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Retention of Georgian Citizenship — When and How to Apply?

If you obtain citizenship of another country without the consent of Georgia, you can lose Georgian citizenship
October 25, 2023
Giorgi Zhuzunashvili, lawyer at JUST Advisors
Nikoloz Gogiashvili, lawyer at JUST Advisors
In the previous articles of the series, we wrote how to restore the lost citizenship of Georgia  and go through  the procedure for establishing it. This material is also based on the law "On Citizenship of Georgia", but covers the issue of its retention in case of acquiring of foreign citizenship. Many people do not know that it is necessary to obtain the consent of the Georgian state in advance.

Conditions for Retaining Georgian Citizenship

Article 21¹, paragraph 1, states: "In case of acquiring foreign citizenship, a citizen of Georgia shall retain Georgian citizenship if he/she obtains consent from the Georgian state to retention of Georgian citizenship before acquiring citizenship of the aforementioned country." Accordingly, if one obtains the citizenship of another country without the consent of the President of Georgia, it is possible to lose the citizenship of Georgia.

This scenario is not uncommon. In most cases, Georgian citizens are not even aware of the obligation to notify the Georgian state when obtaining a second citizenship. It also happens that citizens of another country do not know that they are citizens of Georgia, and the Georgian state does not know that a citizen of Georgia has foreign citizenship at the same time.

In such cases, the law makes it possible to go through the retention procedure after obtaining citizenship of another country. According to paragraph 6 of Article 32² of the Law "On Citizenship of Georgia", persons who have acquired citizenship of another country and have not lost their citizenship of Georgia before August 15, 2018, have the right to apply to the Public Services Development Agency (via Public Service Hall) to retain their citizenship until December 31, 2024.

The application will be approved if the person’s connection with the country is found to be realistic, according to paragraph 2 of the above-mentioned article 21¹ of the organic law. If the Citizenship Commission considers that the connection with the country has been lost or insufficient, the retention of citizenship will be refused.

Procedure for Retention of Citizenship

In order to undergo the procedure for retaining citizenship, it is necessary to apply to the Agency (via Public Service Hall), or consulate of Georgia abroad and provide:
  • 1
    Application form (sample).
  • 2
    Georgian passport or ID card.
  • 3
    A document confirming the acquiring of citizenship of another country. If the application is submitted on the basis of Article 32², after the acquisition of a second citizenship, such a document may be a foreign passport of foreign country. If consent is requested in advance, any certificates that can confirm the start of the procedure for granting a second citizenship.
  • 4
    Photo 3×4 format.
It is also required to pay a fee from 500 to 1000 GEL. The period of consideration of the application depends on the amount (it can be 30, 60 and 80 days — the faster, the higher the fee). During this period, the applicant is invited for an interview with the Citizenship Commission. According to Article 40 of Resolution No. 2 of the Citizenship Commission, the Commission usually assesses the credibility and sufficiency of the connection with Georgia on the basis of:
  • 1
    Biographical information about the applicant (where he was born and raised, how many years he has been living or has lived in Georgia, etc.).
  • 2
    Connection of a person’s family members with Georgia.
  • 3
    Availability of property in Georgia.
  • 4
    Doing business in Georgia.
If the applicant does not meet one or more of the conditions, this does not automatically mean that the retention of citizenship is denied. It should also be noted that as part of the assessment of connection with Georgia, the Agency does not apply for a conclusion from the State Security Service, as is the case in some other procedures.

After the interview with the applicant, the Commission prepares an opinion for the President of Georgia. There are two possible variants of its content: either there is a basis for retaining citizenship, or there is no such ground. Then, within a few days, the Commission sends an opinion to the Presidential Administration, and it makes a final decision within seven days. If the applicant’s citizenship is refused, the President issues a decree terminating the citizenship.
Earlier, we wrote that the conclusion of the Commission actually forms the result of obtaining citizenship – the final decision of the President rarely differs from it. In total, in 2022, the President of Georgia issued 7064 approvals for the retention of citizenship.

Retention of Citizenship for Minors

The procedure for the retention of citizenship for minors is established separately in the law. As part of the procedure, their representatives must submit a little more documents to the Public Service Hall or the consulate of Georgia abroad:
  • 1
    Application form.
  • 2
    Georgian passport or ID card of minor.
  • 3
    A document confirming the acquiring of citizenship of another country.
  • 4
    A 3×4 photo.
  • 5
    Consent of the other parent of a minor.
  • 6
    Consent of a minor if he/she is at least 14 years old.
Any of the parents of the minor shall be interviewed by the Commission. Then the procedure is the same: after the interview, the Commission prepares an opinion for the President, and within seven days he makes a decision on whether to retain citizenship or refuse to retain it.

If the President makes a negative decision against the minor, the decision comes into force only when the child reaches the age of 18. Until then, the minor will remain a citizen of Georgia and will retain the right to any preferences provided for by law, including the ability to obtain a passport until the age of 18.

If a child has acquired citizenship of another country by right of birth, together with Georgian citizenship, he or she must undergo the procedure for retaining citizenship before reaching the age of 18. If he/she does not pass it, the minor will be deprived of citizenship upon reaching the age of majority.
JUST Advisors lawyers will  help you  to correctly submit documents for the retention, restoration or acquisition of Georgian citizenship. We will find the best basis for you, reduce the probability of rejection as much as possible, and prepare you for the interview and exam.

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MARIA GUSEINOVA
Leading Manager of Commercial Department