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How to Obtain Georgian Citizenship on an Exceptional Basis

In some cases, applicants are exempt from the test of knowledge of the Georgian language, history and basics of law
November 8, 2023
Nikoloz Gogiashvili, lawyer at JUST Advisors
Foreigners can apply for citizenship on an exceptional basis for significant investments in the state economy, special merits in sports, science or art, as well as due to ancestral kinship with Georgia. In each of the mentioned cases, the procedure is slightly different, but all categories are required to be interviewed by the Citizenship Commission.
In previous articles, we wrote that the issues of obtaining citizenship, including on an exceptional basis, are regulated by the organic law "On Georgian Citizenship". On November 1, 2023, the parliament amended some of its articles — some of changes have already come into force, some of them will come into force on May 1, 2024. We wrote about the changes in detail in our communities on Telegram and Instagram — subscribe to them to always be aware of the current legislation.

Grounds for Exceptional basis

Under article 17 of the law "On Georgian Citizenship", the President may grant citizenship on an exceptional basis if the foreigner has rendered special services to the country or if the granting of citizenship is basing on state interests.

List of ground for Exceptional basis:

  1. a foreign citizen considers Georgia to be his/her homeland, and he/she or his/her ancestor is a person residing in an occupied territory of Georgia or is internally displaced from the territory or a person emigrated in different times for political opinions or for hard social and economic conditions.
  2. a foreign citizen is making such an investment in Georgia or he/she has made such an investment in Georgia that contributes or has contributed substantially to the development of the state economy.
  3. a foreign citizen is successful in sport, science and/or art, and he/she is willing to carry on his/her activity on behalf of Georgia.

To apply for citizenship, you must satisfy any of the three grounds. In case of successful completion of the test on knowledge of the Georgian language, history and basics of law, as well as after an interview with the Citizenship Commission, the applicant can obtain Georgian citizenship while retaining the citizenship of another country.
From May 1, 2024, the language, history and basicsof law test will need to be taken before submitting the application. In case of failing the test, the application will not be accepted. The test results will remain valid for a year. At the same time, foreigners "B" and "C" will still be exempt from testing.

List of documents required for submiting an application

The procedure for obtaining citizenship on an exceptional basis is one of the most complicated among all procedures related to Georgian citizenship cases. At the first stage, a foreigner must fill out an application form and submit the following documents to the Public Service Development Agency (House of Justice):
  • 1
    Passport
  • 2
    A completed application form
  • 3
    A notarized birth certificate, if the applicant was not born on the territory of Georgia
  • 4
    Two recommendations from relatives or friends
  • 5
    A document or information confirming the existence of grounds for obtaining citizenship
  • 6
    Photo 3×4
In addition, it is advisable to provide other documents and evidence confirming the applicant’s connection with Georgia. For example, these can be extracts from the Public Register, which will confirm that the applicant has real estate in the country, a diploma from a Georgian university, a school certificate, and so on.
In order to obtain citizenship on grounds "B" and "C" (for investments in the economy and special achievements in sports, science or art), recommendations from the Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Culture of Georgia, respectively, are mandatory. It is these departments that assess a person’s merits to the country. If the documents are not provided, the Commission is inclined to refuse to grant citizenship.

Procedure for consideration of the application

When considering the application, the state authorities are guided by the "Resolution No. 2 of the Citizenship Comission". According to the normative act, in order to obtain complete information about the applicant within the framework of the procedure, the Agency sends requests to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Prosecutor’s Office and the State security service. If any of these structures provides a conclusion on the inexpediency of granting citizenship, the Agency will see this as a danger to the interests or security of Georgia and will prepare a negative conclusion for the President’s Administration.

President makes the final decision on citizenship matters, guided by, among other things, the provisions of Article 16 of the Law "On Georgia Citizenship" (which sets out the general grounds for refusing to grant citizenship to all categories of applicants).

As for the test and interview, the Citizenship Commission sets a date and time for them within a month of accepting the application. Both testing and interviews are conducted in the same space but in different rooms. To pass the test, you need to correctly answer 7 questions out of 10 in each of the categories: language, history, basics of law (examples of questions can be found here). After the test, an interview is held — this is the most difficult part of the procedure. During it, the Commission asks questions regarding:

  1. Family.
  2. Places of residence.
  3. Occupation.
  4. Availability of property.
  5. Frequency of visits to Georgia, etc.

The purpose of the interview is to evaluate the applicant’s connection with Georgia.

After passing all the stages, the Agency prepares a conclusion for the President of Georgia within a few working days (together with the minutes of the Commission drawn up during the interview). The conclusion can be positive or negative.

What role does the President play?

According to article 25, paragraph 1, of the Law "On Georgian Citizenship", it is the President who makes the final decision on the granting and retention of Georgian citizenship, as well as the refusal to grant or terminate citizenship. Upon receipt of the Agency’s conclusion, it issues a decision within a week. In 99% of cases, the President’s decision corresponds to the Agency’s conclusion, but there are exceptions.
If the President fails to issue a decision within a week of familiarization with the conclusion, this is deemed as a refusal to grant Georgian citizenship. This is the case in most cases when the Commission gives a negative answer

Tems for granting citizenship

There are different terms for the consideration of the application by the Agency, depending on the amount of the state fee.

  1. Standard processing lasts 80 days, the cost is 500 GEL.
  2. The accelerated procedure takes 60 days, the cost is 700 GEL.
  3. Prompt consideration in 30 days will cost 1000 GEL.

The speed of consideration does not affect the result. Testing and interviews are conducted before the end of the consideration period. Then, within a five-day period after the interview, the Commission and the Agency prepare a conclusion, and another 7 days — the waiting period for the President’s decision. In case of failure, the application can be resubmitted after six months from the date of issuance of the President’s decision on refusal to grant citizenship.

Procedure for minors

An application for citizenship on behalf of a minor may be submitted exclusively by his/her legal representative. The written consent of the other parent is mandatory. If the child has reached the age of 14, the child’s consent is also required. These conditions are spelled out in paragraph 2 of Article 11 of Resolution No. 2.

With regard to minors, the Agency does not request information from investigative bodies and special services. In addition, persons under the age of 18 do not take an examination on knowledge of the language, history and basics of law. An interview, however, is mandatory — the legal representative of the minor must meet with the Commission.

In previous articles, we wrote about the procedures for establishing, retaining and restoring citizenship. If it was not possible to obtain or maintain citizenship, former citizens can apply for a residence permit on a separate basis.
Need help with naturalization? Order support from JUST Advisors. We will help you understand the nuances of the laws and submit documents correctly. A full list of services for individuals can be found here.

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MARIA GUSEINOVA
Leading Manager of Commercial Department