10 May 2023 13:10

Russia scraps visa system for Georgian citizens from May 15 - presidential decree

MOSCOW. May 10 (Interfax) - Russia will scrap the visa system for Georgian citizens, except for labor migrants, starting on May 15, 2023.

The Russian president's respective decree has been published on the official website of legal information.

According to the decree, "Starting on May 15, 2023, Georgian citizens can arrive in and depart from the Russian Federation without visas, on the basis of identification documents."

The only exception is made for "citizens arriving in the Russian Federation for work or for periods longer than 90 days, including for studies," it said.

The order says that Georgian citizens posted to Russia as employees of the Georgian interests section at the Swiss embassy to Russia and their family members will be issued single-entry three-month visas starting on May 15. Once accredited by the Russian Foreign Ministry, such persons will be able to travel to and from Russia without applying for visas for three months.

The order took effect on the signing date.

According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, from May 15, "Georgian citizens can arrive in the territory of the Russian Federation via border checkpoints assigned for international passenger traffic without visas for a period of up to 90 days within every 180-day period for diplomatic, official, private, business, tourist and humanitarian purposes and for brief studies."

"Meanwhile, Georgian citizens planning to study at Russian educational establishments for more than 90 days, work, or live in the Russian Federation either temporarily or permanently, must arrive in and depart from the Russian Federation on the basis of visas," ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said in a commentary published on the ministry's website.

"For now, Georgian citizens can arrive in the Russian Federation for 72 hours by cruise ships, which are authorized to transport passengers and call at sea and river ports open to international passenger traffic. They can also arrive in the Russian Federation as tourists by ferries authorized to transport passengers and call at ports designated by respective resolutions of the government of the Russian Federation," the ministry said.

"The decision of the president of the Russian Federation to resume air traffic and implement a visa-free system for short-term trips of Georgian citizens to Russia are in line with our principled approach of consistently facilitating conditions for humanitarian communication and contacts between citizens of Russia and Georgia despite the absence of diplomatic relations," the ministry said.