Georgia Officially Restores Visa- Free Regime for Iran

TBILISI – Georgia will officially implement a visa-free regime for Iranian citizens from Monday, Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a press release.

Iranian citizens will be allowed to stay in Georgia, visa-free for up to 45 days.

Abbas Talebifar, Iran’s ambassador to Georgia, emphasized that visa-free travel will be a major boost to free trade between the two countries.

Georgia plans to restore direct flights between Tbilisi and Tehran later this year.

Economy and Suitable Development Minister Dimitri Kumsishvili announced Monday that Iranian airlines have already applied to Georgia’s Civil Aviation Agency to receive permission to carry out flights to Tbilisi.

“This promotes the tourist flow into the market, which we desperately need. As soon as the (air) companies provide all of the necessary documents…we will grant them the right to operate,” Kumsishvili said, adding that potential flight schedules are still under consideration.

Georgia and Iran signed an agreement on visa-free travel in November 2010 during a visit by Tehran’s then-foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki.

The agreement came into force in January 2011 and envisaged reciprocal visa-free travel for up to 45 days for both Georgian and Iranian citizens. However, in July 2013, Georgia unilaterally cancelled the agreement and suspended direct flights between Tbilisi and Tehran as part of a series of measures tied to sanctions levied against Iran by the international community.

Tamar Svanidze

Edited by Nicholas Waller

15 February 2016 14:39