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: www.italy-vms.ge 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.

Print
Other Stories
US ambassador to Georgia Kelly Degnan sworn in
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Georgia Kelly Degnan has taken an oath.
Raul Khajimba resigns, publishes official letter
I want you to know that I am stepping down to maintain stability in the country, - reads the statement of Raul Khajimba, former de facto leader of the occupied Abkhazia.
Raul Khajimba signs decree on his resignation
De-facto president of occupied Abkhazia Raul Khajimba has signed a decree on his resignation, "Sputnik" agency has reported.
Anaklia Consortium will be fined $ 115000, Infrastructure Ministry says
The amount of the fine to be paid by Anaklia Consortium is up to $ 115,000, - representative of Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure said.
Unrest in Abkhazia, de facto parliament asks president to resign
MPs of the de facto parliament of occupied Abkhazia adopted a draft resolution calling on Raul Khajimba to resign from the post of "head of state."
How USA-Iran tensions may affect Georgia?
After the death of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani many in Georgia ask how tensions between the United States and Iran may affect the region and Georgia specifically.
Protests renew in Georgia in front of the Parliament
A clash has occurred between activists and law enforcers in front of the Parliament building.
Unprecedented number of NATO-Georgia joint exercises seen in 2019, Georgian PM says
Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia summed up 2019 in terms of Georgia's cooperation with NATO.
Georgian doctor Vazha Gaprindashvili released from prison
Doctor Vazha Gaprindashvili has been released.
US provides $132 025 000 aid to Georgia
US budget law provides increased financial assistance to Georgia and still contains a record on non-recognition of Georgia's occupied regions.
Georgia, Turkey, Azerbaijan sign Action Plan for Tripartite Sectoral Cooperation
oreign Ministers of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey held the 8th trilateral meeting in Tbilisi today, December 23.
Georgian doctor Vazha Gaprindashvili sentenced to 1 year and 9 months in prison in occupied Tskhinvali
Tskhinvali occupation regime sentenced illegally detained Georgian doctor Vazha Gaprindashvili to 1 year and 9 months of imprisonment, Davit Asatiani, the lawyer of the Georgian Bar Association, wrote on his Facebook page.
Congressmen Kinzinger, Connolly send letter to Georgian PM
Georgians want a government of, for and by the people, want a government that is more aligned with the West and they aspire to join NATO and the European Union.
Third round of meetings between diplomatic corps and opposition parties ended without result
On Sunday another meeting was held between the leaders of the opposition parties and the representatives of the diplomatic corps accredited to Georgia.
PACE rapporteurs express serious concerns over appointment of 14 judges to Supreme Court of Georgia
The co-rapporteurs of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) for the monitoring of Georgia,
Georgia’s PM, Ukraine’s President meet in Kiev
Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Gakharia, together with the heads of the GUAM countries, has met with President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky.
Parliament approved Supreme Court justices amid protests and clashes
Today the Parliament approved candidates for the Supreme Court in Georgia. Opposition parties claim that 20 candidates are politically biased.
Five Georgian soldiers injured in terrorist attack in Afghanistan
Five military servicemen of the Georgian contingent's rapid response unit were injured as a result of a terrorist attack at the Bagram Air Base in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
Georgia chairs the Council of Europe: Why is it important for Eastern Europe?
The new PACE session beginning in January 2020 will be an arena of serious confrontation. The interests of Western and Eastern European countries are to confront.
Euronest Parliamentary Assembly calls on international community to use all available means to ensure release of illegally detained Georgian doctor
The Euronest Parliamentary Assembly has adopted a special statement regarding Vazha Gaprindashvili, the Georgian doctor who is in illegal detention in occupied Tskhinvali region.
Tbilisi hosts 8th ordinary session of Euronest Parliamentary Assembly
The 8th ordinary session of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly - "Future Visions of the Eastern Partnership" has opened in Tbilisi.
Unrest in Mtskheta – Georgian dream activists attack opposition
During the opposition rally outside Mtskheta City Hall, supporters of the opposition and the Georgian Dream clashed with each other several times.
Surrounded Parliament and demonstrators – Police distracted protesters from picketing parliament in Tbilisi
Police had been blocking entrances to the parliament with metal structures since morning. Patrol Police Chief Vazha Siradze said the metal barricades have been installed due to security reasons.
Riot police used water cannons to disperse protesters in front of Parliament
The riot police used water cannons against the protesters gathered in front of the Parliament building in Tbilisi.
Parliament picket planned on November 26
Picketing is certainly not the best solution. Like what is happening in the streets is not good,
PHOTO OF THE DAY
GEL Exchange Rate
Convertor
17.01.2020
18.01.2020
USD
1
USD
2.8818
2.8781
EUR
1
EUR
3.2158
3.2002
GBP
1
GBP
3.7639
3.7556
RUB
100
RUB
4.6718
4.6888
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
USD
1
USD
2.8781
EUR
1
EUR
3.2002
GBP
1
GBP
3.7556
RUB
100
RUB
4.6888
January 2020
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 31