Do you qualify to enter the Republic of Georgia right now? If so, what is the easiest way to do it, and what is the proper procedure for entering?
With many restrictions because of COVID, passport holders from certain countries no longer have the same permission to enter as they did previously. In this article, we sum up your options and next steps.
BIG NEWS: Changes announced on 22nd Feb 2022, indicate easing of many restrictions, starting from March 1st, though exact dates of changes will vary. A summary of those expected changes are listed here, though we have not yet reviewed the actual legislation, so this is a preliminary announcement.
The biggest change for entry to Georgia is that now ALL countries can enter Georgia from March 1st (providing they have the correct valid visa or qualify for visa free entry) so long as they are either PCR tested negative (within 72 hours) or are fully vaccinated.
Until all changes are implemented, the old rules are summarized below.
With the release of Ordinance 139 on Jan 29th, 2021, new entry rules for the Republic of Georgia have come into force since February 1st, 2021. The summary of these is listed below, including the numerous changes that have happened since that date.
CovidPass Green Status – Removed. The Green pass status that was introduced on Dec 1st 2021, was abolished in early February 2022. Though you no longer legally need green status to got to restaurants, hotels cinemas and other public places, some individual businesses still request and enforce it. Whether this is a personal preference or a misunderstanding of the law is impossible to know in all cases. The Covid Pass app is still active, even if checking of the status is no longer required in Georgia, it may still be used for international travel in the EU countries that recognize it.
Land, sea, and air borders are currently open. Entry restrictions are described below.
If you are from one of the accepted countries (according to the new rules as discussed below), you are normally required to fill out a form for pre-registration to enter Georgia. Read below for the exact details.
Article Below Last Updated 10th February 2022*
Health insurance which includes COVID cover is recommended for land border entry but not mandatory.
*NOTE: With regulations changing frequently, this article is for information only and we cannot guarantee day by day accuracy, though we are attempting to regularly update this resource as new information arises. The update date above refers to the date of the last minor updates; some details below may not have been updated at that time.
Arrival If You Have Been Vaccinated In Full Against COVID-19
Any person coming from a foreign country (unless they are arriving from a high risk country, such as South Africa, as detailed below), if they present a document at the border demonstrating that they have completed any full vaccination course (2 doses, or 1 dose in the case of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine) shall, before entering the borders of Georgia, fill out a form indicating:
- Their travel history for the last 14 days.
- Their place of stay in Georgia (the address of your accommodation).
- Contact information and other administrative details.
(Note, following the original legislation, typically in practice, and according to the ministry, vaccinated people are generally not required to fill out an online form prior to arrival. However, some border guards do expect to see the completed form regardless of vaccination status, so it is advised that even those who are fully vaccinated try to fill out the form in advance. Filling it at the border, if requested, has also been reportedly accepted in most cases.)
Persons meeting this condition can travel freely in Georgia immediately upon arrival with no requirement to self isolate or quarantine, BUT PCR testing (within 72 hours prior to entry) is mandatory for land border entry as of June 1st, 2021. Any official document proving vaccination should be accepted.
If traveling by air, although the Georgian border police are not legally required to request proof of a negative PCR test, the airlines you travel with may. Contact the airlines and any transit airports for your journey to confirm their specific requirements.
If you do not qualify for visa-free entry to Georgia, you must apply for a visa in advance of your arrival.
It should be noted that even though the law allows for vaccinated persons from any country to arrive to Georgia, it has certainly occurred in limited cases that those who are not on the approved countries’ list (see below) have occasionally been refused entry, especially at land borders. Though the law does not support these actions, border guards have discretion upon entry, and it is advised to be fully aware of the law and be able to show the actual legislation as described, so that you can argue your case effectively at the border. If in doubt, arrive by air for more consistent results.
Arrival If You Have Previously Recovered From COVID-19 AND Are Partially Vaccinated
NEW Rules now apply, as of August 14th, 2021. As well as some minor adjustments relating to those who are fully vaccinated (outlined above), new rules now give entry permissions to those who have both been partially vaccinated AND have recovered from COVID-19 – being that both are true of the individual, not one or the other.
The legislation is a little convoluted and we conjecture it will be misunderstood by border guards, as well as by those trying to enter Georgia. The summary of these new rules is thus:
- If arriving by air: entry is now permitted to citizens of any country who submit a document confirming that they: (1) have contracted a COVID-infection in the last 100 days (confirmed with a positive PCR test result), and (2) have had a single dose of any vaccine authorized by WHO, provided that 14 days or more have passed since the vaccination. (Note: it does not matter which was first, the infection or the vaccination.)
- If arriving by land/sea: entry is permitted under the same rules as by air directly above. Note: the law does not require a negative PCR test result in this case. Yet, in the case of being fully vaccinated, a PCR test is required. Our assumption here is that there is an omission in the new legislation, as it seems strange that the law is more stringent on those who are fully vaccinated, than those who are partially vaccinated. Until in-practice data is collected on how the border police treat visitors in this situation, it is likely best to assume that a PCR test is required.
If you do not meet any of the above criteria, those who are non-vaccinated may be able to enter following the rules in the next section.
Entry If Not Vaccinated: Arrival If You Are From The EU, USA, Or Other Countries Listed Below
Citizens of, and persons having a residence permit of:
- EU member states,
- United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland,
- State of Israel,
- Swiss Confederation,
- Kingdom of Norway,
- The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,
- The State of Qatar,
- United Arab Emirates,
- The Kingdom of Bahrain,
- Turkey (Added Feb 4th, 2021),
- Armenia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus (From March 1st, 2021),
- Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan (Added in March 2021),
- Canada, Japan, Kuwait, China, South Korea, Moldova, and Oman (As of June 1st, 2021),
San Marino, Monaco, Serbia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Montenegro, Andorra, Albania, North Macedonia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina (Added late June 2021),
- Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan (Added late July 2021).
If they are coming from the above-mentioned countries (either directly, or with a transit through third countries) including arriving having spent the prior 14 days ONLY within countries from the approved list, entrants shall:
- Before crossing the border of Georgia, fill out an online form indicating their travel history of the last 14 days, their place of stay in Georgia (Airbnb / hotel, etc.), their contact information, and other administrative details;
- Present a PCR test with a negative result (taken within the last 72 hours prior to entering Georgia);
- Take a PCR test upon the 3rd day after entering Georgia (at their own expense).
What is considered “transit”?
- The persons arriving to Georgia, should be citizens/residents of those countries.
- They should be coming from those countries. Either directly = They live there, or have been there for some time (>14 days, most likely, though not explicitly) and they are flying directly from there;
- OR indirectly = They live there, they have been there for some time, but they will first enter another country and then Georgia because, for example, there are no direct flights).
Note: A translation error in the English version (from google translate) of the legislation caused the USA to be omitted – which caused confusion in the international community. In the Georgian version, which is the legally binding document, აშშ-ის (USA) is definitely present.
Quarantine For Those Traveling from High Risk Areas – REMOVED
As of early Feb 2022, the restriction on entry under the below rules HAS BEEN REMOVED.
As of Sunday, 28th November, 2021, citizens of any country (including a citizen of Georgia) who have a travel history to the countries listed below during the 14 days prior to arrival at the Georgian border, are subject to 14-day mandatory isolation/quarantine in an approved quarantine facility upon entry to Georgia.
After completing the 14 days of isolation/quarantine, a person shall undergo a PCR examination.
These countries are:
- Republic of South Africa
- Republic of Botswana
- Republic of Zimbabwe
- Republic of Namibia
- Kingdom of Lesotho
- Kingdom of Eswatini (Swaziland)
- Republic of Mozambique
- Republic of Malawi
The Government of Georgia will cover all the costs related to isolation/quarantine as well as PCR testing for a citizen of Georgia. A foreign citizen shall have to cover the costs of his/her isolation/quarantine and PCR testing. Typical costs are described in our FAQs below, from anecdotes provided during the last time Georgia carried out mandatory COVID quarantine.
For Citizens Of India & Those Who Have Traveled There Within Prior 14 Days
Update as of October 2021: The restrictions for persons travelling from India are no longer in force. (However, Indian citizens do still need a visa to cross the Georgian border.)
For Citizens Of Georgia (And Their Family Members)
For air travel entry: Georgian nationals (passport holders and their family members) coming from a foreign country shall present evidence of full vaccination or a negative PCR test result (taken within 72 hours prior to entering Georgia).
For land entry: If the national was fully vaccinated in Georgia, no PCR test will be needed at land borders. If not, a PCR test is required.
Georgian nationals coming from a foreign country that are unable to present a negative PCR test result (taken within the last 72 hours prior to entering Georgia) shall be subject to mandatory self-isolation for a duration of 8 days. If self-isolation is not possible, they will be taken to quarantine zones. (Note: If they have visited African countries with the new strain, within the last 14 days, then a 14 day quarantine will likely apply, which will be paid for by the Georgian Government in most cases.)
*Note: Holding a Georgian residence permit is not sufficient to be considered a Georgian national. Entry rules for residence permit holders will be determined by your country of Citizenship (your passport) in all cases apart from those where you are a family member of a Georgian Citizen, in which case, proof of relationship (marriage certificate / birth certificate) will be required for entry.
Do I need to fill out an online form to apply to arrive in Georgia?
If you are from one of the countries listed above, and you are not fully vaccinated, then yes. There is a form which you should fill here.
If you are not fully vaccinated OR not from one of the countries listed above who can enter without being vaccinated, then you can read more about alternative entry procedures below.
Through which border can I enter?
From June 1st, 2021, land, sea, and air borders will be open to all travelers who qualify for entry based on the rules outlined above.
Do I have to take a PCR test?
Unless you are fully vaccinated, only Georgian citizens have a choice, as detailed above. All other citizens must have taken a PCR test prior to arrival (no more than 72 hours prior).
If you have proof of full vaccination, PCR testing is still mandatory as of June 1st, 2021 if arriving by land/sea, unless you are a citizen of Georgia. When arriving by air it is not mandatory for vaccinated persons, though your airline or transit airport may require it, so it is typically advisable to get the PCR test anyway. Fully vaccinated persons also do NOT have to get a PCR test 3 days after entering Georgia.
Keep up to date with changes to the visa rules and more:
Entry Rules For Countries Not Listed Above
If you do not qualify with the above regulations, you can apply for entry using the methods below, if applicable.
If you are not a citizen or legal resident of any of the countries listed in the previous sections, you may still be able to travel to Georgia if you are invited to visit by a Georgian business (legal entity) on the basis of essential business travel for purposes that cannot be carried out virtually.
As a business traveler you have the option to enter Georgia at airports as well as some land borders. You will undergo a PCR test upon arrival, at your own expense. Additional tests will be given every 72 hours for 8 days. If you test positive at any time, or show any potential signs of COVID or other risk factors, you will be quarantined.
Some common FAQs on the business travel permit:
What must be included in the invitation letter from the inviting company?
The invitation must be drawn up on the official form of the organization (if any), be signed by an authorized person, and must include:
- Name & identification code of the organization;
- The position of the authorized person;
- Data of the invited person (name, surname, passport #, etc.);
- Information on the purpose, term, and duration of the visit;
- Justification of the importance of the visit.
The inviting organization must confirm in writing that:
- Together with the invited person, the organization is responsible for fulfilling the individual conditions and rules defined for the invited person during the border crossing and his / her stay in Georgia.
- The company will reimburse any costs associated with diagnostic testing, quarantine, and / or COVID-19 treatment, if required.
Can I Invite Myself?
Technically, you can invite yourself via your own business. Especially if you own a Georgian business and your presence is required for the ongoing success of that business. The sticking point will be if you are the sole authorized person within that business and your name is both the invitee and the authorized person. That could raise questions which might get the application rejected.
As an individual entrepreneur in Georgia, inviting yourself is most likely to fail. However, as the director of an LLC or a corporation where a second director or authorized person could sign the invitation letter, you might have a much higher chance.
If you attempt any of the above options and succeed or fail, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with your story.
Additional details on specific conditions surrounding the above types of entry can be found on the official government website.
If you are a remote worker who earns more than $2,000 per month for the last 12 months, then you may qualify to enter Georgia on the basis of your profession. You must select a Tbilisi hotel in advance in order to be quarantined (8 days, at your own expense). Update: It’s not clear if quarantine will still be enforced, and instead a negative PCR test on entry may be sufficient.
The article also contains a growing FAQ section listing some of the most important information.
If you are enrolled in a course with a Georgian educational institution, you might qualify for entry under the student permit.
The form involves a lot of questions, so pay attention to which are *required* and which are not, as things like filling in your residence permit information are not actually required, since many students will not have one.
Note: Students are still expected to quarantine for 12 days, rather than the 8 days required of everyone else.
Don’t Qualify With The Above?
At this time the borders are closed unless you qualify through one of the above options.
COVID Green Pass – CANCELLED
The green pass requirement as described below was cancelled in early Feb 2022. However, the CovidPass app is still active and there is always the possibility they will bring the system back if a new covid variant changes the situation. So for now we are leaving this information here.
—– THE BELOW INFO IS NO LONGER IN FORCE —–
Getting green status will afford you a number of privileges in Georgia that are not available to those without the status, beginning from December 1st, 2021. With the new rules in place, the restriction on working hours of restaurants etc. (which previously had forced closure hours between 11pm and 5 am) have been lifted.
Which Activities Are Restricted Only To Those With Green Status?
- Food outlets (open and closed spaces of restaurants, cafes, bars, and shopping mall food courts)
- Cinemas, theaters, concert halls, entertainment facilities, gambling facilities, and the opera
- Spas & gyms
- Ski resort lifts/cable cars
- Hotels and other accommodation – partially affected (NOTE: The most recent amendment to the legislation appears to suggest that green status is not required to stay in a hotel room or private accommodation etc. However, for guests of a hotel to use facilities such as the spa, restaurant, bar etc. they would need green status, legally. How hotels will choose to apply the law is impossible to know)
These restrictions will apply only to persons over 18 years of age.
How To Qualify For Green Status
The relevance of green status is for activities within Georgia. The rules to cross the border to enter Georgia are explained above. To qualify for green status, you must:
- Be fully vaccinated;
- OR, have a 72-hour validity negative PCR test;
- OR, have a 24-hour validity negative antigen-fast test;
- OR, have had a documented Covid-19 infection during the past 6 months (proven by a positive PCR test. It is unclear at this time if documentation from outside Georgia will be accepted as proof).
Your green status will expire automatically after the relevant time period stated above has passed.
How Do You Prove You Have Green Status?
You will need a QR code from one of the following sources:
- QR code obtained by registration in the application “CovidPass” Georgia (Apple | Android) or E-health Georgia (Apple | Android).
- QR code obtained by registering on the website “covidpass.moh.gov.ge”.
- Documents printed in vaccination centers, clinics, and justice houses in Georgia.
- Documents (digital or printed) by the official agencies of EU member States and countries integrated to the “EU Digital COVID Certificate” system.
When you arrive at the border of Georgia, you will provide your vaccination certificate, or EU green status QR code, or a valid PCR test (taken within 72 hours prior), and the relevant information will be attached to your passport records so that your green status will be available in the Georgian CovidPass apps and website. If you have a valid green status QR code from the EU, that QR code should also be accepted within Georgia.
It is not yet clear if you will be required to install the CovidPass app at the border to check your status.
You must use the same passport number in the app as you presented at passport control.
Note the “CovidPass” app offers a QR scanner to check the status of others – useful if you are a business owner who needs to check the status of your customers. The “E-health” app does not have this function.
Issues With The App
Expats have reported a few issues with the app:
- For Android users, you may need to be on the Georgian play store on Android in order to download it. If you can’t find the app, this is likely the reason.
- If you were not vaccinated in Georgia, and you entered Georgia before 1st December 2021, your records may not be connected to the app (although for many they are).
- If it does not recognize your information when registering, one common issue is that the field for “first name” must actually include all of your legal first and middle names.
- Your name, especially if you are a Georgian resident, may be accepted in some cases only if written in Georgian characters instead of English, matching the Georgian characters on your resident ID card. Try English first though.