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Georgia Tightens Citizenship Procedures for Foreigners

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, July 23
The Parliament of Georgia has supported the proposed amendments to the law on Georgian citizenship with the first reading, which envisages tightened procedures for foreigners eager to obtain Georgian citizenship.

78 lawmakers voted for the amendments, none was against during the sitting on July 19.

The current legislation reads that a person must live in Georgia for five years before being eligible for citizenship. Under the new draft law, the term of living in Georgia for getting a citizenship may be increased to 10 years for getting an ordinary citizenship. As for the simplified citizenship, two-year living term may increase to five years.

A few exceptions will be included as well. A person may receive the citizenship of Georgia if he or she recognizes Georgia as his/hers home country, or he has a predecessor internally displaced from the occupied territories, or emigrated due to political or difficult social-economic conditions.

Other exceptions are: a person is born in Georgia but represents an ethnic minority, is a foreigner and makes a significant investment supporting the country’s economic development, or is a foreigner but successful in sports, science or art and wants to represent Georgia in their career.

Previously, the president of Georgia was entitled to grant dual citizenship to people, however, according to the changes, exceptional application for dual citizenship can be submitted to the Public Service Development Agency, related embassy or a consulate.

According to the amendments, a person retains the citizenship of Georgia in the case of obtaining citizenship of another country if he / she obtains the consent from the state before obtaining the citizenship of that country.

During the preservation of citizenship, a family member of the applicant must be the citizen of the country, citizenship of which the applicant is going to get. Also, keeping of Georgian citizenship is possible if the applicant, citizen of Georgia, has been living or working legally for at least five years in the country which will give her or him the citizenship.

The draft law reads that the former citizen of Georgia, who has lost his/her Georgian citizenship after getting the citizenship of another country, has the right to apply to the Agency for regaining the Georgian citizenship within a year from enactment of the new law.

Eka Beselia, Chairperson of the Legal Issues Committee, presented the draft law on Georgian Citizenship with the first reading to the parliament.

She said the bill has special value for the country as it relates to receiving and granting the citizenship.

“We need new rules of granting citizenship as our constitution revoked the record according to which, the dual citizenship was prohibited,” she stated.

Moreover, MP Salome Zurabishvili says this is an important regulation for Georgians living abroad.

“I know the expectations are great. This is very important not only for our compatriots but for our state as it responds to our demographic challenges,” she said.