Through the contribution of partners Archil Giorgadze and Nicola Mariani, joined by senior associates Ana Kochiashvili, Tamar Jikia, associate Mariam Kalandadze, junior associates Ana Jikia, Lasha Machavariani and Nino Sakvarelidze, MG Law Office is partnering with GEORGIA TODAY to provide updated information regarding significant legal changes and developments in Georgia. In particular, we highlight significant issues which may impact businesses operating in Georgia.
Georgia keeps true to its status of a hospitable country with visa free regime and continued support for foreign visitors to ensure their enjoyable travel and extended stay. Citizens or residents of more than 90 countries worldwide may stay in Georgia for 90 (ninety) days or for 1 (one) year visa free. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia has provided useful guidelines for visitors wishing to travel to Georgia who can easily verify whether they are eligible to visa free travel by filling out the questionnaire through this Link.
Nevertheless, travelers that intend to have long term affairs in Georgia and to carry out business or labor activities will highly likely need to obtain Georgian residence permit. Below we answer frequently asked questions in relation to Georgian work residence permits.
What is a Georgian residence permit?
The Georgian residence permit (the residence permit) is a document certifying holder’s right to lawful entry and stay in Georgia. The residence permit holder may enter Georgia without visa and stay in Georgia lawfully for a period of term of the respective residence permit.
Note: Consider that carrying out the activities listed below does not necessarily require residence permit.
What is a Georgian work residence permit?
A Georgian work residence permit (the work residence permit) is a legal document granting its holder a right to work and carry out business activities in Georgia.
What are the eligibility criteria for obtaining a work residence permit?
Foreign individuals are eligible to obtain work residence permit, if:
- They carry out business or labor activities in Georgia;
- their monthly remuneration or income earned from their labor or business activities is no less than fivefold amount of the average consumer’s subsistence minimum in Georgia, circa USD 300 (three hundred US Dollars which may change from time to time due to increase/decrease of subsistence minimum or change of exchange rate); and
- The annual turnover of their employer or the company they have founded in Georgia for carrying out their business activities (except for an educational or medical institution) is not less than GEL 50,000 (fifty thousand Georgian Laris) per foreigner applying for a work residence permit. The annual turnover of their employing educational or medical institution/an educational or medical institution that they have founded in Georgia is at least GEL 35,000 (thirty-five thousand Georgian Laris) per foreigner applying for a work residence permit.
What documents are necessary for obtaining the work residence permit?
A foreigner who applies for the work residence permit (the applicant) shall present the following documents:
- An application in the established form that shall be filled out electronically or at Service Development Agency of Georgia (the Agency);
- A copy of the travel document (e.g., passport);
- A copy of the document evidencing the applicant’s lawful stay in Georgia (e.g., Georgian visa or stamp in the passport);
- A document evidencing the applicant’s employment or business activities in Georgia (e.g., employment agreement);
- A document confirming that the applicant’s monthly income or remuneration received from business or labour activities in Georgia is not less than fivefold the amount of the minimum subsistence level for average consumers in Georgia (e.g., employment agreement, excerpt from the bank account);
- A certificate issued by LEPL Revenue Service confirming that the turnover of the applicant’s employer or the company that the applicant has founded in Georgia for carrying out the business activities (except for an educational or medical institution) is not less than GEL 50,000 (fifty thousand Georgian Laris) or, in case of medical or education institution, no less than GEL 35,000 (thirty-five thousand Georgian Laris) per foreigner applying for a work residence permit. For these purposes the applicant shall also present the list of foreign employees working at the employer company;
- A 3X4cm photo; and
- A receipt evidencing payment of the service fee.
How and where should an applicant submit the application?
The applicant shall submit the application and the necessary documentation to the Agency in hardcopy or electronic form by completing the application form available on the website of the Agency. The application form is only available in Georgian and can be found on the following link – Link. Within 10 (ten) days after submission of the documents electronically the applicant shall present their hardcopies to the Agency.
The applicant is not authorized to fill out and submit the application from outside Georgia. The same applies to the electronic application. The applicant shall apply for the residence permit 40 (forty) calendar days before the end of his lawful stay in Georgia.
Should the applicant submit the application and the required documentation in Georgian?
The applicant shall submit the application and the necessary documentation in Georgian. Documents executed in a foreign language shall be submitted to the Agency accompanied with the Georgian translations. The Georgian translations shall be properly certified. The Agency may accept the passport without a Georgian translation if the applicant’s personal details in the passport are indicated in Latin.
What is the validity of a work residence permit?
The maximum term of the work residence permit is 6 (six) years. However, generally the Agency issues the work residence permit for 1 (one) year. Upon expiration of the term the permit holder may apply for its extension electronically by filling out the same application that was initially filled out to obtain the residence permit. The application for extending the term of the work residence permit shall be filed 40 (forty) days prior to its expiration date.
What is the fee for obtaining a work residence permit and how long does the revision of the application take?
The Agency reviews the application in 30 (thirty) calendar days and it costs GEL 210 (two hundred ten Georgian Laris). The accelerated procedure costs GEL 330 (three hundred thirty Georgian Laris) or GEL 410 (four hundred ten Georgian Laris) and the decision is made in 20 (twenty) or 10 (ten) calendar days respectively.
The Agency has discretion to determine that the application is defective and request the applicant to correct the defects or present additional documents. Unless the applicant corrects the defect within the determined deadlines the application may be rejected.
Can the applicant re-apply for a work residence permit?
The applicant whose application was rejected may re-apply for a residence permit on the same basis after at least 1 (one) month from the date the first application was rejected by the Agency.
What are the grounds for rejecting an application on the residence permit?
The residence permit application may be denied, if:
- An authorized body reported that the applicant’s stay in Georgia jeopardizes state and/or public security and safety;
- The grounds for which the foreigner obtained the right to stay in Georgia no longer exist;
- The applicant is engaged in activities that pose a danger to state security and/or public safety of Georgia;
- The applicant committed a crime against peace and humanity;
- The applicant is wanted for a criminal offence or is convicted of a grave crime committed within the last five years before submitting the application;
- Criminal proceedings have been instituted against the applicant – until the completion of the criminal proceedings;
- The applicant has such infectious or other diseases, the nature, severity, or duration of which may pose a threat to the population of Georgia;
- The applicant submitted forged or invalid documents for obtaining a Georgian residence permit; or
- The requirements for obtaining the work residence permit are not met.
What are other types of permits that a foreigner may obtain for a lawful stay in Georgia?
Residence permits other than the work residence permit that can be issued in Georgia, are:
- A work residence permit;
- A study residence permit issued for for the purpose of study at the authorized educational institution in Georgia;
- A residence permit for the purpose of family reunification issued to family members of a foreigner already holding any type of Georgian Residence Permit;
- A residence permit issued to a former citizen of Georgia whose citizenship has been terminated;
- A residence permit for a stateless person issued to an individual whose status of statelessness has been determined in Georgia;
- A special residence issued to: i) foreigner who is reasonably assumed to be a victim of or affected by the crime of trading in persons in accordance with the laws of Georgia; ii) foreigner in respect of whom a member of the Government of Georgia submits a written initiative on the issuance of a temporary Residence Permit; iii) foreigner who could not be deported and accordingly Temporary Identification Card has been issued and 5 years elapsed from issuance of Temporary Identification Card; iv) foreigner who holds a status of compatriot.
- A permanent living permit issued to a spouse, parent or child of a citizen of Georgia or to a foreigner who has lived in Georgia based on the residence permit for last 6 (six) years;
- An investment residence permit issued to investors and their family member who have made an investment of no less than USD 300,000 (three hundred thousand US Dollars) equivalent in Georgian Lari in Georgia or own a real estate (other than agricultural land) market value of which exceeds USD 300,000 (three hundred thousand US Dollars) equivalent in Georgian Lari;
- A temporary residence permit issued to a foreigner who has been assigned the status of victim under the Law of Georgia on Elimination of Domestic Violence, Protection and Support of Victims of Domestic Violence;
- A short-term residence permit issued to a foreigner who owns immovable property (other than agricultural land) with its market value exceeding USD 10,000 (ten thousand US Dollars) equivalent in Georgian Lari in Georgia and their family members are also eligible to apply;
- A unlimited residence permit issued to an alien and his/her family members, to whom an investment residence permit has been issued on the basis of an investment made in the amount of USD 300,000 (three hundred thousand US Dollars) equivalent in Georgian Lari, who has a proof of the annual turnover of at least USD 50,000 (fifty thousand US Dollars) equivalent in Georgian Lari during the first year of the entrepreneurial activities he/she has carried out in Georgia; the annual turnover of at least USD 100,000 (one hundred thousand US Dollars) equivalent in Georgian Lari during the second year, and the turnover of at least USD 120,000 (one hundred twenty thousand US Dollars) equivalent in Georgian Lari during the third, fourth and fifth years, or to an alien, and his/her family members, holding an investment residence permit issued on the basis of having ownership of an immovable thing worth of more than USD 300,000 (three hundred thousand US Dollars) equivalent in Georgian Lari, who has the property right to this immovable thing for 5 (five) years after he/she received the investment residence permit.