18 Dec 2015

According to the European Commission's report, Georgia has fulfilled all the benchmarks of its visa liberalisation action plan

The European Commission said Georgia has fulfilled all the benchmarks of its visa liberalisation action plan and it will propose in "early 2016” to the EU-member states to allow visa-free travel to the Schengen area for Georgian citizens.

After the European Commission puts forth a legislative proposal on visa waiver, it should then be approved by the European Parliament and the EU-member states before it can go into force. Georgia hopes the process will be completed by mid-2016.

"The Commission considers that Georgia meets all the benchmarks set in respect of the four blocks of the second phase of the VLAP,” reads the European Commission’s fourth and final progress report on how Georgia has implemented its Visa Liberalisation Action Plan, released on December 18. Visa Liberalisation Action Plan (VLAP), which was presented by the EU to Georgia in February 2013, is a set of detailed requirements that the country had to meet in order to become eligible for visa-free regime with the Schengen area.

After approval from the European Parliament and the EU-member states, Georgian citizens, holding biometric passports, will be able to enter the Schengen area without visa more than one time during 90 days in any 180-day period.

According to the Justice Ministry’s Public Service Development Agency up to 776,000 Georgian citizens hold biometric passports as of December 18, 2015. The visa-free regime will apply to travels to all EU-member states, except for the United Kingdom and Ireland. The visa exemption will apply the following EU-members, which are part of the Schengen area: Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Austria, Greece, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Malta.

It will also apply to those EU-member states, which are not yet part of the Schengen zone: Cyprus, Croatia, Romania and Bulgaria, as well as to following non-EU member states: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.