Message for U.S. Citizens: UPDATE #22 under COVID

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**Travel & COVID-19 **

See below for information on departing Georgia, entering Georgia, staying in Georgia, entering the United States, and Embassy operations.

DEPARTING GEORGIA 

Flight restrictions extended: The Government of Georgia announced that restrictions on regular commercial flights have been extended through at least September 30, 2020, except for flights to Munich, Paris, and Riga, which resumed in August. Some airlines will also run special charters/repatriation flights to several cities, but some previously scheduled flights may have been canceled. No other airlines will have service to/from Georgia in August or September.

Below is the list of flights currently scheduled for August and September. 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

Tbilisi/Munich (2x/week, Lufthansa)*
Tbilisi/Paris (2x/week, Air France; Aug. 28, Sept. 1, 15, 22, 29, Georgian Airways)*
Tbilisi/Riga (2x/week, Air Baltic)
Tbilisi/Amsterdam (2x/week, Georgian Airways)*
Tbilisi/Berlin (Aug. 21, 1x/week in Sept., Georgian Airways)
Tbilisi/Istanbul (Aug. 23, 30, Pegasus)*
Tbilisi/Minsk (Aug. 20, 27, Belavia)
Tbilisi/Vienna (Aug. 23, Sept. 3, 10, then 2x/week, 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 or COVID-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 under-18 children 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 a business (without special status). The Government of Georgia 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, 12-day (reduced from 14 days) quarantine at a Government of Georgia-designated facility. 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 the coming weeks.

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 should assume they will be required to undergo a 12-day quarantine at their own expense at a Government of Georgia-designated facility.  It is possible that the Government of Georgia may allow a shorter or no quarantine for certain travelers who undergo a COVID-19 test every 72 hours (also at their own expense). However, we have no further information on the circumstances under which this may be possible.

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 hotel 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 six, people with disabilities, or those 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 Government of Georgia has extended the “amnesty” period of exit until December 31.  This means that if you have now overstayed 365 days, but you were in the country legally on March 14, 2020, and were not able to leave the country due to the closure of borders, you may remain until December 31, 2020 with no penalty.

ENTERING THE UNITED STATES

U.S. citizens and Legal Permanent Residents (green card holders) may enter the United States at any time, regardless of origin or flight route.

Most visa holders may enter the United States 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 United States for economic, academic, or humanitarian reasons to allow them to enter the United States even after being present in or transiting the Schengen Area, United Kingdom, 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 United States, which are set up to provide additional health screening for arriving passengers.

After arrival: Although there is no enforced quarantine for anyone entering the United States, currently the CDC recommends that all travelers from countries with widespread, ongoing COVID-19 transmission arriving in the United States 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 have resumed limited processing of some additional categories of visa applications, including student visas, employment-based categories, and 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 is our top priority.

For assistance anytime please contact us:

American Citizen Services
Consular Section
U.S. Embassy Tbilisi
AskConsulTbilisi@state.gov
https://ge.usembassy.gov
(+995 32) 227-7724 / after hours (+995 32) 227-7000