Georgia to Restore Visa-Free Regime with Iran

Georgia is ready to restore a visa free regime with Iran after a three year moratorium, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili stated Tuesday.

Kvirikashvili spoke with the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Hassan Rouhani over the phone and congratulated him on concluding a deal concerning Iran’s nuclear ambitions and the subsequent lifting of sanctions by the US, EU and Russia.

"They (the Iranians) expressed their hope to strengthen cooperation in the field of tourism. From the Georgian side, I can say that we will take concrete steps in this direction. This will be reflected in the abolition of a visa regime with Iran", the press office said.

Bi-lateral trade and economic relations as well as the current security situation in the region were also discussed during the conversation.

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, which came into force in January 2011, envisaged reciprocal visa-free travel for up to 45 days for both Georgian and Iranian citizens.

In July 2013, Georgia unilaterally cancelled the visa-free regime 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.

Due to banking restrictions and the visa regime cancellation, up to 100 Iranian companies were forced to leave the Georgian market.

The visa-free regime significantly contributed to an increase in the number of Iranian students and tourists coming to Georgia from 2010-2012.

09 February 2016 12:45