Georgia Closer To EU Visa Liberalization

By Edouard Berthier, for 03 November, 2014

The European Commission (EC) has agreed that Georgia has met the initial requirements for dialogue on visa-free travel within the EU, with new laws in the areas of document security, asylum, anti-corruption, and anti-money laundering, as well as other measures.

In particular, the EC said that changes to Georgia's legal framework for personal data protection and a new Anti-Discrimination Law show that the country is committed to the Visa Liberalization Dialogue process.

The Visa Liberalization Action Plan will now move into the second phase, in which the EC will check that Georgia's new benchmarks are sustainable and being implemented effectively. The EC also says that it is ready to provide help with the implementation of the legislative, policy, and institutional framework.

The Action Plan for Georgia does not apply to the UK or Ireland, or to the non-EU Schengen Zone countries of Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway. The EC and Georgia hope that bilateral agreements can be made in these cases.

Under a current visa facilitation agreement, Georgian citizens enjoy lower visa fees, which are waived for broad categories of applicants. Also, procedures for assessing applications are accelerated, and certain categories of frequent travelers are eligible for long-term multiple-entry visas.

In April, the EC agreed to visa liberalization with Moldova, following reforms to the Ministry of Interior and Border Police, and continued cooperation with EU member states and police forces on criminal matters.

Tags: European Commission | Law | Agreements | Georgia | European Union (EU) | Expats | Visas And Passports | Europe |


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