Refugees and Asylum
Granting of asylum is based on the UN 1951 Convention relating to the Status of refugees. according to this Convention, the term refugee applies to the person who “owing to well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.” aiming at minimizing the cases of misusing the system of asylum the EU countries try to consider the applications in more limited timeframes in order to cut down on time for making decision.
International Protection in Georgia
A refugee status is granted to a person who is neither a Georgian citizen nor a stateless person permanently residing in Georgia, is on the territory of Georgia and has well-grounded fears that he/she might be persecuted on the grounds of race, religion, national identity, membership of a social group or political opinion and owing to such fears is not able or willing to return to his/her country of origin or avail him/herself of the protection of his/her country.
If a person, who is legally staying in Georgia, seeks a status of a refugee, he/she must apply to the ministry of internally displaced Persons from the occupied territories, accommodation and refugees of Georgia in writing in person.
Humanitarian status is granted to a person who is neither a Georgian citizen nor a stateless person permanently residing in Georgia and who:
- Was forced to leave his/her country of origin due to violence, external aggression, occupation, internal conflicts, mass violation of human rights or significant breach of public order;
- Under international legal obligations assumed by Georgia, cannot be returned to his/her country and cannot travel to another country; these obligations derive from article 3 of the european Convention on Human rights (prohibition of torture, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment) and other obligations under international human rights treaties prohibiting expulsion of a person from a country;
- Cannot return to the country of origin because his/her life, safety, and human rights may be seriously endangered;
- Was forced to move inside Georgia, but is not eligible to the refugee status according to the Law of Georgia on internally displaced Persons;
- Entered Georgia from a neighbouring country of origin due to a disaster occurred there;
- Requires other justified humanitarian assistance.
A humanitarian status is granted to a person for 1 year and may be extended if the grounds that served as a basis still exist.
Seeking an asylum is a direct or indirect, oral or written expression of the wish of a person to seek legal protection in Georgia on the grounds similar to those listed above for granting a refugee or humanitarian status.
in case of illegal crossing of the Georgian state border, a person shall, within 24 hours, apply to the very first state entity with the request to be granted an asylum. request for granting an asylum received by any state entity must be put in writing and a copy should sent to the ministry of internally displaced Persons from the occupied territories, accommodation and refugees of Georgia within 3 days.
A preliminary review of the application is conducted within 10 days and a decision is taken on either register a person as an asylum seeker or denying the registration.
An asylum seeker is issued a temporary identity card for 1 year. this document enables the asylum seeker to exercise the rights to education, medical, and social assistance, employment and other rights.
Note: An asylum seeker shall not be expelled from Georgia until a final decision on granting the status has been taken.
The ministry of internally displaced Persons from the occupied territories, accommodation and refugees of Georgia reviews the application within 6 months after the registration of an asylum seeker. this term may be extended for up to 3 months. the applicant should be informed about such extension in writing.
The procedure of granting the refugee or humanitarian status includes the following stages:
After granting a refugee or humanitarian status, the person receives a temporary residence card. the residence card of the person with the humanitarian status is issued for the period of validity of the humanitarian status, while the holder of the refugee status receives the document valid for 3 years.
A person with a refugee status shall also be issued a travel document, as specified in the 1951 un refugee Convention. to obtain a temporary residence card or a travel document, a holder of the refugee status must apply to the territorial office of the Public Service development agency, a branch of the Public Service Hall, or a Community Centre.
A travel document of a refugee is issued for free within 10 working days for a term of 2 years.
A holder of a refugee or humanitarian status is entitled:
- to return to the country of origin or travel to another country;
- to have access to the state-funded medical service;
- to the social assistance;
- to apply for Georgian citizenship;
- to enjoy other rights granted to foreign citizens under the Georgian legislation.
Note: A holder of the refugee or humanitarian status shall notify the ministry of internally displaced Persons from occupied territories, accommodation and refugees of Georgia in advance in case he/ she changes address; he/she should also re-register with the ministry on annual basis.
For additional information on the acquisition of the refugee or humanitarian status and issuance of corresponding documents, please visit the following websites: www.mra.gov.ge; www.sda.gov.ge, www.psh.gov.ge.
Travel document for Refugees
From 2009 Georgia started issuing a Refugee Travel document in conformity with the UN Convention on the Status of Refugees of 1951.
A Refugee Travel document is issued to allow persons with a refugee status to leave Georgia (except for travel to the countries of their citizenship, countries of their earlier permanent residence or those countries, where the refugees or their family members are not considered safe), to move to foreign countries and enter Georgia.