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Georgia to simplify its law on visa and migration

By Messenger Staff
Monday, May 4
A pacckage of amendments to the law on visa and migration was supported by the Parliament on May 1st. The amendment lifted tightened visa rules for foreigners, which had been adopted eight months ago.

The amendments proposed by the Ministry of Economics increased visa-free stay for citizens of some countries from 90 to 360 days. However, this list still has to be approved, and according the law it will be the government's final decision whether to adopt the subsequent decree or not. The government has 30 days after the law goes into force to prepare the list of countries.

The United National Movement (UNM), which is the largest opposition group in the parliament, had its own amendments drafted, which offered list of the countries eligible for 360-day visa-free travel to Georgia to be identified by the law and not by the government decree.

The updated bill simplifies the visa application procedures and also makes a foreign national, who owns or purchases real estate, except of agricultural land, worth at least USD 35,000 eligible for a residence permit or a one-year Georgia visa. In addition, the visa fee is to be cut from 100 GEL to 40 GEL for those who live in Georgia and apply for a Georgian visa extension to Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The visa fee for those who apply online through the website will be cut from 50 USD to 20 USD.

The draft passed its first and second readings so far. It still has to go through the third reading before it is sent to the President for his signature and final approval.