Customs regulations for your trip to Georgia

Last modified: July 26, 2023
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Customs regulations

Illegal drug use of any kind carries stiff administrative and criminal penalties, including heavy fines and long prison terms. The penalty for smuggling even a very small amount of drugs carries a prison term of between 5 to 25 years and/or heavy fines.

You should carry a copy of your passport at all times and keep the original in a safe place.

Don’t photograph sensitive sites like military bases and power installations. Be aware of cultural sensitivities when photographing churches and other religious sites. Some visitors have been prevented from photographing the Presidential Palace in Tbilisi. Always seek permission if in doubt.

Tbilisi is a cosmopolitan city, but more conservative attitudes exist in rural areas. When travelling outside of the cities be aware of cultural sensitivities around modest dress, particularly when visiting places of worship, and open displays of affection.

LGBT

Homosexuality is legal in Georgia, and the Georgian Parliament has adopted anti-discrimination legislation, but it is still not widely accepted in society. Discreet annual LGBT events have been protected by police but this was not extended to Tbilisi’s first anticipated Pride event in 2019, which was subjected to threats by those opposed to LGBTI+ rights. Open displays of affection may result in some discrimination and harassment. There have been some reports of sexuality motivated harassment and assaults.

See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.

Accessibility

Accessibility standards in Georgia are different to those in the UK and EU. Very few public or private facilities are accessible. Most public transport offers no accommodation for persons with disabilities. There are few pavements outside of main cities and where pavements are present they are generally uneven.

Surrogacy

If you’re visiting Georgia for the purpose of commissioning surrogacy arrangements, you should consider the potential risks and challenges involved in pursuing international surrogacy and seek specialist legal advice on Georgian and UK laws prior to making any arrangements. Surrogacy is a complex and lengthy process. The British Embassy doesn’t have authority to be involved in surrogacy arrangements. The FCDO and Home Office have produced guidance to help inform you on the issues you may face when embarking on a surrogacy arrangement. Commissioning a surrogacy won’t automatically mean that the child holds British citizenship.

Make sure you’re fully aware of the facts and are well prepared before starting the process. Research prospective surrogacy clinics and hospitals thoroughly to ensure you’re dealing with a safe and reputable organisation. From 1 September 2020 Georgian law requires you to provide evidence of marriage, civil partnership or cohabitation of at least a year, before a surrogacy contact can be entered into. Additionally, it is currently not possible for couples where one or both partner is a non-Georgian national, to enter into a legal agreement for IVF treatment. The British Embassy can’t recommend specific hospitals or clinics.

If you wish to bring children born via surrogacy from Georgia to the UK you must apply for a full validity British passport, for which a Georgian birth certificate will be needed. You should check the Public Service Hall website and research the requirements which must be met to have a Georgian birth certificate issued and to leave the country with your child. For example, the Georgian authorities recently changed their process for obtaining a birth certificate, strictly enforcing the requirements for a surrogacy contract to be signed before birth. The maximum period of visa-free stay allowed by the Georgian authorities is one year. Extensions of stay are unlikely to be granted.

For further detailed information about visa issues in Georgia, see the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia website.

South Ossetia and Abkhazia

The government of Georgia does not recognise the unilateral declarations of independence by the breakaway regions of South Ossetia or Abkhazia and, in accordance with international law, continues to claim the right to exercise sovereignty in the two territories. The UK government, along with almost all other states, recognises Georgia’s right to do so.

The government of Georgia has implemented legislation which requires those trading with Abkhazia and South Ossetia to hold a licence issued by the Georgian government. This includes buying and selling property and most financial transactions. Those who trade without licences may be open to penalties under Georgian civil and criminal law.

The ownership of many properties is disputed across both regions with many thousands of claims to ownership of properties from people displaced following the conflicts after the collapse of the USSR. Purchase of these properties could have serious financial and legal implications, including legal proceedings in the courts of Georgia, as well as attempts to enforce judgements from these courts elsewhere in Europe. A future settlement to these territorial disputes could have consequences for property purchased in the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, including possible restitution of the property to its original owners.
At a minimum, imports require a declaration, an invoice, and transport documentation.  The Customs Code of Georgia does not require financial guarantees from importers to Georgia prior to the customs clearance, except for the temporary entry of goods.

Used Household Goods and Personal Effects

Documents Required

  • Copy of passport
  • Original bill of lading (OBL) / air waybill (AWB)
  • Packing list
  • Detailed inventory
  • Pro-forma invoice
  • Transportation cost confirmation
  • Power of attorney, notarized (non-diplomats)
  • Import letter (from accredited organizations) (diplomats)
  • Copy of diplomatic card (diplomats)

Specific Information

  • All in-bound non-diplomatic shipments are subject to the payment of Customs fees depending on the value of the goods and Customs value added tax (VAT) of 18% of the costs, insurance, and freight value.
  • The detailed inventory should include a detailed description for each item, the total number of pieces, the Customs value for each item, the total value, which should align with the value declared on the pro-forma invoice.
  • The owner of the goods’ organization identified on the air waybill must be registered in Georgia.

An incomplete or missing detailed inventory list will result in an intensive inspection and evaluation of every item in a shipment; this process will result in delays in Customs clearance, resulting in fees and VAT.

Dutiable Items

All animals being imported into the country will require a veterinarian health certificate

  • All personal medicines being imported into the country should be accompanied with a doctor’s statement to avoid being detained by the customs authorities.
  • Cats, Dogs and other pets will require a veterinarian health certificate before being allowed entry.
  • Pieces of art being imported or exported out of the country will need a photo of the object in question and a document signed by the Ministry of Culture granting permission for the objects to leave the country.
  • Hunting rifles may be imported into the country providing the traveller has gained a valid Georgian hunting licence.

Rates of duty on imported goods fall into three bands: 0 percent, 5 percent, and 12 percent.  Nearly 90 percent of goods benefit from a zero rate of duty.  Import of agricultural goods, food products, clothes, construction materials, wood and wood products, plastics, wire and cable, iron, steel, soap, organic surface‐active agents, and washing preparations which are produced in Georgia in whole or in part, are major areas of goods taxed at higher rates.  A combined rate of customs tariffs is applied to alcoholic beverages.  A fee of €5 ($5.6) is charged per customs declaration for goods valued below 3000 GEL ($1,079) and €60 ($67) for goods valued above GEL 3000.  As of January 1, 2015, the customs tariff on passenger cars will remain 0.05 GEL ($0.018) per cubic centimeter of the engine capacity plus 5 percent of the amount of the customs tariff per each year of the use of a vehicle.

An 18 percent VAT applies to most imported goods.  Fixed excise tax rates apply to certain goods such as alcoholic drinks, ethyl alcohol, ethyl petrol for cars, and cigarettes.  The customs value of goods for customs clearance is defined based on the customs declaration.  Export, transit, and re-export of goods are exempt from customs duties and fees.  Chapter 39(1) of the Georgian Tax Code defines the amount of the customs tariffs and exemptions.

Once every 30-day period, individuals are allowed to import the following goods free of customs duties, VAT, and excise duties within the following limits:

Import of vegetables, fruit (including dried), tea, coffee, macaroni, baked goods, sugar, confections (with the exception of chocolate), sausage, milk and other dairy products that have a maximum total weight of 30 kg, and a total value of less than 500 GEL ($180).

Import of 200 cigarettes, or 50 cigarillos, or 50 cigars, or 250 grams of tobacco product or any combination of these for personal use is permitted but must not exceed 250 grams in total weight.

Prohibited Items

  • Illegal drugs
  • Weapons, Explosives and ammunition-unless obtained permission to do so
  • Knives and other deadly weapons
  • Pornographic materials
  • Objects of national importance –unless permission has been granted to do so
  • Plants and animals

Free import of:

  • 400 cigarettes; and
  • 4 liters of any alcohol; and
  • personal, non-commercial, goods up to a weight of 100 kilograms.

Miscellaneous (Pets, Motors, and others.)

Motor Vehicles

Documents Required

  • Original bill of lading / air waybill
  • Copy of passport
  • Pro-forma invoice
  • Transportation cost confirmation
  • Original technical passport
  • Certificate of origin
  • Certificate of title
  • Full details of the vehicle
  • Temporary import, if applicable
  • Power of attorney, notarized (non-diplomats)
  • Import letter (from accredited organizations) (diplomats)
  • Copy of diplomatic card (diplomats)

Specific Information

  • Full details of the vehicle (make, model, year of manufacture, engine volume, color, chassis, and engine number, etc.)
  • Motor vehicles may be imported on a temporary basis for a period of 12 months; an extension may be granted for an additional 12 months.
  • The permanent import of motor vehicles is subject to taxes and duties per Customs tariff.

Pets

Documents Required

  • Pet passport
  • Certificate of vaccination
  • Veterinary health certificate
  • Letter of employment / letter from organization
  • Power of attorney, notarized (non-diplomats)
  • Import letter (from accredited organizations) (diplomats)

Specific Information

Animals must be accompanied by the veterinary health certificate for entry.

Pets:

Cats and dogs must be accompanied by a pet passport and veterinarian health certificate. If shipped as cargo, invoice must be presented.

Baggage Clearance regulations:

Baggage is cleared at the first airport of entry in Georgia.

Currency

Currency Import regulations:

Local currency (Georgian Lari-GEL) and foreign currencies: no restrictions.

Currency Export regulations:

Local currency (Georgian Lari-GEL) no restrictions. Foreign currencies: up to USD 500.

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