If you are planning to move to Georgia, or are already here and hoping to switch from tourist visa to residence permit, Georgia offers several types of temporary residency permits; the most popular ones are:
- Work Residence permit (For those with a work contract or business in Georgia)
- Short-term residence permit (based on property ownership)
- Residence permit for family reunification
- Other types of residence permit (including student residency permit)
In this article we’ll explore the requirements for the above types of residence permits. It should be noted that legal residency does not instantly mean you get tax residency in Georgia, read more here.
Temporary residence permits are typically first issued for a period of 6 to 12 months (Though sometimes up to 5 years in rare cases). They may then be extended for an additional period of 1 to 5 years, at the discretion of the SDA agent assessing the case.
Additional extensions can be issued but the total period of issuance of a temporary residence permit in Georgia should not exceed 6 years. After 6 years you would be expected to apply for permanent residency – though new legislation is currently under process that would allow temporary residents to have 10 years rather than 6.
For any temporary residence application your current document proving you are legally in the country (Passport stamp, previous temporary residence permit, visa etc) must have at least 40 days validity remaining.
First time applications must be made from within Georgia.
Renewals of an existing permit can be made online from outside Georgia, providing at least 40 days validity remain on that existing permit.
NEWS April 2021: If applying on the basis of the July 1st 2021 COVID extension, be aware that significant amounts of additional legal proof has been required by the SDA to get cases approved since Jan 2021. If you need assistance with this, contact our office.
Work residence permit
The work residence permit is granted to individuals who are coming to Georgia due to their entrepreneurial or labor activities. In order to qualify and apply:
- Either you must have an employment contract with at least 6 months remaining
- OR a document proving ownership of the sponsoring LLC or Individual Entrepreneur (ie. registration documents of the LLC or IE ) & proof of sufficient funds to support oneself for the duration of the residence permit (6 to 12 months for the first permit, up to 5 years for future permits).
- Turnover (within any 12 month period) of the sponsoring LLC or IE should exceed 50,000 GEL for each foreigner seeking a work residence permit. If you are employed at an educational institution or medical facility, their total turnover should exceed 35,000 GEL per applicant.
Turnover can be proven by any of the following: 1. Copy of your VAT turnover statements from the revenue service. 2. Bank statement of your Georgian Business Bank Account in GEL. 3. A licenced auditor verifying turnover paid into your foreign bank accounts.
To apply, the following documents should be submitted:
All documents should include a Georgian language version. If the original document is not in Georgian, a legal translation should be included.
- Extract from the Registry of Entrepreneurs and Non-Entrepreneurial (Non-Commercial) Legal Entities (ie. Proof of the existence of the Georgian LLC or Individual Entrepreneur)
- Copy of a travel document of the applicant (normally a passport). For the first application, a translated version is normally required. For renewal, so long as you use the same passport, simply a photocopy or the original is sufficient.
- Copy of a document certifying the applicants’ legal stay in Georgia (with at least 40 days validity – though there are options if you have even just 1 to 7 days validity, in some cases, but that requires an additional process);
- Document certifying employment or entrepreneurial activity with net income of at least 5 x Georgian subsistence income per month (labor contract or any other document certifying employment or business ownership). As of December 14th 2020, this amount is 187.5 x 5 = 937 GEL per month. If this document does not include the legal income of the applicant, proof of sufficient funds can be provided instead.
- A document stating how many foreigners are working with IE or in LLC (Signed by a company director and the company accountant)
- Document showing total turnover of the LLC or Individual Entrepreneur, as detailed above.
- Photo of applicant 3×4 in size;
- Receipt certifying the payment of service fees.
You can get the answer on your application within a maximum of 30 days and a minimum of 10 days.
Your application done for you? See our residency application service.
Short-term residence permit (Based on property ownership)
The short-term residence permit is issued to the person – and his/her family members (dependants or spouse only) – who, according to the rule established by Georgian legislation have the right to immovable property (except for agricultural land), with the market price above 100,000 USD equivalent in GEL. This can be a single property, or a portfolio of property with a total value exceeding the threshold. Note: If you receive residency and subsequently your property is sold or valued below the threshold, your residency becomes automatically invalid.
To grant a short-term residence permit, the market value of the property shall be established by a certified assessor of a body accredited by the Legal Entity under the Public Law Unified National Accreditation Body – Accreditation Centre.
The following documents should be submitted:
- Copy of a travel document of the applicant (property owner);
- Copy of a document certifying the applicants’ legal stay in Georgia (with at least 7 days validity – though they sometimes request 40 days – – though there are options if you have even just 1 day validity, but that requires an additional process);
- A document proving that the applicant owns the immovable property with the value exceeding GEL equivalent of 100,000 USD in the territory of Georgia.
- A document certifying the market value of the property; market value determined by the certified appraiser of the accredited body of the legal entity of public law – the Unified National Accreditation Body – Accreditation Center.
- Photo 3×4 in size;
- Receipt certifying the payment of service fee for application.
- In the event that family members of the property owner also wish to gain residency, their documents must also be provided: Travel document (passport), proof of kinship (birth certificate, marriage certificate etc.), photo 3×4, proof of legal stay in Georgia (if applicable).
Your application done for you? See our residency application service.
Residence permit for family reunification
The residence permit for family reunification is issued to family members of a foreigner already holding a residence permit in Georgia or to family members (Children/dependants & Spouse, only) of a Georgian Citizen. The person who already has residence/citizenship would be considered the “sponsor” of those applying.
To obtain a residence permit for family reunification, a the foreign applicant must submit the following documents to the Agency:
- Copy of a travel document of the applicant (normally a passport);
- Copy of a document certifying the applicants’ legal stay in Georgia (with at least 40 days validity – though there are options if you have even just 1 day validity, but that requires an additional process);
- A document proving the relationship (might be a marriage or birth certificate);
- Proof of income or sufficient funds. Either the sponsor or applicant must provide documentation (eg. employment contract) showing they have an income of at least 400 GEL per month for the length of the permit.
OR the applicant can show they have a Georgian bank account with a total amount exceeding 400 GEL times the number of months of the duration of the permit (ie. For a 6 month permit a Georgian bank account in their name with at least 2,400 GEL)
- Photo of applicant 3×4 in size;
- Receipt certifying payment of the service fees.
To get a residence permit for family reunification, applicants should already be in Georgia, if they are applying for the first time. However, if they are applying to extend a current residence permit, they can submit an online application from abroad.
Other types of residence permits:
- The special residence permit is issued to a foreign citizen who might be a victim of human trafficking. Such instances are specified in the Law of Georgia on Combating Human trafficking.
2. Study (Education) residence permit is granted to persons coming to Georgia to study at authorized educational institutions, typically at a university level.
To apply, you need:
- Copy of travel document.
- Copy of document proving legal stay in Georgia – with 40 days validity. (Visa or visa stamp) – though there are options if you have even just 1 day validity, but that requires an additional process
- Certificate issued by an educational institution authorized in Georgia on the study of a foreigner (indicating the estimated duration of study).
- Proof of sufficient funds (around 500 GEL per month, proved by the applicant’s bank statement. If the applicant has a relative who has the income in Georgia, the applicant might use a document that shows income of the relative submitted with the relevant document proving the relationship between those two)
- Photos size 3/4.
3. Temporary residence permit is issued to a foreigner, who according to the Law of Georgia on the elimination of Domestic Violence, Protection of and Support to its Victims, has been recognized as a victim of domestic violence;
4. Residence permit of a former citizen of Georgia is issued to a foreigner whose Georgian citizenship has been previously terminated.
What Are The Benefits Of Having A Residence Permit?
Being as Georgia has a 365 day visa on arrival for many nationalities, you may be wondering, why get a residence permit? There are a lot of reasons.
- Right to remain. You don’t need to cross the border, you can just keep renewing the permit. As we discovered during COVID-19, a lot of foreigners who had relied on visa runs for years, could no longer do so and were stuck here illegally.
- Visa runs won’t last forever. Not only can visa runs be problematic, as during COVID-19, but Georgia’s uniquely flexible visa is unlikely to continue forever. 90 days in 180 is likely to come into force at some point in this decade and we may not get much warning. Meaning, if you have not taken steps to qualify for residency, you may not be prepared to do so last minute and end up unable to.
- First step to permanent residency and citizenship. If you are looking for Georgia to be a long term home, 5 years uninterrupted residency here is important.
- Conveniences with public and private services. From online access to government services to better and simpler treatment with banks, utility companies and more. Having an ID card simplifies your admin in many ways.
- Showing Georgia is your legal home. If you are from a country like the USA, Australia, South Africa or anywhere that does not have a double taxation agreement with Georgia, then both legal residence and tax residency are essential factors which can be used to show Georgia is your home, and reduce or eliminate taxes from those countries.
- Essential for some services. For example, if you wanted to apply for a visa from the UK visa centre in Georgia, you must be a resident or citizen of Georgia. Otherwise you would have to return to your home country to apply for such a visa. Some other limited benefits in terms of travel to other countries may exist but you’d need to check with the country you wanted to travel to.
When should you apply for the residence permit in Georgia?
A foreigner is obliged to apply to the Agency with a request for a residence permit 40 calendar days before the expiration of his / her legal stay on the territory of Georgia.
What constitutes sufficient funds for a work residence permit application?
Firstly, one option is that your employment contract shows the wages you will be paid. Wages should be at least 5 x Georgian subsistence income per month. As of December 14th 2020, this amount is 187.5 x 5 = 937 GEL per month. This changes periodically, so always check the current figure before applying.
If you are not receiving guaranteed wages, you must provide a bank statement from your Georgian bank account showing funds equal to 937 GEL per month for each month of the desired duration of the residence permit (ie. to apply for a 10 month permit, you would need to show a minimum of 9,370 GEL in your account.
The decision on sufficient funds can sometimes be at the discretion of the clerk assessing your application, so having more than the minimum amount is always better.
For students and family reunification, the sufficient funds requirement is lower than the work permit. As listed in the relevant sections above.
Where do I apply? Where do I submit documents? Can it be online?
We can help make all the applications for you and help you get all your documents in order. See our residency application service.
If you’d like to DIY the process:
All new (first time) applications should be done within Georgia. You should submit documents and make your application at your local public service hall. Extensions can also be done at the public service halls.
If, and only if, you are renewing an active residency permit, you can do so from abroad, online.
- Contact the immigration agent via skype with the handle “sda.gov.ge” and arrange to speak to them in person and to fill in the online application. They may record the interview.
- Fill out an online application,
- Upload the required documents electronically – as listed above depending on the type of permit you are applying for.
- Within 10 days of making the application, notarised and translated (to Georgian) copies of the documents must be delivered to the immigration office 67 A. Tsereteli Avenue, 0154, Tbilisi, Georgia (please double check the address with the agent you speak to on skype in case they need documents sent to a different address)
How long will your residence permit be valid?
A temporary residence permit is first issued for a period of not less than 6 months and not more than 1 year. It may be extended for an additional period of up to 5 years, provided that the total period of issuance of a temporary residence permit in Georgia should not exceed 6 years;
How long does it take to get the residence permit?
A residence permit is issued by the Public Service development agency within 30 days after receiving a complete set of required documents. However, the permits can be issued in an accelerated manner in as little as 10 business days – plus preparation time.
What if your residency application is rejected?
A foreigner who has been rejected and not granted a residence permit in Georgia has the right to reapply on the same grounds at least one month after the decision to reject the first application has been made.
How and when should you get a residence card?
Within 30 days after receiving a residence permit in Georgia, a foreigner should apply for a residence card at any territorial office of the Public Service development agency, branch of the Public Service Hall, or Community Centre. The residence card is an identity document certifying an identity of a foreigner living in Georgia, their citizenship and their place of residence in Georgia.
How do I get residency if I have less than 40 days validity on my visa stamp?
This is a little more complicated than the standard application. Our office is familiar with dealing with this on a regular basis. If you book your residency application through us, we’d be happy to assist. In most cases you can apply using an emergency visa extension, even with just 1 day validity on your visa left.
Have questions? Contact Us.
Need help with your residency application, See our residency application service.
Or, register by email for updates:
We explain all the above options from this article in greater detail, including clarification on some key points that those trying to apply for residency often get wrong. You’ll learn:
- Details on the most important elements of the 4 main types of residency application
- Tips for a successful residency application
- 6 unique residency “hacks” if the standard methods will not easily work for you
- Common questions answered.
Disclaimer: This webinar was recorded shortly after the new legislation was released on Dec 16th 2020. Some items discussed relating to that (the July 1st extension) may no longer be relevant in the future, but are still relevant as of December.