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Georgia upgrades border crossing standards

Wednesday, May 13
Changes to Georgia’s border crossing procedures mean current outdated rules and regulations are moving away from the past and closer towards modern, international standards.

Specifically, rules regarding the taking of photos at border checkpoints have changed.

Georgia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs released a statement explaining the changes, which noted photos would only be taken of some travellers, rather than everyone who crossed the border.

"The new standards, which foresees taking photos only in cases defined by law, is fully in line with the personal data protection legislation, provides for the proportionality and adequacy of data processing and does not damage the interests of state security,” read the Ministry’s statement.

Specifically, the Ministry said the old standard practice noted all people who crossed the Georgian border (both arriving and departing) were obliged to have their photograph taken. But the new rules stated photographs would only be taken in specific circumstances for identification purposes.

In addition, the Ministry noted that the new regulations defined a specific time frame in which the photos were allowed to be kept in storage, which had not been defined before.

The Ministry said these changes were necessary according to the Visa Liberalisation Action Plan (VLAP), to bring the country’s personal data protection standards closer to European Union (EU) standards.

"The changes are in line with the European standards and internationally recognised principles of personal data protection. This was once again reaffirmed by the European Commission in its Visa Liberalisation Action Plan assessment report, which noted that Georgia has successfully completed the requirement of personal data protection,” said the Ministry. (