GeorgiaOfficial Name: Georgia
Must be valid at time of entry
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:
One page required for entry stamp
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:
Yes for stays longer than 90 days; not required for stays less than 90 days within 180 day period
Hepatitis A and pre-exposure rabies
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:
Embassies and Consulates
11 George Balanchine Street
Tbilisi, Georgia, 0131
Telephone: +(995)(32) 227-70-00 or
+(995)(32) 227-77-24 (Consular Section)
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(995)(32) 227-70-00
Georgia is a constitutional republic with a developing democracy and economy. October 2012 parliamentary elections resulted in Georgia’s first democratic transfer of power. Approximately 250,000 internally displaced persons from the conflicts in the Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions remain. Tourist facilities outside of Tbilisi and Batumi are not highly developed, and many of the goods and services taken for granted in other countries are not yet available. Read the Department of State’s Fact Sheet Georgia for additional information on U.S.-Georgia relations.
Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements
You will need a valid passport to enter Georgia. U.S. citizens visiting for 90 days or less in a 180 day period do not need a visa. For further information concerning entry requirements for Georgia, travelers should contact the Embassy of Georgia at 1824 R Street, NW Washington DC, 20009 tel. (202) 387-2390, fax: (202) 387-0864, email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please visit the Embassy of Georgia’s website for the most current visa information.
U.S. citizens who overstay the permitted 90 days in a 180 day period are subject to a fine. For information on penalties citizens should contact the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia. For information on getting a residency permit in Georgia citizens should contact Public Service Development Agency of the Ministry of Justice of Georgia.
Law enforcement and border officials are authorized under Georgian law to inquire about the purpose of travel of a traveler, availability of sufficient means for the anticipated period of travel, health and accident insurance, hotel reservation, return ticket reservation, an invitation, or other guarantees for entering a country of destination if crossing the territory of Georgia for transit purposes.
Georgia requires that foreign documents intended for official use in Georgia be authenticated under Apostille, including documents used to apply for Georgian residency permits. The U.S. Embassy CANNOT, by law, under any circumstances, authenticate a document issued in the United States. This includes birth certificates, marriage licenses, divorce decrees, educational records, driver's licenses and other documents, regardless of whether the documents have already been notarized in the United States. Under the Hague Convention on Legalization of Foreign Public Documents, an Apostille by a U.S. clerk of court or a State Secretary of State certifies authenticity of a U.S. document. See our sections on Judicial Assistance and Notarial/Authentication Service for more information on Apostilles.
HIV/AIDS Restrictions: The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents in Georgia who plan to stay for 90 days or less
Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.
Safety and Security
U.S. Embassy personnel are restricted in travel to Abkhazia or South Ossetia, even in the case of emergencies involving U.S. citizens. For these reasons the U.S. Government strongly advises U.S. citizens to avoid all travel to these regions.
The Department of State strongly warns U.S. citizens against travel to the Russian occupied regions of South Ossetia, and Abkhazia. These regions are not under the control of the Georgian government following civil wars in the early 1990s. Tensions remain high between the de facto authorities in Abkhazia and South Ossetia and the Georgian government. Russian troops and border guards continue to occupy both regions. A number of attacks, criminal incidents, and kidnappings have occurred in and around the area over the past several years.
Unexploded ordnance poses a danger near the Administrative Boundary Lines of both territories, particularly near South Ossetia. Entering the occupied regions without the proper documentation can lead to arrest, imprisonment, and/or fines by Russian, Georgian, or de facto officials. If travel to the occupied territories cannot be avoided, the U.S. Embassy recommends travelers follow applicable Georgian laws. Georgian law specifies that U.S. citizens may enter the two regions from the Georgian side, and not from the Russian side. Georgia’s “Law on the Occupied Territories” also makes it illegal to undertake:
a. Any economic activity for which a relevant license, registration, or permission has not been obtained from the Georgian government;
b. Import and/or export of military products, or products that have double designation;
c. International air, maritime and railway travel, as well as international transportation of cargo by automobile;
d. Use of national resources;
e. Organization of cash transfer; or
f. Financing or any type of support of activities listed in Paragraphs (a) – (e)...
Medical services in the occupied territories are extremely limited. Hospitals do not accept credit cards or medical insurance, have little to no infectious disease control, and lack medicine. There are no commercial airports in either region making air ambulance evacuations for medical emergencies impossible.
In the case of a crisis and/or natural disaster, U.S. citizens in Tbilisi may tune in to FM radio stations for any updated U.S. Embassy emergency message for U.S. citizens. In case of crisis or emergency citizens will be able to listen to a recorded emergency or security message on the crisis designated menu option on the Consular phone line.
Political demonstrations take place from time to time in Georgia. While these demonstrations are generally peaceful, some confrontations between the government and protesters have occurred in recent years. U.S. citizens should be aware that even peaceful demonstrations can escalate into violence with little or no notice. Security Messages for U.S. Citizens pertaining to demonstrations are posted on the U.S. Embassy Tbilisi website. Because of the possibility of violence, we urge U.S. citizens to avoid all demonstrations. U.S. citizens should stay up to date with media coverage of local events, review their personal security practices, and be aware of their surroundings at all times.
To stay connected:
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program so we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements.
- Follow the Bureau of Consular Affairs on Twitter and Facebook.
- Bookmark the Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution.
- Follow the U.S. Embassy in Georgia on Twitter and visiting the Embassy’s website.
- In the event of an emergency, contact us at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free within the United States and Canada, or via a regular toll line, 1-202-501-4444, from other countries.
- Take some time before traveling to consider your personal security and checking for useful tips for traveling safely abroad.
Terrorism: In the past, Georgia has experienced several improvised explosive device attacks and attempted attacks, both in Tbilisi and elsewhere in the country. Most of these attacks are believed to have originated in the occupied territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, though at least one attack had its origins outside of Georgia. Targets have included government facilities, public places, and diplomatic missions.
CRIME: When traveling in Georgia, you should take the same precautions against becoming a victim of crime as you would in any large city. U.S. citizens may be targeted for economic and property-based crimes. Petty street crime, such as theft by pickpockets, has been reported throughout the country, particularly in crowded places such as tourist sites or on public transportation. Firearms are readily available in Georgia and assailants may be armed with firearms or other weapons. There are also disputes, sometimes in areas where U.S. citizens frequent, which include firearms and may endanger U.S. citizens.
Vary your times and routes, especially from places of residence to work locations. Maintain a low profile – do not carry large amounts of cash or otherwise draw unnecessary attention to yourself. Report any security-related incidents such as suspicious vehicles, individuals, or activities, to the Georgian authorities, and also inform the U.S. Embassy as soon as possible.
Due to poor and inconsistent road conditions, the U.S. Embassy recommends that if you are traveling throughout the country you do so during daylight hours only and provide a travel itinerary and contact telephone numbers to someone before you go. See below for more details on road safety in Georgia. Personal vehicles and established (clearly marked) taxis and public transportation are generally safe for overland travel in Georgia. However, crowded and “off the beaten path” conditions of some public transportation increase passengers’ vulnerability to robbery.
U.S. citizens have reported occurrences of sexual assault in Georgia, including date or acquaintance rape. Women should avoid being alone in isolated areas with people whom they do not know well. In many of the reported cases, alcohol was involved. Avoid traveling alone in a private taxi or a “marshrutka” mini-bus, especially after dark. Victims of sexual assault should first get to a safe location and then call the local police and the U.S. Embassy. Women victimized overseas may be entitled to receive compensation for counseling and/or other services, including relocation back to the United States. For further information visit the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women. For resources on domestic violence, please see the U.S. Embassy Tbilisi Consular section handout.
Travelers should take standard safety precautions when using Automated Teller Machines (ATM). Try to use ATMs located inside banks and check for any evidence of tampering with the machine before use. Be cautious when using publicly available Internet terminals, such as in Internet cafes, as sensitive personal information, account passwords, etc., may be subject to compromise. Theft of personal items from hotel rooms can also occur.
Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are they illegal in the United States, if you purchase them you may also be breaking local law.
In order to report crimes on counterfeit money contact the Call Center of the Revenue Service of the Ministry of Finance of Georgia at the following number (995 32) 2 299-299.
U.S. business entities are encouraged to read the most recent Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) Annual Crime and Safety Report for Georgia.
VICTIMS OF CRIME: If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi. We can:
- Replace a stolen passport.
- Help you find appropriate medical care if you are the victim of violent crimes such as assault or rape.
- Put you in contact with the appropriate police authorities, and if you want us to, contact family members or friends.
- Help you understand the local criminal justice process and direct you to local attorneys, although it is important to remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
The Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MOIA) operates a 24-hour emergency response center similar to “911”. The emergency-response center services all of Georgia with one emergency number “112,” and transfers emergency calls to the fire and rescue service, police, and the nearest medical-emergency center. Please note that the dispatcher speaks Georgian and Russian, but will transfer a call to an English-speaking operator.
For other resources on domestic violence, please see the U.S. Embassy Tbilisi Consular section handout.
Please see our information for victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.
Local Laws & Special Circumstances
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While you are traveling in Georgia, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own, and criminal penalties vary from country to country. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Georgia are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.
Georgian laws regarding the temporary import of medications or drugs, even with a prescription, are different than our own. Medications and drugs may be restricted based on the composition of the drug and the quantity to be imported. Travelers should refer to the Law of Georgia on Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Precursors, and Narcological Assistance concerning the restrictions and special requirements for importing medications and drugs into Georgia. Travelers without the required permits are often detained at the border and face heavy fines and long, expensive disruption to their travel plans.
There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States. For example, you can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods. Engaging in sexual conduct with children, using, or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws in Georgia, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not wherever you go.
Arrest notifications in host country: While some countries will automatically notify the nearest U.S. Embassy if a U.S. citizen is detained or arrested in a foreign country, that might not always be the case. To ensure that the United States is aware of your circumstances, request that the police and prison officials notify the nearest U.S. Embassy as soon as you are arrested or detained overseas.
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: The lack of adequate lighting in some public places, particularly outside of Tbilisi and Batumi, heightens your vulnerability to crime.
Georgia’s customs authorities enforce regulations concerning the temporary import into or export from Georgia of items such as alcohol, tobacco, jewelry, religious materials, art or artifacts, antiquities, and business equipment. Only personal medicines with a doctor’s statement can be imported without the permission of the State Regulation Agency for Medical Activities of the Ministry of Health. Please review the Law of Georgia on Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Precursors, and Narcological Assistance concerning the restrictions and special requirements for importing medications or drugs into Georgia.
You may not import firearms into Georgia; however, you may bring hunting weapons into the country for a two-week period, based on a valid Georgian hunting license. While there is no limit to the amount of currency that you can import, if you try to take out more money than you declared at the time of entry, you are obligated to prove it was legally obtained. There are limits on the amount of Georgian currency that may be exported. For additional customs information, U. S. citizens should contact the Embassy of Georgia in Washington DC.
The U.S. Embassy strongly discourages the purchase of property in the occupied Abkhazia or South Ossetia regions of Georgia. Land for sale in those regions may rightfully belong to internally displaced persons forced to leave the breakaway regions in the early 1990s and may have been placed improperly on the market. In such cases, the Government of Georgia considers the sale of property in occupied regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia illegal and the property could be reclaimed by original owners at a future date.
The Ministry of Culture’s Department of Expertise and Evaluation must license any valuables such as artwork, antiques, jewelry, or paintings. This license describes the object, assesses its value, and provides permission to export it from Georgia. Please contact the Embassy of Georgia in Washington, D.C. for specific information regarding customs requirements. Please see our information on Customs Regulations.
While the Georgian lari is the only legal tender, U.S. dollars can be exchanged freely for lari at market rates. ATMs are widespread within Tbilisi. Credit cards are accepted in upscale hotels and restaurants, but travelers’ checks are difficult to cash. U.S. citizens in Georgia have reported incidents of credit card fraud and identity theft. You should closely monitor your credit card statements.
Climbing and Hiking: If you intend to hike in the Georgian mountains or climb in the numerous rock climbing areas, always seek local guides’ expert advice and maintain communication with your family and friends. The weather in the Georgian mountains can change quickly, even in the summer months, and temperatures can get very low overnight and snow can fall unexpectedly. There have been reports of hikers getting lost in the mountains and in snowy/stormy weather, and there have been fatal accidents as well. If in trouble, call the emergency number “112” and the Emergency Situations Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia will help you to the best of their ability. Provide route and contact details to someone not travelling with you, maintain adequate cell phone battery charge, and familiarize yourself with landmarks and accommodations in the area before heading out on your trip. You should use caution and common sense when engaging in adventure sports. Never participate in these sports alone, always carry identification, and let someone else know where you are at all times. When hiking, rappelling, or climbing, carry a first aid kit, your identification, and know the location of the nearest rescue center and weather conditions
Military Draft: U.S.-Georgian dual-national males between the ages of 18 and 27 may be subject to military conscription under Georgian law. For more information, you may wish to review the information available by the Ministry of Defense.
WOMEN TRAVELER INFORMATION: If you are a woman traveling abroad, please review our travel tips for Women Travelers.
LGBT RIGHTS: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals are protected by anti-discrimination laws in Georgia, and there are no legal impediments to the organization of LGBT events. However, traditional cultural attitudes result in LGBT individuals often facing discrimination and harassment. In the past, some members of religious and LGBT minorities in Georgia have been targets of attacks. In 2013 on May 17, counter-protestors violently disrupted International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) rallies in Tbilisi, causing injuries to participants and police.
For more detailed information about LGBT rights in Georgia you may review the State Department’s annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 2013. For further information on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) travel, please read our LGBT Travelers Information page.
ACCESSIBILITY: While in Georgia, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from what you find in the United States. While the Georgian administrative code mandates access to buildings for persons with disabilities and stipulates fines for noncompliance, very few public or private facilities or buildings are accessible. Public and private transportation offer no accommodation for persons with disabilities. There are few sidewalks outside of Tbilisi or Batumi.
Western-standard medical care in Georgia is limited, but Georgian healthcare continues to improve. There is a shortage of medical supplies and capabilities outside of Tbilisi and Batumi, and medical facilities may be limited or non-existent. Transportation by ambulance from the regions to medical facilities may take up 24 hours, as a local ambulance may not be available and an ambulance may be need to be dispatched from Tbilisi. Elderly travelers and those with pre-existing health problems may be at risk due to inadequate medical facilities. We strongly recommend that travelers who intend to visit Georgia for two weeks or more get the Hepatitis A vaccine and the pre-exposure rabies vaccine series.
Georgian doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment before rendering medical services.
Travelers should take care that food is cooked thoroughly to reduce the risk of food-borne illness.
You can find detailed information on vaccinations and other health precautions on the CDC website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) website, which contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.
Tuberculosis is an increasingly serious health concern in Georgia. For further information, please consult the CDC's information on TB.
There are eight known poisonous snake species in Georgia. The season when you are most likely to encounter snakes is between March and October. Anti-venom is available for some species in a small number of facilities. Treat all snakes as poisonous.
Travel & Transportation
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in Georgia, you will encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. As in the United States, vehicular traffic in Georgia moves along the right side of roadways. Speed limits range from 80 to 100 km/hr on highways, and from 30 to 60 km/hr on urban thoroughfares. Motorists are not permitted to make right turns at red traffic lights. Front-seat passengers are required by law to fasten their seat belts in moving vehicles. Georgian law requires that children under four (4) years of age be restrained in child-safety seats, however these are not widely available or used. Children under twelve (12) years of age may not legally ride in the front seat, but this law is not widely observed. A driver with any blood-alcohol concentration exceeding 0.00% is considered to be driving under the influence of alcohol.
You should exercise extreme caution when driving in Georgia, as many local drivers do not operate their vehicles in accordance with established traffic laws. Traffic signals and rules of the road are often completely ignored. Motorists drive erratically, often recklessly, at excessive speeds, and many times under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Motorists frequently encounter oncoming high-speed traffic attempting to pass other vehicles at blind turns or over hilltops. Pedestrians enjoy no right-of-way and need to be extremely careful when crossing streets. The Georgian Patrol Police, who come under the authority of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, are responsible for maintaining traffic safety in Georgia, but enforcement of traffic regulations is haphazard. There is no requirement that vehicles are certified safe to drive, and some vehicles may not have working headlights or taillights.
Undivided two-lane roads connect most major cities in Georgia. Outside of major highways, roads are generally in poor condition, unpaved, and often lack shoulder markings, center lines, and lighting. In addition, traffic signals may not work due to poor maintenance. Driving at night can be especially dangerous. Travel on mountain roads is treacherous in both rain and snow, and during winter, heavy snowfalls may make some roads impassable.
Regional airlines among the countries of the Caucasus may experience prolonged delays and sudden cancellations of flights. In addition to frequent delays, flights are sometimes overbooked. Air travel to Georgia on international carriers via Europe is typically more reliable. Ticketed passengers on flights departing from Georgia should reconfirm reservations with the airline 24 hours prior to departure.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Georgia, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Georgia’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.