The visa free regime for the Schengen area enters in force today, March 28th. Citizens of Georgia will now be able to travel visa-free to the Schengen zone for 90 days in a 180-day period. This does not apply to visits for the purpose of work or study.
Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili spoke on the occasion that “today is a historic day - Georgian citizens finally get a visa free regime with Schengen zone countries. This is a great achievement and good opportunity for Georgian citizens to know the EU better, to know better about its values and what it stands for. This is a great opportunity for our students as well to get involved in different educational programs.”
Writing on Twitter, European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn wrote: “Sincerest congratulations to #Georgia and all its #citizens for #visafree travel coming into effect today. Enjoy #Europe!”
Tbilisi City Hall celebrated by organizing festivities in the renovated “New Tiflis” area of the city on the right bank of the Mtkvari river.
On March 8th, the regulation on the suspension mechanism and visa free regime for Georgian citizens to travel to the Schengen area was posted in the EU Official Journal. A week earlier, on March 1st, the chairman of the European Council and the President of the European Parliament signed the regulation.
At a plenary session on February 2nd, members of the European Parliament decided to grant Georgians visa free travel to the Schengen zone, with 553 votes in favour, 66 against, and 28 abstentions.
With visa-travel to the Schengen zone, Georgian citizens will be able to travel to 22 member state countries of the European Union and four non-EU member states for 90 days in a 180-day period.
Many high-level European officials such as EP President Martin Schulz, European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn, and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, had previously expressed their support in granting Georgians visa free travel.
EU-Georgia relations have strengthened in recent years. An EU-Georgia Association Agreement was initiated at the EU Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, on November 29, 2013, and the Association Agreement between Georgian and the European Union was signed on June 27, 2014.