Long-term visa options in Georgia: Getting residency (2023) 

Georgia is a great country with a pretty affordable cost of living. Aside from being one of the safest countries, Georgia offers superb work and investment opportunities. So, it’s no wonder that you’re looking to stay there.

Long-term visa options in Georgia are usually temporary permits issued for 6-12 months. Then, you can extend your residence permit for an additional period of up to 12 years. These permits include work, study, investment, short-term, family reunification, etc.

In this article, you’ll learn more about your visa options and how to apply for one. Additionally, you’ll get to know the requirements and documents needed.

Main Visa Categories for Georgia

There are five main visa types for Georgia, each with a different purpose.

Let’s take a look at the options and figure out which is ideal for your long-term stay plans:

Category A: Diplomatic Visa

The Georgian government issues this type of visa for diplomatic representatives, high-ranking officials, foreign honorary consuls, workers of diplomatic missions, and so on.

Category B: Special Visa

This type of visa is specifically given to members of foreign delegations, other participants of different missions, and their families. Additionally, members of peacekeeping forces, missions of benefits, and humanitarian organizations also get to obtain a category B special visa.

Category C: Ordinary Visa

An ordinary visa is just a tourist visa. So, you can expect visitors or members of international scientific communities to carry this kind of visa.

Category D: Immigration Visa

An immigration visa is the type of visa we’re addressing in this article.

Typically, a D1 is a suitable choice for people staying in Georgia for business. For study purposes, the D3 visa can be a good fit. Plus, the D4 sub-category is also granted for family reunification purposes.

Category T: Transit Visa

Individuals get a transit visa for transiting Georgia on their way to enter a third country. So, that’s not really what you’re looking for here.

Long-term visa options in Georgia

If you’re planning to go to Georgia and stay there long-term, there are quite a few residence permits for you to consider.

1. Visa-free

Basically, there are many foreign citizens including U.S. citizens that can stay in Georgia for up to 365 days without a visa – check for your country here. After that, you can always apply for a residence permit. Eventually, after years of uninterrupted stay in Georgia, you would be able to present your papers for permanent residency.

Note that you’ll need to be inside the country (in a branch of the Public Service Development Agency or Public Service Hall) for a first-time application. However, to extend a current residence permit, you can submit an online application.

That said, there are lots of details that go into the application process and requirements in the Georgian law. So, let’s take a look at the highlights of your possible options:

2.   Work residence permit

This type of permit, as its name suggests, is a suitable option if you’re moving to Georgia for work purposes. You could be self-employed, a freelancer, or an entrepreneur.

Normally, a first-time work permit has a validity of 6-12 months, with a possibility of another 5-year extension. Eventually, a work residence permit holder can apply for permanent residency as long as the employment continues.

To qualify for this type of residence permit, you must have the following:

  • An employment contract/certificate with a remaining period of at least six months (even for enterprise founders)
  • Turnover exceeding GEL 50,000 per foreign employee in the enterprise
  • Monthly income exceeding five times the Georgian minimum wage

3.   Study residence permit

Enrolling at an authorized educational institution qualifies you for a study residence permit. As a U.S. citizen, you don’t even need to apply for a residency permit until you’re already inside the country.

Once you’re in Georgia, you have 45 days to get a study permit. All you need to have is a tuition fee receipt, enrolment confirmation, and your passport.

This study permit allows you to stay in Georgia for as long as your course necessitates.

4.   Investment residence permit

Foreigners who invest at least $300,000 can directly apply for permanent residency after only five years. This is one of the fastest ways to get a permanent residency in Georgia.

There are two options for obtaining an Investment Residence Permit, which are:

Investment in real estate 

Personal investment in real estate means buying non-agricultural land, a house, or a commercial space.

Of course, this property must have a market value of over $300,000. Otherwise, a person falls under the short-term residence permit option of property ownership with a value of $100,000.

All in all, a certified assessor should legally establish the property’s value. However, selling it immediately invalidates the residence permit.

Initially, the owner of the $300,000+ property gets a five-year investment residence permit. After this period, the applicant becomes automatically eligible for a permanent permit.

Investment through a Georgian company

Applicants owning a company in Georgia must invest a minimum of $300,000 in this company.

Whether it’s in the form of real estate, loans, deposits in the company’s account, etc., the investor should present a report stating the invested amount.

After granting the five-year investment residence permit, the applicant can receive a permanent residence permit. This is only if the company’s annual turnover exceeds a minimum of:

  • $50,000 in the first year
  • $100,000 in the second year
  • $120,000 in the remaining three years

5.   Family reunification residence permit

The Georgian government issues this permit for foreigners who have a family member living in Georgia and holding a residence permit. Typically, this family member must be of a close relationship.

Family members eligible for this visa include:

  • A spouse of a foreigner with a residence permit
  • A spouse of a stateless individual holding the status of Georgia
  • A minor child
  • A minor under guardianship or custody
  • Parents of a minor without Georgian citizenship
  • A foreign spouse of a Georgian citizen
  • Parents of a minor with Georgian citizenship

6.   Permanent residence permit

This permit allows its holder to stay in Georgia indefinitely.

Legally, a person with a permanent residence permit is equal to a Georgian citizen, except for election participation and compulsory military service. Additionally, this person can’t visit Schengen countries without a visa.

Individuals eligible for such permits are a Georgian citizen’s spouse, child, or parent. Furthermore, foreigners who have resided in Georgia for more than 10 years can also apply for permanent residence permits.

That said, years of living in Georgia for studying, medical treatment, or diplomatic missions don’t count within the 10-year duration.

7.   Special residence permit

The government of Georgia issues this kind of residence permit to individuals who may be victims of human trafficking. Moreover, members of the Georgian government can write endorsement letters for foreign citizens to get this temporary permit.

Foreigners who were exiled for any reason are also eligible to get a special residence permit. This is only after five years of granting a temporary stay.

Plus, victims of domestic violence can consider getting a temporary permit to get into the country.

Benefits of residency as a foreigner in Georgia

Many eligible nationalities can just settle for the 365-day stay. However, the benefits that the country offers for expatriates with a residence permit are something to consider.

Here are some of the top appeals to expect in your long-term stay in Georgia:

1.   Affordable living costs

When compared to other European countries, Georgia has one of the lowest costs of living. It’s more affordable to live in than half of the world’s countries.

According to WorldData, Georgia scores a value of 96 out of 100 in the cost of living. For reference, the U.S. scores 22 on the same scale.

As for the rest of the world, Georgia ranks 56th on the list of best quality of life.

2.   Lower tax rates

Expatriates with a residence permit in Georgia who stay for more than six months automatically become tax residents.

However, residents pay tax rates only on locally generated income. This means that foreign-sourced income isn’t subject to taxes in Georgia.

Keep in mind that a person’s annual turnover isn’t subject to taxes unless it exceeds GEL 30,000. In fact, entrepreneurs with an annual turnover of less than GEL 500,000 get to only pay 1% tax. That’s applicable when they register the enterprise as a small business.

3.   Opportunity for a strong passport

After staying in Georgia for a certain period, you could be eligible for citizenship.

Keep in mind that the Georgian passport allows visa-free travel to more than 70 destinations. Furthermore, it enables its holder to get a visa on arrival for more than 50 countries.

According to Passport Index, the Georgian passport is currently ranked 39th in power rank, with a 63% world reach.

4.   Simplified business procedures

When it comes to ease of doing business, Georgia ranks 7th worldwide, according to a study done by the World Bank.

That’s because it requires a few procedures for registering a business. Additionally, it offers access to a great banking system and low tax rates. So, if you’re looking to get an enterprise started, you might want to get a visa or a residence to extend your stay beyond the first year.

5.   Inviting other foreigners

Once you obtain your residence permit in Georgia, you become eligible to issue invitation letters to other foreigners, which reinforces their visa application.

So, you won’t even have to cut ties with your friends and family back home just because you’re planning to stay long-term in Georgia.

Buildings in Georgia

The takeaway

Georgia is a gorgeous country to visit and even better to live in. Not only does it have breathtaking scenery, delicious food, and good people, but it also offers outstanding benefits in terms of quality of life.

Fortunately, there are a few long-term visa options in Georgia for you to consider. Since the country grants a 365-day stay for U.S. citizens, there’s plenty of time for you to plan the next step.

Whether you think about working, studying, investing, or retiring there, you’ll definitely find a suitable visa. In most cases, the D category might be what you’re looking for, like the D1 visa for work and the D3 visa for educational purposes.

We do our best to provide the most accurate and helpful information, but rules and procedures can change at short notice. Your experience could be different depending on your country of origin and the locality and office you attend. For the most current information check official government sources and speak to a local attorney or immigration professional. 

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