Safety and Security
he Department of State strongly warns U.S. citizens against travel to the occupied regions of South Ossetia, in north-central Georgia, and Abkhazia, in northwest Georgia. These regions are not under the control of the central government following civil wars in the early 1990s, and the conflict with Russia in August 2008. Tensions remain high between the de facto authorities in Abkhazia and South Ossetia and the Georgian central government. Russian troops and border guards continue to occupy both regions. A number of attacks, criminal incidents, and kidnappings have occurred in and around the area over the past several years. Unexploded ordinance poses a danger near the Administrative Boundary Lines of both territories, particularly near South Ossetia. Entering the occupied regions without the proper documentation can lead to arrest, imprisonment, and/or fines by Russian, Georgian, or de facto officials. If travel to the occupied territories cannot be avoided the U.S. Embassy recommends travelers follow applicable Georgian laws. Georgian law specifies that U.S. citizens may enter the two regions from the southern Georgian side, and not from the northern Russian border.
Any economic activity for which a relevant license, registration, or permission has not been obtained from the Georgian government;
Import and/or export of military products, or products that have double designation;
International air, maritime and railway travel, as well as international transportation of cargoby automobile;
Use of national resources;
Organization of cash transfer; or
Financing or any type of support of activities listed in Paragraphs (a) – (e)...
Medical services in the occupied territories are extremely limited. Hospitals do not accept credit cards or medical insurance, have little to no infectious disease control, and lack medicine. There are no commercial airports in either region making air ambulance evacuations for medical emergencies impossible. U.S. Embassy personnel are restricted fromtravel to Abkhazia or South Ossetia, even in the case of emergencies involving U.S. citizens.For these reasons the U.S. Government strongly advises U.S. citizens to avoid all travel to these regions.
All travelers to Georgia should enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). U.S. citizensshould regularly monitor Emergency Messages on the U.S. Embassy’s website for the latest information on the security situation throughout Georgia. In the case of a crisis and/or natural disaster, U.S. citizens in Tbilisi may tune in to FM radio stations for any updated U.S. Embassy emergency message for U.S. citizens.
Political demonstrations take place from time to time in Georgia, sometimes in front of the former Parliament building on Rustaveli Avenue. While these demonstrations are generally peaceful, some confrontations between the government and protesters have occurred in years past. U. S. citizens should be aware that even peaceful demonstrations can escalate into violence with little or no notice. Security Messages for U.S. Citizens pertaining to Demonstration are posted on the U.S. Embassy Tbilisi website. Because of the possibility of violence, we urge U.S. citizens to avoid all demonstrations. U.S. citizens should stay up to date with media coverage of local events, review their personal security practices, and be aware of their surroundings at all times.