Ever contemplated living somewhere different? Georgia may be the place for you. Not the American state of Georgia, though, but the independent country of Georgia. It’s on the western side of Asia and closer to Europe than you might think.
Georgia is really easy to visit. Citizens of half of the countries of the world, like the USA, UK and most of Europe, can enter Georgia without a visa for tourism purposes. Meanwhile, 60 other nationalities are eligible for Georgia’s eVisa (Electronic Visa), which you can apply for and obtain online.
Once you have experienced Georgia, you will realise that, although it bears similarities to parts of both Europe and Asia, it is definitely a charming country in its own right, with its own pace and its own lifestyle. That’s why so many people are not just visiting, it’s why more people are choosing to immigrate to Georgia too.
Moving to Georgia is an increasingly attractive option to many people. If you are a foreign national, there are of course documents and permits you need to remain in Georgia indefinitely.
This page will lead you through these documents and permits, and help you get the right papers to live in this beautiful and welcoming country permanently. So just read on to find out how to make this happen and get your move to Georgia sorted!
- 1 Why Consider Moving to Georgia (Country)?
- 2 What Do I Need to Know About Immigration to Georgia?
- 3 What’s Georgia’s Visa Policy for People Moving Here?
- 4 Moving to Georgia Introductory Guide
- 5 Moving to Georgia (Country) Pros and Cons
- 6 About the Georgia Work Visa
- 7 About the Georgia Residency Permit
- 8 About the Georgia Nomad Visa
- 9 About the Georgia D3 (Study) Visa
- 10 People Moving to Georgia Are Allowed Dual Citizenship
- 11 More Useful Links and Information for Moving to Georgia (Country)
Why Consider Moving to Georgia (Country)?
Over recent years Georgia has gone from being a pretty obscure country dominated by its large Russian neighbour to the north, to a safe and prosperous place in its own right. The big increase in cheaper international flights to the main Georgian airports, especially those transiting through Turkey or Ukraine, have really opened the country up.
Some people consider Georgia and its neighbours to be part of Europe and there are certainly plenty of cultural and traditional links which make this case.
Georgia mixes the best of a range of different sorts of life experiences. Its climate, language, cuisine and general pace of life mean it can often feel like being in a Southeast European nation like Romania or Bulgaria. The mountains that dominate the landscape could easily make you think of a mountain range in Montenegro or Italy, while the weather and access to the sea could make you think of Greece.
The capital city of Tbilisi has much to recommend it, and is a fusion of modern amenities and charming history. Over a million people live in the capital – almost a third of the total population – so it has the feeling of a vibrant big city without being so huge that you might get lost.
Tbilisi is pretty central and everywhere else in Georgia leads to Tbilisi, including the speedy transport links to the major beach resort of Batumi on the Black Sea. Other popular options for travel are into the Caucuses mountains where there are so many breathtaking natural wonders to experience.
No wonder people are moving to Georgia!
What Do I Need to Know About Immigration to Georgia?
Georgian hospitality is world-famous and every year Georgians welcome tens of thousands of people from other countries moving to Georgia. With such a welcome to international workers, it is not surprising that an increasing number of people are now thinking of relocating to Georgia permanently. But how straightforward is immigration to Georgia and what do you have to do to make it happen?
At Byevisa.com we have done the research so that you can know with confidence everything you need to know about moving to Georgia.
The first thing to assure you of regarding immigration to Georgia is not to worry about the language issues. Although Georgian documents are mainly used, you can also submit official documents in English too, or in Russian if you speak that language. Official document processing can also be done without Georgian translations of your passport and other documents if these are in English or Russian.
What’s Georgia’s Visa Policy for People Moving Here?
Georgia has relatively smooth immigration laws, especially for those who come from the US, EU, or developed nations, and Georgia’s visa policy is relatively easy. There are basically 5 types of Georgian immigration visas (type D in Georgia). These are:
- The D1 visa, which is issued to persons arriving in Georgia to work, or to carry out entrepreneurial activity (see our full section on this below).
- The D2 visa is available to those coming to Georgia to carry out scientific, sports, cultural or educational activity; or foreigners coming as interns or volunteers.
- The D3 visa applies to people who do research at an authorised educational institution or who are coming to Georgia on an international educational programme (see our full section below).
- The D4 visa is for family reunification.
- The D5 visa is linked to existing land ownership.
Georgia visa policy is pretty clear. If your visa will be more long-term, then a visit to the nearest Georgian embassy or consulate will probably be needed, because Georgian long-term visas are issued by Georgia’s diplomatic missions abroad. Citizens of those countries where Georgia does not have a diplomatic mission or a consular office may apply in the neighbouring countries.
Alternatively, if you are in Georgia itself, you can apply physically for an immigration visa at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or at branches of the Public Service Hall and other specified government buildings.
Visas will either come in the form of a stamp visa in a travel document such as a passport, or be issued as an electronic visa.
Moving to Georgia Introductory Guide
Moving to Georgia is one of the easiest places in the world because of the desire of the government to welcome workers and investors. Where lots of countries have significant bureaucracy, Georgia is not one of them – which is perhaps surprising since it was once part of the Soviet Union.
Finding somewhere to rent even in Tbilisi is not a big challenge, as there is plenty of choice available providing you have the funds. You can get a nice apartment for a fraction of what you would pay in a western capital city. Most landlords will also accept major international currencies as well as the local Georgian lari (GEL).
Foreigners who have moved to Tbilisi have also been pleasantly surprised with the ease of getting a SIM card or even opening a bank account.
You can also remain in contact with people from other countries really easily. The internet in Georgia is generally extremely fast and with 3G and 4G in most cities, with many cafes, bars and restaurants having free internet too.
In March 2021, Georgia also became the first country outside Europe to join the European Migration Network as an observer, which will help the country reinforce cooperation in migration and asylum. This is another sign that Georgia is linking up internationally on issues relating to migration and immigration to Georgia.
Moving to Georgia (Country) Pros and Cons
Georgia is no different to any other country in the world in terms of relocating – there will be pros and there will be cons. Here’s 5 of each to get you thinking.
1. You’ll be in good company
Last year almost ninety thousand people were new immigrants to Georgia. In total, there are almost half a million people living in Georgia who have become naturalised Georgian citizens, with a further quarter of a million living here for work. This is quite a high number when you consider that there are less than 4 million people in the country as a whole!
The ‘Remotely from Georgia’ programme (see our section on the Georgia Nomad Visa below) has also added thousands of other foreigners working some of the year from Georgia, and this has had a big and positive impact too.
2. Georgia is a friendly country
Visitors and international residents of Georgia always remark on the warm hospitality of the people, not just in Tbilisi but in the rural areas too. The culture means that visitors are always respected and welcomed.
3. Cheaper accommodation
Georgia is definitely a budget-friendly destination, with a wide variety of cheap accommodation, food, and drink. Entire city centre flats are sometimes available on AirBnB for only under 30 USD per night. Getting a centrally located flat permanently is usually around 250-350 USD a month and, obviously, the price lowers as you expand the search to the outskirts. Like anywhere else, the more you pay, the more prominent and central an apartment you get.
4. Georgian food
Nobody forgets Georgian cuisine. The country has its own distinctive (and sometimes spicy!) take on eastern Mediterranean and middle eastern cuisine. Fresh local breads and desserts are all part of the experience along with fresh peaches and orchard fruits. Nobody comes to Georgia without being offered walnuts either, with dishes from this nut being a big part of the diet, especially on festive occasions.
And for connoisseurs of alcohol, Georgia has been growing some of the best wines in the world for thousands of years. The red wines are especially prized, but be careful with some of the local spirits like chacha which are very strong!
5. Good connections
Not only is the transport network good, but the internet connectivity is too. This is one of the reasons the ‘Remotely from Georgia’ programme (described below) has worked so well.
1. You’re not on holiday anymore
It’s natural to get a buzz and a different feeling when you holiday somewhere, but that doesn’t continue when you live there permanently or for any length of time. Just keep that in mind before you make any big decisions.
2. There’s a new and unique language
Georgia has its own language, written in its own script which is a unique alphabet and doesn’t really resemble any other language in the world. You can learn, but it will take you time. Many people in Georgia don’t speak much English, especially older people, so you’ll need some familiarity with Georgian if you are staying longer.
3. It’s harder to be a vegetarian
Like in many developing countries, it is harder to live a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle in Georgia. Many menus are very meat-heavy, especially involving lamb or chicken, or you might struggle to find dishes prepared to strict vegetarian standards. Having said that, it is not impossible to do so, and when you find the right restaurants then you’ll make them regular haunts.
4. There may be higher import costs
Georgia imports a lot of things from clothes through to palm oil, so even though food and accommodation are relatively inexpensive, not everything is. Some household things might be more expensive than in your home country.
5. You’ll need health insurance
You’ll need health insurance to move to Georgia permanently and this too can be expensive. Thankfully there are lots of healthcare insurance companies depending on your monthly budget.
About the Georgia Work Visa
Georgia immigration requirements and Georgia visa policy are not huge barriers, but foreign nationals who want to work in Georgia will need to obtain a long-term Georgia work visa. This document basically becomes your work permit, allows you to move to Georgia, and then lets you get a Residency Permit after you have arrived in Georgia (there’s more about Residency Permits in the next section).
It is not too complex to get a Georgia work visa if you have a job in Georgia. Foreign employees can usually apply for a visa online through Georgia’s e-application submission process.
As with any visa application, make sure you have all the right documents before you begin. Visa requirements can vary from one embassy to another depending on the country you are moving from. That said, there are some basic general requirements that hold true everywhere, and for a Georgia work visa you’ll definitely need to pay a fee, and have:
- A completed and signed visa application form.
- A valid passport with at least 1 blank page for any entry stamp.
- An employment contract with a company based in Georgia.
In most cases, after applying online, you will also need to submit an additional hard copy of the completed application form, along with all the required documents, to the embassy or consulate. In some cases, you can mail these documents to the embassy. The embassy or consulate will always tell you exactly what you need to do.
About the Georgia Residency Permit
Foreigners who enter Georgia with an immigration visa then have to get a Georgian Residency Permit once you’re actually here. This Residency Permit then allows you to actually stay in Georgia. Although the length can vary, Residency Permits are usually issued for 1 year and can be renewed every year for up to 5 years.
Remember that spouses and dependents who travel to Georgia with you will need Residency Permits as well, but you can get all of them at the same time.
A Residency Permits also allows you to invite another foreigner to visit you in Georgia.
To get a Residency Permit you’ll need to apply at the Public Service Hall, which is the government agency of Georgia. You can do this either in person or online. The process is not as frightening as it first sounds, and most Georgians dealing with permits and visas have a good level of English.
If there is no facility close by, you can also apply online via the distance service of the Public Service Development Agency here: https://services.sda.gov.ge.
Within 1 month of receiving your Residency Permit, you might also have to apply for a Residence Card at a local office of the Public Service Hall. Look into this aspect when you’re actually in Georgia.
Other Things to Remember About the Georgia Work Visa
As with any long-term visa, there is always a waiting process. Sometimes this can be up to 30 days for immigration to Georgia, though it is often a lot quicker. Remember to factor this into your travel and work planning.
Be really clear too that as a foreigner you can’t work in Georgia without the right visa. A tourist visa or other short-term visa allowed this in the past but it doesn’t any longer. You might be able to get a Georgia Nomad Visa, though, if you are planning on working remotely here (see our next section).
About the Georgia Nomad Visa
The Georgian government is very welcoming of visitors and people moving to Georgia to work remotely. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the government launched its world-leading ‘Remotely from Georgia’ program. This is also sometimes called the Georgia Nomad Visa. ‘Remotely from Georgia’ is designed for freelancers, full-time employees or for business owners from a long list of designated countries to relocate and work from Georgia remotely.
Open to around 100 countries (which is half the world!), ‘Remotely from Georgia’ allows for stays of between 180 days and 360 days without any visa whatsoever.
Travellers who choose this option need to have an income of 2000 USD every month and health insurance, but ‘Remotely from Georgia’ really is one of the most welcoming and straightforward relocation initiatives in the world. Thousands of people are already using this easy-access, few-rules system to experience life among Georgians for up to a year, often as a taster to permanently moving to Georgia.
About the Georgia D3 (Study) Visa
In order to study in Georgia, you need to apply for a long-term visa (immigration visa, type D3) for study purposes. For this, you must be enrolled at an educational institution and present the following documents:
- A completed and signed Georgian visa application form.
- The necessary travel and health insurance.
- Proof of accommodation for at least the first week.
- Your passport, valid for at least 6 months, containing a minimum of 1 blank page.
- 1 recent passport-size photograph, taken against a white backdrop.
- An enrolment letter issued by the specific educational institute in Georgia where you plan to study and usually an invitation letter too.
- Clear documented evidence, which states that there is a foreign language education program in place at the particular educational institution where the applicant is enrolled.
Documents for extending D3 visas can be submitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia as well as to the branches of Public Service Hall or other designated government locations.
People Moving to Georgia Are Allowed Dual Citizenship
Georgia allows for dual citizenship and makes this process easier than in most countries. To qualify for dual citizenship you would basically need to prove that you’re an asset to Georgia, but this should take no more than a couple of months for those who are interested.
Requirements for obtaining citizenship here include things like investing in the country, or buying a property, or marrying a Georgian, simply having a Georgian business or a long-term job in the country.
More Useful Links and Information for Moving to Georgia (Country)
We hope that, with the information on this page, you now feel ready to relocate here! You can find more helpful travel information about this fascinating Eurasian country on our Visit Georgia page. In addition, if you need to contact a consular office for Georgia, feel free to check our Embassies Finder page. Enjoy immigrating to Georgia – it’ll be the experience of a lifetime!