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45,000 Georgians traveled to EU in three months

By Tea Mariamidze
Thursday, July 20
Georgia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) says that around 45,000 Georgians have traveled to the European Union (EU) since the activation of the visa-free regime on March 28.

The MIA reports that 146 citizens of Georgia were refused to enter the EU member states in the last three months.

At this stage the Ministry of Internal Affairs does not specify how many people returned to the country by protecting the 90-day stay rule and how many violated visa terms.

Deputy Interior Minister Shalva Khutsishvili says no major violations of visa-free regime have been recorded yet.

He added that the Georgian MIA has constant communication with their European partners and they jointly work on the elimination of organized crime, illegal migration or other risks.

“In addition, we have activated cooperation with the EU Border Protection Agency and at the end of this month we are planning additional negotiations in order to revise and improve the existing agreement with them,” Khutsishvili said.

Visa liberalization with the EU was activated on March 28, and it means that all Georgians holding biometric passports are able to enter the Schengen Area for 90 days within any 180-day period for vacation, business, or any other purpose except work.

Georgians will be able to travel without visas to the 22 EU member states of Belgium, Austria, Germany, Denmark, Spain, Estonia, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Greece, France, Slovenia, Slovakia, Hungary, Finland, Sweden, and Czech Republic.

The new regime also refers to four non-member states of the EU in the form of Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, and four Schengen candidate countries: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Romania and Croatia. However, Ireland and the United Kingdom will still require visas.