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Georgia Country Security Report

Travel Advisory

The current U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory at the date of this report’s publication assesses that travelers should not travel to Georgia due to COVID-19. Do not travel to the Russian-occupied Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia due to risk of crime, civil unrest, and landmines. Review OSAC’s report, Understanding the Consular Travel Advisory System.

The Institute for Economics & Peace Global Peace Index 2021 ranks Georgia 89 out of 163 worldwide, rating the country as being at a medium state of peace.

Crime Environment

​The U.S. Department of State has assessed Tbilisi as being a MEDIUM-threat location for crime directed at or affecting official U.S. government interests.

The U.S. Department of State has included a Crime “C” Indicator on the Travel Advisory for Georgia, indicating that there may be widespread violent crime and/or organized crime present in the country, and/or that local law enforcement may have limited ability to respond to serious crimes.

The crime emergency line in Georgia is 112. Review the State Department’s Crime Victims Assistance brochure.

Crime: General Threat

Crime in Georgia’s capital city, Tbilisi – where over 30% of the country’s population resides – is comparable to that in a moderate sized U.S. city. Georgian police maintain a visible presence throughout the city and other major urban areas. COVID has to a degree restricted movement in Georgia for large swaths of time, and limited movement and the ability of criminals to perpetrate unlawful activities. This was evident in the 2020 crime statistics provided by the Internal Affairs Ministry, which showed a 12% overall decrease of crime nationwide.

U.S. travelers and other Westerners have been victims of crime in Georgia. Due to COVID-19-related travel restrictions, there is limited reporting, though past reports have included reports of aggravated assault, sexual assault, credit card fraud, and robbery.

Refuse invitations from strangers to come into bars or nightclubs. These ploys lure individuals into bars, where hustlers extort travelers for large amounts of cash, threatening physical harm if the travelers refuse to pay for exorbitantly priced drinks. There are reports of criminals using dating apps to lure unsuspecting individuals to locations that coordinate with the “date” to take advantage of the victim by extorting money. These scams are common, and the Embassy advises caution.

While tourism has significantly decreased due to COVID-19, there continue to be reports of street children begging from, hassling, and behaving aggressively toward foreigners. The Embassy is aware of incidents where groups of street children approach and distract unsuspecting U.S. travelers. Organized crime remains an issue; high-profile arrests of Georgian nationals involved with transnational criminal groups continue to occur throughout Europe. Street gangs and drug dealers are common in Tbilisi and other urban areas of Georgia. These groups do not specifically target foreigners.

Reports of armed robberies decreased in 2020 compared to 2019 by over 28%, based on Internal Affairs Ministry statistics. Georgian authorities have seized illegal weapons caches to include handguns, rifles, and hand grenades. Georgia is a post-conflict nation with weapons remaining in the country relating to the fall of the Soviet Union, as well as two internal conflicts (involving the Russian-occupied Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia). There is no indication of a correlation between the seized caches and crime.

Financial crimes in the form of credit card fraud against individuals and larger targeted attacks against banks and other financial institutions are not uncommon. Georgian law enforcement agencies continue to put substantial resources into combatting financial crimes and continue to make arrests in this area.

Crime: Areas of Concern

​The U.S. Embassy does not have any off-limits areas for its personnel, but advises members of the U.S. government community to exercise caution in tourist areas particularly in downtown Tbilisi, as these locations are where tourists report frequent crimes of opportunity.

Review OSAC’s reports, All That You Should Leave Behind, Hotels: The Inns and Outs, Considerations for Hotel Security, and Taking Credit.  

Kidnapping Threat

The U.S. Department of State has not included a Kidnapping “K” Indicator on the Travel Advisory for Georgia. Review OSAC’s reports, Kidnapping: The Basics and Active Shooter and Kidnapping Response Tips.

​The threat to U.S. nationals of kidnapping exists, particularly in the Russian-occupied Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. There was one report in 2018 of a parental abduction in Georgia involving a U.S. minor in the past, which authorities investigated.

Drug Crime

​Georgia is a transit point and an end-use destination for various illicit drugs. In 2018, Georgia’s Constitutional Court abolished the mandatory prison sentence and administrative fines for marijuana use and possession (up to 70 grams). Harsh penalties remain in effect for marijuana distribution and for all other illegal narcotics use, possession, and distribution. In 2020, crime statistics reported a 46% decrease in drug-related criminal activity compared to 2019, which can be largely attributed to COVID-19 and the limited movement of goods across international borders.

Georgia continues efforts to increase border security with the support of the U.S. government, European Union, and international donors. Georgian police have a special emphasis on counternarcotic work, with a special division to combat international narcotics trafficking.

Consult with the CIA World Factbook’s section on Illicit Drugs for country-specific information.

Terrorism Environment

​The U.S. Department of State has assessed Tbilisi as being a MEDIUM-threat location for terrorism directed at or affecting official U.S. government interests.

The U.S. Department of State has not included a Terrorism “T” Indicator on the Travel Advisory for Georgia. Review the latest State Department Country Report on Terrorism for Georgia.

The Institute for Economics & Peace Global Terrorism Index 2020 ranks Georgia 100 out of 163 worldwide, rating the country as having a very low impact from terrorism.

Terrorism: General Threat

​In 2020, Georgian authorities reported only two acts of terrorism compared to 11 the previous year.

Georgia’s proximity to Iran, Turkey, Azerbaijan, and the Russian North Caucasus region (all of which have experienced some measure of recent terrorist-related activity) continues to be of concern. While Georgia has made strides with respect to border control and integrity, its geographic location makes it a natural transit area for individuals from these regions. Foreign fighters from Georgia, or who transited Georgia, have joined ISIS and other terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq.

Terrorist recruiting has occurred in Pankisi in the past, and some known terrorists have confirmed ties to the Pankisi Gorge region. Georgia substantially updated and expanded its counterterrorism legislation in 2015. In 2018, authorities detained, prosecuted, and sentenced several Georgian nationals affiliated with Chechen ISIS member Akhmet Chataev, following his death in a 2017 counterterrorism operation. Operations in Tbilisi and Pankisi led to the detention and conviction of eight individuals on terrorism charges.

Political Violence and Civil Unrest Environment

​The U.S. Department of State has assessed Georgia as being a HIGH-threat location for political violence directed at or affecting official U.S. government interests.

Elections/Political Stability

​There is no known threat of political violence directed specifically against U.S. nationals.

In 2008, an exchange of gunfire/artillery between Georgian and separatist forces in South Ossetia escalated into a full-blown war between Georgia and Russia. Since 2008, Russia has stationed forces in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. This includes the Akhalgori region of South Ossetia, which was not previously part of the conflict zone, and the Kodori Gorge area of Abkhazia, which Georgia controlled before the war.

During the 2016 Parliamentary Elections, there was an assassination attempt against a prominent political leader. In addition, a car bomb exploded in front of the United National Movement (UNM) political party’s office on Kolmeurne Square, near Rustaveli Avenue and Freedom Square. The suspected target of the attack was a senior UNM official. Political violence in the form of shootings and/or physical assaults occurred between members of various political factions in the leadup to the 2018 and 2020 parliamentary elections. The disputes were often in regions where local elections are more factional and contentious. Verbal and physical confrontations occurred outside polling stations during recent elections as well; the Embassy often urges the U.S. community to exercise caution while in the vicinity of these locations during these political activities. 

Protest & Demonstration Activity

​Large political rallies and demonstrations leading up to or following elections often occur in downtown Tbilisi and other major city centers throughout Georgia. Most gatherings are organized by groups that are not affiliated with a party (e.g., Shame Movement) or opposition parties.

In 2019, large demonstrations occurred in downtown Tbilisi, some of which resulted in violence and property damage. The most notable was a June 19-20 protest following the appearance of a Russian Duma member sitting in the chair reserved for the Head of Georgia’s Parliament. Subsequently, a large demonstration occurred outside of Parliament along Rustaveli Avenue. Clashes between police and demonstrators resulted in approximately 240 injuries, including two protesters who experienced eye injuries and loss of sight due to the police’s use of less than lethal riot control measures, including rubber bullets. This violent protest started an ongoing series of demonstration activities by opposition parties and unaffiliated groups opposing Georgian Dream, the ruling party.

Following the first-round of 2020 parliamentary elections, a protest occurred outside the Central Election Commission offices in the northern suburbs of Tbilisi on November 8, which resulted in clashes between the police and participants. Police used a water cannon to disperse the gathering and detained 19 individuals. The event blocked a portion of the main highway that leads to the U.S. Embassy.

In addition to politically motivated demonstrations, high-profile arrests by the government or other actions may draw supporters outside the Parliament building or the two main squares in downtown Tbilisi (Freedom and First Republic) along Rustaveli Avenue. Groups typically organize these gatherings in advance via social media (e.g., Facebook), but at times are uncoordinated. Demonstrations occur on short notice based on current events. Protest activity continues to ebb and flow with events in Georgia, and can increase in the summer months when universities are not in session. Thousands of opposition supporters filled the street outside the parliament building to protest October 2021 municipal election results; candidates of the ruling Georgian Dream party won 19 of the 20 municipal elections, including mayoral offices in the country’s five largest cities.

Demonstrations in Tbilisi have the potential to draw large crowds in a short amount of time, which significantly affects traffic and pedestrian movement. Large rallies can cause substantial logistical difficulties for businesses in the area, including hotels along Rustaveli Avenue near Parliament. To date, there has not been any protest-related acts of major violence reported against U.S. nationals in Tbilisi.

The Department of State cautions U.S. citizens against travel to the Pankisi Gorge region (north of the villages of Matani and Khorbalo, to the border with Russia, including the city of Duisi). There are restrictions on U.S. Embassy personnel traveling to the Pankisi Gorge region because of the current security environment and the potential for civil unrest.

U.S. Embassy Tbilisi continues to warn its personnel and all U.S. nationals to avoid areas of demonstrations and to exercise caution near large public gatherings when possible, as even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence.

Review OSAC’s report, Surviving a Protest.

Law Enforcement Concerns: Security Agencies

​Although there has been much progress in the government's efforts to reform the police organizations and improve overall professionalism, work to effectively deter criminal activity, and conduct effective post-incident investigations remains.

The most visible police presence is that of the Patrol Police, who patrol in marked vehicles throughout the country; they increase their visibility by patrolling with their emergency lights on. The Protection Police (also known as Security Police) are a visible presence throughout the larger cities of Georgia near government buildings and crowded tourist areas.

The Criminal Police conduct investigations, but may also provide first responder support akin to the Patrol Police in less populated regions of Georgia. In addition, areas along the Tbilisi-administered territory along the ABLs are patrolled by the Internal Affairs Ministry’s Special Task Division (STD). STD is also the agency primarily responsible for crowd control during demonstrations.

Police Response

​Emergency services will respond to the best of their ability, but terrain, road, and weather conditions, as well as limited resources, could severely affect response times. In general, police are attentive and responsive to requests/calls for assistance from foreigners and U.S. nationals. However, their effectiveness is contingent on resources, or lack thereof, and the level of training among officers varies. Police response in Tbilisi can range from several minutes to more than one hour. Police response outside of Tbilisi can be considerably longer.

Law Enforcement Concerns: Emergency Contact/Information

​All emergency services can be reached by dialing 112 to connect with an Emergency Management Services (EMS) call center from any phone in Georgia. EMS will direct the emergency to the police, fire, and/or ambulance services depending on the emergency. Of note, calling 911 will redirect the caller to the 112 call center. A fluent English operator is available 24/7. 

Transportation Security

Road Safety

​Georgia has the highest per-capita accident rate of any country in Europe; correspondingly, the leading cause of death in Georgia is traffic accidents. Two U.S. Embassy employees have died in motor vehicle accidents since early 2018. Local drivers pay little attention to speed limits or lane discipline, and regularly encroach into oncoming traffic. Intoxicated drivers are a problem, especially in the evenings and on holidays. Anyone operating a motor vehicle should maintain an acute level of situational awareness, drive defensively, and wear a seatbelt. Georgian law requires use of seat belts in the front seats.

Due to poor lighting and dangerous driving conditions, avoid traveling at night outside cities except in emergencies. There is also a heightened vulnerability to crime during vehicle malfunctions or stops at night.

Free-ranging livestock on the roads may pose a danger to drivers.

There is little access to emergency medical services outside of Tbilisi, Kutaisi, and Batumi. The effectiveness of emergency response to traffic accidents depends on resources, or lack thereof, and the level of training among medical personnel varies.

​The Department of State strongly warns U.S. citizens against travel to the Russian-occupied regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. These regions are not under the control of the Georgian government. Tensions remain high between the de facto authorities in Abkhazia and South Ossetia and the Georgian government. Russian troops and border guards continue to occupy both regions. Entering the occupied regions without proper documentation can lead to arrest, imprisonment, and/or fines by Russian, Georgian, or de facto officials. The U.S. Embassy restricts its personnel from traveling to Abkhazia or South Ossetia, even in the case of emergencies involving U.S. citizens.

U.S. Embassy personnel are not permitted to travel within five kilometers of the ABLs dividing Abkhazia and South Ossetia from Tbilisi-administered territory unless on approved official business and with the use of a fully armored vehicle. Personal travel on major highways within the five-kilometer border zone is not restricted.

For detailed, country-specific road and vehicle safety information, read the World Health Organization’s Global Status Report on Road Safety.

Review OSAC’s reports, Road Safety Abroad, Driving Overseas: Best Practices, and Evasive Driving Techniques; and read the State Department’s webpage on driving and road safety abroad.  

Public Transportation Safety

​Exercise caution while using the underground Metro, marshrutka mini-buses, and any other form of public transportation.

In 2019, the Georgian government implemented new regulations for the taxicab industry, which include, but are not limited to, vehicle inspections, mandatory registration of taxis, standardized color (white) for all cabs, and a requirement that all taxis maintain and use a visible sign on the roof to indicate occupied/vacant. In the past, most taxi drivers were private individuals who used their personal vehicles as unofficial cabs as a source of income. Despite the increased oversight, the Embassy continues to advise its staff to use official taxicab companies whenever possible, especially companies offering an online booking platform, and to negotiate a fare before using a local taxi. Established taxi companies employ dispatchers, often with English language abilities, and their vehicles use fare meters and have permanent painted exteriors listing the company name and number. Many major hotels in Tbilisi and Batumi offer their own private cab services or can refer guests to a trusted service provider. Passengers should instruct taxi drivers to slow down if they do not feel comfortable with the operating speed. Only patronize taxicabs with functional seatbelts.

Review OSAC’s Report, Security in Transit: Airplanes, Public Transport, and Overnights; and consider the European Union Air Safety List.

Aviation Concerns

​Due to COVID-19, fluctuation to flight schedules is common; some airlines have not returned to their typical routes. Flights that have resumed are often on smaller airframes, which may result in crowded conditions. The Embassy is unaware of any aviation security concerns. The airport is well staffed by the Patrol Police, who also provide passport control services upon entry.

As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Georgia, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the Government of Georgia’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards.

Maritime Security

​Mariners planning travel to Georgia should check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website, and the NGA broadcast warnings website.

Personal Identity & Human Rights Concerns

​Significant human rights issues include serious problems with the independence of the judiciary along with detentions, investigations and prosecutions widely considered to be politically motivated; unlawful interference with privacy; limited respect for freedom of peaceful assembly and association; and crimes involving violence or threats targeting LGBTI+ persons.

Safety Concerns for Women Travelers

​Women travelers have been sexually harassed and assaulted in Georgia. These incidents often take place afterhours in bars, clubs, or restaurants and alcohol and/or drugs is at times a factor. The Embassy recommends using a buddy system and exercising caution when travelers are alone and with a group of unknown people. In addition, women should use reputable taxi services and sit in the back seat and always carry a cellular phone to facilitate contacting police or a trusted individual in case of emergency.

Rape is illegal, but criminal law does not specifically address spousal rape. A convicted first-time offender may be imprisoned for up to eight years. The government does not enforce the law effectively.

NGOs and the government have expanded the services provided to survivors of domestic violence in recent years. Considering the increase of domestic violence cases by one-third worldwide during the pandemic, the official statistics on domestic violence and violence against women in Georgia did not change significantly, which indicated a possible underreporting of domestic violence incidents by victims. Domestic violence laws mandate the provision of temporary protective measures, including shelter and restraining orders that prohibit an abuser from coming within 100 meters of the survivor and from using common property, such as a residence or vehicle, for six months.

Local NGOs and the government jointly operate a 24-hour hotline and shelters for abused women and their minor children, although space in the shelters is limited, and only four of the country’s 10 regions host facilities.

In 2019, UN Women conducted a population-level survey and a study on gender-based violence, according to which women’s biggest risk in Abkhazia was violence from intimate partners, with 15% of respondents having experienced physical abuse, 30% emotional abuse, and 8% sexual violence in their lifetime, while 5% experienced physical abuse, 14% emotional abuse and 7% sexual violence in the last 12 months. This risk was more pronounced in rural areas, where 22% experienced physical violence, 32% emotional violence, and 15% sexual violence in their lifetime. Violence by non-partners was also a problem, with 15% of the women surveyed reporting at least one form of physical or sexual violence in their lifetime by a non-partner.

Consider composite scores given to Georgia by the UN Development Program (UNDP) in its Gender Development Index, measuring the difference between average achievement in three basic dimensions of human development, and Gender Inequality Index, measuring inequality in achievement in reproductive health, empowerment, and the labor market. For more information on gender statistics in Georgia, see the World Bank's Gender Data Portal.

Review the State Department’s webpage for female travelers.

Safety Concerns for LGBTI+ Travelers

​There continue to be periodic reports of violence and intimidation against foreigners and especially against members of the LGBTI+ community in bars, nightclubs, and similar venues. Events or issues involving the LGBTI+ community in Georgia remain a potential source of conflict. Pride events in Tbilisi have prompted protest activity, which has annually devolved into violence.

The Georgian Orthodox Church organizes a “Family Purity Day” on May 17 each year that falls on International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOTB). Supporters of some conservative nationalist groups, such as Georgian Idea and Georgian March, have participated in Family Purity Day activities to counter any planned IDAHOTB messages or events.

Of note, anti-LGBTI+ groups often allege that the United States and other Western nations are responsible for LGBTI+-related events, as opposed to a local LGBTI+ community.

Review OSAC’s report, Supporting LGBT+ Employee Security Abroad, and the State Department’s webpage on security for LGBTI travelers.

Safety Concerns for Travelers with Disabilities

​The Georgian administrative code mandates access to buildings for persons with disabilities. However, in practice, very few public or private facilities are accessible. Public transportation offers no accommodation for persons with disabilities. There are few sidewalks outside of Tbilisi or Batumi.

Review the State Department’s webpage on security for travelers with disabilities.

Safety Concerns for Travelers Based on Race, Religion, & Ethnicity

​Most Georgians are Georgian Orthodox, but there is a sizable minority Muslim population of Kist, Azeri, and other ethnic groups. The Embassy has received some reports of racial profiling and unequal treatment of non-Georgian individuals, but none has resulted in the victim requesting formal police action.

The Public Defender’s Office and NGOs have reported instances of discrimination against minority communities based on nationality or ethnic origin. Media outlets reported numerous cases of hate speech targeting minority groups during the year. In addition to political, civic, economic, and cultural obstacles, weak Georgian language skills remained the main impediment to integration for members of the country’s ethnic minorities.

Review the latest U.S Department of State Report on International Religious Freedom for country-specific information.

Review OSAC’s report, Freedom to Practice, and the State Department’s webpage on security for faith-based travelers.  

Anti-U.S./Anti-Western Sentiment

​The country faces two separate and distinct streams of anti-U.S. sentiment: U.S.-Russian relations, and anti-U.S. rhetoric. There have been no direct cases of violence solely attributed to anti-U.S./anti-Western sentiment.

A sizeable minority of the population prefers political alignment with Russia. Georgia also continues to deal with the geopolitical effects of the 2008 war with the Russian Federation.

The Alliance of Patriots political party staged two anti-U.S. government peaceful demonstrations outside the U.S. Embassy in late 2019 and early 2020 that did not impact the U.S. private-sector community.

Georgia’s population is 10% Muslim, concentrated in several areas adjacent to predominantly Muslim countries or territories (i.e., Turkey, Azerbaijan, Russia’s Chechen Republic). While there have been no direct threats against U.S. interests by Georgian-based Islamist groups, some members of these groups have traveled to Syria and Iraq to fight on behalf of ISIS.

Concerns involving the Rule of Law, Arbitrary Detention, Official Harassment, Corruption &/or Transparency

​The constitution provides for an independent and impartial judiciary in civil matters, but there are concerns regarding the process of assigning civil judges to narrow specializations, based on their loyalty to certain influential judges or others, and transparency of rulings. The constitution and law stipulate that a person who suffers damages resulting from arbitrary detention or other unlawful or arbitrary acts, including human rights violations, is entitled to submit a civil action. Individuals have the right to appeal court decisions involving alleged violation of the European Convention on Human Rights by the state to the ECHR after they have exhausted domestic avenues of appeal.

There have been reports of lack of due process and respect for rule of law in several property-rights cases. NGOs also reported several cases in which groups claimed the government improperly used tax liens to pressure organizations.

The law provides criminal penalties for officials convicted of corruption. While the government implements the law effectively against low-level corruption, NGOs continue to cite weak checks and balances and a lack of independence of law enforcement agencies among the factors contributing to allegations of high-level corruption. NGOs assess there are no effective mechanisms for preventing corruption in state-owned enterprises and independent regulatory bodies.

There are frequent reports of detentions of Georgians along the ABLs of both the Russian-occupied regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

The Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index ranks Georgia 45 out of 180 worldwide, where 1 means most transparent.

Communication Issues

​Independent media is very active and expresses a wide variety of views. NGOs continue to express concern regarding the close relationship between the heads of the Georgian Public Broadcaster and Georgian National Communications Commission and the ruling party, the public broadcaster’s editorial bias in favor of the ruling party, decreased media pluralism, and several criminal prosecutions against owners of media outlets that appeared politically motivated.

​​The constitution and law provide for freedom of expression, including for the press, and citizens generally are free to exercise this right, although there have been allegations the government at times did not adequately safeguard that freedom. 

The Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index ranks Georgia 60 out of 180 worldwide, where 1 means most freedom. The Freedom House Freedom on the Net report rates Georgia’s internet freedom as Free, and its Freedom in the World report rates Georgia’s freedom of speech as Partly Free.

Review OSAC’s report, Lèse Majesté: Watching what you say (and type) abroad.

​Health Concerns

Emergency Health Services      

​For all general emergencies, call 112. Consider downloading the 112 Georgia app, which has an emergency text and location identification feature. Western-standard medical care is limited, but healthcare continues to improve. There is a shortage of medical supplies and capabilities outside Tbilisi and Batumi. Elderly travelers and those with pre-existing health problems may be at risk due to inadequate medical facilities.

Anti-venom is available for some species of snakes in a small number of facilities. Treat all snakes as potentially venomous.

High levels of lead appear in some spices made in Georgia. Consider purchasing spices only from recognized U.S. or international manufacturers.

Medical services in Abkhazia and South Ossetia are extremely limited. Hospitals have little to no infectious disease control capabilities and may lack medicine. There are no commercial airports in either region, making air ambulance evacuations (medevac) for medical emergencies impossible.

Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment before rendering medical services and access to a credit card machine is limited. Hospitals do not accept foreign medical insurance.

Find contact information for available medical services and available air ambulance services on the U.S. Embassy website. The U.S. Department of State strongly recommends purchasing international health insurance before traveling internationally. Review the State Department’s webpage on health insurance overseas.

The U.S. Department of State has included a Health “H” Indicator on the Travel Advisory for Georgia, indicating that Health risks, including current disease outbreaks or a crisis that temporarily disrupts a country’s medical infrastructure, are present. Review the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) country-specific Travel Health Notices for current health issues that impact traveler health, like disease outbreaks, special events or gatherings, and natural disasters.

See OSAC’s Guide to U.S. Government-Assisted Evacuations; review OSAC’s reports, The Healthy Way, Shaken: The Don’ts of Alcohol Abroad, Health 101: How to Prepare for Travel, and Fire Safety Abroad; and visit the State Department’s webpage on Your Health Abroad for more information.

Vaccinations

​Strongly consider COVID-19 vaccination prior to all travel.

The Embassy strongly recommends travelers who visit for at least two weeks get the Hepatitis A vaccine and the pre-exposure rabies vaccine series. There have been measles outbreaks in Georgia, and tuberculosis is a serious health concern as it is common in the community. Bring medicine to treat diarrhea, which regularly afflicts newcomers. Take care to cook food thoroughly to reduce the risk of food-borne illness.

Georgia has a high rate of Hepatitis C. Exercise caution if you plan to get a tattoo, piercing, dental work, or other procedure with potential for blood exposure. Ensure the provider uses proper sterilization procedures.

Review the CDC Travelers’ Health site for country-specific vaccine recommendations.

Issues Traveling with Medications

​Many medicines legal in the U.S. are controlled/illegal in Georgia. There has been a notable recent increase in enforcement (and related detentions) of U.S. nationals related to the possession and importation of controlled substances. Travel with a doctor’s statement and no more than a personal supply of any prescription medication.

Review OSAC’s report, Traveling with Medication.  

Water Quality

​The quality of water based on Soviet-era pipes is a larger issue in the regions, and the Embassy recommends the use of water filtration systems in Tbilisi.

Review OSAC’s report, I’m Drinking What in My Water?

​Environmental Hazards

​Georgia is in a seismic zone. Numerous earthquakes registering less than 5.0 on the Richter scale occur throughout Georgia, some of which impact Tbilisi. Seismologists stress that Georgia’s fault lines are extremely active and could result in a more significant earthquake causing significant structural damage if it occurred in a populated area. Review OSAC’s report, Central Asia Earthquake Preparedness.

Weather in the mountains of Georgia can change quickly, even in the summer months, with low overnight temperatures and unexpected snowstorms. There have been reports of lost hikers in the mountains in snowy/stormy weather, and there have been fatal accidents. Flash floods in spring or summer can be hazardous or deadly, and often wash out sections of road in remote areas. These weather changes increase the potential of landslides in parts of Georgia and are a concern when at risk areas abut roadways.

Eight known venomous snake species are endemic to Georgia; you are more likely to encounter them between March and October. For more information, review OSAC’s Report, When Wildlife Attacks.

Cybersecurity Concerns

​According to official official crime statistics there was a nearly 100% increase in cybercrime in Georgia in 2019. Georgia remains a location for cryptocurrency mining, and criminal actors continue to exploit the current environment in country to perpetrate cybercrime.

In October 2019, the Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) Main Center for Special Technologies (GTsST, also known as Unit 74455 and Sandworm) carried out a widespread disruptive cyber-attack against Georgia. The incident, which directly affected the Georgian population, disrupted operations of several thousand Georgian government and privately-run websites and interrupted the broadcast of at least two major television stations.

Avoid using publicly available internet terminals and wifi, as they may be compromised.

Review OSAC’s reports, Cybersecurity Basics, Best Practices for Maximizing Security on Public Wi-Fi, Traveling Abroad with Mobile Devices, and Guide for Overseas Satellite Phone Usage.

Counterintelligence Issues

Russian military personnel occupy large portions of Georgian territory. ​Do not bring or use any electronic devices holding proprietary or personal information that would cause loss or harm in case of infiltration.

Other Security Concerns

Landmines

​The 2008 Russian invasion of Georgian territory left Georgia with a dangerous legacy of cluster bombs, landmines and other explosives. According to demining NGO Halo Trust, there are still six minefields to clear in Georgia. Chief among them is Red Bridge, where 13 people have been killed and four injured

Import/Export Restrictions

​Georgia has no quantitative restrictions (quotas) on trade, except on ozone-depleting substances. Only medical products, firearms, explosives, radioactive substances, dual use goods, industrial waste, and a few types of agricultural chemical products are subject to import/export licensing.

Per Georgian law, it is illegal to undertake any type of economic activity in Abkhazia or South Ossetia if such activities require permits, licenses, or registration. Georgian laws also ban mineral exploration, money transfers, and international transit via Abkhazia or South Ossetia.

A country-specific listing of items goods prohibited from being exported to the country or that are otherwise restricted is available from the U.S. International Trade Agency website.

Photography

​There are no unusual restrictions on photography in Georgia.

Review OSAC’s report, Picture This: Dos and Don’ts for Photography.

ID Requirements

​There are no unusual identification requirements in Georgia.

Critical Infrastructure Concerns

​Georgian law requires new construction to meet seismic standards, but enforcement is uneven. Many buildings, new and old, have inadequate anti-seismic construction. Gas leaks and explosions have occurred in old and new buildings alike, causing injuries and death, especially during the winter.

OSAC Country Chapters

​The Country Chapter in Tbilisi is active, meeting quarterly.

Contact OSAC’s Europe team for more information or to join.

Embassy Contact Information

U.S. Embassy: 29 Georgian American Friendship Avenue, Didi Dighomi, Tbilisi 0131. Tel: +995 (32) 227-70-00. Hours: 0900 – 1800, Monday – Friday

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