Georgia reopens land borders - what are the entry requirements?
Georgia will reopen its land borders on June 1, after over a year of pandemic-induced travel restrictions. Here’s all you need to know about who can visit Georgia and the country’s entry requirements.
From June 1, foreign visitors, including tourists who could previously only travel to Georgia by air, will be able to enter the country via its land borders.
The tourism industry, which is in a severe crisis, has long been demanding the opening of land borders since most tourists travel to Georgia by land.
JAMnews found out what specific rules and conditions must be met by those wishing to enter the country by land, and discovered that:
Only three days before June 1 when the land borders are scheduled to reopen, there is still no information and protocol on how foreign visitors will be able to enter Georgia by land.
We contacted three different agencies – the government hotline (144), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs hotline, and the border police hotline, and all three institutions provided us with different information.
Here is what we managed to find out so far.
What kind of documents do visitors need to present at the land border?
The rules of entry into the country are different for vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers.
For vaccinated visitors:
A vaccinated visitor is a person who possesses a document confirming that they have undergone a full vaccination, the so-called. Covid passport.
However, for a Georgian customs officer to be able to recognize this document, it must be in English or Georgian (the border police said it could also be in Russian). If the original document is in another language, it must be translated and notarized before entering the country.
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However, Covid passport alone is not enough to enter Georgia.
Along with it, the visitor must have a document confirming a negative PCR test result taken within the last 72 hours.
When a visitor presents both of those documents at the border, they will no longer need to undergo quarantine nor self-isolation.
For unvaccinated visitors:
People who have not yet been vaccinated will also be able to enter Georgia, but they will have to meet more conditions.
An unvaccinated person wishing to enter the country across the land border must pre-register a few days before entering the country.
Registration is available at this link (in stopcov.ge application). We were informed on the border police hotline that vaccinated persons also need to complete similar registration, while on the 144 government’s hotline, we were told that vaccinated people do not need to register at the website.
After registration, the person will receive a code that must be presented at the border.
In addition to this code, an unvaccinated visitor must present a negative PCR result taken within the last 72 hours. With it, they will be allowed to enter the country, although they will still be required to re-test in the country within the next 72 hours. The repeat test will be taken at the visitor’s own expense and they themselves must find out where it is possible to take it. The cost of PCR tests in Georgia ranges from $ 20 to $ 50.
During the period between entering the country to retesting, the visitor will be allowed to move freely across the country, and they will not be required to go into quarantine or self-isolation.
However, visitors must have a negative PCR test result with them at all times or face a fine of 2,000 lari (approximately $ 600), and the test will also be required upon departure from the country.
Giorgi Gibradze, Chief of Staff of the Interdepartmental Coordination Council under the Government of Georgia stated that Georgia also recommends that all visitors have medical insurance covering the costs associated with the treatment of COVID-19. However, this recommendation is not binding.
Citizens of which country will be able to enter Georgia through land borders
Citizens of all countries can enter Georgia if they are fully vaccinated, however, there are some country restrictions imposed on unvaccinated visitors.
For example, an unvaccinated citizen of Nigeria or India cannot enter Georgia via land border unless they arrive on business invitation or are not married to a Georgian citizen.
Unvaccinated citizens of only those countries with which Georgia has a simplified travel regime will be allowed to enter Georgia.
This includes EU member states, as well as all neighboring countries, the USA, Great Britain, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova and others.
List of countries whose unvaccinated citizens can enter Georgia
EU Member States, Israel, Turkey, Switzerland, Norway, USA, UK, Northern Ireland, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Canada , Kuwait, South Korea, Japan, Oman, Moldova and China.
Where can information on entry requirements be found?
The Georgian government’s hotline 144, created to help the population during the COVID-19 pandemic, told us that they could not provide a link or website where a foreigner could find detailed information about the rules for entering Georgia.
The hotline noted that the rules for simplified entry into the country are set out in order 164 of Resolution 322.
Both of these links are in Georgian and written in legal language, which can be difficult to understand not only for foreigners, but also for Georgians.
The hotline also told us that they cannot receive calls from abroad.
JAMnews tried to find information on entry rules in English on the government website stopcov.ge, but found nothing there.
On the hotline of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, where we called as citizens to get more information, we were informed that the land borders would open on June 1 (that is, in three days), and they have no information about the new rules. We were then redirected towards the border service of Georgia.
“In general, anyone wishing to enter Georgia can get information on the website, in the Covid-19section”, we were told on the ministry’s hotline. The land border entry information in this section has not yet been updated.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Georgia closed its land borders a year ago, on March 15, 2020. Closed borders were considered a major problem by those employed in the tourism sector, as most tourists entered Georgia via land borders.
The tourism sector, which is now in severe crisis, has long been demanding the opening of land borders along with the relaxation of other restrictions.
“Georgia is one of the first countries to open its borders during a pandemic”, said Deputy Minister of Economy of Georgia Mariam Kvrivishvili at a meeting in Chateau-Mukhrani on May 27, where representatives of the tourism sector and influencers who have arrived in Georgia were invited. Kvrivishvili added that this will help the tourism sector to recover faster.
Tourism industry officials say it is not yet clear what the prospects for tourism season in the summer season are.
At this stage, the vaccination rate in Georgia is still low (which is also considered a decisive factor for the tourism industry). As of May 28, 1056 cases of coronavirus have been detected in the country and 28 people have died.