Georgia

Georgia’s record overall on accession to relevant international treaties is good, although it has not acceded to the regional statelessness conventions, the European Convention on Nationality, and the Convention on the Avoidance of Statelessness in Relation to State Succession. It also retains reservations to the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. Disaggregated data on the stateless population in Georgia is available, but official data only records the number of people recognised as stateless under the Statelessness Determination Procedure (SDP). The number of stateless people is therefore likely to be underreported, as a number are reported as having ‘undetermined nationality’.

Georgia introduced a dedicated SDP in law in 2012. The procedure is accessible with no fee, lawful stay requirement, nor time limit, and an application can be submitted in several locations across the country. However, applications can only be made in writing in Georgian and may not be initiated ex officio. There are some procedural safeguards, but the lack of State-funded legal aid during the procedure or the appeal puts a strain on NGOs offering free legal advice. Applicants have a right to stay and basic rights during the procedure. People recognised as stateless are granted a renewable three-year temporary residence permit and the rights granted are mostly in line with nationals. Positively, the Government’s 2023 Statelessness Action Plan provides for measures to improve the SDP.

However, there are gaps in safeguards to prevent the arbitrary detention of stateless people in Georgia. While a country of removal must be set prior to detention, alternative measures are not mandatory, authorities are not obliged to release a person when there is no reasonable prospect of removal, and there is no referral to the SDP.

Since January 2024, stateless people may now apply for naturalisation after five years (reduced from 10 years) and are exempted from the application fee. However, other stringent eligibility requirements continue to apply. There are some safeguards in law to prevent childhood statelessness, including in the case of adoption and children born abroad to Georgian parents, but only some children born in the country who would otherwise be stateless automatically acquire Georgian citizenship. Georgia has a relatively good framework in place to ensure universal and immediate birth registration, with some exceptions. A 2022 campaign led to a reduction in numbers affected by risk of statelessness, though a significant part of the Romani population remains at risk. While deprivation of nationality is prohibited, loss of nationality is permitted by law and there is no safeguard to prevent statelessness.

Zuletzt aktualisiert: 
Jan. 2024
Landesexperte/n: 

Salome Jokhadze, Rights Georgia

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ZUSÄTZLICHE INFORMATIONEN

-Rechtsgrundlagen und bewährte Verfahren

 

Internationale und regionale Instrumente

Assesses whether countries are State party to the relevant international and regional instruments, including whether reservations have an impact on statelessness, and whether instruments are incorporated into domestic law. The four core statelessness treaties (1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons; 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness; European Convention on Nationality; Council of Europe Convention on the Avoidance of Statelessness in Relation to State Succession) carry more weight than other relevant human rights instruments in the assessment.

Georgia is State party to most relevant international and regional instruments, although it is not a party to the two regional statelessness conventions, the European Convention on Nationality and the Convention on the Avoidance of Statelessness in Relation to State Succession. It is also not a party to the Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all Migrant Workers and Members of their Families. Georgia retains reservations to the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness to allow loss of nationality and to clarify that the entry into force of the Convention should not be understood as recognition of the Russian nationality granted to people living in occupied regions.

  • Georgia is State party to the 1954 Convention with no reservations. It does not have direct effect, but international conventions hold precedence over domestic legislation, unless they conflict with the Constitution, and national law was amended upon entry into force of the Convention to establish a dedicated SDP and provide rights for stateless people.
  • Georgia is State party to the 1961 Convention. It has reservations to allow deprivation of nationality under Article 8. The Constitution of Georgia and subsequent legislation prohibit deprivation of nationality in a strict sense, although they allow loss of nationality in specified cases which may result in statelessness, including voluntarily joining the military, police, or security service of another country without obtaining prior permission.
  • Georgia’s reservations also clarify that the entry into force of the Convention should not be understood as recognition of the Russian nationality granted to people living in the Georgian Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions occupied by Russia.
  • The Convention does not have direct effect, but international conventions hold precedence over domestic legislation, unless they conflict with the Constitution, and national law was amended to reflect most of the obligations under the Convention.
  • Georgia is not State party to the European Convention on Nationality nor to the Council of Europe Convention on the Avoidance of Statelessness in relation to State Succession.
  • Georgia is State party to almost all other relevant international treaties with no reservations, except for the Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all Migrant Workers and Members of their Families.
  • Georgia is not a Member State of the European Union and is not bound by the EU Returns Directive.

Statistiken zur staatenlosen Bevölkerung

Examines the availability and sources of disaggregated population data on statelessness. Provides recent figures and assesses reliability of measures countries have in place to count stateless persons, including in the census, population registries, and migration databases. Notes whether statelessness has been mapped in the country and whether there are sufficient measures in place to count stateless persons in detention.

Disaggregated data on the stateless population in Georgia is available, but official data only records the number of people recognised as stateless through the SDP. The number of stateless people is likely to be underreported as a number are reported as having ‘undetermined nationality’. Positively, in 2022, Georgia worked in collaboration with UNHCR to carry out a ‘door-to-door’ campaign aimed at identifying stateless people, determining their nationality status, and facilitating access to identity documents. The authorities record and publish data on people held in immigration detention, including their nationality, but there is no data on stateless people held in detention.

  • The Public Services Development Agency (PSDA) records the number of people recognised as stateless in Georgia through the SDP in an electronic database. As of June 2023, 527 recognised stateless people were recorded. Data is disaggregated by age, sex, and region. Most stateless people are recorded as living in the regions of Tbilisi, Kvemo Kartli, Samtskhe-Javakheti, Adjara, and Imereti.
  • A census carried out in 2014 recorded 379 stateless people (167 men and 212 women). The next census is planned for 2024 and will presumably also include a question allowing people to identify as stateless.
  • As Georgia does not simultaneously grant statelessness status alongside other forms of international protection, the data on statelessness specifically refers to people recognised as stateless through the SDP and does not overlap with other categories. A person cannot be recorded both as stateless and a refugee. The data categories are clearly defined to prevent overlap.
  • However, the number of stateless people in Georgia may be underreported particularly due to the use of the category ‘undetermined nationality’ when reporting international protection statistics. Some children born to refugees or asylum-seeking parents were recorded as having ‘undetermined nationality’.
  • Using the government data on registered stateless people, UNHCR’s figures for 2022 record 525 stateless people in Georgia.
  • In 2022, Georgia implemented one of the pledges made at the 2019 High-Level Segment on Statelessness to undertake a ‘door-to-door’ campaign. In collaboration with UNHCR, the PSDA carried out a campaign in various regions aimed at identifying stateless individuals, determining their nationality status, and providing identity documents at no cost to undocumented individuals. The campaign identified 38 individuals who were granted Georgian citizenship, while around 700 individuals had a foreign nationality confirmed (Russian, Armenian, or Azerbaijani). Four cases are still being processed through the SDP.
  • Further identification and accurate data collection on statelessness is challenging due to issues such as the lack of awareness of stateless people about statelessness and the procedure to obtain citizenship, fear of detention or expulsion linked to the absence of documentation, and the lack of referral mechanisms between authorities.
  • Between 2019 and the first quarter of 2023, the Ministry of Internal Affairs reported that of a total of 4,608 asylum-seekers, seven were stateless and 101 had undetermined nationality; and of a total of 633 beneficiaries of humanitarian status seven were stateless (mostly of Palestinian origin) and 29 had undetermined nationality.
  • It is not known if there are any stateless people held in immigration detention. There is data on the nationality of detainees and people removed from the country, but statelessness is not a separate disaggregated category. This is because official data on statelessness only records people recognised as stateless in Georgia (and therefore with residence status).
  • Stateless people who have not been granted statelessness status, usually recorded as having ‘unknown nationality’, or who have been imputed a presumed nationality, may be subject to detention for removal. No such cases have been reported, but the lack of disaggregate categories to count people in detention with unknown or undetermined nationality, or whose statelessness has not yet been determined through the SDP, indicates the data may be unreliable.
  • The Government collects and publishes information on persons removed from the country. It collects but does not publish data on the numbers of people released from immigration detention, including due to the impossibility of removal.

Verfahren zur Feststellung von Staatenlosigkeit und Rechtsstellung

Identifies whether countries have a definition of a stateless person in national law that aligns with the 1954 Convention, and whether they have a dedicated statelessness determination procedure (SDP) leading to a dedicated stateless status. If an SDP is not place, it assesses whether there are other procedures in which statelessness can be identified or other routes through which stateless people could regularise their stay or access their rights. Countries are subdivided in three groups to enable comparison between those with an SDP leading to protection, those with other procedures, and those with a statelessness status but no clear mechanism to access protection. The existing procedures and rights granted to stateless persons are examined and assessed against international norms and good practice. Assesses whether stateless people fleeing war have access to temporary protection.

Georgia has a dedicated SDP, which was established in law in 2012. The competent authority is the Public Service Development Agency (PSDA) within the Ministry of Justice. An application can be submitted in various locations across the country, and is examined centrally by the Citizenship and Migration Service. Positively, there is no fee to apply, no lawful stay requirement, and no time limit to access the procedure. The burden of proof is mostly on the authority although applicants must provide any evidence they have. There is no specific standard of proof. There is no referral from the asylum procedure to the SDP, but a referral from the SDP to the asylum procedure is established. Applicants have a right to stay in Georgia, are issued a temporary identification card, and have access to basic rights, including the right to work and emergency healthcare. However, an application can only be made in writing in Georgian and the PSDA may not initiate the SDP ex officio, although positively an interpretation and translation service is available. Procedural safeguards are insufficient, including because applicants are not entitled to legal aid and must rely on NGOs providing free legal assistance, and interviews are not mandatory. Decisions are communicated in writing but do not always include detailed reasons. People recognised as stateless are granted a renewable three-year temporary residence permit and can apply for naturalisation after five years. Rights granted are in line with nationals, except for the right to family reunification and the right to vote. A recent quality assessment resulted in the 2023 Statelessness Action Plan to improve the SDP.

  • There is a definition of a stateless person in national law. The official translation is narrower than the 1954 Convention definition in that it translates as a person who is not considered a national by any State ‘under its legislation’ rather than 'under the operation of its law'. Georgian language does not differentiate between these two terms and the law uses them interchangeably.
  • Informal training of local government officials on statelessness and nationality issues was provided through the ‘door-to-door’ campaign in 2022. The Public Services Development Agency (PSDA), supported by UNHCR, regularly trains Justice House frontline officials, who are responsible for receiving applications for the SDP and other public services. The PSDA has also trained its structural units on statelessness and nationality. In addition, UNHCR has provided training to its implementing NGO partners and the Office of the Public Defender of Georgia. UNHCR also regularly raises awareness on statelessness to university students, journalists, and the general public, as well as providing training for the Legal Aid Service and the judiciary.
  • There is a dedicated SDP, which was established in law in 2012 and this leads to a dedicated statelessness status. The Citizenship and Migration Service of the Public Services Development Agency (PSDA), within the Ministry of Justice, is the competent authority.
  • Applications for statelessness status may be submitted to any territorial unit of the PSDA or any branch of the Justice House, both of which operate under the Ministry of Justice.
  • Applications are reviewed centrally by the Citizenship and Migration Service of the PSDA. The Citizenship and Migration Service is also responsible for applications for Georgian citizenship and may refer applicants to one or the other procedure as appropriate. The PSDA must consider all applications.
  • Information on the procedure is detailed in law and further information is available on PSDA’s website in Georgian and English. Applications must be submitted in writing. While the application form is a simple printed document written in Georgian, English, Armenian, Azerbaijani, and Russian, it must be completed in Georgian, although a translator can be requested to assist applicants in filling out the form. The Government’s 2023 Statelessness Action Plan indicates that the form will be available electronically, although it is unclear if it will be possible to complete the form in languages other than Georgian.
  • There is no application fee, no lawful stay requirement, nor a time limit to access the SDP.
  • The PSDA may not initiate the SDP ex officio. However, the 2023 Statelessness Action Plan provides for the preparation of legislative amendments to grant the PSDA that authority.
  • There is cooperation between the PSDA and the Migration Department, which identifies foreigners living in Georgia and implements international protection rights. The Ministry of Justice, including the PSDA, also participates in the Government’s Commission on Migration Issues, together with the Ombudsperson and civil society representatives. The PSDA is also responsible for reviewing applications for Georgian citizenship and refers cases to the SDP where there are no grounds for granting citizenship and the person may be stateless.
  • The burden of proof for the determination of statelessness is on the State. However, the applicant has an obligation to submit all necessary documentation, such as an identity card, a travel document, documents showing lack of nationality and residence history. They also have a duty to cooperate with the PSDA. The PSDA must investigate all circumstances relevant to the case and may request additional information from foreign countries or other Georgian authorities, including to assess the impact of granting statelessness status on State security.
  • There is no specific standard of proof for the SDP. General administrative rules require authorities to consider all relevant evidence and decide on the basis of the evaluation of circumstances. These rules apply equally to the SDP and the refugee status determination procedure.
  • There are protective measures in place for minors and people lacking legal capacity, such as holding interviews in the presence of a legal representative or a guardian/custodian. The Public Defender of Georgia may also attend interviews.
  • There is no clear guidance for decision makers on how to determine statelessness. Close collaboration with UNHCR has allowed the PSDA to benefit from international knowledge and expertise on statelessness.
  • There is no evidence of significant errors in decision-making.
  • State free legal aid is not available to SDP applicants; the Legal Aid Service is only mandated to provide legal counselling, not legal representation. NGOs provide free legal assistance.
  • Interviews are not mandatory and are at PSDA’s discretion. In practice, interviews are held in most cases when verification of facts is needed. Free translation and interpretation services are available during the procedure.
  • UNHCR and the Office of the Public Defender of Georgia may attend interviews to provide support to the applicant and ensure transparency and fairness of the procedure. UNHCR and PSDA quality assessed the SDP in 2021 to identify outstanding gaps, which resulted in the adoption of specific action points under the 2023 Statelessness Action Plan. UNHCR also plays a significant role in addressing statelessness and is actively involved in proceedings as well as working with relevant authorities to address issues identified in its monitoring.
  • Decisions are communicated in writing but do not always include detailed reasons, often only referring to the legal basis or including complex reasons. The 2023 Statelessness Action Plan recommends that simplified decisions in several languages are prepared, but this has not yet been implemented.
  • The application must be examined by the competent authority within a period of up to six months. Depending on the complexity of the case, this can be extended to three more months (nine months in total). The PSDA generally respects the nine-month time limit, but lawyers have raised concerns regarding respect for specific timelines within the SDP itself. For example, the PSDA may require information from other authorities to confirm that granting statelessness status would not endanger State security and public safety, and if authorities fail to respond within 30 days it is considered that there is no reason to refuse statelessness status. However, there are reports that in practice the PSDA has used information received past this deadline to reject an application.
  • There is no referral mechanism from asylum procedures to the SDP, but an applicant under the SDP will be referred to the Migration Department for examination of an international protection claim if there are grounds to believe they may be eligible for international protection. When the applicant is referred to the international protection procedure their SDP will be suspended to respect the principle of confidentiality, and later terminated if the applicant is granted international protection status.
  • Applicants for statelessness status have a right to stay in Georgia pending the procedure and are issued a temporary identification card, valid for one year and renewable for the total length of the SDP. The ID card is cancelled once a decision has been made on the applicant’s statelessness status, regardless of whether the applicant appeals the decision.
  • Applicants may not be detained for removal. They have the right to work and emergency healthcare, but do not have access to social assistance nor to State pensions programmes.
  • The applicant has an automatic right to appeal within one month from being notified of the decision. Free legal aid is not provided by the State but by NGOs. The appeal does not have suspensive effect, the applicant’s ID card will be cancelled after a negative decision, and the applicant is not protected against expulsion pending the appeal, although in practice appellants are not removed from the country until their case is concluded.
  • A State fee of minimum 100 GEL (approximately 35 EUR) must be paid for the case to be reviewed by the court. Applicants for statelessness status are not exempted from the fee, unlike asylum-seekers.
  • The State automatically grants a temporary residence permit for three years (exceptionally five years) which can be extended for a maximum of 12 years. After ten years, a permanent residence permit can be issued and, following a recent amendment, naturalisation is possible after five years of residence. The 2023 Statelessness Action Plan indicates that the three-year residence permit may be increased to five years.
  • Recognised stateless people are issued with an identity card.
  • Stateless people who were deprived of their Georgian citizenship, either by voluntary renunciation or by being removed from the registers after 1993, are also eligible for a permanent residence permit.
  • The rights attached to statelessness status include a travel document, right to work, primary, secondary, and higher education in line with nationals, although for higher education stateless people do not have access to State grants. Stateless people also have access to healthcare and social security, although in certain municipalities social services are reserved to Georgian citizens.
  • Stateless people do not have the right to family reunification unless they have a residence permit based on another status, nor the right to vote or run for elections.
  • Statelessness status is granted without a time limit. However, it can be revoked under certain conditions specified in law, including acquisition of Georgian citizenship or another nationality, receiving protection under the 1954 Convention from another country, having provided false documents during the SDP, to protect the interests of the State and/or national security, or under 1954 Convention exclusion grounds. A proportionality assessment is not usually conducted. Although no cases have been reported in practice of revocation on a national security ground, revoking under such ground should in principle entail a proportionality assessment. If statelessness status is revoked, residence rights automatically cease.
  • Border guards have discretion to grant access to the territory to people fleeing the war in Ukraine. In practice, entry is permitted for Ukrainian nationals and people with habitual residence in Ukraine (whether permanent or temporary), including stateless people and people with expired documents.
  • Georgian law on international protection establishes a form of humanitarian status offered to people fleeing war in their country of nationality or habitual residence. This form of protection is used for people fleeing the war in Ukraine, including stateless people with statelessness status in Ukraine, habitual residence in Ukraine, or undocumented people, and the law provides for flexible documentation requirements. Stateless people are also eligible to apply for refugee status. Humanitarian status is issued for one year and can be renewed annually. Beneficiaries have access to rights including healthcare services, work, and education.
  • Since the full-scale Russian invasion of  Ukraine in February 2022, the Migration Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs has assessed protection claims in a prioritised manner and the procedure takes one month on average.

Haft

Analyses law, policy and practice relating to immigration detention generally, but focusing on protections in place to prevent the arbitrary detention of stateless people during removal and deportation procedures. Subthemes examine areas such as the identification of statelessness and assessment of whether there is a reasonable prospect of removal, procedural safeguards such as time limits, judicial oversight, and effective remedies, as well as the rights granted to stateless people upon release from detention and protection against re-detention.

There are several gaps in immigration detention law, policy, and practice in Georgia. Although there are some protections against the arbitrary detention of stateless people in that powers to detain are provided for in law and a country of removal must be set prior to detention, alternatives to detention are not applied in practice and authorities are not obliged to release a person when there is no reasonable prospect of removal. There is no referral mechanism to the SDP from detention, although this may happen in practice. There is no definition of vulnerability in law and statelessness is not considered during any vulnerability assessments. There is a time limit, detainees have the right to legal aid to challenge detention, and decisions are given in writing. While people in detention should be informed about their rights and how to access the SDP, this may not happen in practice. People are released from detention where removal is not feasible and are issued a temporary identification card of up to one year, with the right to reside and economic and social rights. However, it is reported that this card is sometimes denied or revoked if circumstances change, and protection from re-detention is limited.

  • Powers for immigration detention and the circumstances in which it can be ordered are clearly defined in law, including detention for the purposes of identification.
    Although the law does not state that detention is a measure of last resort,  this derives from the general principle of proportionality, under which any restriction of physical liberty should not be carried out unless absolutely necessary. The law also provides for alternative measures to immigration detention, but these are not always applied in practice and detention for removal is common.
  • A proposed country of removal must be identified during the administrative decision to remove, prior to the judicial decision to detain, and detention is only maintained for as long as removal proceedings are in progress.
  • There is no clear obligation on authorities to release a person when there is no reasonable prospect of removal, but detention is limited to a maximum of nine months.
  • There is no information on whether statelessness is juridically relevant in the decision to detain. There is no referral mechanism to the SDP from detention in law. According to UNHCR, all individuals without documentation are directly referred to the SDP, but there is no data on the number of stateless or undocumented people in detention to confirm this.
  • There is no definition of vulnerability in law, although the law prohibits discriminatory, degrading, and humiliating treatment. Vulnerability assessments may be carried out but are not satisfactory and statelessness is not considered during the assessment.
  • No case of detention of stateless people for removal has been reported, and people determined to be stateless under the SDP are not subject to immigration detention. However, the lack of disaggregate categories to count people in detention with unknown or undetermined nationality, or whose statelessness has not yet been determined through the SDP, and the risk that some people may be assigned a presumed nationality, may mean that some cases are underreported.
  • Detention in a temporary placement centre is limited to three months, or to a maximum of nine months in exceptional cases upon an application to the court by the Migration Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Detainees have the right to legal representation to challenge detention where new circumstances arise, although the applicant is not entitled to State-funded legal aid. The decision to detain is made in writing.
  • People in detention should be informed about their rights in a language they understand, including on their right to appeal and to a lawyer, but it is not clear whether guidance on how to access the SDP exists. It is reported that not all detainees are informed of their rights.
  • There are no guidelines governing the process of re-documentation and ascertaining entitlement to nationality for the purpose of removal.
  • The law provides that people released from detention due to being unremovable are issued a temporary identification card, which may be revoked if removal becomes feasible. In practice, however, individuals have sometimes been denied temporary identification cards. Re-detention is possible if removal becomes feasible.
  • People who are released from detention and hold a temporary identification card are granted the right to reside in Georgia for one year and other rights including work, healthcare, and education.
  • The readmission of stateless people is provided for in several of the agreements that Georgia has entered into with other States, including for example Denmark and Iceland.  However, there are exceptions to this readmission obligation depending on the person’s visa, residence permit, and form of transit through Georgia.
  • There is no information on whether efforts to secure return or readmission take place only after a determination of statelessness.

Prävention und Reduktion

Assesses the adequacy of safeguards in nationality laws to prevent and reduce statelessness, including facilitated routes to naturalisation for stateless people, and protections for otherwise stateless children born on the territory or to nationals abroad, foundlings and adopted children. Examines law, policy, and practice on birth registration, including access to late birth registration, and reduction measures taken by States to prevent and reduce in situ statelessness. Analyses provisions on deprivation of nationality and whether there are safeguards related to renunciation and deprivation of nationality to prevent statelessness from occurring.

Since January 2024, stateless people may apply for naturalisation after a residence period of five years (reduced from the standard ten). While they are exempted from the application fee, other stringent requirements apply. There are gaps in safeguards to prevent children being born stateless in Georgia, as these only apply to some children and are contingent on parents’ nationality or residence status. Minors with refugee status born in Georgia and stateless minors who have resided in Georgia for five years can acquire citizenship by application. Foundlings are granted Georgian citizenship, but only by application. There are safeguards in law to prevent statelessness arising for children born to Georgian parents abroad. However, a child adopted by Georgian parents does not automatically acquire citizenship. Birth registration is assured in law and nationality is recorded on the birth certificate; however, there may be barriers for some parents to register their children, including undocumented migrants and same-sex parents. A 2022 campaign led to a reduction in the number of people at risk of statelessness, but a significant part of the Romani population remains at risk. While deprivation of nationality is prohibited by the Constitution, loss of nationality is permitted by law in some circumstances and there is no safeguard to prevent statelessness, although no case of resulting statelessness has been reported.

  • Since January 2024, people with statelessness status who have been residing lawfully and continuously in Georgia for five years will qualify for naturalisation, which is reduced from ten years compared to foreigners with a nationality.
  • A minor with refugee status born in Georgia who has resided in Georgia for a continuous period of five years can acquire Georgian citizenship through naturalisation.
  • Adult stateless people are not exempted from naturalisation requirements such as the language, history, and legal system test. They must also meet the requirement to either work, own real estate, or have a business in Georgia, or hold an interest or shares in a Georgian company. Refugees are exempted from the latter requirement to work or having invested in Georgia, and authorities indicate that it is not applied in practice for stateless people. Stateless children and children with refugee status are exempted from all these requirements (except the five-year residence requirement mentioned above).
  • Stateless people have been exempted from paying the application fee since 2022.
  • Individuals who have committed certain criminal offences (including international crimes and particularly serious crimes), who are wanted by law enforcement in Georgia, abroad or by Interpol, who are subject to extradition or expulsion procedures, or for whom granting Georgian citizenship would be detrimental to State or public security cannot be granted citizenship by naturalisation.
  • There is no evidence of discrimination against minorities or marginalised groups in nationality laws, rules, procedures, policies, or practices.
  • There is no provision automatically granting Georgian citizenship to all children born in the country who would otherwise be stateless.
  • However, some children born in Georgia do automatically acquire Georgian citizenship. This is the case when (a) their parents have been recognised as stateless in Georgia; (b) they were born through surrogacy and the countries of nationality of the parents do not recognise the child as a national; or (c) one parent has been recognised as stateless in Georgia and the other is unknown.
  • Some children may acquire Georgian citizenship by application.
  • A minor with refugee status born in Georgia, or a stateless minor who has resided in Georgia for a continuous period of five years can acquire Georgian citizenship through naturalisation, without the need to fulfil any other requirements. The application is free of charge and there is no age limit. Before the residence requirement of five years is met, however, these children will not be able to acquire Georgian citizenship, and the relevant field in their documents indicates ‘nationality unknown’. Stateless children are not required to prove they cannot access another nationality to acquire Georgian citizenship.
  • In general, parents are not routinely provided with information about their child’s nationality rights and relevant procedures.
  • Foundlings are presumed to be nationals of Georgia unless evidence suggests otherwise. They are granted nationality by application and there is no age limit.
  • The law provides that if a foundling is considered a Georgian citizen, but the identity of the parents is later determined, the child may lose Georgian citizenship. While there is no clear safeguard to prevent statelessness in such cases, if it is revealed that one of the child's parents has statelessness status recognised in Georgia this serves as a legal basis to grant or maintain Georgian citizenship. There is no information about how such cases would be decided, but it is likely that the authorities will take into consideration the best interests of the child and therefore rule in favour of retaining Georgian citizenship.
  • A child adopted by foreign parents retains their Georgian citizenship.
  • A non-Georgian child adopted by Georgian parents can only acquire Georgian citizenship through application under the naturalisation procedure with a ten-year residence requirement. There is no age limit for a child adopted by Georgian parents to apply for naturalisation.
  • The law provides for a child born to Georgian parents anywhere to acquire nationality automatically.
  • However, Georgian law does not provide for same-sex couples to have a child. Where a child is born abroad to same-sex parents through surrogacy or assisted reproduction technology, and the parents seek to have their child’s Georgian citizenship recognised, they may face issues, which create a risk of statelessness for the child. However, no such cases have been reported in practice so far.
  • Georgian law provides that all children are registered immediately upon birth regardless of the migration or residence status of the parents. Children are issued with birth certificates upon registration. The birth certificate includes information about the child’s and the parents’ nationality.
  • If a child’s nationality is not determined or recorded upon birth registration, the general rules of acquisition of nationality are applicable.
  • While there are no mandatory requirements for health or civil registry authorities to report undocumented migrants, there is no clear firewall prohibiting the sharing of information by these entities with immigration authorities. This could deter undocumented parents from coming forward to register their children.
  • The deadline for birth registration depends on which entity is responsible for applying for registration of the act of birth. Medical institutions and other authorised persons assisting the mother in childbirth are required to apply within five working days from the child's birth. The guardianship and care authority, educational institutions, or a person authorised by the mayor of the Municipality has a one-month deadline to apply to the registration authority from the notification of the child's birth. The child's parent is required to notify the Civil Acts Registration Authority within one month from the birth.
  • The law does not offer clear and unambiguous guidance on the procedure for late birth registration. While the civil registration process permits the late registration of births through a determination of facts, the precise steps and responsible authorities remain ambiguous (including whether it is an administrative or a judicial procedure).
  • Generally, the procedure for registering the birth of a child born through surrogacy is clear and detailed, but access to surrogacy services is only available to heterosexual couples. Previous regulations allowed single parents to pursue this option. Georgian law does not recognise same-sex marriage or surrogacy agreements contracted abroad and there is no clear procedure for registering a child born to a same-sex couple through surrogacy. Consequently, the birth registration process can remain incomplete or may be substantially hindered for children of same-sex couples, who may be at risk of statelessness. Such cases have not been reported in practice so far.
  • In 2022, the Public Services Development Agency (PSDA), in collaboration with UNHCR, carried out a comprehensive ‘door-to-door’ campaign in various regions aimed at identifying stateless individuals, determining their nationality status, and providing identity documents at no cost to undocumented individuals. Throughout the campaign the process was simplified for identified individuals, so they did not have to go through any of the bureaucratic requirements otherwise mandated by the law. The implementation of the campaign was a direct response to the commitment made by the Government of Georgia in 2019 during the High-Level Segment on Statelessness. These efforts have resulted in a reduction in the number of undocumented individuals, but there are still unaddressed needs and challenges. The Government’s 2020-2030 Migration Strategy places a strong emphasis on stateless people, but lacks concrete policies or legal remedies to address the challenges they encounter.
  • A significant part of the Roma community is at risk of statelessness due to a lack of documentation, which hinders their access to essential services such as healthcare and education, and perpetuates their marginalisation. The scale of this issue is difficult to ascertain due to the absence of comprehensive data. Barriers such as discrimination, language barriers, and lack of trust in government authorities all contribute to discourage participation in processes such as birth registration and nationality confirmation or acquisition.
  • The Georgian Constitution prohibits deprivation of nationality. However, grounds for the loss of Georgian citizenship are established in law and include joining the military, police, or security service of another country without prior authorisation from Georgian authorities, acquiring nationality by providing false documents. In such cases, there is no safeguard to prevent statelessness, although no cases have been reported of individuals rendered stateless.
  • The competent authority for loss of nationality is the President of Georgia, upon recommendation by the PSDA. The decision on the loss of Georgian citizenship can be appealed in court on the basis that it was unjust or unlawful.
  • There is no evidence of direct or indirect discrimination in relation to provisions on deprivation or loss of Georgian citizenship.
  • There is a safeguard to prevent statelessness in cases of renunciation of Georgian citizenship. A simplified procedure to restore citizenship is available where a person renounced Georgian citizenship and failed to acquire the nationality of another country.
  • Loss of Georgian citizenship does not affect the nationality of a spouse or children.

Ressourcen

Library of resources, legal instruments, publications and training materials on statelessness, specifically relevant to this country. More regional and international materials, as well as resources from other countries, are available on the Resources library. Domestic case law can be consulted in the Statelessness Case Law Database (with summaries available in English).

Please note that we are in the process of adding new resources, so check back soon.

Latest news on Georgia

Image for the WEBINAR: 2024 State of Play Assessment on Statelessness in Europe

WEBINAR: 2024 State of Play Assessment on Statelessness in Europe

In conversation with experts working in different countries, we presented our annual state of play assessment of key trends on statelessness in…
22 März 2024 / Albania / Austria / Belgium / Bosnia-Herzegovina / Bulgaria / Council of Europe / Croatia / Cyprus / Czechia / Detention / European Union / France / Georgia / Germany / Global / Greece / Hungary / International and Regional Instruments / Ireland / Italy / Kosovo / Latvia / Malta / Moldova / Montenegro / Netherlands / North Macedonia / Norway / Poland / Portugal / Prevention and reduction / Romania / Serbia / Slovenia / Spain / Statelessness determination and status / Statelessness population data / Sweden / Switzerland / Türkiye / Ukraine / United Kingdom
Georgia and Türkiye

Launch of two new Statelessness INDEX countries – Georgia and Türkiye

Today, we are launching new country profiles on Georgia and Türkiye. This brings the total number of StatelessnessINDEX countries to 32.
19 März 2024 / Detention / Georgia / International and Regional Instruments / Prevention and reduction / Statelessness determination and status / Statelessness population data / Türkiye

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