Council of European Union vote paves way for Georgian visa-free travel to Schengen area from April 2017.
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Following a positive vote by the European Parliament at the beginning of February, the Council of the European Union today adopted the necessary amendments to the EU legal act to grant Georgian citizens visa free travel to the EU-Schengen area.
This is the final vote on this topic, and publishing of the revised law in the official Journal will define the exact date the visa waiver will come into force, likely at the end of March.
"You must be very proud of this great achievement, which is the result of the common efforts of the Georgian people and the Georgian authorities. I am confident that the possibility of visa-free travel will further facilitate contacts between people, strengthen business, social and cultural ties between the European Union and Georgia" noted European Union Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos, who travelled to Tbilisi especially to mark the occasion.
Under the visa exemption, Georgians who hold a biometric passport will have the right to enter the Schengen area visa-free for 90 days in any 180-day period, for business, tourist or family purposes, but not to work.
Tbilisi has complied with all the benchmarks of its Visa Liberalisation Action Plan, and continuous fulfilment by Georgia of such criteria, especially on the fight against organised crime, will be duly monitored by the Commission.
The visa waiver will apply to 30 countries in total. This includes EU Member States which are part of the Schengen area (Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden) , EU Member States not yet fully applying the Schengen aquis (Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Romania) as well as Schengen-associated states (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland).