You don’t have visas and time to apply for them, you don’t understand where you want to live, and you want to make this decision without haste? For a quick move and calm reflections on further actions, Georgia is suitable. Or maybe you will like it here so much that you won’t want to go anywhere else – especially even without the status of a resident, Russians can still stay here for a whole year and feel almost “local”. “The Secret of the Firm” found out whether it is so easy and cheap to move to Georgia, how to live here without legalization, and how to get a residence permit and a passport.
How to legally live here
How long can you stay in Georgia without a visa: 365 days.
Grounds for a residence permit in Georgia: – for work (labor residence permit); – studies (at an authorized university); – business, individual entrepreneur (labor residence permit); – for victims of domestic violence; – for victims of human trafficking (special residence permit) – for people who have been recognized as victims by the relevant authority (for details, see the relevant law); – for owning real estate more than $100,000 (about 7.5 million rubles), except for agricultural land (short-term residence permit); – for family reunification (with a spouse, with minor children, with parents, with incapacitated or disabled persons in care or in full dependence, who have a residence permit or citizenship of Georgia); – for stateless persons (issued for 3 years); – for persons who have the status of a compatriot in Georgia; – for foreign citizens for whom a member of the Government of Georgia applied for a residence permit with a written initiative; – for foreign citizens who cannot be expelled from the country and who received a temporary ID-certificate more than 5 years ago.
Grounds for permanent residence: – for marriage, reunification with children, parents – citizens of Georgia (after 6 years of residence on a temporary residence permit, but not for study, treatment or diplomatic service); – for investments in the economy from 300,000 lari (8.5 million rubles) – also issued to the family members of the investor (spouse, minor children and persons in the care or full dependence of the investor); – for stateless persons (if they left it themselves or lived in Georgia before March 31, 1993, were not deregistered, but did not become citizens of the country).
Grounds for obtaining citizenship of Georgia: – by naturalization in the usual manner – permanent residence for 10 years in the country; – for naturalization in an exceptional manner – by decision of the President of Georgia, for services to the country; – by birth (for those born after March 31, 1993 on the territory of Georgia) – if one of the parents was a citizen of Georgia at the time of his birth; – by birth (for those born after March 31, 1993 on the territory of Georgia) – if a person was born through IVF and none of the parents’ countries of citizenship recognize the child as their citizen; – by birth (for those born after March 31, 1993 on the territory of Georgia) – if the parents have the status of stateless persons or one of the parents is stateless, and the other is unknown; – by marriage (living 5 years in the country or 2 years continuously – a simplified procedure is applied); – for repatriates (forcibly resettled from the Georgian SSR in the 1940s and his descendants; you need to apply for citizenship within 2 years after receiving the status of a repatriate); – in the format of restoration – if a person himself/herself previously renounced citizenship of Georgia, as a result of the choice of parents, or his/her citizenship was terminated unlawfully (not for reasons from Article 21 of the Law on Citizenship).
State duty for a residence permit: from 300 lari (8500 rubles) for a temporary residence permit and from 350 lari (10,000 rubles) for a permanent residence permit. The state duty is not paid by foreigners applying for a special residence permit.
Refusal of a Russian passport upon obtaining citizenship: No.
Residence permit waiting periods: 30 days, but can be accelerated – up to 20 days for 450 lari (13,000 rubles), or up to 10 days for 600 lari (17,000 rubles) for a temporary residence permit, or up to 20 days for 500 lari (14,000 rubles) for a permanent residence permit .
Russian citizens here can freely live in Georgia up to 365 days a year. Then you can leave, reset the period and re-enter for a year. I left the country and came back several times, there were no problems. We planned to apply for a residence permit for business purposes, but lawyers said that they rarely approve such applications for Russians – this was the case even before the SVO.
What you need to know about legalization in Georgia. Base: get a residence permit for 6–12 months (the period depends on the grounds), after which it can be extended several times. How much, again, depends on the grounds for issuing a residence permit. Registration before obtaining a residence permit is not needed – it is only for foreigners permanently residing in Georgia who have received a residence permit.
After 6 years of residence in Georgia, you can apply for permanent residence: it is indefinite. The investor can apply for permanent residence after 5 years or citizenship on an exceptional basis.
After 10 years of permanent residence in Georgia, you can apply for citizenship by naturalization. To do this, you will have to: – pass exams on the basics of law, the history of the country and language, – prove that you have a job in Georgia (official business is allowed) or real estate, or ownership of shares in a local company.
Issues of work and real estate are irrelevant for obtaining citizenship by marriage. You only need to live in Georgia for 5 years in general or 2 years continuously: that is, during the year without leaving the country for a total of at least 90 days. Departures for treatment or study do not count, they do not violate the permanence of residence.
And for repatriates, the procedure is simplified as much as possible, there are no requirements for the period of residence, knowledge of history, language, and so on.
The easiest way to obtain a residence permit, in our opinion, is based on the study of minor children with subsequent reunification. That is, first you make a residence permit for a child, and then the parents receive it under the family reunification program. For a children’s residence permit, you will need a certificate of enrollment in school.
I lived in Georgia for a little over 3 years: from September 2019 to October 2022. It wasn’t that I didn’t think about residence permit and citizenship, I didn’t have any grounds for obtaining it. Those of my friends who received a residence permit did it through marriage with a citizen of Georgia. I haven’t heard any other stories. More precisely, many said “buy real estate and make a residence permit”, but these were empty tips. I did not know people who would have made a residence permit according to some other scheme, except for marriage registration.
What to collect for obtaining a residence permit in Georgia: – a questionnaire (it is issued at the House of Justice, or it is formed when filling out an online application); – a copy of the international passport (mandatory – with a page with an exit stamp: for Russians this is a confirmation of legal stay in Georgia); – color photo 3*4; – proof of livelihood (proof of income in the amount of at least 2 times the subsistence minimum in Georgia – 5 times for an employment residence permit, or the equivalent amount in the account for the period of the requested residence permit); – registration (propiska) at a local address; – documents confirming the right to obtain a residence permit – an employment contract, a marriage certificate, a certificate of study indicating its duration, confirmation of the presence of property in Georgia, real estate appraisal by a company with appropriate accreditation, confirmation of family ties, and so on (a complete list of such documents See the website of the House of Justice.
Everything issued outside of Georgia must be translated into Georgian, certified by a notary and supplemented with an apostille.
To obtain any residence permit, you need to register (propiska) at a Georgian address, applications in Georgian, photographs taken at the place of application, and an extract from a personal account with at least 13,000 GEL on it. Life hack – the more money in a personal account (about which a certificate is provided), the lower the percentage of failure. It is recommended to have from 25,000 GEL or more. Depending on the type of residence permit, other documents are added. For example, if a residence permit is for real estate, it must be assessed by an independent appraiser. And if a residence permit is for business, you need a certificate from the tax office and a letter in Georgian about the number of foreign employees in the company.
Where and how to start legalizing: you need to apply for a residence permit in Georgia while in the country, no later than 40 days before the expiration of the maximum 365 days of visa-free stay.
Documents must be submitted to the local service of the House of Justice or the State Services Development Agency – in person, by coming to the office, or remotely through the official website of the House of Justice or the State Services Development Agency.
But the printed originals will still have to be delivered personally within 10 days.
The fee can be paid at most banks in Georgia or on the website of the House of Justice or the Public Services Development Agency.
After 30 days, at the House of Justice or the Agency for the Development of State Services, you must pick up the identity card of a foreigner with a residence permit – a binary drob. According to the House of Justice, only persons without citizenship status who receive a temporary residence permit should pay a service fee for a binadroba. They give away 60-150 lari (1700-4300 rubles), the price depends on whether you get a binadroba in 10 working days (60 lari), in 5 days (80 lari) or even today (150 lari).
In Georgia, there is the House of Justice – this is such a global multifunctional center where you can resolve almost any issue with the state. What is important – everything is done quickly and cheaply and in one window. It seems to me that the House of Justice works even better than similar organizations in Russia, although in Russia, in general, the service of public services is not bad.
According to Oleg Zobov, the number of unmotivated refusals to obtain a residence permit and citizenship for Russians is now growing in Georgia. However, re-submission sometimes solves this issue.
“In case of refusal, you can appeal the decision, as well as reapply in a month. Approximately 50% of re-submitted applications are approved. But there were cases when only 3-4 times people received citizenship or a residence permit, ”the expert shares.
His words are also confirmed by Nikita Filippov, head of the MGKA Bureau of Lawyers De Jure: “In 2023, every 2 submitted application, even with a full set of documents for a residence permit in the House of Justice, is rejected. The refusal is motivated by the article "other reasons" and does not require an explanation from the Georgian authorities.”
What can and cannot be done with and without a residence permit in Georgia
So far, Russian citizens in Georgia, even without a residence permit, live quite freely. For example, there is a right to open an IP – exclusively for a passport. True, with some nuances. The main one is that the Russians were often refused to open their own business.
How to open a sole proprietorship in Georgia
To register an individual entrepreneur, a foreigner needs to contact the House of Justice or the Agency for the Development of Public Services, bring an application, a copy of an identity card and a receipt for payment for registration services – it can be paid on the spot. The consent of the owner of the property in which the individual entrepreneur is registered is also required, if he (the individual entrepreneur) does not own this property, is not registered in it, and this is not noted in the passport.
You can view in detail the conditions, requirements, prices and terms of opening an IP on the official website of the House of Justice.
It is also more difficult for Russians who have not received a residence permit in Georgia to open a bank account, said Elena Belysheva, senior lawyer at Uniwide Consulting. But it’s still possible, just not always on the first try.
Citizens of Russia without a residence permit in Georgia cannot get a visa to other countries – this …