Better Visa System for More Visitors
30 May, 2013
Better Visa System for More Visitors
Exclusive Interview with Federica Favi, Ambassador of Italy to Georgia

Last week, the Ambassador of Italy to Georgia, H.E. Mrs. Federica Favi held a press conference regarding Embassy’s new visa issuing service. Ambassador Favi spoke to journalists from the offices of Visa Management Service. Due to the deadline, we could not publish it immediately. However, Georgian Journal decided to visit the embassy to conduct a face-to-face interview with Federica Favi, recipient of the prize in the nomination of “the best
respondent” at Georgian Journal’s Diplomat Party a month ago at Tbilisi Marriott.
Q: What changes have you introduced in visa system that made you call it ‘a new visa issuing service’?
A: Between 2006 and 2013, the Embassy of Italy faced a huge increase in the number of visa applications. For example, in 2006 we issued 3500 visas. Later they increased to 4900 and in 2011, they became 5400. Last year, they were about 8000, and the latest figures show that in the first five months of 2013, visa requests from Georgian citizens increased by 106,7%. And this constant increase has been dealt with without any corresponding adjustment in Embassy personnel. Therefore, we arrived at the point where the two employees who received people were simply not enough. This was the reason why the application process was very long. This is not good with respect to Georgian people but also with respect to the visa facilitation agreement that Schengen countries signed with Georgia in March 2011. We want to comply with the rules and to have a shorter waiting list for appointments. So we asked a private company to help us. We made an official tender and in the end only one company remained as a possible candidate to deal with this extremely important task. Visa Management Service (VMS), located on Rustaveli 27, is a renowned Italian company, legally registered in Georgia. It works also in Russia and Ukraine for all the Italian Consulates. They manage a huge amount of Italian visas. They take care of all the procedures, but the decision to issue the visa remains a prerogative of the Italian Embassy. They have a lot of personnel so they can fix appointments in very short time (currently, it takes only one day). Then, within a maximum of ten days the applicant can obtain a visa. The call centre is free and anyone who wishes to go to Italy as a tourist, on a business trip or to study is eligible to call at the following number: (+995 32) 2-43-00-59; applicants can also obtain appointments online by visiting the website: In this way, we can issue many more visas than before. Of course, VMS charges a fee for its services (i.e. information, appointments, collecting documentation, to give passports back, etc..), but it is not a large one – just 63 GEL – very affordable for travellers . The price of a short term visa does not change: it is always 77 GEL.
Q: You mentioned at the press conference on May 22, that it was necessary to acquaint Georgians with the fact that the new company is the only authorized operator in Georgia for processing Italian visa applications, since there could be crooks fraudulently advertising fake and illegal services for obtaining visas in exchange for thousands of Euros. Were there many such cases?
A: I have to say clearly that the price is as I mentioned – GEL 77 to the Embassy for the visa itself; GEL 63 - to VMS for their services ; that is the only price Georgians have to pay to obtain a visa. If somebody asks for a higher amount of money, it is illegal and dangerous. Nobody has to pay extra fees. In this case, I advise to go to the police. We are not informed about registered cases of such fraud , but it is always better to be over-careful.
Q: How will these changes boost the links between the two countries?
A: The main idea of this system, by means of which we are issuing more visas, is that it should help business as well as tourists. This will be of mutual benefit for our two countries; it also facilitates activities in other areas: cultural exchanges, for example, since a lot of artists, musicians and theatre people apply for visa. We are happy, when foreigners arrive in our country. Number of visas is increasing and it is good. However, it is also important to keep migration within the bounds of the law; otherwise it may create problems for both sides. Georgia is engaged in fighting illegal migration, and it is endeavoring to reach a visa liberalization agreement with the EU.
Q: What do you expect, when Georgia can get visa liberalization?
A: I don’t take part in the negotiations but I am informed by the EU and also by the Georgian authorities that the negotiations are going very smoothly. I expect Georgia will get visa liberalization as soon as possible.
Q: Are there any changes in in the sphere of direct flights?
A: As I’ve said, the exchange is growing and to prove this, it is also enough to mention that ALITALIA came to Georgia to have direct flights and since July of 2012, it performs flights on the Rome-Tbilisi route. They started last year with two flights per week. Now, as of April of 2013, they perform three flights. From the second half of this May, they will have four flights per week until October. The season now is profitable. Not only Georgians go to Italy but many Italians are arriving in Georgia as tourists or for business trips. This will develop further our bilateral relations. In addition, Georgian Embassy in Rome contributes to it by its work though Italians don’t need visas for Georgia.

Other Stories
International observers about the presidential election in Georgia
The presidential election took place on the 28th of October in Georgia.
First Ladies of Independent Georgia
The presidential election took place on the 28th of October in Georgia. It was the last election in which the president will be selected by popular vote.
Funny incidents on Election Day in Georgia
The presidential election took place on the 28th of October in Georgia.
Deadline for the second round of presidential elections in Georgia is December 2
Presidential elections were held on the 28th of October in Georgia. None of the candidates managed to get majority of votes, so the second round of elections is to be appointed.
The USA National Security Advisor John Bolton is in Georgia
National Security Advisor of the United States John Bolton visited Georgia today.
People are detained at the Cannabis Festival
Today, Georgian political movement Girchi holds an event in the Dedaena Park called the Cannabis Festival.
Top safest countries and Georgia is among them - new survey says
Georgia is among the safest countries in the world. This fact is substantiated by various surveys and researches.
Who is interested in the cultivation of cannabis in Georgia?
Several weeks ago the government announced about its initiative to legalize the cultivation of medical marijuana in Georgia.
Fight in Gori – head of administration uses a bin full of manure
There was an incident yesterday in Gori municipality, Georgia at the entrance of the municipality building.
2 Georgian detainees freed from the Tskhinvali prison
Georgian detainees Maia Otinashvili and Akaki Dotiashvili are freed from the Tskhinvali prison. They had been accused of illegally crossing a so-called the borderline into the occupied Tskhinvali region.
Georgia might provide Far East countries with armored vehicles
LEPL State Military Scientific-Technical Center "Delta" might provide several Far East countries with armored vehicles, - “Delta” has informed InterPressNews about it.
Who can be the next first lady of Georgia?
On the 28th of October, presidential elections will be held in Georgia. The last elections in October 2013 resulted in a victory for Giorgi Margvelashvili, a candidate of the Georgian Dream (the ruling party).
Another Georgian kidnapped at the occupational line, stays detained
Maia Otinashvili (a mother of three children) was detained in her own garden on the 19th of September. Eyewitnesses claim that she was kidnapped by armed people with masks.
Fight broke out in the Georgian TV show
Fight in the Georgian Show Archevani (a choice) broke out between the guests yesterday.
7 amendments that come in force today in Georgia
On the 1st of October, 7 new amendments come in force in Georgia.
Speaker of the parliament plays Knockin' on Heaven's Door
What do the politicians do when they have free time? It is an interesting issue in every country.
What are the new New Year decorations for Tbilisi
New Year decorations and its price in Tbilisi is always a matter of discussion in the capital.
Mamuka Bakhtadze gives a speech at the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly
Mamuka Bakhtadze, the prime minister of Georgia is attending the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly from the 24th of September.
Georgia will ban use, import and production of plastic bags
The Georgian government has decided to tighten rules regulating use of plastic bags in Georgia.
The parliament returns to Tbilisi
The Parliament of Georgia will continue working in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia from January 2019. Currently, the building is located in Kutaisi (west Georgia).
Mamuka Bakhtadze is visiting the USA within the working visit
The Georgian PM Mamuka Bakhtadze Brought a wreath to the tomb of the Georgian military serviceman John Malkhaz Shalikashvili.
Use of plastic bags to be reduced from the 1st of October
Within the framework of the Green Economics and Environmental Protection Policy the Georgian government has approved new regulations
Four Russian Journalists have not been allowed to enter Georgia
Three members of the Russian delegation were not allowed to enter Georgia as this would have violated the Law on the Occupied Territories of Georgia.
Tbilisi sign may appear on the Funicular hill
Hollywood has become a source of inspiration for many people worldwide. A similar idea from a Tbilisi citizen sounds very clever and attractive.
Russia was at an undeclared war with Georgia for years - Matthew Bryza
I think anybody who has observed how Russia has been conducting its war in Ukraine should realize that Russia was at war with Georgia, an undeclared war for years,
Exchange Rates
GEL Exchange Rate
Other Stories
On 26 May, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, joined celebrations in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi
Violation of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity by Assad regime has been strictly criticized
Exactly one year ago, Georgia was granted visa-free travel with the European Union.
Georgia’s ex-president president Mikheil Saakashvili's supporters managed to free detained Mikheil Saakashvili in the center of Kiev.
The US Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly congratulates Georgia on Independence Day.
The regulations on the introduction of visa-free travel for citizens of Georgia have been officially signed in Brussels.
The entire Georgia is involved in Secret Santa game, which means that people are sending gifts to each other secretly
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia is taking part in NATO Ministerial underway in Brussels, Belgium.
A special squad has been mobilized at the 48th polling station in Marneuli, Kvemo Kartli region.
Two politicians in Georgia have come to blows during a live TV debate ahead of the country’s parliamentary elections, Euronews reports.
GEL Exchange
November 2018
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30