55 Thousand Georgians Travel to EU in 4 Months

Since the activation of the visa-free regime with the European Union (EU) on March 28, in total around 55 thousand Georgian citizens have left the country for the EU. Georgia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) reports that around 3,000 Georgians have violated visa-liberalization terms since then and failed to return to Georgia within the maximum 90-day period.

Deputy Interior Minister, Shalva Khutsishvili says that these people have been included in the 'Potential Risk Group' list.

"Some of them may have moved to Ukraine, Belarus or Turkey. Those persons who have not yet returned to the country have been identified by the Ministry,” Khutsishvili said.

The Deputy Minister noted that the highest rate of Georgian visitors is reported in the countries to which Georgia has direct flights.

He also said that despite the warning from Georgian border guards, 160 people crossed the Georgian border but were sent back by the European border guards.

"We had around 160 cases when citizens did not follow the recommendations of the border guards and persistently continued on their way to Europe, but they were sent back by the European border guards," Khutsishvili said.

He added that the mutual cooperation agreement is currently being reviewed by the EU Border Guard Service, and if necessary, the process of exchange of information between the two sides will become more active.

The Visa-Free regime with the EU took effect on March 28, meaning all Georgians holding biometric passports can enter the Schengen Area for 90 days within any 180-day period for vacation, business, or any other purpose except work.

Georgians are able to travel without visas to the following 22 EU member states: Belgium, Austria, Germany, Denmark, Spain, Estonia, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Greece, France, Slovenia, Slovakia, Hungary, Finland, Sweden, and the Czech Republic.

Georgians can also travel without visas to four non-EU-member states (Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) as well as four Schengen candidate countries (Bulgaria, Cyprus, Romania and Croatia).  

Exceptions for visa-free travel include Ireland and the United Kingdom.

By Thea Morrison 


24 July 2017 13:13