Obtaining Residency Card - Major Problem If You Rent

ESSENTIAL INFORMATION IF YOU RENT AND WANT TO  APPLY FOR A RESIDENCY CARD

When the information was gathered about the steps to obtain an official residency card, the government staff did NOT include one ESSENTIAL item that applies if you are renting a place in which to live in Georgia.

If you are renting a house or flat to live in, then you will be told to provide a copy of the signed residential letting agreement (lease) when you apply for the residency card.  This is not hard to do.

HOWEVER,  the government officials did NOT say everything that is required.  A rental / lease agreement is NOT enough. 

The person you are renting the property from MUST be also registered with Georgia Revenue Service and they MUST be also willing to fill in some EXTRA paperwork that declares that they own the property and that they are renting it to you.

IF YOU CANNOT GET THIS EXTRA PAPERWORK THEN YOU CANNOT QUALIFY TO RECEIVE A RESIDENCY CARD.

You can easily rent a flat or a house in Georgia.   BUT FIRST you must also get the owner to sign the extra paperwork IF you want to apply for an official residency Card.  Do NOT enter a lease / residency agreement before you have got the other paperwork signed, as nobody will force the property owner to fill out the extra paperwork later. 

This process is actually unjust, as the person applying for official residency should not be penalised and prevented from obtaining official residency due to something that some other person must do and that the person applying cannot force them to do.

SO MAKE SURE YOU GET THE EXTRA PAPERWORK FIRST, before you agree to rent any flat or house in Georgia.  As I said, this only applies if you want to apply for official residency card.

AMENDED the above posting:

LATEST INFORMATION

When a foreigner cannot get their lessor to sign the necessary papers confirming that the foreigner is renting and living in their property, then the government allows an alternative method.  The foreigner must go to the Justice House with 2 Georgian people who are ready to declare that the foreigner lives at the address.  We are told the 2 Georgian people MUST go to the Justice House with the foreigner and make their statements TOGETHER in front of the government staff.   We have not tried this method but we are confident it is correct as the advice came from the Justice House staff.

I am currently interested in getting a work residence permit using a rental/leased apartment; I do not have such an apartment yet, as I'm staying in a hotel.

So I went to the Tbilisi Justice House with a screenshot of this very post, and also explained in my own words what you had written.  The lady I spoke with at the Justice House (about residence permits) did not agree with what you had written, and emphatically said that it's not necessary.  She also did not know about any additional paperwork you mentioned, though she did give me a form to declare my registration at a particular address.  She said that it's possible to look-up online (without permission of the owner) that a person is the legitimate owner of a particular apartment that he/she claims to own.  To look-up whether someone is the legitimate owner, she gave me the web addresses napr.gov.ge and psh.gov.ge with some additional instructions.

Also, a lease contract generally already contains a clause that states that the landlord owns the property and that he/she is renting it to the tenant.  For example:
"The Lessor represents that she owns the premises and is ready, willing and able to lease it to the Lessee on the terms and conditions stipulated hereinafter. Should it transpire that the Lessor has misrepresented her ownership and rights over the premises, the Lessor shall be entirely responsible for any consequences. Such misrepresentation shall be considered a breach of Agreement by the Lessor."

So now I'm very confused, sorry.  According to the lady at the Justice house what is you are saying is not required.

Hi,  Our experience is with the Justice House in Kutaisi.

They would not accept the lease and refused to issue the residency card. Perhaps there was some particular problem that they did not mention about the lease. Maybe it did not include th exact right words. Anyway, one clear lesson is to take the name of the person who gives you advice and make sure that you always ask if there are OTHER ways to get what you need.  In our case they did not talk about using 2 people or any other alternative method until after months of failing to get the property owners to agree to sign the form.

It could be that the people signing our lease are not officially the owners of the property but are family representing the owner. They did mention something about the owner being in another country.  Maybe this was part of the problem. I will check some more.

Thanks for your reply to my posting and every piece of information posted helps.  The minimum take home message seems to be to get the real owners to sign the lease and make sure the text you quoted is included in the lease and maybe then everything will be simple. Georgia has a lot of hidden economy so foreigners should ask and maybe check the online records to make sure the person they are signing the lease with is the actual owner... to avoid problems .   

In your case if you are doing these things before signing the lease then I guess you wil not have any problems.

Cheers,  Ron.

If I recall and understood correctly, the lady also said that one can even get a work residence permit while staying only at a hotel, which I found somewhat odd/surprising.   (In other words renting or buying a house is not required to receive a work residence permit, merely a lawful stay, e.g. at a hotel is sufficient.). 

(However, since I do not want stay in a hotel all the time, as I want to move my belongings here, this is not an acceptable option for me.)

Hi again,

Further clarifications

Just to be clear:  The Justice House accepted the application and approved it for temporary residency -  but they would not issue the residency card without the extra proof about actually living at the address. They did NOT mention needing the extra document until AFTER approving the actual application, when asking them to issue the residency card.  NOTE:  If the card is not issued within 6 months of the residency application being approved, then the approval is cancelled.

You may want to ask the officer to show you evidence of what they are saying in writing.  I think it would be wise to ask and record their name and when you file your actual residency application try to see the same officer. 

Regarding IMPORT of personal affects and car:  I suppose you know that Georgia charges import duty and VAT on all imported personal affects above a very low value.  The only exemption is for foreigners receiving PERMANENT residency based on a 300k GEL business investment into Georgia.

Cheers!

Just to clarify, what was the title of the “additional paperwork” form you needed to fill in?  I want to check if it is the same form which I received at the Public Service Hall (Justice House).  The form I received was titled “ფორმა №3.  საცხოვრებელი ადგილის მიხედვით საქართველოს მოქალაქის (საქართველოში მცხოვრები უცხოელის) რეგისტრაციის მიზნით წარსადგენი საცხოვრისის მესაკუთრის თანხმობა”, which I think translates as “Form #3. Consent of the owner of the housing to submit for the purpose of registration the place of residence of a Georgian citizen (foreigner residing in Georgia).

Yes exparrot, I confirm this is the same form (number 3) that we received.

I have now checked our rental agreement.  Ours did NOT include the message you quoted in your post above:
"The Lessor represents that she owns the premises and is ready, willing and able to lease it to the Lessee on the terms and conditions stipulated hereinafter. Should it transpire that the Lessor has misrepresented her ownership and rights over the premises, the Lessor shall be entirely responsible for any consequences. Such misrepresentation shall be considered a breach of Agreement by the Lessor."

So perhaps the Justice House required us to arrange for the lessor to sign the extra form number 3, because our rental agreement did not contain that specific clause. 

When we made all the enquiries about what was needed from the very start, the Justice House did not say we needed this clause in any rental agreement.

So it is a thing for all new incoming foreigners to be careful about.

Also, when we provided the copy of the rental agreement at the time of first applying for the residency,  the Justice House did not check it and say we needed that clause.  They just accepted the residency application and approved it. 

The problem only arose when we asked to receive the residency card.

I suppose anyone offering a rental property in Georgia to foreigners (on behalf of a family member or some other person such as under a sub-let arrangement) would not be able to insert that clause.  So once again, this is an issue that all foreigners need to be careful about.

The only exemption is for foreigners receiving PERMANENT residency based on a 300k GEL business investment into Georgia.

I would be interested in learning more about this rule about exemption of import duties for investor residence permits.  Do you have a written source for this claim?  Thanks.

This is very easy to verify at the Justice House.  Tell them you want to know the rules for applying for the 300K GEL PERMANENT INVESTMENT Residency visa.

The process is different to applying for a work visa which is only TEMPORARY residency.

We have gone through this enquiry process thoroughly.  As part of preparing to apply, you will need an auditor in Georgia to issue a written statement of opinion declaring that your inwards investment is equal to or exceeds 300k GEL.  The simplest way is if you can show funds transfers adding up to this amount.  It is harder if you want the auditor to try and place a monetary value on other types of investment (such as value of IP for example).  According to the rules the investment can be intangible, but I am saying it is harder to get the auditor to agree about its value.  After the PERMANENT Investment visa is issued, you then only have some weeks to actually import your goods or the duty and VAT exemption expires. You cannot bring the goods in first and then apply for the permanent visa and then try and claim the duty and vat back.  I understand it includes exemption if you bring in a vehicle. 

There is a strict process, but it is certainly possible if you have made / can make a clear 300k GEL inwards investment of a commercial nature (buying a house does not qualify).

You can read this paragraph about half way down on this webpage about the exemption itself:

http://www.rs.ge/Default.aspx?sec_id=5342&lang=2 

" import of goods (including furniture, household items, a vehicle per family) not intended for economic activities when entering Georgia for permanent residence (that is verified by an appropriate document issued by the Ministry of Justice of Georgia in compliance with the prescribed method); "   

-- 

Final note: The appropriate document can ONLY be the actual PERMANENT residency permit, and as soon as it is issued the time period for which the exemption applies starts ticking down.  To be sure you can get your goods into Georgia and through customs within the short time limit you would want to perhaps arrange everything for shipping and be ready to hit the 'ship now' button as soon as the permit is approved.

This is what I did. So I got my residency card with two witnesses.

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