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Border guards to work hard over EU visa free issue

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, March 29
Georgia’s Interior Minister, Giorgi Mgebrishvili, held a special briefing late on March 27, where he said he had signed a decree that obliged Georgian border guards to check the documents of each person travelling to the European Union’s (EU) Schengen Zone visa free, inform them about the visa waiver rules and warn them in the event of any issues with their official travelling documents.

The Minister stressed the step would increase the people’s awareness of Georgia-EU visa free travel and prevent or reduce the risks of the suspension mechanism being carried out, which would entail depriving Georgia of its visa waiver in the Schengen area.

Mgebrishvili highlighted the role of the government of Georgia regarding the obtaining the right of the visa free travel and stressed that 60% of the obligations for receiving the visa waiver were on the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Mgebrishvili also stressed that through the demand of the Prime Minister, a special program was elaborated that envisaged the fast revealing of those Georgians who violate the visa liberalisation rules.

“Through the program we can reveal such people easily and inform our European colleagues about them in a timely manner,” Mgebrishvili stated.

He said in the course of six years, Georgia received 7,300 readmission applications from the European countries and 95 percent of them were met.

“This means Georgia has very close cooperation with European law enforcement agencies,” Mgebrishvili said,

The minister said on April 4 that Georgia would also sign a cooperation deal with the European police, Europol, “which means Georgia is becoming the part of the European Union from the law enforcement point of view”.

From today, citizens of Georgia holding biometric passports can travel visa free in the EU’s Schengen Zone and stay there for no more than 90 days in a 180-day period.

In case of violating the rules, a person will be fined 3,000 Euros and will not be able to enter the Schengen area for five years.