READING

Visa to Georgia for Filipinos plus how I delayed a...

Visa to Georgia for Filipinos plus how I delayed an airline’s flight to Tbilisi

I swear I researched thoroughly and read that the visa to Georgia for Filipinos is upon arrival. In some articles, it also indicates visa-free. I never came across any that say I need to obtain a visa prior to arrival.

“Ma’am, I am sorry but we can’t allow you to board the plane. You need a visa to enter Georgia.”

Are you kidding me? I arrived 7 hours early in Ben Gurion International Airport just because Israel’s security check when going out of the country is ‘problematic’ and ‘massive.’

“I swear to you, I don’t need a visa to enter Georgia. I can get one upon arrival.”

I showed her some articles proving my point. But she still insisted that I can’t board the plane. While she was double checking their system, I called my Georgian friends (who happened to be lawyers) and they were quite shocked about my news. They pulled their strings and contacted every government office they know in Tbilisi to justify that Filipinos don’t need a visa to enter Georgia. They advised me to call the Philippine Embassy in Tel Aviv to seek help and I did.

From calling the Embassy, I learned I was wrong.

Visa to Georgia for Filipinos should be applied prior to arrival… Oooppps. Sorry. My bad.

Holy fecking shet. How did I miss this? It was 2 hours before boarding and there I was, standing at the check-in counter looking like an idiot who had no idea about the visa regulations of her own country. As a person who has been traveling for a long time now, this is such an idiotic move.

I had to pull my own strings. I Whatsapped all the Filipino bloggers I know who have been to Georgia and they said I need to apply an e-visa. One of my friends gave me the link to apply for the e-visa to Georgia but he said I should wait 5 working days to receive it.

My stomach crunched. I don’t have 5 working days! My tourist visa in Israel will be expiring in 24 hours. Seriously, I don’t have the luxury of time. Oh my God, Trisha! This is what happens when you are always living on the edge. But anyway, I’m already here so let’s move forward.

I stood at the check-in counter realising the idiocracy and sort of accepted the defeat. I am totally wrong in this. But I kept my cool.

“So, what do we do now? Can you suggest other things? And may I be excused? I need to go to the toilet.”

“Yes ma’am. I will find answers for you. We don’t want you to miss this flight, too.”

“Thank you. Can I also have a beer?”

No. I’m kidding. I didn’t say that. Though I wish I did. Remember, if you don’t ask, the answer is always no. Like in this situation. I really insisted to be in the flight so they were trying to find ways for me. It’s about our persistence. It’s about telling them what we really want and that is important in anything in life.

She was very helpful and I needed that. I didn’t need someone who will nag about my poor choices in life. I didn’t go to the toilet. It was an excuse to have a cigarette break. I was horrified! I needed to breathe.

I clicked the link my friend gave me and immediately applied for a visa. I needed to do something. I honestly was about to lose it.

Step 1: Citizenship/Country

screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-6-12-24-pm

Step 2: Travel lnformation

screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-6-14-57-pm

Step 3: Terms and Conditions

screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-6-15-40-pm

Step 4: Personal Information

screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-6-16-24-pm

After finishing all these sections, I was asked to pay $20 for the visa fee which is non-refundable whether the visa gets approved or not. Wait, what? They can reject e-visas?! The only problem was, I was 2 hours away from boarding time and the e-visa will only arrive after 5 working days.

I did what I had to do. I e-mailed the e-VISA department of Georgia with a poorly written message. I was in a hurry. I wasn’t thinking. Bottom line, they needed to know they have to give me the e-visa RIGHT NOW because I was already at the check-in counter. There was no turning back. Again, I had no other choice because my Israeli visa will soon be expiring. Damn, all this visa shenanigan!

Oh crap. This life. It’s crazy. It’s intense. It’s full of surprises. But this led me to a good learning experience about applying a visa to Georgia for Filipinos. But I still wish the e-VISA office in Georgia will read my mail and understand the situation I was in. I was praying hard they will send it right away. As in that very minute. I needed it! I want to scream!

Tip: Always have a passport picture and a copy of your passport in your phone, Dropbox, Google drive or e-mail. It’s a life saver!

As I head back to the check-in counter to speak to the helpful airline lady, she was smiling like something miraculously happened. I smiled back pretending everything was okay, pretending that my mind was not on fast forward mode with voices in my head saying “you are going to be fecking deported.”

“Ma’am, we are letting you board now. I checked all your passports (old and new) and you can enter Georgia as per the OECD agreement.”

Okay, I am really happy about this but what the feck is the OECD agreement?

Ratification of the Convention on the OECD

My 5-year valid Japanese visa and Mexican visa saved my ess. Apparently, you don’t need to apply a visa to Georgia if you have a valid visa from the members of the OECD agreement. You can check the list here. Additionally, if you have a residence visa in any Middle Eastern country, the visa on arrival is also possible. No need to apply the visa prior.

Helpful airline lady handed me my boarding pass but I was still shaking. I have a quick stop in Athens and she told me that if they will not allow me to board the Tbilisi flight, I need to show them my Japanese visa, and of course, explain the OECD convention.

After 1 hour and 30 minutes of massive check (yes, Ben Gurion Airport is crazy as feck), I rushed to the boarding gate only to find out I was the only passenger missing and take-off was delayed for 45 minutes. We just missed our spot at the runway because airports are busy like that. When something like this happens (this is my first time, btw) I just put that charming Asian smile and everything will be okay. At least that’s what I’ve been told growing up. Always smile. Share the positive energy even if it’s all fecked up.

I went to my seat and found out I have the whole row to myself. How do I deserve all this?!?! Not they are all looking at me like “this betch!”

Meanwhile, in Athens…

I was stopped at the boarding gate again. Though there were no flight delays, the airline crew in Athens were puzzled about how to approach my case. It’s a layover! Come on! How was I allowed to board in Tel Aviv if I am not allowed to do so in Athens? I kept proving my point. Over and over, I explained to them the OECD agreement like I was an expert. I even asked them to call the helpful airline lady in Tel Aviv because she can vouch for me. I did not violate anything.

screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-6-54-44-pm

But a miracle occurred again. I got an e-mail from the e-VISA office in Georgia and guess what’s it about? THEY JUST SENT MY E-VISA! OMG! I opened the attachment and interrupted everyone: “Everyone, hold your horses! Here’s my visa. Let me board.”

Everyone was quiet and double checked the e-mail I received. It really is the e-visa. My poorly written e-mail message worked.

I am one lucky betch. I was smiling big as I board the plane, looking at the sky and asking the Universe: how in the world do I deserve all this? BUT THANK YOU. THANK YOU! I want to scream!

Note: I might have been lucky with the e-visa but please, do not go through the stress and adrenaline rush. Apply for your e-visa to Georgia prior to arrival. Please. You have the steps above. Don’t be the idiot that I was.

By the way, I also did have the whole row to myself in the Athens-Tbilisi flight. Life is good!

The endless learning

You see, I am not an expert at all. I make so many mistakes. It seems to me that I am a guinea pig of Philippine passport holders. I have the first dibs on trying things because countries like Georgia are not really used to Filipino tourists so they don’t really know what the regulations are. They were even more confused than I am! The same happened to me in Panama where they stamped my passport without a visa. They panicked. Both of us didn’t know I need a visa to Panama.

Anyway, I am now in Tbilisi, super relaxed and having a great time. Two beautiful Georgian human beings whom I met through this blog picked me up at the airport with balloons and wine so life is really good. I am alive, well, healthy and reached my destination!

It was a stressful flight but I am used to it. People who have passports like mine need a visa to everywhere but through the course of my travel, I realised it shouldn’t stop me from doing what I am doing. I am so thankful to have my Philippine passport. The adventures it gave me and the countries it brought me to have been a hell of a ride.

There is no greater experience than being challenged. I wouldn’t change anything nor will I wish to have a different passport. Ever!

My dear Filipinos, let us stop being underdogs and fight for our rights (only if we are right, of course!). Always look for other options and never ever give up. Some of us just want to see the world and we should not put our head low. Having this passport is challenging but the experiences you will have traveling with it will be a great story to tell.

This is me, 50+ countries and numerous visa applications after. Still surviving and enjoying the ride of life.


Where are you from? Did you ever have to undergo crazy visa applications to travel the world? What are your tips? I would like to hear from you! Leave your thoughts on the comment box below!

Plan your travels with Pinterest! Hover on the image below and pin it! I promise, it will come handy!

besttrips2017-2

You might also like:


Trisha is one of those people who left their comfortable life to travel the world and learn about life. Her style is to stay in one place she likes for 3 months (or more) to know what it feels like to eat, cook, speak and sleep in another culture that isn’t hers. She'd like to believe she's not traditionally traveling but she just chooses to be somewhere else all the time. Trisha also loves extremely spicy food, pineapples, plants and symmetry. In no particular order, her favourite cities in the world are Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong and Tel Aviv. Follow her life adventures on Instagram: @psimonmyway

  1. Cherrie

    13 December

    wow what an experience Trisha! 🙂 As I was reading this article I felt like I was also there and it seemed like as if it was me who was on your place. Certainly stirred my emotions! hahahha. I am very happy you are able to arrive to your destination. I will be waiting for your post soon about Armenia since my husband’s father side is from Armenia.

    P.S I’ve been visiting your blog plenty of times and I definitely love and admire your adventures.

    Love from Brazil,

    Cherrie from Philippines.

  2. Amielle De Torres

    13 December

    Super stressful experience but I guess your angel’s with you that day! Enjoy Georgia, Trisha! 😊

  3. ffs

    13 December

    For the love of God, please write your swear words out in full! This makes you sound 10 years old

  4. I rock

    13 December

    The smile. It’s the smile that did it.
    😉😘

  5. Hay hija, you should do something about that “living on the edge.” You do not want to be in a life-long roller-coaster ride, believe me. It’s not good for your health and your heart, the only one you have.

    Please do not get used to it. Talk to me.

  6. Rish Torres

    14 December

    I am reading your article and I’m feeling the same thing like what you felt when you are at that airport. You are kind and wonderful person that’s why God always blesses you. Keep on inspiring!

  7. Slavek

    14 December

    Ha ha, funny story! Glad you made it and that there was such a nice and helpful lady at the TLV airport. Enjoy Georgia, it’s one of my favorite countries. Gaumarjos!

  8. Gwen

    14 December

    I love that the plane waited for you! yeeey! Enjoy, Georgia. And I agree, the challenges we have with our PH passport pero “kebs”.

  9. Darlene

    15 December

    And it all ended well! But oh what an adventure that had been! I could imagine you fretting and desperately needing those cigs in those crucial moments!

    Hugs to you love. Hope to see you soon! I’m excited for your adventures and living vicariously through your travels these days hahaha 😘

  10. kallsy

    17 December

    What a mess! Glad it ended up okay but wow – how stressful! I will say, these situations tend to happen to me as well. I could picture myself in your shoes while reading. Thank you for the helpful tips. This makes me realize that I need to be doing my research more (I’m bad at that)!

  11. ADAM

    18 December

    What a crazy story. That’s the thing about travelling, not every day is going to go smoothly and you’re bound to learn something. It’s a lot more enjoyable not learning like you had to but at least it all worked out!

  12. WOW that was quite some thriller… was reading it going “what now… what is she going to do”. I think one of the main things you said is very important that unless we ask for help we won’t know what can be done or how people, ever at passport control/airline, can help us.

    I think there are lessons to be learnt from this post about preparing for travel and how to stay cool to an extent and try and find a solution to a problem.

  13. Milijana

    18 December

    Wow, what an experience! This is an experience of a true traveler, not a tourist. Well written, Trisha! I especially liked: ” Remember, if you don’t ask, the answer is always no. Like in this situation. … It’s about our persistence. It’s about telling them what we really want and that is important in anything in life.”
    Good luck in your life journey, Trisha!

  14. Indrani

    18 December

    Whoa! Travel Goddess is kind with you! 🙂
    Thanks for sharing the story, though my situations are different it is always good to relate it to others.

  15. Drew

    18 December

    This is an insane story but it sounds as if you didn’t do anything wrong in the first place! You had done the research online about visas in Georgia, and you even had articles to ‘prove’ that you didn’t need one. I’m so surprised you ran into such barriers. It’s nuts how you got it all worked out and I’m sure it was such an insane day, but I probably would have handled it MUCH more poorly all around 🙂

  16. Sara Broers

    18 December

    Glad you made it, but your story is a good reminder that it’s important to know what travel documents you need before you go. And it looks like things worked out when some good luck fell upon you. Happy Travels!

  17. WOW, very lucky! You’re a great storyteller by the way 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  18. Karla

    20 December

    I understand the feeling of crazy visa applications. I feel like I always have to bring my documents to save my ass incase I need it. Wow, this was really one big miracle for you but hey, I love how you wrote about it. I will keep this in mind incase I decide to go to Georgia.

  19. Interesting, because Georgia has one of the most relaxed visa attitudes in the world. I hope you really enjoyed your time there!

  20. Mahmoud

    3 January

    Wow! what an experience.
    I have to admit I was reading and waiting to see how it will end up for you.
    I’m glad all ended up well for you!
    Thanks for sharing such an experience.

  21. Mary Charie

    14 February

    Just saw this! I’ve been through the same situation in Georgia! I forgot that it will take 5 days to apply for one. I arrived at 2 am and had nothing to show to the poor guy in the immigration area. I wore my biggest Asian smile and thanks to all the saints I prayed to, I get through!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

INSTAGRAM
@PSIMONMYWAY