Message for U.S. Citizens: UPDATE #21 under COVID

VOTE: One Week Left to request your ballot for November U.S. Presidential ElectionIf you are eligible to vote, register for your absentee ballot by August 1. Go to www.fvap.gov for more info. Key links and FAQs also available on our website here.

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**Travel & COVID-19 **

See below for information on entering Georgia, departing Georgia, staying in Georgia, entering the U.S., and Embassy Operations.

DEPARTING GEORGIA

(NEW) Flight Restrictions Extended: The Government of Georgia announced this week that restrictions on regular commercial flights have been extended through at least August 31, 2020, except for flights to Munich, Paris, and Riga which will resume in August. Georgian Airlines will also continue to run special charters/repatriation flights to several European cities but canceled some flights that were previously scheduled. No other airlines will have service to/from Georgia in August.

Below is the list of flights currently scheduled. Please check the country-specific entry requirements for U.S. citizens for any country you transit; the U.S. Embassy in every country maintains a COVID-19 webpage with details and links for that country.

*Indicates direct connections are available to USA

July

  • Batumi/Tel Aviv (July 26, 30)
  • Tbilisi/Berlin (July 25)
  • Tbilisi/Amsterdam (July 25, 27) *
  • Kutaisi/Athens (July 28)

August

  • Tbilisi/Amsterdam (2x/week, Georgian Airways)*
  • Tbilisi/Riga (3x/week, Air Baltic)
  • Tbilisi/Vienna (Aug. 2,9,23, Georgian Airways)
  • Tbilisi/Paris (2x/week, Air France)*
  • Tbilisi/Munich (2x/week, Lufthansa)
  • Tbilisi/Berlin (Aug. 7, 21, Georgian Airways)

Travel to EU:  We received many questions about whether U.S. citizens living in Georgia qualify as “residents” with regard to the European Union’s inclusion of Georgia on a list of “safe countries” (with respect to COVID-19 conditions) whose citizens and residents are permitted to enter Europe as of July 1. We confirmed with EU authorities that this lifting of travel restrictions generally concerns non-EU nationals who hold a residence permit from a specific country; however, every EU Member State may implement this recommendation differently. Therefore, we recommend that U.S. citizens in Georgia check with the embassy/consulate or national authorities of the EU country you seek to visit, to confirm how they will apply the definition of residency, before you plan to travel there.

Exit via Land or Sea: The Government of Georgia confirmed that U.S. citizens may exit Georgia via the Sarpi border crossing to Turkey, as well as ferries from Batumi. Keep in mind that U.S. citizens may be subject to health screening and/or quarantine regulations when entering another country. Always check each country’s current policies on entry or transit before making any travel plans, using that country’s online guidance orCOVID-19 Country Specific Information updated by the U.S. Embassy in that country.

ENTERING GEORGIA

Entry Ban still in effect: Aside from business travel and other limited exceptions (e.g. spouse and children under-18 of Georgian citizens), the entry ban for foreign citizens (including entry at the land borders or by ferry) is still in effect. This includes foreign citizens who are legal residents of Georgia, or have been living and working in Georgia or own property or business (without special status). The Government has not announced when this will be lifted.

Quarantine requirement still in effect: Anyone who enters Georgia from another country is still subject to a mandatory, enforced, 14-day self-isolation. The Government has not announced when this will be lifted.

Limited Flights Continue: We have heard that some of the incoming Air France and Lufthansa flights are already sold out for August.

Business Travel: The Government of Georgia announced that business visitors from any country may apply for permission to be admitted to Georgia to pursue economic activities. The online application form is available in English and Georgian and asks for information about the inviting organization. Business travelers to Georgia must undergo a COVID-19 test every 72 hours at their own expense or undergo a 14-day quarantine (also at their own expense).

STAYING IN GEORGIA

COVID requirements and restrictions:

Restrictions Lifted:

  • Indoor cultural events are permitted, up to a maximum of 200 people.
  • All types of outdoor activities are allowed.
  • Many swimming pools and gyms have reopened, after passing a health inspection.
  • Restaurants and hotels have reopened subject to periodic ongoing health inspections.

Continuing restrictions:

  • Wearing a face covering in closed public areas and on all public transport including taxis is still mandatory; violators are subject to a 20 GEL fine. Some exceptions apply for children under 6, people with disabilities, or who have health problems that prevent them from wearing a face covering.

Foreign Citizens who overstay their 365 days in Georgia: For foreigners who entered Georgia on the visa-free policy, and have now been here more than 365 days, the Georgian Government has extended the “amnesty” period of exit until July 31.  This means that if you have now overstayed 365 days, but you were in the country legally on March 14, 2020, and it because you were unable to leave the country, you may remain until July 31, 2020, with no penalty. As of July 24, we have not yet received any update from the Government on this.

TRAVEL TO THE UNITED STATES

Entering the U.S.

  • U.S. citizens and Legal Permanent Residents (green card holders) may enter the U.S. at any time, regardless of origin or flight route.
  • Most visa holders may enter the U.S. unless they have been present (including transit) in the Schengen Area or other restricted countries within the last 14 days, OR are subject to another suspension determined by Presidential Proclamation.

**The U.S. Embassy is authorized to grant exceptions for some visa-holders traveling to the U.S. for economic, academic, or humanitarian reasons to allow them to enter the U.S. even after being present in or transiting the Schengen Area, U.K. or Ireland. For more information, please contact the Visa Unit at TbilisiConsular@state.gov. **

  • For all travelers, international flights are currently only allowed to land at 15 specific airports in the U.S. which are set up to provide additional health screening for arriving passengers.

After arrival: Although there is no enforced quarantine for anyone entering the U.S., currently the CDC recommends that all travelers from countries with widespread, ongoing COVID-19 transmission arriving in the U.S. should Stay at Home for 14 days after arrival.

Embassy Operations:

Citizen Services: The U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi continues to provide passport, citizenship and emergency services for U.S. citizens. Please check the expiration date on your U.S. passport and contact us if you need to renew it, have other questions or would like to make an appointment.

Visa Services: We are pleased to announce that beginning July 20, we resumed the limited processing of some additional categories of visa applications, including student visas. employment-based categories, as well as emergency travel. Please visit www.ustraveldocs.com/ge to schedule an appointment, understanding that we have a substantial backlog and must prioritize our resources.

The U.S. Embassy is strictly observing local and CDC requirements regarding social distancing, including crowd sizes and face masks. The health and safety of our staff and customers are our top priorities.