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 procedure to get it done?
With many restrictions because of COVID and certain countries no longer having the same permission to enter as they did before, in this article, we sum up your options and next steps.
With the release of Ordinance 139 on Jan 29th 2021, new entry rules for the Republic of Georgia come into force from February 1st 2021. The summary of which are below.
Many flights are set to re-open from Feb 1st 2021, and it seems like they may actually stay open this time.
If you are from one of the accepted countries within the new rules, as discussed below, you are required to fill in a form for pre-registration to enter Georgia.
Article Last Updated 8th Feb 2021*
*NOTE: With regulations changing frequently, this article is for information only and we cannot guarantee day by day accuracy, though we are attempting to update this resource as and when new information arises.
Arrival If you have been vaccinated in full against COVID-19
Any person (regardless of their nationality) coming from a foreign country if they present a document at the border demonstrating that they have completed any full vaccination course (2 doses) shall, before entering the borders of Georgia, fill out a form indicating:
- Their travel history for the last 14 days.
- Place of stay in Georgia (address of your accommodation).
- Contact information and other administrative details.
Persons meeting this condition can travel freely in Georgia immediately upon arrival with no requirement to self isolate, quarantine or undergo PCR testing. Any official document proving vaccination should be accepted.
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,
- 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)
If they are coming from the mentioned countries (either directly, or with transit through third countries) including arriving having spent the prior 14 days ONLY within countries from the approved list, shall:
- Before crossing the border of Georgia (only allowed by air), fill out a special form indicating: their travel history of the last 14 days; place of stay in Georgia (airbnb / hotel etc.); 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 (own expense). UPDATE (4th Feb) – We have now established that self isolation is not necessary during this 3 day period.
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 they have been there for some time (>14 days, most likely though not explicit) 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).
If you have traveled in the UK within 14 days prior to arrival in Georgia, then the below section will apply instead. It is not 100% clear at this time if simply transiting through a UK airport would mean the below would apply. For this reason, it should be assumed for now that transit through the UK will mean the below will apply.
Note: A translation error in the English version (from google translate) of the legislation causes the USA to be omitted – which has caused confusion in the international community. In the Georgian version, which is the legally binding document აშშ-ის (USA) is definitely present.
For citizens of the UK & those who have traveled there within 14 days
Citizens of, persons having residence permit of, and/or persons having travel history (prior 14 days) in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland shall:
- Before entering the borders of Georgia, fill out a special form indicating: their travel history of the last 14 days; place of stay in Georgia; contact information and administrative details;
- Present a PCR test negative result (taken within the last 72 hours prior to entering Georgia). NOTE: The MFA now suggest no PCR test prior to arrival is required. Whether airlines will allow you to board flights to Georgia without one may not be consistent with MFA guidelines, it’s not clear at this time. So, travel without a PCR test at this time is still at your own risk.
- Be put in quarantine for 12 days (own expense).
Note: these rules for the UK are not entirely clear in the legislation and we will await more information as it arises. The above is our current understanding. Whether you will be assigned a quarantine hotel, or need to book one is not yet clear.
What if I’m a UK citizen who has not been in the UK for more than 14 days?
It is not explicitly clear what will happen in this case. You will be treated at the discretion of the border guards, and our expectation is they will automatically treat a UK passport as a risk and put you in quarantine. We’ll await more practical data as people arrive to Georgia.
For Citizens of Georgia (and their family members)
Georgian nationals (passport holders and their family members) coming from a foreign country shall present a PCR test negative result (taken within the 72 hours prior to entering Georgia).
AND will be subject to self-isolation for 8 days, OR will be obliged to take a PCR test upon the 3rd day after entering Georgia (at own expense). The choice between self-isolation and second PCR test is up to the Georgian national. (Note: having visited the UK within the last 14 days, then a 12 day self isolation will likely apply)
If self-isolation is not possible, they will be taken to quarantine zones.
Georgian nationals coming from a foreign country that are unable to present a PCR test negative result (taken within the last 72 hours prior to entering Georgia) shall be subject to a mandatory self-isolation for a duration of 8 days (12 days, if UK is involved). If self-isolation is not possible, they will be taken to quarantine zones.
*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, yes. There is a form now, which you should fill here. Note, the form still seems to be a work in progress, which is typical based off how these things have worked in the past.
If you are not from one of the countries listed above, then you can read more about alternative entry procedures below.
Through which border can I enter?
Following the new rules, as outlined above, you can only enter via air travel to Georgia.
The land border at Sarpi (Turkey) can be crossed only on the basis of the old rules (see below) where you would need a permit. Please confirm border information prior to travel. Entry has been limited from Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia, though that may change soon. Rules on entry via sea ports is unclear at this time.
For Georgian nationals, entry through all borders should be possible but it is advised to check with the border directly if not coming through one of the above mentioned.
What accommodation do I need?
A private room or apartment is sufficient (AirBnB / Hotel). You will not need to stay at a designated quarantine hotel so long as your PCR test is negative. Unless you are have travelled within the UK, in which case, see conditions above.
Do I have to take a PCR test?
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) and will be required after 3 days in self isolation to take another test.
If you have proof of vaccination, no PCR testing is required.
How do I take a PCR test after 3 days?
No official requirements have been released at this time. So the below information is not confirmed, this is our suggestion as we are aware foreigners have entered Georgia without even having their address collected by the border guards.
If you are not advised upon entry to Georgia as to when/how you will be tested, you can book a home visit test by calling +995 32 2 800 200. They normally arrive within 4 hours to test you, so no need to book way in advance.
The cost (if not insured locally) should be 180 GEL. They will typically accept card payments in person. You must request the certificate showing your result, at time of testing. It should be supplied within 24 hours of the test being administered. You can call the ministry of health (call: 1505) to declare you have received a negative test and ask for further instructions. Whether they will take any interest is yet to be confirmed. What seems more likely at this time is if you get a negative result, you are free to do as you please, if it’s positive the testing service will advise next steps.
For additional security, Carry your certificate with you when in public for the following 12 days, just in case you need to prove that your PCR test was administered at least 3 days after arrival and that you were negative.
What if I test positive on the second test?
You will most likely be transferred to a medical facility, at own expense (for citizens of Georgia the state may pay your medical bill). In some cases, continued self isolation may be possible, but don’t count on it.
———- For those not affected by the new rules above, the below information still applies for now
Following the October 2020 Government elections and the spike in COVID cases, tougher restriction are now in place from Nov 28th to Feb 28th for those living in Georgia. Limited opening for shops, intercity travel has been restricted, restaurants are now take-away only (Though in Adjara restaurants will open for outdoor dining only from Feb 1st). Curfew is enforced from 9pm to 5am daily.
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 new regulations, you can apply for entry using the below methods, if they apply to you.
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 on arrival, at 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) and signed by an authorized person and include:
- Name of the organization and identification code;
- 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 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 that get the application rejected.
So, as an individual entrepreneur of Georgia, inviting yourself is most likely to fail. As a director of an LLC or corporation where a second director or authorized person could sign the invitation letter, you have 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 the some 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, own expense).
The article also contains a growing FAQ section listing some of the most important information.
If you are enrolled on a course with a Georgian educational institution, you might qualify for entry under the student permit.
The form involves a lot of questions, pay attention to which are *required and which are not, as things like filling in your residence permit info are not actually required as many students will not have one.
Note: Students are still be expected to quarantine for 12 days, rather than the 8 days everyone else is.
Don’t Qualify With The Above?
At this time the borders are closed unless you qualify through one of the above options.