Moving to Georgia
What is Georgia?
Georgia is a representative democracy wedged between Eastern Europe and Western Asia
Georgia is a former Soviet-state which has since become a moderate success story in the region.
It has good relations with 3 of its neighbors, but strained relations with one of them … you guessed it, Russia.
Georgia aspires to become a member of NATO, which means it’s probably next on Russia’s invasion-list.
This is a major red-flag and moving to Georgia is unfortunately not a great idea solely because of this factor.
On almost every other level, Georgia is awesome, as we’ll see in the rest of this article.
Georgia is a mountainous country with high elevation, and it has a very diverse landscape, especially considering its relatively small surface area.
There are less than 4 million people in Georgia, and a quarter of them live in the capital of Tbilisi.
This is a pretty urbanized area, and in the rest of the country you can find everything from low-land march-forests and swamps to temperate rain forests, mountain ranges, glaciers and even semi-arid plains.
In the past, especially during the Soviet and post-Soviet era, Georgia was a highly corrupt shithole (as were almost all other Soviet satellite states), but at the moment Georgia has really worked itself out of this communist hole, and it enjoys higher levels of economic freedom and great ease of doing business.
Two fun facts:
- Mustachioed madman and all-time contender for most evil motherfucker of the 20th century Joseph Stalin was born in Georgia
- Georgia is one of the first – and to date, one of the few – countries in the world where cannabis is not only legal for medicinal purposes, but also for recreational use. And where other countries like Uruguay prohibit the sale to foreigners, in Georgia this isn’t a problem – you just can’t take it across borders, for obvious reasons.
Requirements for moving to Georgia
The requirements for moving to Georgia are very mild, mainly due to its low cost of living and easy visa process.
Visiting Georgia goes very smoothly, and most Westerners do not need to get a visa to reside there for up to a year.
All sorts of permits are possible for longer stays, and permanent residence is an option as well.
If you want to live in Georgia, you really do not have to make a ton of money.
If you earn around $2,000 a month through your location independent international income sources, you are absolutely good to go.
What is the cost of living in Georgia?
The cost of living in Georgia is very low. The minimum annual wage amounts to a bit more than $100, but this of course doesn’t pain a good picture of what you’d need to live a decent life.
A single person needs around $600 per month to live on, plus $660 in rent.
That means that if you can make $1,300 per month, you can live in Georgia. If you make $2,000, you can live a great life in this country.
While this is still pretty cheap, prices have DOUBLED since I first wrote this article, the total cost of living used to be $650 a month just a few short years ago.
No doubt the hostility of Russia has something to do with it, combined with the Unspecified Virus of Unknown Origin.
Benefits of living in Georgia
Downsides of living in Georgia
Moving to Georgia - by the numbers
|Hours of sunshine (5/10)
|Rainy days (10/10)
10 C – 50 F
Cost of Living: 7/10
|Minimum Annual Wage
|Average monthly cost single person
Taxes on international income: 7/10
Foreign-source personal income is tax-exempt, but any income you earn worldwide while living in Georgia is not considered foreign-source, so you’ll have to pay taxes. You can register for Small Business Status and pay only 1%, but there are criteria.
Economic growth: 8/10
Average GDP growth over the last 10 years: 4.8%
How is life for expats in Georgia?
Life for expats in Georgia could really be great.
This country has so much going for it, from the easy logistics situation to the moderate cost of living, the beautiful nature, legal cannabis and so on.
Georgia is a great example of a country that could have been a really awesome option to escape the West from, but misses out because of 3 factors.
One is based on personal preference: its climate. It’s a bit too chilly on average for my tastes, but perhaps this isn’t a problem for you.
The other factor which bars Georgia from excellence is its proximity to Russia and the likelihood of getting invaded within the next few decades.
Georgia aspires NATO-membership, and this gets Putin’s panties in a bunch like there’s no tomorrow.
I fully expect Georgia to get “annexed” into Soviet-Russia at some point, so moving this is really not a good idea.
The third option is the fact that Georgia seems to be declining, at least on my scoring system. When I first wrote this article, the average score came out to 8.2/10, making it one of the best options in the world.
However, as you can tell, it has since dropped down to 7.2/10, a massive decrease.
It’s now not a great option anymore, but still decent.
A much better option in this region is its neighbor Armenia, which does not border Russia.
The climate’s a bit better, it has a lower cost of living, and you basically trade legal cannabis for no impending invasion by Russia, which seems like a decent trade-off.