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How to get your Georgian Residence Permit

Here are As many expatriates living in Georgia know, the mayor of Tbilisi, Kakha kaladze has recently put forth a set of amendments for the Georgian parliament to change the residency law for foreign citizens. In particular, he requested the minimum amount for investment to be 100,000 USD in order to obtain a residence permit in Georgia.

What new residence permit law means

It means that a foreign citizen to obtain residency must purchase a property at the minimum value of 100,000 USD to be eligible for a one-year residency card. Moreover, a person who has received a one-year residence permit may lose it in the event that the property gets sold or transferred.

“In this way it will be impossible to obtain a residency permit by different people using one property,” says Kaladze.

However, purchasing property is not the only type of residency permit in Georgia. Taken from the Georgia’s government website, you can find all residency permits here:

What are the types of residence permits in Georgia?

The following is the types of residence permit for foreign investors in Georgia:

  1. Labor residence permit

    • issued for entrepreneurial or labor activities in accordance with the rule prescribed by the legislation of Georgia. Freelancers also follow under this category.
  2. Residence permit for study purposes

    • issued for the purpose of study at educational institutions accredited in Georgia.
  3. Residence permit for family unification

    • issued to family members of an alien holding residence permit.
  4. Residence permit of former Georgian citizen

    • issued to an alien whose Georgian citizenship is terminated.
  5. Stateless person residence permit

    • issued to a person whose status of stateless person has been established in Georgia.
  6. Special residence permit

    • issued to an alien who is reasonably supposed to be a victim of human trafficking or injured as a result of human trafficking in cases stipulated by the law of Georgia “On fighting human trafficking”, to an alien for whom a member of the Government of Georgia files a written application for temporary residence permit in Georgia. Temporary residence permit goes to an alien whom it is impossible to exile from Georgia in one of the following cases: a person is persecuted for political belief or an action that is not considered to be a crime in accordance with the legislation of Georgia; a person is persecuted for protection of human rights and freedom, progressive social, political, scientific and creative activity; life or health of a person is under threat or when the basis for deferment of exile of an alien is still valid after 30 days following deferment of exile or when a person cannot be identified or when none of the states consents to receive them.
  7. Permanent residence permit

    • issued to a spouse, parent and child of a citizen of Georgia. Permanent residence permit goes to an alien who has been residing for the past 6 years based on temporary residence permit in Georgia. Residence in Georgia for study or medical treatment and employment at diplomatic and equivalent representative offices in Georgia is not in this period.
  8. Residence permit for investment purposes

    • issued to an alien who has made investment in Georgia amounting to at least 300 000 GEL, in accordance with the law of Georgia “On supporting investment activity and guarantees”, as well as to their family members. For purposes of this subclause, spouse, underage child of an alien, legally incapable or disabled person dependent on the alien are considered to be family members of the alien.
  9. Temporary residence permit

    • issued to an alien who has been assigned the status of a victim under the Law of Georgia “On Elimination of Domestic Violence, Protection and Support of Victims of Domestic Violence”
  10. Short-term residence permit

    • issued to an alien, under the procedure established by the legislation of Georgia, has the right of ownership of real property within the territory of Georgia (other than agricultural land) with its market value exceeding 100,000 USD (equivalent in laris), and to his/her family members. To grant a short-term residence permit, the market value of the real property shall be established by a certified assessor of a body accredited by the Legal Entity under Public Law Unified National Accreditation Body – Accreditation Centre.

 

What type of Georgia’s residence permit applies to investors?

After the amendments, there are four types of residence permits suitable for foreign investors in Georgia:

 

1-Work Residence Permit

To begin with, this type of residency goes to individuals who have founded/registered a company in Georgia. The process of registering your company in Georgia is very simple:

  • Takes 2 days (with the possibility to finish the whole process in 1 day)
  • Costs around 35 USD (100 GEL)
  • Open a corporate account in any banks operating in Georgia
  • Taking your Tax ID Number (TIN)

 

Two important numbers in work residence permit

There are certain figures which are important for an investor’s company. Founded company’s annual turnover shall exceed 50,000 GEL (which is equivalent to 17,000 USD as in September 2019). More importantly, the founder or founders’ monthly income from this business activity shall not be less than five times the amount of Georgian Citizen’s minimum wage. Government of Georgia announces the minimum salary every year. For 2019, the minimum wage is 190 GEL; this means that the founder(s)’ salary should be around 950 GEL (no less than 330 USD)

According to the current legislation (in 2019), this type of residence permit lasts for 1 (one) year, but the term may change within 1 (one) month because Georgian government has to make relevant changes in the subordinate acts. In any case, the term may not change to longer than 6 (six) years.

In short, this type of residency has 3 main criteria:

  • It only applies to the founder(s) of the company in Georgia
  • The company’s annual turnover must be more than 50,000 GEL (17,000 USD)
  • Founder(s) income must be minimum 330 USD (950 GEL)

The founder will receive a 1 (one)-year temporary residency permit. The founder(s) can extend their residence permit card every year as long as they meet all the conditions above. This process continues up to 5 years. After 6 years of renewing temporary residency, the investor can get permanent residency permit.

 

Basic documents needed for Work Residence Permit:

Please note that your company accountant must prepare these documents in Georgian language (Kartuli):

  1. Extract of the legal entity from the business registry
  2. Notice from the Revenue Service that company has minimum of 50,000 GEL (17,000 USD) turnover per year.
  3. Bank account statement that the director has minimum of 11,000 GEL (3750 USD) net on the account.
  4. Notice which states the total number of foreign employees in the company.

The amount of turnover is per individual per year, meaning that if a company has 2 founders who are both foreigners in Georgia, the minimum turnover of the company doubles to 100,000 GEL (34,000 USD). If there are 3 foreign individuals, the number triples, and so on.

2-Investment Residence Permit

It issued to a foreigner who made the investment amounted to at least 300,000 USD in Georgia or who has the property ownership of 300,000 USD worth (real estate, except agricultural land) on the territory of Georgia. Certified property value assessors in Georgia will determine value of the property. The investor in this case receives a 5-year temporary residence permit.

How to renew 5-year residence permit

More importantly, the holder of the residence permit card shall annually provide relevant government bodies the information about the annual turnover of its business activities and shall prove that the annual turnover resulting from business activities exceeds the numbers below:

  • the 1st year is easy, the turnover must exceed 50,000 USD
  • as for the 2nd year, the turnover must exceed 100,000 USD
  • for the remaining years, 3rd, 4th and 5th years, the turnover must exceed 120,000 USD

In case the investment residence permit is based on the real estate ownership, the individual shall keep the ownership of the property which was the basis of issuing the residence permit, in order to keep the residence permit, or otherwise replace the property by satisfying the same requirements.

Briefly, Investment Residence permit applies to those who have the following criteria:

  • Invest 300,000 USD in a business, project, or property in Georgia
  • Present turnover documents on a yearly basis showing that the investment is not dormant as shown above

Applying through this permit will grant a 5-year, temporary residency permit for the investor. This type of residence permit has a high chance to become a permanent residence if all the investor(s) satisfy all the conditions above during the 5-year period.

 

3-Short-term Residence Permit

Basically, it is based on the ownership of 100,000 USD worth of property (real estate, except agricultural land). The term of the residency is 1 year. As in the case of the investment residence permit, a Georgian certified assessor evaluate the property value in this case, and the holder of such kind of permit shall keep the ownership on the property for one year.

At the end of 1-year, the investors must present the document that they still hold a property with a minimum value of 100,000 USD.

 

4-Permanent Residence Permit

It goes to the individual who has been holding the Investment Residence Permit mentioned above for five years. The investor can apply for this type of residence permit only after this 5-year period.

In the past, it was possible to directly apply for permanent residence permit by investing 300,000 USD. However since 2018, all investors receive temporary residence permits for 5 years to finally be eligible for permanent residence permit.

 

Summary

To conclude, there are 4 types of residence permit for foreign investors. All these residence permits are temporary until after 5 years when investors can apply for permanent residence permit. During these 5 years, foreign investors must show that their investment is active and meets the Georgian governments requirements.