Russia Visa Center In Tbilisi

A Russian visa center will open in Tbilisi on August 17, which should speed up the processing of documents for Georgian citizens wanting to travel to Russia. The opening of the center means that while Moscow does not intend to cancel visas for Georgians, there is a desire to simplify the procedure for issuing the document.

"The simplified visa regime for citizens of Georgia has been in effect since 2016," explained Special Representative of the Georgian Prime Minister for the Settlement of Relations with Russia, Zurab Abashidze.

Most importantly, after the opening of the official structure, the risk of fraud will decrease, as some people have been promising "pseudo-visa and consular services" for entry to Russia at great expense to the applicant. Staff will help with the processing of Russian visas, but the decision for each applicant will still be taken "in the interests of the Russian Federation."

Moscow says it is not yet going to abolish visa restrictions for Georgian citizens, taking into account not only the difficulties in relations between the two states, but also the general situation in the region. Nevertheless, Russia still does not exclude that in the future, barriers can be eliminated, as various officials in the Russian Federation and even President Vladimir Putin repeatedly say.

Abashidze noted that the initiative to open the RVC came from the Interests Section of the Russian Federation. He noted that the simplified visa regime for Georgian citizens has been in force since the beginning of 2016; since then there has been no other changes.

"We are now at the point that we reached in early 2016. Previously, visas were issued only to those citizens of Georgia who have close relatives in Russia to invite them. Now, family ties are not required, and any person from Russia can invite a citizen of Georgia. If the Russian side wants to simplify visa procedures, we naturally welcome it. But for our part we canceled visa requirements for Russians in 2011, and since 2014, the citizens of the Russian Federation can stay in Georgia for a year without a visa," he noted.

Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation, Grigory Karasin, said earlier that Moscow is ready to cancel the visa regime with Georgia, but for this, the countries should effectively cooperate in the fight against terrorism.

By Shawn Wayne

16 August 2018 14:32