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11,700 Georgians have enjoyed visa-free travel with EU so far

By Tea Mariamidze
Tuesday, May 2
The Chair of the Parliamentary Committee for European Integration of Georgia, Tamar Khulordava, says that 11,700 Georgians left Georgia for the Schengen area without visas in April and only 26 people were refused to cross the border.

“Although there were fears that a lot of people would be denied to cross the border, it has not happened. We have only 26 such cases and it is a pleasure to find that these cases are related to objective circumstances, namely improper documentation, and not biased decisions," Khulordava said.

The European Integration Committee Chair said that the data of the first month was “really good”.

Khulordava said that the state will continue to actively inform the public about the visa-free regime and its conditions and terms.

“For now we don’t know how we are fulfilling the terms of the regime, it is impossible to say yet because the three month period term has not passed yet. Consequently, after 90 days we will know how many of our citizens have followed the requirements," she said.

The visa-free regime for Georgia was activated on March 28.

Georgians holding biometric passports are now able to enter the Schengen Area for 90 days within any 180-day period for vacation, business, or any other purpose except work.

Georgians can 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.

The visa-free regime also applies 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.

Georgians will lose the freedom to travel visa-free if they suddenly start making numerous asylum requests, stay in the Schengen Zone for more than 90 days at a time or cause an increase in risks and internal security.

If such problems emerge, the suspension of visa-free regime can be extended up to 18 months, followed by the intervention of the European Parliament.