Message for U.S. Citizens: UPDATE #6 on Flight Availability and More (April 15, 2020)
In Case You Missed It: All of our previous COVID-19 messages are posted on the embassy’s website.
If you are a U.S. citizen currently in Georgia, are trying to get to the United States, and have not yet been in touch with the embassy please contact us now.
IMPORTANT! Extension of State of Emergency (SOE) and New Restrictions: Yesterday, April 14, the Georgian Government announced that effective tonight (April 15 at 21:00) there will be prohibitions on entering or leaving the cities of Tbilisi, Rustavi, Batumi and Kutaisi. Further, the Prime Minister will request an extension of the State of Emergency until May 10.
FLIGHTS: The U.S. Embassy is aware of the following special commercial flights on the dates below. All are on Georgian Airways except where noted. For these flights, seats on the outbound portion departing Tbilisi are generally available for purchase 2 days before the flight, although some are being released even sooner:
16 April – Tbilisi to Paris* (see important note below!)
18 April – Tbilisi to Tel Aviv (connection to Newark EWR available)
21 April – Tbilisi to Rome (connection to New York JFK available but requires overnight in Rome)
24 April – Tbilisi to Barcelona (no direct transfers to USA)
27 April – Tbilisi to Warsaw (LOT Polish Airlines) (same-day connection to Chicago ORD available, or connections to JFK or MIA with overnight in Warsaw)
30 April – Tbilisi to Madrid (no details available yet)
02 May – Tbilisi to Prague (no details available yet)
Please note that other regularly scheduled commercial flights which were previously advertised, are now CANCELLED or ON HOLD until further notice.
01 May – Tbilisi to Paris STATUS TBD due to SOE extension Non-refundable tickets can be changed without penalty within a year; refundable tickets can be refunded by the issuing agency
01 May – Tbilisi to Istanbul on Turkish Airlines CANCELLED due to SOE extension
05 May – Tbilisi to Munich on Lufthansa STATUS TBD
Contact the airline or a travel agent directly to book these flights. These are not U.S. government-operated or funded flights. At this time these flights are the only known way to leave Georgia. If you cannot afford to buy a ticket for a flight to U.S. you may apply for a repatriation loan from the U.S. government to purchase the ticket; please contact the embassy for details.
Because international commercial flight options currently exist in Georgia, U.S. citizens who wish to return to the United States should make commercial arrangements as soon as possible unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period. The U.S. government does not anticipate arranging repatriation flights from Georgia at this time.
Other Useful Information (repeated from prior messages):
Tips on Booking Flights:
- You may have to book each leg of your trip separately (Tbilisi – Europe, Europe – USA), working directly with each airline, and travel with two separate tickets.
- If you are having difficulty getting through to Georgian Airways on the phone, you may also try using a travel agency. You can also go in person to the Georgian Airways office at 12 Rustaveli Ave. in Tbilisi. If you are having a lot of difficulty, email the embassy and we will try to help find another method.
- Many countries are prohibiting transit passengers from leaving the airport regardless of the wait time between flights. This may mean you’ll have to stay in a transit terminal for long wait times, where food and other services may be extremely limited (basically vending machines). Pack extra snacks and prepare to be self-sufficient during your transit.
- When you have tickets, send the embassy a quick note to let us know which flights you are taking. In some cases, we can pre-notify CBP or TSA to help facilitate your transit onward.
*If you transit through Paris: You must fill out and carry with you a signed “attestation” form, which is on the COVID-19 page of the U.S. Embassy in France (under “Entry and Exit Requirements”). You must also have a direct connection to an onward flight to the United States.
Connecting Flights to the U.S.: Read this information for U.S. Citizens Returning from Europe (scroll about halfway down the page) regarding where U.S. citizens are allowed to transit en route to the United States. Note that flights from Europe are only being permitted to fly into 13 specific airports in the United States, as detailed on the Department of Homeland Security’s website, so you will need to plan your travel route accordingly.
U.S. Citizens who Overstay their 365 days in Georgia: Today we received new information from the Government of Georgia concerning U.S. citizens who are unable to renew their entry permits on time due to border closures. Accordingly, foreigners who overstay in Georgia during and because of the State of Emergency (which begin on March 21) will not be issued fines. (This is new information compared to what we described in the Town Hall discussion.)
Virtual Town Hall Chat with Ambassador Degnan and Embassy Staff: If you missed the live chat on Tuesday, you can view the recorded video online now. Thank you to everyone who participated or submitted questions!
Coronavirus Stimulus Payments: The Internal Revenue Service has a very helpful website with details about who is eligible, how and when payments will be sent, and what you may need to do. Visit IRS.gov/coronavirus for more information about this, as well as the extended tax filing deadline.
Enroll in STEP: Your safety and welfare are our highest priorities. It is extremely important that every U.S. citizen in Georgia sign up with our Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) so we will know how many Americans are here, we can contact you in an emergency, and you will receive emails with information from the embassy.