TBILISI, DFWatch–A visa waiver system for Georgian citizens was given the final approval by the EU Council on Monday, and now only formalities remain until 3.7 million citizens of the Caucasus nation can enjoy up to 90 days trips to Europe’s vast borderless Schengen area without applying for a visa first.
The Council of the European Union gave a final approval to amend a regulation which implies including Georgia on the list of countries whose citizens are not required to have visa for entry to the EU.
“This is the last step in the process of granting Georgia visa-free travel with the EU,” Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated.
The amendment is set to be signed on Wednesday by the Council and the European Parliament.
The text will then be published in the EU’s legislative journal and enter into force 20 days later.
At the same time, a new suspension mechanism will come into force, which allows individual member countries in the Schengen area to halt visa-free entry from a country if certain conditions should arise, such as a security threat or a sudden spike in baseless asylum requests.
This visa waiver system grants Georgian nationals visa-free travel for up to 90 days in any 180-day period to most EU countries, except the UK and Ireland. In addition, also Norway and Switzerland are part of the agreement.
“These benefits will be equally accessible to Georgian citizens living in the occupied territories and will serve as a further stimulus for them to use Georgian passports,” the foreign ministry said.
“It is also very important that Georgian citizens carry out their duties responsibly and fully comply with the requirements of visa-free travel.”