EU recognises Georgia's Covid-19 certificates: what you should know about new traveling procedures
The European Commission recognized Georgian Covid-19 certificates, and, as a result, on November 17, Georgia joined the digital passport certification system, which includes 49 countries.
What will this change for those citizens of Georgia who want to travel to other countries?
We have compiled and checked all the information on this topic and prepared a detailed travel guide for those planning to travel for business or as a tourist.
I’m going on a trip. What should I do?
You must obtain a Covid passport, or, as it also called, the Covid certificate.
This is a new document that did not exist before the pandemic, but now, like a regular passport, it is a necessary document for leaving the country.
A Covid passport is a book containing one’s Covid history – whether one had Covid-19, how many times they did PCR and rapid tests, what vaccine they got vaccinated with and with how many doses.
Basic information to keep in mind: If you have already received your Covid Passport by November 17, you will have to get it again. On November 17, Georgia began issuing documents according to the European system. That is, old covid passports and QR codes affixed to them will no longer be valid.
There are two ways to get a COVID passport:
Method #1: you can visit the House of Justice or any of its service centers and obtain a document with valid QR codes and signatures there. Obtaining a Covid passport is free, and no prior registration is required to pick it up. However, keep in mind that you will probably have to queue at both the House of Justice and its branches.
Method #2: Download Georgia’s e-health mobile app. Only iPhone and Android owners will be able to download this application (however, downloading it via Android does not work at the moment. As we were informed in the 144 service, the error will be fixed shortly).
In this application you will need to register and you will be automatically provided with a valid QR code. If you manage to carry out this operation, then you do not need to visit the House of Justice. This is your Covid Passport, and from December 1, you can show it to visit entertainment venues.
In order to link your QR code to the European system and travel freely around Europe, you will need to perform one more simple online operation: “screen” your QR codes, which the application will show you. Then go to this site: https://www.getcovidpass.eu/?fbclid=IwAR28ymzXK54zeQHecbT_xSPYsEqfRMzlBAf0YUCi9WnaZLc7jOoGJjGHVB8 and upload your “screened” QR code.
Then, through the same application, you can add a passport to your Apple Wallet:
This form will display the Covid Passport in your E-Wallet.
Don’t worry if your name is written in Georgian – when you travel to another country, the local QR reader will read this code in English.
Do I need to certify a Covid passport with an apostille?
Until now, travel agencies have recommended their clients to certify Georgia’s Covid passports with an apostille “in every case”.
When asked whether it is necessary to certify a Covid passport with an apostille, the JAMnews hotline answered that this should be confirmed at the embassy of a particular country, or at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
To certify a passport with an apostille, a citizen must come to the House of Justice, submit an application, pay 25 GEL and wait for 8 working days. The certified document is sent to the applicant by the Georgian Post, which requires another four working days. You have to pay 100 GEL for issuing an apostille on the same day.
In fact, all citizens who had gone on trips and were later interviewed by JAMnews said that no one ever asked them for apostille.
The answer is no. You do not need an apostille and you should not waste time and money on it.
There may be cases when apostille / legalization confirmation is required, for example, when you need a Covid passport not only for travel, but also for filing with any department (for example, if you need to submit documents to the French Ministry of Justice, they may ask for a certified document).
If I have a Covid passport, can I travel freely wherever I want?
Partially. Covid passport, which says that you have received at least two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine, gives you many privileges, however, it depends on the vaccine you got.
European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved vaccines and the European Union approved vaccines are the following: Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson. The Chinese Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines, which have not yet been recognized by the European Union, are also widely used in Georgia.
Therefore, a citizen vaccinated with two doses of Sinopharm will not be able to travel to many European countries unless there are any exceptions. Each country has its own rules. Those vaccinated by Sinopharm, for example, cannot travel to Germany, but can freely enter Austria or Spain.
As for the “booster” doses – two doses of Sinopharm and one dose of Pfizer, for example, are not recognized in Germany – both doses of the aforementioned approved vaccines must be received and the above and at least two weeks must pass after receiving the second dose.
Therefore, before planning a trip, it will be necessary to check if a particular country requires something in addition to the Covid passport. You need to consider not only the rules of the country you are traveling to, but also the country of transit. Here is where you can find out the specific rules of each country.
Alternatively, you can call the state hotline at 144 or the consulate hotline at (+995 32) 2 94 50 50 to try to get more information.
You also need to find out which airline you are flying with. Each airline has its own safety rules – for example, an airline may require a PCR test within the last 72 hours in addition to a passport.
What happens when you return?
When entering Georgia by air, you will only need to present a Covid passport and you will not need to go through quarantine or isolation.
In case of entry by land, upon return, the citizen of Georgia must present a negative PCR test result carried out within the last 72 hours.
If this is not the case, the citizen of Georgia will be allowed to enter the country, but will either have to go to self-isolation or quarantine.
Citizens of other countries, in the absence of a PCR test, will be denied entry.