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Georgia Tightens Exit Rules for Travelers to EU

The Parliament of Georgia has approved amendments tightening the restrictions to exit the country for the citizens travelling visa-free to the European Union/Schengen Area.

74 lawmakers against 0 endorsed the changes to “Law on the Rules and Procedures for Georgian Citizens Exiting and Entering Georgia” in the third hearing on September 2. The opposition parties did not attend the voting.

According to the new regulations which are set to go into effect on January 1, 2021, a citizen of Georgia traveling to any of the EU/Schengen Area countries with the visa-free regime can be denied exit from the country if at least one of the following conditions are present:

  1. Border control authorities are aware of the fact that the citizen of Georgia is not allowed entry to any of the EU/Schengen Area countries, or
  2. The citizen of Georgia fails to present any of the following relevant evidence:
  • A biometric passport issued over the last 10 years and valid for at least 3 more months after a tentative date of the departure from the EU/Schengen Area;
  • A valid return ticket or a ticket reservation to exit the EU/Schengen;
  • A valid reservation of a hotel/place of residence located in the EU/Schengen Area, other valid document verifying the permission of accommodation in this hotel/place of residence, or consent of a host legally resident in the EU/Schengen area to accommodate the citizen of Georgia, as well as the address of the respective hotel/place of residence;
  • Health insurance valid in the EU/Schengen area;
  • Sufficient financial means for the trip or documents indicating sufficient financial means for the trip;

Until now, Georgian citizens were required to present the said documents only to the EU/Schengen Area border authorities upon their arrival, in order to be allowed entry to the territory under the visa-free regime.

According to the new amendments, the Minister of Interior will be charged for setting the rules and procedures for border-crossing by Georgian citizens.

The Interior Minister will be also responsible for specifying rules and procedures for appealing a rejection to exit the country for traveling purposes to the EU/Schengen Area to a higher administrative body or a higher official and setting rules and terms for the review of the decision.

The EU has been voicing concerns over challenges that have started to appear since the introduction of the visa-free travel to the Schengen+ area on March 28, 2017.

According to the assessment released by the European Commission on July 10, Georgia, while having put in place concrete measures to address irregular migration to the Schengen+ area and crime-related challenges, still needs further immediate action, in particular, to handle the increasing numbers of unfounded asylum applications.


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