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Changing of Surnames Complicated to Prevent Visa Free Violations

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, March 7
(TBILISI)--The Government of Georgia has made changing of surnames complicated to prevent violations for the Georgia-EU visa free deal, as many used changed surnames to illegally enter the EU’s Schengen Zone.

Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikahsvili stated that the complicated procedure for changing of surnames was a part of a complex plan to avoid suspension threats for the Georgia-EU visa free agreement gained in 2017.

Kvirikashvili claimed the change has been agreed with the EU and the partner states and hoped the citizens of Georgia would adequately evaluate the step.

According to the current law changing of a surname is not a complicated procedure as well as taking of a new surname.

Based on the planned changes, which now must be approved by parliament, an individual will be able to change the surname only once when he/she is 18-year-old and more.

This may happen if fatherhood is ascertained and the individual decides to take father’s surname. The change will not spread to those individuals who are wanted that time when the fatherhood is approved.

Changing of surnames or merging of surnames is possible when people marry or divorce. However, such a procedure will be possible only during marriage of divorce.

Those Georgians who changed their surnames after the Georgia-EU visa waiver came into play on March 28, 2017, will not be able to do it again, if they will not marry or divorce.

The Government of Georgia announced about tougher approach to those violating the Georgia-EU visa free deal since one region of Germany stated about the increased number of Georgian migrants and demanded the suspension of the Georgia-EU visa free deal.

The Georgian Dream government promised close work with the partner states, Germany among them, to decrease the number of Georgian illegal migrants.

Georgia has addressed Germany to grant the Safe Country status to Georgia, which would disable Georgians receive the refugee status.

For its part, Germany has taken several steps to prevent illegal migration from Georgia.

The press release by German Embassy to Georgia reads that the number of Georgian asylum seekers in Germany has increased three times since March 2017, from the date Georgia gained visa waiver with the EU.

“Only in January more than 700 Georgian citizens asked for asylum in Germany and nearly 100 percent was denied on the request,” the embassy stated.

The embassy reported that the increased number of the asylum seekers has caused concerns in Germany.

“In order to change the tendency Germany wishes to further intensify cooperation with Georgia on readmission issues.

“Also Germany will deprive those people of entering the Schengen zone for several years who would be refused on asylum,” the embassy announced.

More than 200,000 Georgians have already used the visa free opportunity in the EU, with more than 10,000 violating the agreement terms.

The Georgia-EU visa waiver came into play on March 28, 2017.

Georgian citizens holding biometric passports can travel to the EU’s Schengen Zone for a period of 90 days within any 180-day period for purposes other than working.