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.

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.

Many flights re-opened from Feb 1st, 2021, and many more have opened since then.

Land borders re-opened 1st June 2021. Please check the latest entry conditions 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 exact details.

Article Last Updated 24th August 2021*

Health insurance which includes COVID cover is recommended for land border entry. Earlier reports that it would be mandatory seem to have been made in error by news outlets, as it has not been requested by border police and is also not present in legislation. Insurance from your country of residency or from a Georgian insurer will be sufficient. For those entering on the remote work permit, however, insurance is 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 (regardless of their nationality, Except if they are arriving from the republic of India or have Indian citizenship – See notes below) coming from a foreign country, 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 Johnson & Johnson vaccine) 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 (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 not required to fill in the form, generally. However, some border guards do expect to see the completed form, so it is advised that even those who are fully vaccinated do fill out the form if they can. Filling 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 a PCR test, the airlines you travel with may. Contact the airlines and any transit airports for your journey to confirm there 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 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,
  • USA,
  • 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:

  1. Before crossing the border of Georgia (only allowed by air until June 1st, 2021 when land borders open), 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;
  2. Present a PCR test with a negative result (taken within the last 72 hours prior to entering Georgia);
  3. Take a PCR test upon the 3rd day after entering Georgia (at their own expense). UPDATE (Feb 4th, 2021) – We have now confirmed 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 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).

Additional restrictions if you have traveled in the UK within 14 days prior to arrival in Georgia, have now been removed (As of late April 2021) and those coming from the UK can arrive in the same way as others on the above list.

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 India & Those Who Have Traveled There Within Prior 14 Days

Update October 2021: The below restrictions for India are no longer being applied. We plan to update this article with the new information soon.

 Persons having travel history (prior 14 days) in the Republic of India shall:

  1. 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;
  2. Present a negative PCR test result (taken within the last 72 hours prior to entering Georgia);
  3. Be put in a mandatory quarantine for 14 days (at their own expense).

What if I’m an Indian citizen who has not been in India in the last 14 days?

UPDATE May 5th: You may still face 14 days in quarantine. These new rules for India were only recently introduced and with such a small volume of Indian citizens travelling to Georgia, we don’t yet have enough practical data to confirm the general behavior of border guards on this exact topic.

Only Indian citizens who have also been fully vaccinated have the right to enter Georgia at this time.

For Citizens Of Georgia (And Their Family Members)

Georgian nationals (passport holders and their family members) coming from a foreign country shall present a negative PCR test result (taken within 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 their own expense). The choice between self-isolation and taking a second PCR test is up to the Georgian national. (Note: If they have 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 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: 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.

FAQs

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 of 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?

From June 1st, 2021, land and air borders will be open to all travelers who qualify for entry based on the rules outlined above.

For Georgian nationals, entry through all borders should be possible but it is advised to check with the border directly if not transitioning 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.

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 full vaccination, PCR testing is still mandatory as of June 1st, 2021 if arriving by land/sea. When arriving by air it is not mandatory, though your airline or transit airport may require it, so it is typically advisable to get the PCR test anyway. Fully vaccinated persons do NOT have to get a PCR test 3 days after entering Georgia.

How do I take a PCR test after 3 days?

No official requirements have been released at this time. The information below is not confirmed; this is merely 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 no more than 180 GEL. They will typically accept card payments in person. You must request the certificate showing your result, at the 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.

ExpatHub has now (As of May 2021) secured a mobile testing service for 130 GEL (including VAT). If you are not in an urgent hurry to get tested, we can schedule it for you. Our response hours are Monday to Friday, 9am to 4:30pm. Email us at info@expathub.ge and include “PCR” in the subject line. 

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 your 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 your 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 information below still applies for now.

Following the October 2020 elections and the spike in COVID cases, tougher restrictions are now in place from Nov 28th, 2020, and continue to be in force at the time of writing (May 5th, 2021) for those both living and traveling in Georgia. Restrictions include limited opening for some shops, intermittent travel restrictions regarding public transportation, and limiting restaurants to take-away only on weekends. 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 methods below, if applicable.

Business Travelers

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.

The Application Form Is Here.

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 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 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 that 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 tom@expathub.ge with your story.

Additional details on specific conditions surrounding the above types of entry can be found on the official government website.

Remote Workers

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).

Our full article on the requirements and how to apply is here.

The article also contains a growing FAQ section listing some of the most important information.

Students

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.

Apply here.

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.


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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.