Georgia switching to Biometric passports. R U Ready?

1 02 2011

Change is always a good thing. Especially if it is progressive. New biometric passports promise to make our lives  easier when crossing the boundaries between the countries.  In the near future this will contribute to our seamless and hassle free transitions. This is especially important if you are a frequent traveler. But, before dreaming of a trouble free future, don’t dream away too far and get ready for the present reality!

I, myself have applied  for a change of my passport recently and would have avoided useless troubles should I have been told the correct information. As a decent citizen before rushing to the civil registry I have called their hotline and made inquiries asking for all necessary papers that I should have with me.  I was told word by word that I should – ” have Just valid ID and money, 100 Gel” –  with me – “That’s all you need. All necessary payments will be done on place. We will even take your biometric photos on place” – I was told with a joyful voice of a female operator. Boy that’s easy, I thought to myself and hurried down the nearest civil registry office.

On place I found out that service fee  had to be payed in the bank and I should have brought the payment confirmation with me.  Not a word was mumble by the operator about that. Just as I had to have additional 3Gel with coins to get photographed. Normally one would assume that this is already included in a service fee. So why make separate payments and make this so complicated?

So knowing all that you can simply avoid a headache and burden of standing in multiple lines and suffer hours of waiting.

So what you actually need?

1. Go to any bank and pay 100GEL (standard speed. Expedited is more expensive) for civil registry and indicate that this is a passport fee.

Take the payment confirmation and go to a nearest civil registry office.

2. Have 3 GEL with coins.  Automated Photo Cabin only takes 1GEL or 2 GEL coins. You can try as many times as you please and shoot the desired photo before you actually decide to print. That was the only good experience at the civil registry office and I was pleasantly surprised.

3. Go to the operator with your photo, payment confirmation and your ID.

After you sign some papers and have your fingerprints captured you are free to go and wait about 10 days for a new, improved biometric passport.

For those of you abroad there are online services to apply for your new passport. Civil registry promises to have such services for local users as well.

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