What is the change? The European Parliament has approved visa-free travel for nationals of Georgia.

What does the change mean? The visa waiver has not been implemented yet, but will allow citizens of Georgia to travel without a visa to the Schengen region, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, for up to 90 days within a 180-day period.

  • Implementation time frame: Estimated March/April.
  • Visas/permits affected: Schengen visa waiver.
  • Who is affected: Nationals of Georgia traveling to the Schengen region.
  • Business impact: The visa exemption will ease business travel and promote closer ties between Georgia and the EU.
  • Next steps: The measure must be formally approved by the EU Council. Georgian citizens will also need to obtain biometric passports before they will be eligible for the visa waiver.

Background: The European Parliament approved the visa waiver for Georgia by a vote of 553-66 with 28 abstentions. The visa liberalization path required Georgia to undertake a broad series of democratic reforms. The waiver must be formally approved and will take effect as soon as a pending EU law is finalized. That law, which is near completion and awaits final legal text and translations, would allow a visa waiver agreement to be suspended in case of a high rate of irregular migration from a visa-exempt country.

BAL Analysis: Travelers are reminded that the visa waiver is appropriate for business, family and tourist purposes; those conducting work activities must obtain an appropriate work permit.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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