- Rights and obligations of legal foreign residents in Georgia
- The cost of acquiring legal residence and citizenship of Georgia
- Methods of acquiring temporary legal residence in Georgia
- Methods of acquiring permanent legal residence in Georgia
- Obligations that residence-by-investment entails in Georgia
- The costs and the timeframes of Georgian residence acquisition
- Citizenship of Georgia
- Important changes to the Georgian residence-related legislation
People leave their home countries and relocate somewhere else for a number of different reasons. In any case, however, you have to assess the available options to figure out how much the relocation is going to cost you and what sort of benefits you are going to find in your new country of residence.
If you consider Georgia – a small country in the Caucasus – you will find that the costs are going to be comparatively small. Speaking about the benefits, you will find wonderful landscapes, a fantastic national cuisine, extremely friendly local people, and a low cost of living in Georgia. Below we discuss the opportunities of acquiring a temporary residence permit in the country, a permanent residence permit, and full citizenship of Georgia.
Rights and obligations of legal foreign residents in Georgia
Citizens of a great number of countries can stay in Georgia for one year without obtaining a visa. They enjoy the same rights as local people do as far as opening companies, buying real property, and paying taxes are concerned. However, if a foreign national obtains a residence card in Georgia, he or she will have more freedoms (and more obligations) in the country. Please see the table below.
|Temporary residence permit||Permanent residence permit||Citizenship|
|— An opportunity to extend the permit without leaving Georgia;|
— The medical insurance is less expensive as well as medical services;
— An interview over Skype, Zoom, or some other videoconferencing application;
— Electronic access to the state services;
— Lower costs of state services;
— An opportunity to stay in Georgia for more than one year (on the condition that the residence permit is extended);
— An opportunity to open a bank account in Georgia without too much trouble;
— Remote access to over 150 services provided by the national public register;
— Having a temporary residence permit is one of the conditions for acquiring tax residence in Georgia for wealthy individuals;
— Temporary residence can turn into the permanent residence after ten years);
— The right to acquire a vaccine against COVID-19.
|Rights and obligations are similar to those that a temporary residence permit holder has with the addition of the following ones:|
— 2% of the salary to be paid to the Pension Fund and the right to receive a Georgian pension in the future;
— No need to extend the residence permit every year.
|— Military service obligation (males between 18 and 27 years of age);|
— 2% of the salary to be paid to the Pension Fund;
Participation in elections;
Visa-free entry to the EU countries;
— The right to buy agricultural lands;
— Lower tuition fees;
— Cheaper medical insurance;
— Free entry to Georgia notwithstanding the closed border and no quarantine requirements;
— An opportunity to open a bank account in Georgia without too much trouble;
— Remote access to over 150 services provided by the national public register.
— The right to acquire a vaccine against COVID-19.
Having a legal residence permit or a passport of Georgia will have no bearing on the following:
- The tax burden (with the exception of the payment to the Pension Fund);
- The possibility to open a business company or register as a sole proprietor;
- The possibility to purchase property in Georgia (with the exception of agricultural lands).
We will be happy to assist you with opening a bank account in Georgia.
The cost of acquiring legal residence and citizenship of Georgia
Below please find the amounts of the state duties that you will have to pay when applying for a residence card in Georgia or citizenship of the country:
|The number of calendar days of application processing||Temporary residence (laris/US$)||Permanent residence (laris/US$)||Citizenship (laris/US$)|
210 / 69
300 / 98
180 / 59
500 / 163
350 / 114
250 / 82
Methods of acquiring temporary legal residence in Georgia
The Georgian law on the legal status of foreigners allows acquiring a temporary residence permit in the country that is valid for up to one year if one of the following conditions is satisfied:
|Purchase of real estate||Enrollment in an educational institution||Employment|
|Requirement specifications||Purchase of real estate in Georgia worth from US$ 100,000||Enrollment in a school or university||Monthly salary not less than 950 laris (US$287);|
Annual company turnover not less than 50,000 laris per each employed foreigner not less than 35,000 laris for medical companies, schools, kindergartens, and universities).
|Confirmation documents||An independent assessor’s report||A letter from the school/ university; |
A bank statement certifying that the student’s parents have at least 4,000 laris/ US$1,200 on their account
|Job contract; |
Revenue Service report;
A letter from the employer indicating the number of foreign employees.
Not only can you find a job in Georgia to qualify for legal residence in the country but you can also register as a sole proprietor or start a business company there. The annual company turnover shall be not less than 50,000 laris (US$ 15,000) in either case.
Please note that the parents of the child enrolled in a Georgian educational institution will qualify for legal residence in the country via the family reunification scheme.
Methods of acquiring permanent legal residence in Georgia
The Georgian legislation allows foreign nationals to acquire permanent residence in the country in two ways:
- You can live in Georgia on legal grounds for ten years to qualify for permanent residence. The years that you have spent studying in the country, undergoing medical treatment, or working at a foreign embassy do not count towards the required time of residence.
- You can use the residence by investment scheme that allows acquiring a residence permit in exchange for an investment of US$ 300,000 in the Georgian economy (purchasing a piece of real estate that is worth at least as much will also make you qualified for residence). You will be issued a five-year investor’s residence permit and when the period expires, you will get a residence card with no expiration date.
Methods of acquiring permanent residence in Georgia compared:
|Residence in Georgia for ten years||An investment of US$300,000 (after 5 years)|
A job contract with a Georgian company;
Purchase of real estate in the country worth US$100,000 or more.
In any case, you will have to have your residence permit extended every year during the ten years.
Purchase of real estate;
Launching a business company;
Purchase of shares of a commercial company.
Please note that the total duration of temporary residence permits issued in Georgia to one person at different times shall not exceed twelve years.
Obligations that residence-by-investment entails in Georgia
You will have to meet the following requirements if you would like to become a legal resident of Georgia by investment. The rules should not be violated during the five years since the date when you obtain your residence permit.
|Opening a business company||Purchasing real estate|
|Register an LLC or become a sole proprietor. In each case, the Revenue Service will have to confirm that your annual company turnover is as follows:|
1 year – US$50,000
2 year – US$100,000
3-5 years – US $120,000 per year.
|1. Choose the real estate and sign a purchase agreement.|
2. Own the property that is worth at least US$ 300,000 during five years.
Please note that you will have to demonstrate an annual turnover of US$ 50,000 or more before you can apply for permanent residence in Georgia. This means that your company will have to be in operation for a year before you can qualify for residence.
Please also note that you can sell the first piece of real property and buy a new one – it is allowed. However, an independent property assessor will have to confirm that the worth of the new property is not less than US$ 300,000.
The costs and the timeframes of Georgian residence acquisition
Sole proprietor registration as well as LLC registration takes place in the House of Justice and the timeframes will depend on the amount of state duty that you are willing to pay:
|Number of business days||Business registration (laris)||Real estate purchase (laris)|
|On the day of application|
On the next day
In four days
|50 for sole proprietor / 200 for corporate entity|
20 for sole proprietor / 100 for corporate entity
In addition to the costs indicated above, the applicant for Georgian residence will have to cover the cost of property value assessment or the company ownership share assessment (around US$ 100).
As you can see, the fastest way of obtaining legal residence in Georgia is by making an investment of US$ 300,000. If you choose this option, you can become a legal resident of Georgia within thirty days only.
Please note that you can also marry a Georgian person to become eligible for a permanent residence permit in the country. If your spouse/ parent acquires Georgian residence, you will be eligible for it too.
Citizenship of Georgia
The Georgian legislation treats most instances of granting citizenship of the country to foreign nationals as ‘exceptional cases’. You do not have to hold a residence card to be able to apply for citizenship of Georgia.
President of the country grants Georgian citizenship to foreigners on the basis of Citizenship Committee recommendations. To be recommended for Georgian citizenship, the applicant has to pass a test. He or she will be invited to take the test at any moment while the application documents are being processed (30 to 80 days).
You can take the test in Georgia if you are in the country at the moment or at the Georgian embassy/ consulate in your home country. It can be an aural or a written exam. The test will have 30 questions divided into three sections (10 questions each): Georgian history, language, and political order. You have to score at least seven points in each section to pass the test.
If you are successful, the Citizenship Committee will recommend that the President grant Georgian citizenship to you. You will be informed if citizenship has been granted to you or not within three months.
If the decision is positive, you have to pay a visit to the House of Justice to pick your domestic passport as well as your foreign passport.
A state duty is payable when obtaining the domestic passport:
- To obtain it on the day of application – 65 laris;
- To obtain it after 10 working days – 30 laris.
After you have acquired the domestic passport, you can request your foreign passport that you will have to use for international travel. The following passport issuance fees are due:
- To obtain the foreign passport on the day of application – 205 laris;
- To obtain it after 10 working days – 100 laris.
Important changes to the Georgian residence-related legislation
Some amendments to the Georgian Foreigners and Stateless Persons Act were made in May 2021. They are not as critical as those made in 2019 though. The following changes related to legal residence in Georgia have been introduced:
- Persons visiting Georgia on C1 (tourist) visas are not eligible to apply for legal residence in the country. This rule applies only to citizens of those countries who need tourist visas to enter Georgia. It does not apply to citizens of the 95 countries that have signed visa-free travel agreements with Georgia.
- You cannot apply for legal residence in Georgia while your visa is being extended.
- The notion of a ‘family member’ has been changed. Now, adult children or parents of adult children are not considered members of the family. This is applicable only to those foreign nationals who are applying for residence-by-investment scheme and those participating in the family reunification programs. For the purposes of acquiring a short-term residence permit, the age of the children does not matter.
- Previously, all family members were eligible for D5 visas if the main applicant for Georgian residence purchased property that was worth more than US$ 100,000. Now only the main applicant’s spouse and underage children are eligible. Holders of D5 visas are also eligible to apply for residence permits if their visas are valid for more than 40 days.
- First residence permits can be issued for six or twelve months.
- Previously, you could apply for a permanent residence permit after living in Georgia for six years and now you have to live in the country for 10 year before you can do that.
Do you have any questions related to acquiring legal residence in Georgia or full citizenship of the country? Please do not hesitate to write to email@example.com or use an alternative means of communication to contact us (see the Contact icon at the top of the page). Our experts will be happy to help you acquire legal residence in Georgia – a truly beautiful country in the Caucasus.
What are the advantages of having a Georgian residence permit or citizenship of the country?
A foreign national holding a residence permit in Georgia can easily open a personal or a corporate bank account in the country. He or she will have access to various electronic government services as well as educational and medical services at reduced prices. Citizenship of Georgia will allow the foreign national to purchase agricultural lands in the country.
How long does it take to acquire a permanent residence permit in Georgia?
The fastest way to acquire Georgian residence would be to marry a local person or invest from US$ 300,000 in the country’s economy. The timeframe of residence acquisition is about 30 days.
How soon can I acquire full citizenship of Georgia?
A foreign national has to legally reside in Georgia for 10 years before he or she can apply for citizenship of the country.