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From May 12, 2021, significant changes will be made to the Law of Georgia on the Legal Status of Aliens and Stateless Persons.

From May 12, 2021, significant changes will be made to the Law of Georgia on the Legal Status of Aliens and Stateless Persons.

The definition of "family member" is changed, in particular, only a minor child was considered a family member, and a parent, for the purposes of the law, is considered a family member only if he / she is the parent of a minor alien or a stateless person with Georgian status.

Taking into account the above-mentioned changes, the circle of persons authorized to obtain a permanent residence permit is changing, in particular, only minor children of a citizen of Georgia enjoy the right to request and obtain a permanent residence permit, and parents if the child is a minor. However, with the exception of the general rule, there are two cases where adult children will be entitled to use only the right to obtain an immigrant visa category D5 and a short-term residence permit.

The validity of the residence permit varies considerably. A range of 6 months to 1 year has been set for the first issuance of a residence permit. However, in some cases specific deadlines have been set:

• A residence permit of a former citizen of Georgia, issued to a foreigner whose citizenship of Georgia has been revoked, is issued for the first time for a period of 6 years;

• The residence permit of a stateless person, issued to a person who has been granted the status of a stateless person in Georgia, is issued for the first time for a period of 3 years;

• Special residence permit issued to a foreigner about whom there is a reasonable suspicion that he / she may be a victim of a crime of trafficking in human beings or a victim in the cases provided for by the Law of Georgia on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, or a temporary residence permit in Georgia. A written initiative on extradition shall be submitted by a member of the Government of Georgia, issued for the first time for a period of up to 5 years;

• Investment residence permit can be issued to a foreigner for a period of 5 years.

In exceptional cases, a temporary residence permit can be issued for the first time for a period of 5 years. The period of validity of temporary residence permits may be extended to not more than 12 years, for the period of the alien's probable stay in Georgia, except for the investment residence permit.

The period required to obtain a permanent residence permit is increasing, in particular, a permanent residence permit is issued to a foreigner who has lived in Georgia on the basis of a temporary residence permit for the last 10 years, instead of 6 years.

Based on the implemented changes, the deadline for consideration and decision by the Agency on the postponement of the alien's obligation to leave Georgia is increased to 5 calendar days instead of 3 calendar days.

If the proceedings are taking place in the General Court of Georgia with the participation of a foreigner and his / her presence in Georgia is essential for the protection of his / her interests, he / she is obliged to submit an application to the Agency to postpone the obligation to leave Georgia. The obligation to leave the mentioned foreigner may be postponed for the period of administrative proceedings on the issuance of a residence permit in Georgia or the granting of Georgian citizenship. At the same time, the obligation of an alien to leave Georgia will not be postponed if the authorized body decides to expel him from Georgia.

If he / she is in Georgia at the moment of submitting the application for a foreign residence permit on the basis of postponement of the obligation to leave Georgia, he / she will not be issued a residence permit in Georgia. It was also clarified that an asylum seeker is not considered a person legally residing in Georgia for the purposes of issuing a residence permit in Georgia.

With the implemented changes, the State Services Development Agency has been given the exclusive authority to verify the information mentioned in the documents by going to the indicated place, inspecting it and interviewing the relevant persons in order to verify the grounds for issuing a residence permit in Georgia.

It was also established that a residence permit in Georgia is not issued to a foreigner who has a country visa and / or a category C ordinary visa determined by a decree of the Government of Georgia. This restriction does not apply to the application for an investment residence permit, special residence permit or temporary residence permit issued to an alien who has been granted victim status under the Law of Georgia on Prevention of Violence against Women and / or Domestic Violence, Protection and Assistance to Victims of Violence.

After the entry into force of the implemented changes, the commission of a criminal offense by an alien may become the basis for the termination of his / her legal stay in Georgia.

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