Road Conditions and Safety: Road conditions in Georgia differ significantly from those in the United States. Roads are frequently in poor condition with stretches of road missing pavement and having large potholes. Driving at night can be especially dangerous due to varying road and traffic conditions, poor lighting, and the presence of open range livestock.
- Avoid traveling at night. U.S. Embassy official travel at night outside of city areas is prohibited, except for emergencies, unless travelers are within 30 minutes of urban areas.
- Exercise caution when driving in Georgia at all times. Reckless driving is common, and drivers frequently ignore traffic laws.
- Be careful when crossing streets, as pedestrians are not given right-of-way.
- Winter travel can also be hazardous, especially in mountainous areas.
Traffic Laws: Vehicles drive on the right. Speed limits range from 80 to 110 km/hr. (50 to 69 m/hr.) on highways and 30 to 70 km/hr. (19 to 44 m/hr.) on urban thoroughfares. Motorists are not permitted to make right turns at red traffic lights.
- Wear seat belts when driving. Children under four must travel in child-safety seats. Children under twelve may not ride in the front seat.
- There is zero tolerance for driving under the influence of alcohol. Anything above a blood alcohol content of 0.0% is illegal.
- Vehicle safety inspections are being phased in since January 2018, but there are still many vehicles on the road in poor condition or lacking basic features such as working headlights or taillights.
- The Georgian Patrol Police maintain traffic safety in Georgia, but enforcement of traffic regulations is inconsistent.
Public Transportation: Public transportation, while inexpensive, may be unreliable and uncomfortable. Minibuses (?marshrutkas?) are often overcrowded, poorly maintained, lack seat belts, and are frequently involved in accidents.
Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Georgia, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the Government of Georgia?s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA?s safety assessment page.
Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Georgia should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website, and the NGA broadcast warnings website under ?Broadcast Warnings?.
Outside major cities, medical facilities in Georgia are limited. The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of English-speaking doctors. Elderly travelers and those with existing health problems may be at risk due to inadequate medical facilities. Ensure food is cooked thoroughly to reduce the risk of food-borne illness.
- Prescription medications may be restricted from import based on their drug composition and quantity. Only personal medications with a doctor?s statement can be imported without the permission of the government of Georgia. Review Georgia?s medication importation regulations here. Travelers without the required permits are often detained at the border and face heavy fines.
- Georgia has eight venomous snake species that are active between March and October. Few medical facilities have antivenin serum. Treat all snakes as potentially venomous.
- There is a significant risk of rabies from dogs throughout the country. Carefully clean bites and scratches from dogs and other animals and seek medical evaluation.
- High levels of lead have been found in some spices made in Georgia. Consider purchasing spices only from recognized U.S. or international manufacturers.
- Georgia has a high rate of Hepatitis C. Exercise caution if you plan to get a tattoo, piercing, dental work, or other procedure with potential for blood exposure. Ensure the provider uses proper sterilization procedures.
We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.
If traveling with prescription medication, check with the government of Georgia to ensure the medication is legal in Georgia. Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor?s prescription.
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Further health information:
Local laws and Special Circumstances
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be fined, arrested, deported, or imprisoned. Review the State Department?s page on Arrests or Detention of U.S Citizens Abroad.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi immediately. See our webpage for further information.
- Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Georgia are severe. Convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.
- Georgia?s customs authorities enforce regulations concerning the import or export of alcohol, tobacco, jewelry, religious materials, art or artifacts, antiquities, and business equipment.
- To export items of historical value, such as artwork, antiques, jewelry, or paintings, you must obtain a license from the Ministry of Culture. Contact the Embassy of Georgia or see our customs regulations webpage for information regarding customs requirements.
- Firearms cannot be imported into Georgia. You may bring hunting weapons for a two-week period contingent on possession of a valid Georgian hunting license.
- The Government of Georgia considers the sale of property (land and houses) in the occupied regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia illegal. Its original owners could reclaim the property in the future.
- Monitor your credit card statements. U.S. citizens in Georgia have reported incidents of credit card fraud and identity theft.
Dual nationals: Under Georgian law, U.S.-Georgian dual-national males between the ages of 18 and 27 may be subject to military conscription. For more information, please review the Ministry of Defense webpage.
Faith-Based Travelers: See the following webpages for details:
- Faith-Based Travel Information
- International Religious Freedom Report ? see country reports
- Human Rights Report ? see country reports
- Hajj Fact Sheet for Travelers
- Best Practices for Volunteering Abroad
LGBTI Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in Georgia. However, traditional cultural attitudes result in LGBTI individuals often facing discrimination and harassment. In the past, some members of religious and LGBTI minorities in Georgia have been targets of attacks, and violent anti-LGBTI protest activity has occurred in Tbilisi.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Accessibility and accommodations in Georgia are different from those in the United States. Georgian administrative code mandates access to buildings for persons with disabilities; however, in practice very few public or private facilities are accessible. Public transportation offers no accommodation for persons with disabilities. There are few sidewalks outside of Tbilisi or Batumi.
Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Safety and Security
Credible information indicates terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Europe. European governments are taking action to guard against terrorist attacks; however, all European countries remain potentially vulnerable to attacks from transnational terrorist organizations.
You should also be alert to other potential dangers when traveling or living in Georgia:
- If you intend to camp, climb, or hike in the mountains or any remote area in Georgia:
- Research local conditions in advance.
- Go with a companion or a group. Avoid traveling alone.
- Provide route and contact information to someone not traveling with you.
- Maintain communication with your family and friends.
- If in trouble, call the emergency number 112. Most dispatchers speak Georgian and Russian but will transfer calls to English-speaking operators.
- Avoid demonstrations. U.S. citizens should monitor local media coverage, review their personal security practices, and be aware of their surroundings at all times. Even peaceful demonstrations can escalate into violent situations with little or no notice.
- Security alerts about demonstrations can be found here on the Embassy?s website.
- In the case of a crisis or natural disaster, U.S. citizens in Tbilisi may tune in to FM radio stations to hear U.S. Embassy emergency messages, check the Embassy?s website, or receive them by email by signing up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Adjacent Areas
- The Department of State strongly cautions U.S. citizens against travel to the Russian-occupied regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. U.S. Embassy personnel are restricted from travel to Abkhazia or South Ossetia, even in the case of emergencies involving U.S. citizens. U.S. Embassy personnel avoid traveling near the administrative boundary lines (ABL) dividing Abkhazia and South Ossetia from Tbilisi-administered territory.
- The United States and most other countries consider these regions part of Georgia. However, de facto local authorities claim independence, and Russian troops and border guards occupy both regions. A number of attacks, criminal incidents, and kidnappings have occurred in and around the area. While none of the activity has been anti-American in nature, there is a high risk of travelers finding themselves in a wrong place/wrong time situation. In addition, unexploded ordnance leftover from previous conflicts poses a danger near the ABL of South Ossetia.
- Do not enter the occupied regions without the proper documentation. You may be arrested, detained, imprisoned, and/or fined by Russian, Georgian, or de facto authorities. If you cannot avoid traveling to the occupied territories, Georgian law specifies that non-Georgian citizens must enter the two regions from the Georgian side.
- Per Georgian law, it is illegal to undertake any type of economic activity in Abkhazia or South Ossetia if such activities require permits, licenses, or registration in accordance with Georgian legislation. Laws also ban mineral exploration, money transfers, and international transit via Abkhazia or South Ossetia.
- Medical services in the occupied territories are extremely limited. Hospitals do not accept credit cards or medical insurance, have little to no infectious disease control, and lack medicine.
- There are no commercial airports in either region making air ambulance evacuations impossible during medical emergencies.
? The Department of State cautions U.S. citizens against travel to the Pankisi Gorge region (north of the villages of Matani and Khorbalo, to the border with Russia, including the city of Duisi) because of the current security environment and the potential for civil unrest. There are also restrictions on U.S. Embassy personnel traveling to this region. While the Georgian government has had success in combating terrorism within its borders, U.S. citizens should remain vigilant. ISIS recruiting has occurred in Pankisi in the past, and some known terrorists have confirmed ties to the Pankisi Gorge region.
Crime: Take the same precautions against becoming a victim of crime as you would in any large city. Firearms are readily available in Georgia, assailants may be armed, and disputes with firearms could occur in areas visited by U.S. citizens. Alcohol consumption is prevalent and can escalate or exacerbate otherwise minor disputes. U.S. and other foreign citizens have reported occurrences of sexual assault in Georgia. The U.S. Embassy encourages U.S. citizens to take appropriate steps to enhance personal security, remain aware of their surroundings, and be aware of the risk of assault while traveling.
- Avoid traveling at night. Use personal vehicles or established, clearly marked taxis, and public transportation with functioning seat belts.
- Exercise caution when traveling alone in private taxis or ?marshrutka? mini buses.
- Maintain a low profile, do not carry large amounts of cash, and do not draw unnecessary attention to yourself.
- Report suspicious vehicles, individuals, or activities to Georgian authorities, and inform the U.S. Embassy as soon as possible.
- Use caution at ATMs, and always check for evidence of tampering.
- Avoid using publicly-available internet terminals as they may be compromised.
- Beware of theft of personal items from hotel rooms.
- Report counterfeit money crimes to the Ministry of Finance?s Revenue Service.
- U.S. business entities are encouraged to read the most recent Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) Annual Crime and Safety Report for Georgia.
Victims of Crime: U.S citizens victims of sexual assault should first contact the U.S. Embassy. Report crimes to the local police by dialing 112 and to obtain a police report. Contact the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi at + (995) (32) 227-7724 as soon as possible.
The Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MOIA) operates a 24-hour emergency response center similar to 911 (Dial 112) and transfers emergency calls to the fire and rescue service, police, or the nearest medical emergency center. Most dispatchers speak Georgian and Russian but will transfer calls to English-speaking operators.
Remember that the local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes.
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance. Local resources for victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse, or human trafficking, including a hotline (116 006), temporary shelters, medical and rehabilitation services, interpretation and legal assistance, are available through a government agency known as Atipfund Georgia.
See also the Department of State?s webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
- help you find appropriate medical care
- assist you in reporting a crime to the police
- contact relatives or friends with your written consent
- explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
- provide a list of local attorneys
- provide information on victim?s compensation programs in the U.S.
- provide a handout with information about local resources for victims of crime
- provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
- help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
- replace a stolen or lost passport
Tourism: The adventure tourism industry is not regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities do not commonly occur. Individual tourists are considered to be participating in activities at their own risk. Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be trained or certified either by the host government or by any recognized authorities in the field. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is typically available only in/near major cities. First responders may be unable to access areas outside of major cities and to provide urgent medical treatment. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
Entry exit Requirementsh
You need a valid passport to enter Georgia. U.S. citizens may enter and stay in Georgia without a visa for up to 365 days. Visit the Embassy of Georgia’s website for the most current visa information.
- U.S. citizens who overstay the permitted 365-day period are subject to a fine.
- For a Georgian residency permit, contact the Public Service Hall of the Ministry of Justice of Georgia.
- If transiting Georgia, law enforcement and border officials may inquire about the purpose of your travel, funds, insurance, reservations, return tickets, and invitations before granting you entry.
- Persons with dual citizenship should be aware that Georgian law requires travelers to enter and depart using travel documents of the same nationality.
- Georgian law requires that Georgian citizens, including dual nationals, enter and depart Georgia on Georgian passports. If you are naturalized in the United States, the government of Georgia may still consider you a Georgian citizen.
- Foreign documents intended for official use in Georgia must be authenticated with an apostille. This includes documents used to apply for a Georgian residency permit or to document the birth of a child born in Georgia.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Georgia.
See the Department of State?s Fact Sheet on Georgia for information on U.S. ? Georgia relations.