11 Tips If You're Planning to Move to Georgia

View of the Rike Park in Tbilisi | © Baia Dzagnidze
View of the Rike Park in Tbilisi | © Baia Dzagnidze
Photo of Baia Dzagnidze
Writer25 January 2018

Moving to Georgia is the best way to experience the country’s rich culture. Known for being a friendly nation with stunning nature, Georgia is still an undiscovered country for many in terms of travel, not to say anything about moving here. The capital, Tbilisi, remains traditional but also very multicultural, which adds to its appeal and charm. So if you decide to move to Georgia, these tips will help you along the way.

A new law grants foreigners permission to stay for a year

The government of Georgia issued an order in 2014 that gives citizens of 95 countries permission to stay here visa-free for a year. Thus, it’s a great way to see if the nation fits your expectations before committing to live here for a longer amount of time.

Living in Georgia and being on holiday here are entirely different

When you visited Georgia, it most likely was for your holidays or a business trip, where you felt the immense hospitality of the nation. However, when you become a resident here, expect that you won’t be treated like a royalty anymore, you’ll get fewer invites by Georgian families, and fewer offers to show you around. This is understandable and reasonable, since you are now becoming part of the community, where you need to adapt and start figuring things out yourself. However, don’t think for a second that Georgians will neglect you at once; they will still help you out and will remain your friend when you are in need.

View of Tbilisi | © jagermesh / Flickr

There are other expats in Georgia

Even though the expat community is relatively small, their relationships are reliable, which means that they have full support for each other.

Don’t expect everyone to know English

Georgia has its own, unique language spoken only by Georgians, and it doesn’t resemble any other language in the world. It might seem very difficult to learn at first due to its guttural sounds, but it’s not impossible to speak. We have created a list of phrases and sayings that will help you understand the culture and traditions of Georgia.

The country depends heavily on imported goods

Even though Georgia has local shops and tasty fresh produce sold in the bazaars, the state heavily depends on imports, which means that a price for a particular item can be higher than you expect. This is most common for groceries like coconut oil or milk, organic products, almond milk or flour, Asian spices or pastes, and Italian pesto to name a few.

Clothes can be expensive as well compared to European cities. Even budget-friendly brands here have high prices compared to the cost of living.

St. George Statue at Freedom Square in Tbilisi | © Casal Partiu / Flickr

You can quickly ship goods from the US to Georgia

The lack of a wide variety of imported goods in Georgia has created a demand for obtaining products from other countries, especially the United States and its online shopping heaven – Amazon. Several international shipping companies ship from various online shops of the US, Germany, China, and the UK to Georgia. It takes a week or so to get those products in Georgia, and the shipping price is calculated by weight, not the dimensions.

Finding an apartment can be tough

When relocating to a new country, the hardest part is finding an affordable and appealing apartment in which to live. Prices here for apartment rentals vary. It might or might not depend on the district. Usually, central areas are more expensive then the outskirts, but you can still find a decent apartment in a central part of the city with a reasonable price.

The price for a studio or one bedroom flat starts at US$250 and might go up to US$1000 per month. This depends on the location, condition of the apartment, and the size. The more prominent the apartment, the higher the price. Most of the owners quote monthly rates in US dollars and expect you to pay in that currency. However, there are few that will ask for Georgian Lari.

Buying an apartment here is quite expensive unless you are planning on making Georgia your permanent home.

Outskirt district of Tbilisi | © Baia Dzagnidze

You’ll need to buy insurance

Costs for healthcare services is high in Georgia, and expats are not entitled to subsidized or free service. Thus, purchasing a comprehensive insurance policy is necessary. There are plenty of healthcare insurance companies to choose from depending on provider and your monthly budget.

Georgia allows for dual citizenship

The country has relatively smooth immigration laws, especially for those who come from the US, EU, Israel, and Switzerland. It is one of the few countries that allows for dual citizenship, and to get it, you’ll need to prove to be an asset to Georgia. The process is quick and takes up to two months. The requirements for obtaining citizenship may include investing in the country, buying a property, marrying a Georgian, founding a business here, or having a long-term job.

Getting a residence permit

A Georgian residence permit authorizes a foreigner to enter and stay in Georgia for the validity of the document, as well as invite another foreigner to the country. To get a residence permit, you’ll need to apply at the Public Service Hall in person or online. The required documents should be in Georgian, but an application completed in English can also be approved. There are several residence permits issued, such as work, study, permanent, short-term, and temporary residence permit.

Paying bills is easy

Georgia has one of the easiest ways to pay your utility or any other bills. The whole country is full of pay boxes, where you can choose the service you would like to pay for, slide the cash and done. Easy peasy! This way you don’t need to wait in lines at a post office, bank, or any other office of the provider. You can even buy train tickets at certain pay boxes if you spontaneously decide to travel to other parts of the country.