Georgia receives Visa-Free travel to Europe

On 27 February, the Council of the European Union adopted amendment to Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 transferring Georgia to the list of visa-free countries. It is the last step in the process of granting Georgia visa-free travel with the EU.

Maltese Minister for Home Affairs and National Security Carmelo Abela stated that, “This agreement will bring the people of Georgia and the EU closer together and will strengthen tourism and business ties. It follows the completion of the necessary reforms by Georgia, addressing document security, border management, migration and asylum. In addition, the recent adaptation of the suspension mechanism has made this agreement possible.”

The regulation formally amends regulation 539/2001, moving Georgia from Annex I (countries whose nationals need a visa to enter the Schengen area) to Annex II (visa free countries). Georgian citizens with a biometric passport travelling to the EU for up to 90 days in any 180-day period for business, tourist or family purposes will no longer need a visa.

These measures will not apply to Ireland and the United Kingdom, in accordance with the protocols annexed to the EU treaties. The visa regime of these member states remains subject to their national legislation.

EU Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos with Georgian PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili

European Union Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos at the Press Conference in Tbilisi with the Prime Minister of Georgia noted that the final green light to lifting visa-requirements for Georgia is a “historic moment” and “one step” forward between Georgia and the EU.

The EU Commissioner thanked the Government of Georgia for their commitment and efforts in implementing necessary policy standards, which in turn has allowed for a swift process of visa-liberalisation and now, a complete waiver. “On its European path Georgia is not alone and we believe that we are going to enjoy this great moment soon“, — stated Mr. Avramopoulos at the meeting with the Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili.

“Visa-free access to the European Union will bring tangible, concrete benefits to the citizens of Georgia. Visa-free travel to the EU member states will promote closer tourism, educational, cultural, and business relations between our societies, also contributing to the introduction and advancement of European values and ideas in Georgia… Once again, I would like to express my immense gratitude to every member of my team for their enormous efforts. I am grateful to our friend, EU Commissioner Avramopoulos, for this crucially important visit. I also thank EU Ambassador to Georgia Janos Herman for his great support throughout this process. I am thankful to the ambassadors of our friends, the EU member states, for their work in Georgia, for their assistance to the Government of Georgia in achieving this huge success,” noted Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili.

See More: Council of EU Press-Release