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27 Mar 2017

Georgian citizens can travel to the Schengen Zone without a visa

Georgian citizens can travel to the Schengen Zone without a visaOn March 1, 2017, Georgians have been granted the freedom to travel to the Schengen Area member states. The signing ceremony took place in Brussels on the same day, while the regulation will come into full effect on 28 March, 2017.

From 28 March, 2017 Georgian citizens holding biometric passports can travel to the Schengen Zone without a visa for a period of 90 days within any 180-day period for purposes other than working.

The European Commission submitted a legislative proposal on the visa liberalization for Georgia to the European Parliament. It was assumed that visa-free regime would be discussed for both countries as a package, Georgia and Ukraine, but the MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) decided to divide the two countries.

The negotiations on visa liberalization for Georgia started back in 2008 as part of the Eastern Partnership Program.

Georgia took part in the EU-Georgia talks back in June 2012, as a way used by the pro-Western government to win painful EU-sponsored reforms.

In order to travel freely, the citizens of Georgia will need to provide a biometric passport. On the other hand, Georgians will lose this freedom to travel if they:

  • Suddenly start making numerous asylum requests
  • Stay in the Schengen Zone for more than 90 days at a time
  • Cause an increase in the risk of public policy and internal security

If such problems persist, the suspension can be extended up to 18 months, were also the European Parliament will get involved and continue a more complex procedure.

Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Georgia’s prime minister called this a truly historic day for the Georgians and expressed gratitude towards the EU member states.

This has proved to be the day that will bring Georgians closer to the European Union.

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