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GEORGIA - Exercise a high degree of cautionThere is no nationwide advisory in effect for Georgia. However, you should exercise a high degree of caution. Although the security situation is stable, tensions remain in South Ossetia, Abkhazia and bordering regions.
Regional Advisory for the regions bordering Russia, the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, as well as the areas surrounding these regionsForeign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada advises against all travel to the regions bordering Russia, to the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, as well as to the areas surrounding these regions. Consult the Security tab for more information.
The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice. In the event of a crisis situation that requires evacuation, the Government of Canada’s policy is to provide safe transportation to the closest safe location. The Government of Canada will assist you in leaving a country or a region as a last resort, when all means of commercial or personal transportation have been exhausted. This service is provided on a cost-recovery basis. Onward travel is at your personal expense. Situations vary from one location to another, and there may be constraints on government resources that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide assistance, particularly in countries or regions where the potential for violent conflict or political instability is high.
Abkhazia and South Ossetia (see Advisory)
In August 2008 serious fighting broke out in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, as well as in other parts of the country, including Poti, Gori, and northwest of Tbilisi. Russia and Georgia have since signed a ceasefire agreement, which has eased tensions in most of the country. However, tensions remain high in both breakaway regions. Exercise a high level of personal security awareness at all times.
Canadian officials may not be in a position to provide consular assistance to Canadians in these areas due to security concerns and travel restrictions.
Violence and terrorist incidents have occurred in the recent past, resulting in deaths and injuries. There have been a number of car bombings in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Targets are usually military and security facilities, but there is a risk of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Violent crime and kidnappings
Muggings, home invasions, carjackings, sexual assaults and other violent crimes against foreigners occur, particularly in urban areas.
Kidnapping involving foreign residents and travellers is a serious problem throughout Georgia, including in regions bordering Russia. Travel in groups and do not walk or take the subway alone after dark. Vary routines and lock doors to cars and residences.
Exercise vigilance in crowded places, such as markets and public transportation facilities.
Avoid showing signs of affluence.
Political demonstrations take place regularly in Georgia, especially in Tbilisi, and some have been violent in the past. These demonstrations may cause travel disruptions. Avoid all gatherings and demonstrations and stay away from areas where they occur, as they may turn violent without warning. You should also monitor local news reports and follow the advice of local authorities.
Petty crime such as pickpocketing and purse snatching occurs. Inadequate lighting in public places increases the likelihood of crime. Do not carry large amounts of cash and do not display signs of affluence. Keep valuables, passports and other travel documents in a secure place. There have been reports of credit card fraud and identity theft.
Traffic accidents are a common cause of injury and death. Drive defensively. Poor road conditions, poor driving standards, insufficient road markings, and inadequate lighting create hazards. Avoid driving after dark. Four-wheel-drive vehicles are advised.
Avoid the Georgian Military Highway north of Gudauri.
Use only officially marked taxis and negotiate fares in advance. Do not share rides with strangers.
Exercise caution when travelling long-distance by train at night and alone. Do not leave the compartment unattended. Lock the cabin door from the inside.
Consult our Transportation Safety page in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.
Regions bordering Russia
Do not enter or leave the country via the land border with Russia, specifically through Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia, North Ossetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, or Karachay-Cherkessia. The main border crossing is currently closed, and the situation at other crossing points is uncertain. The sea border is also closed.
Landmines and explosions have been reported. Unexploded ordnance may pose a risk in areas where military operations occurred. Defer travel to these areas until it is confirmed that the risk is no longer present.
Mountaineering and hiking
Do not travel alone. Use recognized groups and organizations. Accurate information on mountain conditions can be difficult to obtain. Weather in mountainous areas can be unpredictable.
General safety information
Standards of police practice may differ from those in Canada. If arrested for a crime, the conviction rate is high, regardless of whether you are guilty or not.
Dial 022 for police and 099 for ambulance services.
It is the sole prerogative of each country or region to determine who is allowed to enter. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry requirements. The following information on entry and exit requirements has been obtained from the Georgian authorities. However, these requirements are subject to change at any time. It is your responsibility to check with the Embassy of Georgia for up-to-date information.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
Canadians must present a passport to visit Georgia, which must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of expected departure from that country.
Tourist visa: Not required (for stays up to 360 days)
Business visa: Not required (for stays up to 360 days)
Student visa: Not required (for stays up to 360 days)
South Ossetia and Abkhazia
You require prior authorization from the Georgian authorities to enter the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. As there is no official border control, you could face serious difficulties, such as incarceration and fines, when re-entering Georgia if your passport has been stamped by the authorities of these regions.
Violations of entry and exit requirements may result in serious penalties.
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. Please consult our Children page for more information.
Some countries require proof of yellow fever vaccination before allowing entry. Consult the World Health Organization’s country list to obtain information on this country’s requirements.
- Measles: Global Update - January 28, 2014 19:56
Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread by contaminated food or water. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or through personal contact with unwashed hands. Get the flu shot.
Measles occurs worldwide but is a common disease in developing countries, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. Measles is a highly contagious disease. Be sure your vaccination against measles is up-to-date regardless of the travel destination.
Rabies is a disease that attacks the central nervous system spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from a rabid animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives, or with weakened immune systems. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should consider getting vaccinated.
Yellow Fever Vaccination
Yellow fever is a disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
|* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.|
|Country Entry Requirement*|
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in Western Asia, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Western Asia. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
- Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
- Risk of developing travellers’ diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
- The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Insects and Illness
In some areas in Western Asia, certain insects carry and spread diseases like chikungunya, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, malaria, Rift Valley fever, and West Nile virus.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
- There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this country.
- Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by mosquitoes. There is no vaccine against malaria.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in well-screened, air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider sleeping under an insecticide-treated bed net or pre-treating travel gear with insecticides.
- Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss your options.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in Western Asia, like avian influenza and rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.
For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.
Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care provider.
High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws & Culture
Laws & Culture
You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention page for more information.
An international driving permit is required.
Illegal or regulated activities
There is zero tolerance of drinking and driving.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
Homosexual activity is legal but is not widely accepted in Georgian society.
Photography of military installations or government buildings may result in a penalty. Seek permission from local authorities before taking photographs.
A special licence issued by the Ministry of Culture (Department of Expertise and Evaluation) is necessary to export certain artwork, antiques, jewels and items considered to be of national heritage.
Georgian-Canadians may be subject to military service. Seek advice from the nearest Georgian embassy.
Consult our publication entitled Dual Citizenship: What You Need to Know for more information.
Consult Citizenship and Immigration Canada's page on this subject for more information.
The economy is primarily cash-based. The lari (GEL) is the only legal tender and there are legal limits on currency imports and exports. U.S. dollars and euros are widely accepted and exchanged for local currency. U.S. dollar traveller’s cheques (American Express, MasterCard and Visa Dollar) can be exchanged at international hotels or local banks. Credit cards are increasingly being used in Tbilisi’s upscale tourist hotels and restaurants, and automated banking machines can be found in major cities. Exchange facilities in Tbilisi are numerous and efficient, and deal in a variety of currencies, but not the Canadian dollar. Avoid unlicensed exchange facilities.
Natural Disasters & Climate
Natural Disasters & Climate
Georgia is located in an active seismic zone. An earthquake may cause landslides in affected areas, and strong aftershocks are possible up to one week after the initial quake.
Heavy rains may trigger floods and landslides.
Tbilisi - Consulate of Canada
Ankara - Embassy of Canada
For emergency assistance after hours, call the Embassy of Canada in Ankara, Turkey and follow the instructions. You may also make a collect call to the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at 613-996-8885.