expats in georgia

Moving to Georgia

Georgia Score
0%
Shithole Paradise

What is Georgia?

living in 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.

This country borders the Black Sea, Russia, Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan.

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 rainforests, 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.
relocating to georgia

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 $2000 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 $400 per month to live on, plus $250 in rent.

That means that if you can make $650 per month, you can live in Georgia. If you make $2000, you can live a great life in this country.

Benefits of living in Georgia

  • Great nature

    Georgia’s an extremely varied country, bio-diversity-wise. It has a coastline, low-land march-forests and swamps, temperate rainforests, mountain ranges, glaciers and even semi-arid plains

  • Legal cannabis

    Georgia is one of the few countries where cannabis is not only legal for medicinal purposes, but also for recreational use. This puts it miles ahead of most “advanced” Western nations

  • Growing economy

    Georgia’s one of the fastest rising nations in the neighborhood, and it’s expected to do well the next few decades

  • Low cost of living

    Georgia is pretty cheap to live in, and if you make a decent international income, you can live a great life here

  • Safe

    Georgia’s a relatively safe country if you look at “small” crime. However, it’s very unsafe if you look at the international stage, which I’ll cover presently

  • Easy visa process

    Visa, permanent residence and citizenship are all pretty easy to get

moving to georgia

Downsides of living in Georgia

  • Russia

    Georgia unfortunately borders Russia, and Russia is prone to invade neighboring countries. This is a pretty significant factor for me, because even though it is unlikely, it was also unlikely that Ukraine would get invaded

  • Cold Climate

    Georgia’s pretty chilly, with low average temperatures and not many hours of sunshine per day

Moving to Georgia - by the numbers

Georgia Score
0%
Shithole Paradise

Climate: 6.5/10

Hours of sunshine (5/10) Temperature (4/10) Rainy days (10/10) Humidity (7/10)
5.6
10 C – 50 F
6
69%

Level of English: 6/10

Moderate Proficiency

Cost of Living: 10/10

Taxes on international income: 8/10

0-20%

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%

Safety: 9.3/10

Global Terrorism Index (10/10) Intentional homicide rate (8/10) Rape rate (10/10)
0.6
2.2
1.9

Visa: 9.3/10

  • Visa (10/10)

    Citizens of most Western nations do not need a visa to reside in Georgia for up to a year. You can get a Work Residence Permit if you have a business, Short-Term Residence Permit if you own property (worth at least $100,000) for 6 to 12 months, which is extendable for up to 5 years, and then once again, but not more than 12 years in total

  • Permanent Residence (10/10)

    Possible after 6 years of Temporary Residence

  • Citizenship (8/10)

    Possible after 10 years, need to speak the language

living in georgia

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 visa/residence situation to the low cost of living, the beautiful nature, legal cannabis and so on.

However…

Georgia is a great example of a country that could have been a really, really awesome option to escape the West from, but misses out because of two 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.

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 similar cost of living, and you basically trade legal cannabis for no impending invasion by Russia, which seems like a decent trade-off.

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