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Georgian Citizenship and Military Service: Legal Obligations of Georgian Citizens Holding Dual Citizenship

Who is obliged to serve in the Georgian army, how to get a deferment, and what to do if you have dual citizenship? Discover the rules of military service.
March 25, 2024
According to the Constitution of Georgia (Article 70, Paragraph 2), every citizen of the country is obliged to participate in ensuring the security and defense of the homeland.

Let’s delve into the details of this process and find out what obligations lie on citizens, especially those who, in addition to Georgian citizenship, hold dual citizenship.

Military Registration

In accordance with Government Resolution of Georgia No. 543 of December 29, 2023, concerning the rules of military registration, conscription, and mobilization commissions, every Georgian citizen aged 17 to 27 is subject to military registration.

  • Regarding Georgian citizens who have reached conscription age and reside in Georgia, registration for military service is conducted in conscription commissions based on either the place of registration or the actual place of residence from January 1 to April 30 each year. Failure to appear before the conscription commission upon its request incurs a fine of 1000 lari.
  • Georgian citizens who have resided abroad for more than 1 month after reaching conscription age are obliged to register for military service at the Embassy/Consulate of Georgia abroad within 2 weeks from the expiration of the specified one-month period. Violation of this requirement incurs a fine of 1000 lari.

Exemption from Military Registration

According to Article 55, Paragraph 2, the following individuals are exempt from military registration:
  • Women without military registration specialties, except in cases provided for in Part 3 of this article (Part 3 refers to female cadets and those who voluntarily register for military service). Mandatory conscription of women in Georgia is NOT provided for.
  • Individuals performing non-military, alternative civilian service (non-military, alternative service is regulated by a separate law "On non-military, alternative service." This service is for individuals who, due to their religious beliefs, refuse to serve. Examples of alternative service include nursing, labor related to disaster relief, agricultural production, etc.)
  • Individuals who have reached the maximum age set for the reserve of the Defense Forces (27 years)
  • Individuals serving a sentence of imprisonment.

Responsibilities of Employers and Educational Institutions

Educational institutions and employers are required to provide information about conscripted students to the Ministry of Defense. Every year from September 1, the Ministry of Defense requests information about conscripts from educational institutions, including private ones. Employers and educational institutions cannot hire or enroll individuals who have reached the age of 17 without a document confirming military registration or removal from military registration.

Military Service

Individuals registered for military service are subject to conscription for mandatory military service upon reaching the age of 18.

Grounds for Exemption from Military Service

Exemption from mandatory military service applies to:
  • Temporarily (for up to one year) deemed unfit for national military service due to health reasons;
  • Limitedly fit for national military service (for up to 3 years);
  • Undergoing criminal prosecution, until the appropriate authority makes a decision;
  • Students of higher educational institutions in Georgia or foreign higher educational institutions recognized in accordance with the legislation of the foreign state, until the completion of their studies, at each stage of higher education;
  • Residents at the next level after obtaining a diploma in higher medical education, or (and) individuals studying at the next level of education after obtaining an alternative residency diploma, who, within the period established for the residency program, undergo professional training in one of the medical specialties, until the completion of the residency program;
  • Professional students registered in the professional education management information system, until the completion of the corresponding professional educational program/short-cycle educational program, only once if they did not exercise the right to deferment of conscription for national military service in accordance with subparagraph "g" or "d" of this part;
  • Applicants, in the year of completion of secondary education, until enrollment in an educational institution for a professional educational program/short-cycle educational program;
  • Students of secondary educational institutions, until the age of 20;
  • Registered for Unified National Examinations in the year of completion of secondary education, until the announcement of the results of the Unified National Examinations, and in case of obtaining the right to enroll in a higher educational institution based on the results of the Unified National Examinations, in the same year before enrollment in the higher educational institution specified in subparagraph "g" of this part.
  • Applicants, in the year of completion of secondary education, until enrollment in an educational institution for a professional educational program/short-cycle educational program;
  • Students of secondary educational institutions, until the age of 20;
  • Registered for Unified National Examinations in the year of completion of secondary education, until the announcement of the results of the Unified National Examinations, and in case of obtaining the right to enroll in a higher educational institution based on the results of the Unified National Examinations, in the same year before enrollment in the higher educational institution specified in subparagraph "g" of this part;
  • Registered for general master’s examinations in the year of completion of the bachelor’s degree program within academic higher education, until the announcement of the results of the general master’s examinations, in case of successful passing of the general master’s examinations — until the announcement of the results of the exam/exams determined by the higher educational institution, and in case of successful passing of the exam/exams determined by the higher educational institution — in the year of completion of the bachelor’s degree program within academic higher education until enrollment in the master’s degree program within academic higher education at the higher educational institution specified in subparagraph "g" of this part;
  • Individuals applying to continue their education in a doctoral program within academic higher education to the conscription commission with a request for deferment from military service, in the year of completion of the master’s degree program within academic higher education before submitting the corresponding application to the higher educational institution specified in subparagraph "g" of this part, and after submitting the said application — in the same year until the decision is made by the higher educational institution specified by subparagraph "g" of this part, decisions on enrollment in a doctoral program within academic higher education;
  • Individuals registered in accordance with the legislation of Georgia in the year of completion of a higher medical educational institution with the aim of participating in a competition for admission to residency — in the year of registration until the completion of the announced competition, and in case of occupying a competitive place in the residency based on the results of the competition — in the same year before enrollment in a higher educational institution in the case specified in subparagraph "d" of this part;
  • Individuals whose family members have a status of limited capabilities as defined by the legislation of Georgia (spouses, children, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, grandparents), and who do not have other supporting individuals. If a family member with a status of a person with limited capabilities resides with a conscripted individual for national military service, the older individual is subject to conscription for national military service, except in cases of voluntary written consent for the younger individual to undergo national military service;
  • Individuals having two or more children;
  • Individuals with dependent minor sisters or brothers.
  • Individuals who are the only children of their mother or father;
  • Individuals working as doctors or teachers in rural educational institutions;
  • Individuals who have been granted the right to deferment from conscription for national military service by the Prime Minister of Georgia;
  • Individuals with one child, for a period of 3 years after the birth of the child;
  • Individuals holding a doctoral degree or an equivalent academic degree, engaged in pedagogical or research activities;
  • Single fathers whose spouses have died or been deprived of parental rights;
  • Members of the electoral body of state or local government authorities in Georgia;
  • Individuals working in the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia, state subordinate institutions under the Ministry of Justice of Georgia, such as the Special Penitentiary Service, the Security Service of Georgia, the Intelligence Service of Georgia, or the Special State Protection Service, and exercising the powers that conscripts called to the institutions specified in this subparagraph exercised before the entry into force of the first part of Article 72 of this Code;
  • Individuals subject to suspended sentence until the expiration of the specified sentence;
  • Individuals enrolled in a voluntary military training program for reserve junior officers during the period of participation in the specified program;
  • Individuals who have paid the fee for deferment from conscription for national military service, as established by this Code.

Withdrawal from Military Registration

An individual is subject to withdrawal from military registration if:
  • They have reached the maximum age for being in the mobilization reserve (27 years), except in cases established by the legislation of Georgia;
  • They are serving a sentence of imprisonment;
  • They are deprived of Georgian citizenship;
  • They have been declared missing or declared dead;
  • They have been called up for alternative civilian service;
  • In case of death.

Renunciation of Georgian Citizenship and Military Obligations

According to the Georgian Citizenship Law, a Georgian citizen may be denied renunciation of Georgian citizenship if they have unfulfilled military obligations.

Specifics of Enlistment and Military Service for Individuals Holding Georgian Citizenship and Dual Citizenship

Georgian citizens by birth or before reaching conscription age (17 years) may acquire dual citizenship, just as foreign citizens may acquire Georgian citizenship based on grounds established by law, before reaching the maximum conscription age (27 years).
Individuals holding Georgian citizenship and a second citizenship are required to register for military service as indicated above but have the right to choose the country for military service.
  1. For Georgian citizens by birth, the opportunity to serve in the military in a foreign country must be coordinated with the Ministry of Defense of Georgia — according to Article 21 of the Georgian Citizenship Law. Georgian citizens serving in the military in a second citizenship country without the consent of the Ministry of Defense of Georgia may be deprived of Georgian citizenship.
  2. For Georgian citizens who obtained Georgian citizenship through exceptional means or retained Georgian citizenship while acquiring citizenship of another country (including by birth), obtaining such consent is not required, and the choice of country for military service remains entirely up to them.

Is Military Service Required in Georgia if Georgian Citizenship Was Acquired During Draft Age?

Regarding the question of the obligation to undergo mandatory military service when obtaining Georgian citizenship, Article 64 of the "Defense Code" provides several grounds under which a Georgian citizen is exempted from the duty to serve. In particular, paragraph 1, subparagraph "b" of this article states that citizens who have served in the military or alternative service in lieu of military service in the Armed Forces of a foreign state are exempt from service in Georgia. To confirm this fact, it is necessary to provide a document certifying military or alternative service to the National Agency for Conscription and Recruitment.
In conclusion, it should be noted that according to the legislation, military service in Georgia can be undertaken not only by citizens of the country but also by stateless individuals, but only with the consent of the Prime Minister.

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MARIA GUSEINOVA
Leading Manager of Commercial Department