Travelling to European Union member countries could be possible for Georgian citizens from 2016, Georgian authorities have announced.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Maia Panjikidze said she believed short-term visas would allow the holder to a total stay of up to 90 to 180 day period for tourist and business purposes respectively.
"With an ordinary Georgian passport, citizens will have the opportunity to enjoy visa-free travel to Schengen countries but for studying and working purposes citizens have to obtain the visa,” Panjikidze said.
The diplomat believed the Association Agreements including Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas (AA/DCFTAs) with the EU that is expected to be signed this June, outlined the true benefits of the agreements, including free moving of capital, service and product.
"But the free moving of workforce is not envisaged in the documents and with short stay Schengen visas, they will soon be able to travel visa free to EU zone countries,” Panjikidze said.
She believed some of the EU member courtiers did not have EU work permits even when they become EU members.
The Schengen area comprises of 26 countries that have abolished border control between their common borders. It functions as a single country for international travel purposes and encourages free movement of goods, information, money and people.
Georgia already has completed the first phase of the Viza Liberalization Action Plan (VLAP) and looked to the European Commissioner Adviser’s assessment to move forward.
In order to achieve a visa free regime with the EU, Georgia needed to meet a number of criteria listed in the VLAP.