Since visa-free travel for Georgians to enter the Schengen zone entered into force on March 28th, 55,000 citizens of Georgia have visited Schengen zone. Currently, 3,000 have not returned from their travels.
Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Shalva Khutsishvili said they cannot say yet whether those people have violated the 90-day visa free regime. Khutsishvili explained that some have moved to countries where Georgia also has a visa free regime.
The individuals who have not returned to Georgia yet are identified by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
“Some might have gone to Ukraine, some to Belarus, and some to Turkey. We can’t say for sure that they violated the 90-day visa-free regime. However we’ve put these people in a potential risk group and are monitoring them,” said Deputy Minister Khutsishvili.
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.
On February 2nd, 2017, members of the European Parliament granted Georgian citizens visa free travel to the Schengen zone, with 553 votes in favour, 66 against, and 28 abstentions.