have not received a response about your application, or you have received a rejection, you can call Georgia’s ministry of economy on +(995 32) 299 11 11 and request an explanation of why the application was rejected. Follow their instructions to re-submit any additional information.

Can I change my arrival date? No date of entry was printed on the confirmation document? Can I travel on any date I choose?

Unlike other entry permits, the remote work permit previously did not request the applicant include an arrival date. That changed sometime around October/November.

It is now important if you selected an arrival date and your date has changed from what you put on the application, by more than 7 days in either direction, that you email back the department that approved you and let them know your new anticipated arrival date.

Before Traveling To Georgia

Which airlines currently fly to Tbilisi?

This is changing all the time, so we can’t keep you up to date in this FAQ section. At time of writing, most flights were still postponed until December 31st. Flights from Paris, Munich and Riga have been the most consistent options that are still running.

Georgian Airways is the primary carrier still operating direct to Tbilisi, so taking a look at their flight schedule to see which routes are currently running is a good start. Note that just because flights are listed, doesn’t guarantee will fly. But reports of flights from Amsterdam, Vienna and Berlin arriving have been confirmed and seem to still be operating.

Do I need to bring a printed copy of my confirmation document to the airport?

Although this does not appear to be mandatory and your permit information should be digitally available and connected to your passport when scanned at passport control, it is advisable to have a paper copy just in case. At the very least, have the digital copy of your permit stored offline on your phone.

It’s worth having information on your person relating to the work remote permit and your hotel. Some suggested documents to have printed or on your phone:

  • Your permit
  • Your hotel booking – some hotels require 3 to 4 working days to process payment and get you the invoice.

People have definitely entered without printing anything, but for convenience and speed of communication and processing, printed versions of these will help avoid confusion (like the border staff trying to process you as a business traveler when you are not, and then send you to the wrong hotels – yes this has happened already). Some travelers suggested making sure the hotel transport should bring documents confirming your stay to the airport to make your pickup simpler.

What are my tax liabilities in Georgia with the remote worker permit?

Anyone present in Georgia for 183 days in any 12 month rolling period is automatically a tax resident for the tax year in which the 183rd day was reached. They are required to file a tax return by march 31st of the following year.

If you plan to stay in Georgia for more than 183 days it is highly recommended you consult with a tax adviser as soon as you arrive, or before you arrive, rather than waiting until that 6 month period. Most tax benefits within the Georgian tax system, including the 1% tax rate, cannot be applied for retroactively. So if you will become a Georgian taxpayer, applying for those benefits as soon as you arrive will reduce your overall tax burden significantly.

Read our guide to tax in Georgia for remote workers.

Bringing Pets To Georgia.

Pets can typically be brought on your flight. Some of the hotels allow cats and smaller dogs to stay in the room with you. Contact the hotels directly, the list is available here.

Royal inn and Iveria hotel have confirmed pets can stay. Additional charges apply.

Case Study

The below is an anonymous case study (though the applicant has been verified by us).

Country Of Residence: NON-EU

Application Type: Remote Employee

—-

I submitted my application on Friday, 4 September 2020 and received an email confirming they received my application and a decision would be made within 10 days.

Two days later (6 September 2020), I received an email from them asking for additional information, namely:

  1. More detailed information on financial income.
  2. More documentation on earnings of $2000.00.
  3. Medical insurance valid for 6 months.

I had 24 hours to send this new information.

I gathered the following information:

  1. I provided a contract that points to my hourly remuneration.
  2. I gathered proof of income for the past three months that clearly showed my earnings after taxes.
  3. The tricky part was getting the correct medical insurance, at an affordable rate. Most Digital Nomad insurance companies cost an arm and a leg, so I opted to do some research on local Georgian insurance companies and finally got 12 months of medical insurance through a company called Ardi.

I submitted this information before the 24 hour period was finished.

I received my positive response for the program on 9 September. It is important to note that in my application, I included my fiance, so the response included her in the approval. All she had to do was submit a copy of her passport (she also got an email from them asking for this).

———–

If you have questions not covered above, please contact tom@expathub.ge


Tom Williams
Tom Williams

Managing Partner @ ExpatHub.GE | Expert on Tbilisi/Georgia re-location, visas/residency, business, food, wine and more. Previously from the UK, now a full time expat in Tbilisi.