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It will be easier to enter the EU

By Ernest Petrosyan
Friday, June 18
An agreement to simplify the visa regime between Georgia and the EU was signed in Brussels on June 17. Georgian Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Kingdom of Spain (the EU Presidency country) Miguel Angel Moratinos and EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmstrom signed both this document and an agreement on readmission, both of which will come into force when ratified by the European and Georgian Parliaments.

The new simplified visa procedures will apply to Georgia and all EU member states except the Kingdom of Denmark, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The fee for making a visa application for all Georgia’s citizens will be reduced from 60 to 35 Euros. The procedures for obtaining visas to visit any EU country except the three above will be simplified for 22 categories of citizens, and citizens in 12 categories will no longer have to pay to make applications. For 13 categories of persons the types of documents to be submitted will be determined on a case-by-case basis. For 11 categories of persons a one year multiple-entry visa will be issued if they have obtained at least one visa during the previous year in compliance with the laws of the host state. Following this these persons can obtain 2-5 year multiple-entry visas.

Chairman of the Georgian Parliament's Committee On European Integration David Darchiashvili told The Messenger that the simplified visa regime will affect quite a broad range of citizens. Businessmen, NGO staff and students in particular will easily be able to obtain visas and will need to provide less documentation. The agreement also introduces simplified visa procedures for family members and people who need medical treatment in EU states.

Decisions on the issue of visas will be made within 10 calendar days of the receipt of the application and necessary documents. In individual cases this term may be extended to 30 calendar days or reduced to 2 days. The agreement entitles holders of Georgian diplomatic passports to up to 90 days visa-free movement on the territories of the states party to the agreement.