Establishing Georgian Citizenship: How the Procedure Works

The primary confirmation of connection is the fact of residency in Georgia during a specific period
October 10, 2023
Nikoloz Gogiashvili, lawyer at JUST Advisors.
Individuals born in Georgia who have not obtained citizenship of another country can undergo the procedure to establish citizenship by applying to the House of Justice. Paradoxically, the same procedure must be followed by those who want to obtain a certificate of absence of Georgian citizenship. We explain how the law is structured.
According to the data of the National Statistics Office of Georgia (Sakstat), the population of Georgia at the beginning of 2023 was almost 3.74 million people. At the same time, the number of those born in the country but living elsewhere is likely several hundred thousand more. Some of these individuals may return to the country and confirm their citizenship, guided by the provisions of the Georgian law on citizenship.

The law explicitly outlines citizenship conditions for people who resided in the Abkhaz Autonomous Republic and the territory of the Tskhinvali region (formerly the South Ossetian Autonomous Region) and separately for residents of other municipalities.

Citizenship Conditions for Residents of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region

According to the provisions of Article 30¹ of the aforementioned law, individuals may be recognized as Georgian citizens if they did not acquire citizenship of another country and also meet one of the following requirements:

  • Were born in Georgia before December 21, 1991 (i.e., before the start of the civil war) and lived in the territory of the Abkhaz Autonomous Republic or Tskhinvali region until the same date.

  • Are children of those born in Georgia before December 21, 1991, and lived in the sought-after territories until that date.

Conditions for Residents of Other Municipalities

According to the general rules stipulated in Article 30², individuals who have not acquired citizenship of another country may also be considered Georgian citizens if:

  • They were born before March 31, 1975, lived in Georgia for at least 5 years, and as of March 31, 1993, were in the country.

  • Were born after March 31, 1975, and resided in Georgia until March 31, 1993.

  • Were born in Georgia but left the country after December 21, 1991, and thereby do not meet the criteria of the two previous points.

Citizenship Establishment Procedure

An individual desiring to establish Georgian citizenship applies to the Agency for Development of State Services (House of Justice) or the Georgian consulate in another country with the respective application. Additionally, one needs to provide a 3×4 format photograph of the applicant, a birth certificate, and any documents that confirm residency or presence in the territory of Georgia during the specified period.

The key document confirming residency in the country is a certificate from the Municipal Commission on Establishing the Fact of Residency, available at each local executive authority (gamgeoba). Before submitting an application to the House of Justice, the applicant can apply to the Commission in person. Also, the Agency may independently contact the municipality to establish the fact of residency and/or presence of an individual on its territory on a specific day. If the applicant personally applies, the Commission issues a certificate within 7 working days. If the Agency requests the certificate, the duration may extend.

The overall processing period for an application to establish citizenship at the House of Justice varies depending on the region:

  • For residents of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali, it’s 30 days for the free procedure, 20 days if the fee of 40 lari is paid, and from 10 to 15 days for expedited processing, with fees of 100 and 60 lari, respectively.

  • For residents of other municipalities, the free processing time is halved to 15 days, while a fee of 40 to 60 lari can expedite the process to 3−5 days, and a fee of 100 lari results in a response on the same day.
After reviewing the citizenship application, the Agency issues one of two conclusions: either legal ties with Georgia are established, and the applicant is a Georgian citizen, or legal ties are not established. The President’s decree is not issued based on this conclusion. The Agency’s conclusion is final.

How to Confirm the Absence of Citizenship

In some cases, such as obtaining citizenship in another country, a document proving that the applicant is not a citizen of Georgia is required. Many, out of habit, apply for it at the House of Justice and, unknowingly, receive a certificate stating that they do not possess a valid Georgian citizenship document. This certificate is not suitable.

To obtain the correct document clearly stating the presence or absence of Georgian citizenship, one must undergo the citizenship establishment procedure by applying to the House of Justice and obtaining a conclusion. If Georgian citizenship is established, an application for renunciation will be required.
Note: if citizenship is lost, it can be restored - we covered this in detail in our previous article. Additionally, the law establishes procedures for obtaining Georgian citizenship in a simplified and exceptional manner. If you need professional consultation and an assessment of your grounds, please write to us.

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