The measure is aimed to promote:
- mobility of Georgian citizens to EU countries;
- exchanges and mobility of cultural, creative and educational professionals;
- partnership and networking between EU and Georgian cultural and creative professionals and institutions;
- export of cultural services.
From March 1, 2011, Georgian citizens have been benefiting from simplified procedures for obtaining short-term visas to the EU according to the Visa Facilitation Agreement signed between Georgia and the European Union on 17th of June 2010.
The aim of simplified procedures is making it easier for Georgian citizens, in particular those who travel most, to acquire short-term visas for the EU.
The Agreement provides a reduced visa fee of €35 instead of €60 for all Georgian citizens and a total exemption from the visa fee for certain categories of applicants including persons participating in scientific, cultural, artistic activities, university and other exchange programs.
According to the agreement, necessary documents proving the purpose of the envisaged travel in support of a visa application are simplified for 13 categories of persons including those who are participating in scientific, cultural, artistic activities, university and other exchange programs.
Bona fide frequent travelers (for ex: participating in scientific, cultural, artistic activities, university and other exchange programs etc.) will be issued multi-entry visas with long periods of validity.
Finally, the holders of diplomatic passports are exempt from the visa obligation. The agreement also obliges the Consulates to take a decision within 10 days on whether or not to issue a visa. The visa facilitation agreement does not apply to UK and Ireland (which do not participate in the Schengen cooperation), and to Denmark. It is applicable towards the rest of the EU. Denmark, Norway, Iceland and Switzerland who participate in Schengen were invited to conclude similar visa facilitation agreements.
Mobility of Georgian citizens to EU countries and export of national cultural services to Europe as well as mobility of students and academics, entrepreneurs will increase; partnership and networking opportunities between Georgian cultural and creative professionals and institutions will be enlarged; Georgian cultural and creative companies and professionals will be better introduced in EU cultural events.