Europe, Georgia, Visa for Indians
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Georgia E-Visa for Indians: Is it Worth the Hassle?

The official Georgia visa requirements for Indian citizens state that Indian passport holders are eligible for the Georgia e-visa. Yet, many Indians have been deported from Tbilisi airport, for not meeting the Georgia tourist visa requirements. Why is this happening, is it still worth it for Indians to travel to Georgia, and how to make sure your Georgia visa as an Indian passport holder will be accepted in Tbilisi?

Perched on a mountain overlooking Tbilisi, Georgia’s capital city, is a prominent statue of the ‘Mother of Georgia’. In one hand, she holds a cup of wine, and in the other, a sword. The wine is to welcome friends; the sword is to deter enemies.

Four years ago, when I first travelled there on my humble navy blue Indian passport, I immediately felt welcomed like a friend. When cabbies heard I was from India, they would sing me Raj Kapoor songs from old Bollywood movies. In Racha, I drank whiskey shots with my host family for breakfast, in celebration of being their first ever Indian guest. Deep in the Caucasus Mountains, despite no common language between us, I made soul connections with local priests on a vow of silence.

georgia tbilisi visa, georgia e visa for indian, tbilisi airbnb

Working on my terrace with a view of Tbilisi below!

Then something happened.

Easier Georgia visa for Indian citizens

Four years ago, in order to get a visa to enter Georgia on my Indian passport, I had to spend a few frustrating hours outside the small compound of the Georgian embassy in Delhi. Sweating in the oppressive Delhi summer heat, my only fellow applicants were two farmers from Punjab, hoping to buy agricultural land in Georgia and start a new life.

When I finally spoke to the visa officer, it took some convincing to be granted a month-long visa. But I was ecstatic to receive it and be on my way.

Things have changed drastically since. While I was still in the country, Georgia relaxed its visa rules and granted entry to Indians with a valid (and used) visa to the US, UK or the Schengen zone of Europe.

Also read: How I Manage Visas on My Indian Passport as I Travel Around the Globe

Georgia people, Georgia culture, Georgia visa requirements for Indian citizens

A shot of whiskey / chacha for breakfast, anyone?

Then in 2015, Georgia opened up an e-visa option for Indian passport holders.

You no longer have to wait in the sweltering heat outside the Georgian embassy in Delhi, nor have the coveted US or UK visa on your passport to enter Georgia. All it takes is an online visa application. But…

Indians with e-visa are being denied entry into Georgia

I was shocked when I first heard it. Months ago, a solo traveller from Mumbai posted on Facebook how she had been deported from Tbilisi airport back to India, despite an e-visa and valid documents (accommodation, return flight ticket and bank statements). She described the immigration officials as rude and unwilling to listen.

Her report was soon followed by others – all Indian passport holders on e-visa, deported without reason.

In fact, when I travelled back to Georgia in November 2017 and started sharing my stories on Instagram, multiple travellers messaged me to share how they had been deported from the airport and had their travel plans shattered.

Also read: Advice for the Young and Penniless Who Want to Travel

fall colors georgia, georgia visa for indian passport holders

Fall colors and a blazing sunset in Georgia.

Growing anti-Indian sentiment in Georgia

I’ve often felt some sort of racist undercurrents against Indians in countries frequented by Indian travellers. I hate it, but I do understand why the stereotype exists. Some Indian travellers tend to be overly demanding and disrespectful of the local culture. I felt those undercurrents even on my first day in Tbilisi this year – unlike my first trip in the country.

During my time in Georgia, I tried to get to the root of the problem. I heard from locals (and in the local news) how farmers from India have rapidly been buying agricultural land and putting Georgian farmers out of business. I also heard about the surge of Indian travellers into the country since e-visa began, some of whom were illegally transiting through Georgia to enter the EU.

But it wasn’t until I was leaving, at the airport immigration, that it became obvious. The immigration officer was friendly at first, but his expressions changed when he saw “India” on my passport. He began asking me questions, like why I would spend a month in Georgia, who gets a one month holiday, my itinerary in the country… I found such interrogation at EXIT immigration strange. It left a bittersweet taste.

It seems to me that immigration officials at Tbilisi airport have been specifically asked to investigate Indian travellers. Every country’s visa rules state that immigration officers have the final say in letting you into their country… and in Georgia they haven’t hesitated in using it to deport travellers.

Also read: The Joy of Slow Travel

Georgia country winter, Kazbegi winter, Georgia visa for Indians

Waking up to fresh snow on the Caucasus mountains <3

Is it still worth travelling to Georgia?

To tell you the truth, I’ve hated typing this post. Despite the negative undercurrents in some interactions, I love Georgia. It’s a gorgeous country, with mountain towns right out of a postcard, warm-hearted locals, delicious (and plenty of vegan) food, a feeling of abundance (think juicy red apples in every front yard in the fall), fascinating legends and a growing alternative food and music scene in Tbilisi.

The tourism infrastructure is comparable to the rest of Europe, at a third of the prices. And for a country where tourism is growing rapidly, I’ve hardly ever encountered a tout or felt cheated.

To tell you the truth, I can’t wait to go back.

Also read: Dreamy Airbnbs to Experience Europe Like a Local

Georgia food, Georgian cuisine, badrijani nigvzit

Badrijani nigvzit and pkhali (eggplant & spinach with walnut paste) – vegan and delicious.

How to ensure you’ll be able to enter Georgia on an Indian passport

Forget about entering with an e-visa. A record number of Indian travellers have been deported from Tbilisi this year, and immigration officials are not inclined to honour the e-visa. It isn’t worth risking your flight costs, hotel bookings or work leave. Besides, it might shatter your Caucasus dream.

Use the alternate option to enter Georgia – a valid and used visa for the US, UK or Europe (Schengen) on your Indian passport.

While entering the country, the immigration official looked at my passport with some concern at first. But as he flipped through and saw my US visa, he relaxed. No more questions asked, no documents checked.

I know it sucks on many levels, it sounds unwelcoming, it seems tedious. But what can I say, it’s worth the hassle if you want to experience the breathtaking beauty of Georgia and its people.

Caucasus mountains, Georgia e visa for Indians, Georgia country travel blog

Scenes from a mashrutka (shared taxi) along the countryside of Georgia.

Would you consider travelling to Georgia despite the visa hassle? How do you deal with visas on the Indian passport?

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US Tourist Visa for Indians: Tips and Requirements
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Canada Tourist Visa for Indians

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44 Comments

  1. Totally remember your first visit and so sad to read about the current scene about Indians. It definitely leaves a bad taste, I hope things improve but I don’t think I have the nerve to go through being cross questioned. it’s so sad

    • Shivya Nath says

      I hear you. But Indians often tend to get cross-questioned in many countries – the US, Europe etc. Those “random” security checks are never really random. Deportation takes it to another level though, sigh.

  2. When I’d first read your post, I’d put Georgia in my travel list. But the terrible attitude and treatment meted out to Indians makes me reconsider that seriously. When there are so many places in the world, why go to a place where ppl hate Indians and make us feel unwelcome.
    I don’t think I want to go there anymore.

    • Shivya Nath says

      I know what you’re thinking Nandita, but that attitude is restricted to immigration, not the rest of the country, especially the rural countryside. I guess the same is true for many countries around the world, especially the US, but also Western Europe, Latin America etc. Unfortunately a bad name/reputation precedes us Indians in many parts of the world. Ultimately it’s upon us to decide if we still want to keep travelling (and perhaps change that reputation).

      • Savio Almeida says

        Hello Shivya!

        It’s true about the immigration officials. But not so of the local population. The Georgians are just marvellous people I have ever come across during my travels to Western Europe and now Eastern Europe.

        They are so humble and so warm. I fell in love with Georgia and the population. I have been there once in 2017. What a great experience. My best ever. I was an NRI living in my birthplace in Bahrain and had travelled to Switzerland in 2016. So it was easy for me to travel to Georgia from the Middle East. Anyone who had a MIDDLE EAST residency permit were / are allowed into the country securing visa on arrival.

        The female immigration officer as normal, I found was ‘acting’ discourteous posing a lot of qurstions. However, I did cooperate very well with her and maintained my composure, throughout this time. (I was being eyed all the time). What got me through was that I spoke softly with a smile and cooperated in answering her questions to the point and finally made it through with my family.

        Exiting Georgia, the customs team are also rude. But that is their job. They act this way only towards Asians. Perhaps it’s an genetically inherited embedded attitude. I hope to visit Georgia again, sometime this year on my new passport and with my Georgian friends invitation letter.

        Thanks for reading my comments. Take care!

        Savio Almeida
        Whatsapp (+00917558033375)

  3. I have reading your articles and about Georgia too. Though I do feel like travelling to Georgia someday, the recent posts on social media have not left a positive impact on me. The treatment by the immigration authorities is not justified. One of the traveller who was deported mentioned that he was allowed at first due to his US visa but his wife who did not have a valid US visa was not allowed. When he raised the issue, the authorities deported him too.
    I am sorry but how much ever you try to portray it as a beautiful and amazing country, it does not seem worth it.

    • Shivya Nath says

      It’s a shame really, because beyond immigration, it’s an incredible country. My hope is that they scrap e-visa altogether and not create a hassle for those entering with a valid US/Schengen visa.

      • The immigration is your introduction to any country. If the experience is not good, however gorgeous the country is, it always leaves a bad taste. Hope things get sorted soon.

    • Shivya Nath says

      I hear you Mallee, but I’m not sure I agree. Every country has their skeletons. I feel that at the end of the day, it’s about how you travel – whether you contribute to the government or directly to the locals.

  4. Vishnu Nair says

    Just for the record not if you hold resident permits from any GCC countries ( Qatar, UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait & Oman) you do not need visa to entry Georgia for 180 days.

    • Shivya Nath says

      In theory that’s true, but I recently read about a GCC resident family also getting deported. Sigh 🙁

  5. i read you all post specially Georgia too.. one day i’ll go there.. infact in reality i really don’t know anything about georgia thanks for sharing a lot…….!

  6. Looks like a gamble with the immigration authorities. I mean if I’m planning a travel to any place, I automatically get into a mindset of being away from my everyday city life and explore a new place, and for which I put in a lot of my savings.
    Is the gamble of being turned away by an immigration officer really worth it?

    I would obviously chose another country (there are plenty!) to travel to.

    Having said that, Georgia has really been on my mind for a long time. Your pics have motivated me even more to travel there. If or when I would actually do it is another question…

    • Shivya Nath says

      I agree, it’s not worth the gamble on an e-visa. But as of now, travelling with a valid US visa instead, doesn’t seem like a gamble.

  7. Thankfully I have a used and valid US visa! This is very useful information! Georgia looks like a fantastic destination.

    “I hate it, but I do understand why the stereotype exists.” I experience it almost everywhere I travel but then I see things around me and I understand. Alas! We live with what we have.

  8. Thanks for this information, Shivya. And I am glad that you didn’t end the post on a negative note. I am thinking of going to Georgia this May, and had been worried about the visa requirements. I do have a valid and used US visa, so I guess I won’t need a visa. But still, it is worrisome if the immigration guy is in a bad mood the day I arrive. I think you haven’t been to Armenia, right? That’s where I plan to land and fly out – Georgia is an overnight train idea. Sigh.

  9. Pranita says

    After reading your post I don’t know what to do. I hav already booked my tickets and applied for my visa. But am yet to get my visa. And yes I applied for e-visa which is again sad.

  10. Ronne says

    My sister with Indian passport was planning to travel to Georgia in second week of May. She had applied for evisa, but it got rejected. Reason stated was that information provided was incorrect. It is funny because all that had to be entered in the evisa form were travel dates and basic details like name and passport validity. She had entered it correctly as per passport.

  11. darrell says

    great article. ive read a couple of your other articles too and found them very informative. Ill be visiting Georgia this june and was very excited until i read many articles of indians being deported. shame really but like you said, its sometimes understandable why theres a hatred towards indian tourists. (among others of course). still excited about georgia and hope i dont have any problems with my US visa attached.

  12. Debayan Biswas says

    Shivya – just a clarification, if I have a valid and used US visa, do I need to just show up at the airport, that’s it?

    • Abir says

      I had used my Canadian visa though.
      They do not asked any single question, once they saw that.

  13. Ranga says

    wonderful narration. i traveled and worked in other countries like uzbek and khazak and feel the same slow and quick attitudinal changes. the way they treat you (locals) make us feel embarrassed with good food and taxi rides etc. immigration has a different duty to do and prove to their bosses. i wish always to travel to the great lands like you do.

  14. Ismail says

    Hi shivya,

    I was issued with a us visa twice on my passport. One i used for 5 yrs and it finished. The second i used for 2 yrs and then I got it cancelled.

    I am planning to visit Georgia with my family. Our passports have Singapore, China, Tanzania, Bali and some other visas. My wife and daughter never had us visa. So what should be the approach…?

    We don’t have UK or Schengen visa.

    Your help will be appreciated.

    Thanx

    Ismail

  15. dr. sanjiv lewin says

    My wife an academician associate professor, a paediatrician with 14 years experience working with childhood disability has been not allowed into Georgia courtesy Georgian Immigration at Tbilisi at 2am ……not allowed a courtesy phone call….inspite of a New Delhi visa in her passport and all documents in suppory if her finances. Accomudation. Conference invitation and registration. The embassy in Armenia emergency person told me that it has been ocvuribg the past 7 months and continues in spite of EAM informing their foreign ministry. Should not a strong travel advisory be intinated to all travel agents? Is this discrimination? Such a beautiful country from photographs and a pity…….Lesson learnt…..never return to Georgia and encourage all to visit so many other places where respect is genuine. Of course, our own immigration need similar reflections.

  16. Liza says

    Hi! I’m traveling next week to Georgia. I have an eVisa. And I read somewhere that I need to provide an invitation letter at the airport. Is that really necessary?

  17. mrinmoy says

    hi
    if i apply through VFS is that a better option?
    i have stamps of schengen, uk , sri lanka and tanzania

  18. Abir says

    I know this everything is happening now a days with and only Indian visitors. There must be some issues for sure. But trust me guys locals over there are very warm welcoming people. My wife she is a Georgian too. But it almost more than two years I have been visited there. But any ways this year I have to got there tomorrow bring my wife back as she is travelling with our kids. I hope Georgian immigration let me enter. I really don’t want to loose my temper.🧐🧐

  19. Radha says

    What are the possibilities of getting hassle free visa for Georgia if we are doing Armenia and entering Georgia by road?

    • anit bedi says

      Listen, entering by road is comparatively safe because even if they not allow you to enter you will remain in Armenia Furthermore only Tbilisi airport immigration seems to be main problem

  20. Irene chua says

    Hi,

    I have a friend who holds indian passport n have a valid usa visa but not travelled to usa. Applied evisa to georgia and was refused twice because ” documents required for obtaining visa …are submitted unduly.”. Not sure why because we submitted the Indian passport.
    We are travelling from the border from azerbaijan, could I ask if they would the immigration allow us to enter. Can anyone share? We are travelling in 2 weeks time.

    Thank you

    Regards
    Irene

  21. Abantika R Parashar says

    Hi traveling to Georgia in September, 2018 for one week with a Fellowship provided by Georgia to attend a conferenc e.i have never been to US and have Been to Malaysia before ….. I am a government employee of govt of Assam , India and have applied for e-visa. Should there be an issue? What documents I need to submit ? Any precautionary measures? Plz suggest

  22. Avinash says

    The official line is – if you have an INDIAN passport and you have a UAE Residence VISA, you just land up in Georgia and you get a “Visa on Arrival” (VOA). Same if you have a valid US Tourist Visa or Schengen Visa or UK Visa. But reality on the ground is very very different. There have been hundreds of horror stories of Indians getting deported “AFTER” landing at Tbilisi airport with full proper papers and documents and for no reason and no fault!!!

    My problem and dilemma is different. I have all the Visas in the world, but there is still a problem and doubt. My situation is somewhat like this : I am an Indian passport holder (passport valid more than 5 years more) with the following valid visas : UK Resident Permit Card (UK Residence Visa), UAE Residence Visa (valid for another 2 years), Canadian Visa, USA Tourist (B1/B2) Visa (but it is stamped on my old passport booklet) and also Schengan Visa (but on my old passport booklet). All these Visas are valid.

    However, after reading all these horror stories online, I am in fact truly shocked how Georgia has completely closed its doors to Indian passportholders. I was planning a Dubai-Azerbaijan-Georgia-Armenia-Dubai return trip around now – mid-Feb 2019. Since I have a valid UAE RESIDENCE VISA, in theory, I am entitled to just land up at Tbilisi Airport and get a “Visa on Arrival” (VOA).

    But from what I hear, in Georgia, theory differs vastly from practice! My USA and Schengen visas are perfectly valid and I routinely use them to travel! Of course, every new passport booklet is needed because of exhaustion of pages in the previous booklet (since In travel a lot). Despite ALL my VISAS being valid, hearing the horror stories, I still shudder at the thought of chancing a flight to Tbilisi! The main reason is – because my US & Schengen Visas are both in my old Passport booklets (which are attached to my new booklet of course), but obviously the passport numbers (of old & new booklet) are different.

    Now, by some weird stretch of their imagination, if they argue that the valid US & Schengen visas are on a “cancelled booklet” and not on a “current booklet”, we reject you. (Because US & Schengen Visas have the passport number on which they were issued – recorded on them), then it is a complete disaster! So I can imagine a scenario where they consider the valid US & Schengen Visas meaningless just because they happen to be stamped on my old passport-booklet. Or, the second, scary scenario is – at Tbilisi airport, they don’t even bother talking to me and instead just direct me to a “corner” merely on the basis of seeing the lion-emblem blue Indian passport and decide and make up their mind without even having a look inside my passport or hearing me. That’s why I’m in a major dilemma as to whether to go ahead with this trip or not! (PS: I even have a valid Canadian Tourist Visa! And this one is in my current passport booklet).

    I know, ordinarily, I should be not be worried at all. However, once you glean the details, my worries might become more apparent to you.

    Any ideas? Any idea if this wrongful denial of entry to Indians is still continuing in 2019??

    Any thoughts??

    • ANIT BEDI says

      Us visa in old passport is perfectly valid.I travelled to us with visa in my old passport.I visited georgia withought any problem but i came from ukraine not directly from india.The only quesion i was asked by immigration officer was from where have you come? i said kiev! and i was stamped in 30 seconds.

  23. rahul says

    hi , I am working in Uk having Visa for Uk next 2 years, do i need evisa or not ?

  24. I am a US citizen who has been living here in Tbilisi for almost 9 years. I can tell you that the main reason behind this shameful practice of arbitrarily denying Indians entrance into Georgia is due to this government’s cowardly response to far-right pressure groups. There is a hierarchy in Georgia about foreigners: and if you have brown skin, you are sadly on the bottom rung of the ladder in many Georgian minds (not all of course, but many). Iranians are treated even worse.

    Ironically, poverty remains endemic in Georgia and the economy is overly reliant on tourism. For a country that has branded itself the “new Berlin” and has put all its eggs in the tourism basket, seems pretty stupid to alienate a country the size of India with a tourism market of 1.2 billion people. But then again, it’s Georgia, so I am not surprised. Bottom line: If you can’t be guaranteed in good faith to be allowed into the country as a tourist with valid documents, then I’d pick another country. This practice is not only unethical but it is unforgivable. Shame on this government.

    • ANIT BEDI says

      Thanks for your observation.I am an indian holding us & canada visa,me and my wife entered georgia withought any problem.This may have happened because we came from kiev and hold
      us visa.

  25. Nikhil Nagarkar says

    Hi…… I m planing to visit Georgia. I hv US visa on my Indian passport but hv not travelled to US yet. Can u pl guide me what can happen on immigration counter in Tbilisi

  26. Purvi says

    Hi, I have a valid UAE work visa (it is single entry visa). Can I still travel to Georgia with it?
    If I leave to Georgia from Dubai can I enter UAE again in the same visa?

  27. Ajish Abdul Rehman says

    If I’m planning to go from Mumbai to Georgia, and from there to Jordan, it would be a risk I believe. Deportation may mean that I’ll get stuck.

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