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Tbilisi, Georgia

Tbilisi, Georgia

By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on Mar 10, 2023

Summary: People describe Tbilisi, Georgia Rep as a vibrant and exciting city with a unique culture and a rich history. Expats love the city's friendly people, its delicious food, and its affordable cost of living. The weather in Tbilisi is generally mild, with temperatures ranging from the mid-50s to the mid-80s Fahrenheit. The average cost of living for an expat is around $1,000 per month. The cost of a one bedroom apartment is around $400 per month, while a two bedroom apartment is around $600 per month. The approximate population of Tbilisi is 1.1 million people.

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What do I need to know about living in Tbilisi?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Tbilisi, they said:

"Before retiring in Tbilisi, Georgia, expats should be aware of a few things. Georgia is a developing country and the standard of living is generally lower than in other developed countries. Expats should also familiarize themselves with the country’s legal and business systems and make sure they are complying with all the relevant laws. Additionally, expats should research and apply for all the relevant visas and other paperwork they may need ahead of time. Another important thing to be aware of is that Georgia has an unfamiliar climate and culture, so it will be important for expats to make sure they are prepared for this. Finally, expats should ensure that their health and medical insurance are up to date, as the medical care in Tbilisi may not be what they are used to," remarked one expat who made the move to Tbilisi, Georgia Rep.

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What do I need to know before moving to Tbilisi?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Tbilisi, they said:

"Before moving to Tbilisi, Georgia, expats should take time to understand the local culture and customs. Learning some Georgian language can be beneficial as English is not widely spoken. Additionally, research into health services available in the city is key, as well as establishing a relationship with a doctor and learning about the country’s health insurance system. Expats should also research the cost of living and housing options in Tbilisi, as well as any permits and visas necessary for residence. Finally, familiarizing yourself with the city’s transport system and any other amenities close to where you plan to live is also an important part of preparing for the move," commented one expat who made the move to Tbilisi, Georgia Rep.

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How do I find a place to live in Tbilisi?

We asked expats how they chose their neighborhood and found a place to live. They answered:

"One of the best ways to find a place to live in Tbilisi is by researching online. Many websites such as Nestpick, Airbnb, and Expedia offer different options for renters. Additionally, online forums and discussion sites are valuable sources of information when seeking a place to live. These resources often provide reviews and feedback from previous tenants, giving insight into the quality and availability of properties. Another great option is to speak with locals in the area. Word-of-mouth recommendations can be invaluable when looking for a place to live in Tbilisi. Lastly, there are a variety of rental agencies that specialize in arranging rental accommodation in the area. Connecting with one of these companies can provide more detailed and customized information to find the right property for you," said one expat in Tbilisi, Georgia Rep.

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What is a typical expat home or apartment like in Tbilisi?

"Expat homes and apartments in Tbilisi, Georgia vary significantly in size and style, though many have a modern feel and come equipped with amenities like full kitchens, washing machines, and air conditioning. They often have balconies, allowing their occupants to enjoy the city's breathtaking views while taking in the sounds of its nightlife. In recent years, the increasing number of expats has helped to bring a whole new level of luxury to the city, and some homes and apartments even feature swimming pools, fitness centers and other modern amenities. No matter what type of accommodation is chosen, they will likely share the characteristic bright Georgian splashes of colour, making them a welcome and inviting place to call home," said one expat who made the move to Tbilisi, Georgia Rep.

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What is the average cost of housing in Tbilisi?

If you are thinking about moving to Tbilisi, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:

"The average cost of housing in Tbilisi is relatively low compared to other bigger cities. It is noted that many expats and locals alike find purchasing or renting apartments to be quite affordable. The popular neighbourhoods in Tbilisi vary in price range but generally, one could get a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre for around 500 to 700 USD a month. For those looking for a cheaper alternative, there is also the option to rent a room or shared apartment which typically costs around 200 to 350 USD a month," explained one expat living in Tbilisi, Georgia Rep, Georgia.

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How do I meet people in Tbilisi?

When we asked people living in Tbilisi about club and activities where newcomers can meet others, they responded:

"Expats in Tbilisi often join a variety of clubs and activities to meet people and learn more about the city. Popular options include joining the International Women's Club, which arranges networking and social events; taking an international class through the American Councils, which can introduce expats to new friends and cultures in Tbilisi; or getting involved in the international volunteer community such as through the United Nations Association of Georgia. Other ways that expats can meet people while living in Tbilisi include frequenting local bars and cafes, attending concerts and other cultural events, or seeking out language exchanges with locals in order to meet friends and practice new languages," said one expat in Tbilisi, Georgia Rep.

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What should I bring when moving to Tbilisi?

People living in Tbilisi were asked what three things they wish they had brought and three they wish they had left behind. They wrote:

"When packing for a move to Tbilisi, be sure to pack for a warm, dry climate. Include items such as a light jacket or sweater for days that may get a bit cooler and several layers of clothing to prepare for the changing temperatures. Be sure to bring items like sunglasses, sunscreen and a hat to protect your skin against the intense sun. Other items you may want to pack include comfortable shoes and basic toiletries. Don't forget to bring an umbrella to prepare for unexpected rain showers. Lastly, pack a few of your favorite items from home to give yourself some comfort and familiarity in your new home," explained one expat living in Tbilisi, Georgia Rep, Georgia.

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Where should I setup a bank account in Tbilisi?

We asked expats in Tbilisi what banks they use and there advice about banking. They advised:

"Before retiring in Tbilisi, Georgia, expats should make sure that they have a reliable healthcare provider and understand their medical insurance options. It is also important to research the cost of living in the city to ensure that the retirement budget is sufficient. Additionally, setting up a bank account or a local currency exchange service to receive pensions and access funds can be beneficial. Expats should also be aware of the cultural and legal differences between their home country and Georgia, as well as the residency requirements for staying in the country. Finally, it's important to understand the local language and customs as this could go a long way in helping expats fit in with the local communities," said one expat in Tbilisi, Georgia Rep.

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Will I be able to find a job in Tbilisi?

When we asked people about industries and career opportunities in Tbilisi, they reponded:

"Foreigners in Tbilisi, Georgia often have jobs in the tourism and hospitality industry, such as working as tour guides or in hotels and restaurants. They may also have jobs in the IT and technology sector, as companies in Tbilisi often outsource for foreign tech talent. Additionally, some foreigners work as English teachers or translators. Other popular fields for foreign workers in Tbilisi include education and healthcare," said one expat in Tbilisi, Georgia Rep.

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What is life like in Tbilisi?

When we asked people living in Tbilisi what life is like and how people spend their time, they said:

"Tbilisi, Georgia is an increasingly popular destination for expats and digital nomads. The city offers a unique blend of modern amenities and traditional culture, making it an attractive place to live and work. Expats and digital nomads in Tbilisi can enjoy a vibrant nightlife, delicious cuisine, and a wide range of outdoor activities. The cost of living is relatively low, and the city is well-connected to the rest of the world through its international airport. The city is also home to a diverse population, making it a great place to meet people from all over the world. With its friendly locals, stunning scenery, and vibrant culture, Tbilisi is an ideal destination for expats and digital nomads," explained one expat living in Tbilisi, Georgia.

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What do expats in Tbilisi appreciate most about the local culture?

"Expatriates living in Tbilisi, Georgia appreciate the rich cultural heritage that the city has to offer. They enjoy the unique architecture, which integrates modern and classical styles, as well as the abundance of traditional Georgian cuisine. Expats are also impressed by the hospitality and friendliness of the locals, who are always happy to help out and share stories of their experiences. The city's nightlife also provides plenty of entertainment, ranging from traditional music and folklore performances to contemporary clubs and bars. Tbilisi is truly an amazing place, and expats appreciate the diversity and all it has to offer, from its stunning scenery to its vibrant cultural and artistic scenes," explained one expat living in Tbilisi, Georgia Rep, Georgia.

"The hospitality; the fact that complete strangers invite you for lunch, or a meal. The fact that if people offer to show you around, because they are born and raised in the town you're currently visiting, the only do it because they're proud of their country and want to show you its splendour. There are no ulterior motives," said one expat in Tbilisi.

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What do expats find most challenging?

"Expatriates in Tbilisi often find adjusting to the local culture challenging due to the language barrier. Many of the local people do not speak English, which can be difficult for expats trying to get by in their daily lives. Additionally, due to the small size of the city and its relative isolation from the rest of the world, some expats may find the more conservative attitudes and values of the local culture off-putting. Furthermore, navigating the bureaucracy to obtain residency can be difficult, as navigating the different laws and regulations can be complex. Lastly, with the hectic pace of life, expats may find it difficult to find the time or resources to explore the city and the culture it has to offer," remarked one expat living in Tbilisi, Georgia Rep, Georgia.

"The driving style. Traffic is dangerous - people drive like maniac. Georgia has the highest death rate in Europe," wrote one member in Tbilisi.

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Is there a lot of crime in Tbilisi?

We asked people if there is a lot of crime. They answered:

"Tbilisi has experienced its share of criminal activity in recent years. It has seen an increase in drug-related crimes, as well as violent crime such as robberies and assaults. The police have taken steps to increase public safety, such as increased patrol activity and partnership with local communities," wrote one member in Tbilisi, Georgia Rep.

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Is there a lot of diversity? Are people in Tbilisi accepting of differences?

"Tbilisi is known for its diversity, with people from many religious, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds. People of various ages, genders, and statuses are all seen in the streets of Tbilisi each day. Generally, Tbilisi is open and welcoming to other cultures and differences, leading to a tolerant and diverse cityscape. The city also has a vibrant cultural life, with innovative and unique arts, music, and culinary experiences that are open and welcoming to everyone," commented one expat who made the move to Tbilisi, Georgia Rep.

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What are the schools in Tbilisi like?

"The International School of Georgia (ISG) is one of the best international schools in Tbilisi, Georgia. It offers an international education in English combined with Georgian language and culture. ISG has an experienced team of highly qualified teaching staff with educators from over 15 nations. It provides a stimulating and engaging curriculum that incorporates inquiry-based learning. It also strives towards developing compassionate students who are equipped to be active global citizens. The Eurasia International School is another great option for international and bilingual education in Tbilisi, Georgia. It is a modern, coeducational school which provides education in English and Georgian. During their time at the school, students are encouraged to develop their academic and language skills and to also expand their appreciation and understanding of world cultures. In addition, the school provides various extracurricular activities including sports and theatre, which pupils can join on a voluntary basis. The Bright Horizons American International School Tbilisi is a private school offering an American curriculum and a well-rounded international education. It has the capacity to accept students of all ages, from nursery to grade 10, and prepares them for success in the global arena At Bright Horizons, students have access to state-of-the-art facilities, a rich curriculum, excellent teaching staff, and an array of activities, clubs and after-school programs. The Lyceum School is an independent, international day school located in Tbilisi, Georgia. It offers a truly bilingual learning environment, teaching in English and Georgian, with an emphasis on innovation, critical thinking and problem solving. The school is equipped with the latest teaching technologies, modern facilities and experienced staff. In addition, Lyceum provides extracurricular activities, sports, art and theatre productions," remarked one expat living in Tbilisi, Georgia Rep with children attending .

"I am very happy with the school. My son has learned an amazing amount of Russian in just a few months (impressed a native Russian speaker he talked to while stateside this summer). All the staff is very welcoming. Class sizes are small. A teacher recently received a grant to purchase iPad Mini's for student use in class for research/educational purposes," said one expat in Tbilisi with children at QSI Tbilisi.

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What are the pros and cons of living in Tbilisi?

Expats, digital nomads and retirees living in Tbilisi responded:

"Expats and digital nomads appreciate Tbilisi for its safe and vibrant city life. The city offers exciting and often unexpected cultural experiences, as well as a variety of outdoor activities. The transportation infrastructure is well-developed, making it easy to explore the surrounding areas. Despite its Soviet-era feel, Tbilisi is a modern city with plenty of international cuisine, bars, shopping, and nightlife. The cost of living in Tbilisi is also very low, making it an attractive option for those looking to stretch their budget. On the downside, language barriers can be a problem as English is not widely spoken and the tourist infrastructure is still developing. The city can also be quite polluted and road infrastructure can be unsafe due to the large number of cars on the road," commented one expat who moved to Tbilisi.

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What type of social life can someone expect in Tbilisi?

When we asked expats and global nomads about their social experiences in Tbilisi, they replied:

"Expats, retirees, and digital nomads living in Tbilisi typically have bustling social lives with ample opportunities to meet local and international friends. There are numerous international schools and work opportunities which provide natural networking avenues to find like-minded people. Tbilisi also hosts a variety of international events such as music festivals, film festivals, food festivals, art exhibitions, and charity events, all of which give expats, retirees, and digital nomads a chance to mingle with the diverse mix of people in the city. Additionally, expats and digital nomads often find ample activity in the city’s numerous bars, cafes, and restaurants, while retirees often enjoy attending weekly language classes or joining one of the city's many meetup groups," remarked one expat in Tbilisi.

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"The social scene in Tbilisi, Georgia is vibrant and eclectic. The city is a hub for great nightlife with exciting bars, pubs, and nightclubs, as well as great restaurants, coffee shops, and art galleries. Whether you want to explore the lively culture and art scene with friends or take in some local music, there's something to do for everyone. Socializing in Tbilisi is often centered around experiencing traditional Georgian cuisine in the many fantastic restaurants and cafes, or finding a cozy wine bar with some of the country's best wines. On the weekends, the streets fill with people visiting markets, browsing local stores, and enjoying the city's cosmopolitan feel. With so much to explore, Tbilisi makes for an unforgettable social experience," mentioned one expat inTbilisi.

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What advice to expats in Tbilisi have about housing?

"Expats in Tbilisi recommend going to view multiple apartments in person before committing to one, as the quality of living spaces varies greatly. They advise potential renters to thoroughly inspect the condition of any space, as this is not always reflected in the pictures provided. Additionally, joining groups for expats or talking to people who have lived in Tbilisi for a while can be a good resource for finding listings of rental properties. As rental prices have been on the rise in recent years, many expats recommend budgeting for higher rent costs than one might be expecting," mentioned one expat inTbilisi.

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What are medical services in Tbilisi like?

When we asked expats and global nomads about the quality of medical care in Tbilisi, they replied:

"Tbilisi, Georgia has a wide range of quality medical services available. Medical care is provided by both public and private care providers. There are several well-equipped hospitals, including the Georgian National Center for Disease Control and Public Health, as well as private clinics and health centers. Furthermore, a variety of specialty services, such as cardiology, OB/GYN and pediatric care, are readily available. Pharmacies are also common and usually have a wide variety of medications. Most medical staff are well-trained and highly qualified, and English-speaking staff can usually be found," commented one expat living in Tbilisi, Georgia.

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Are healthcare and health insurance expensive in Tbilisi?

"The cost of healthcare and health insurance in Tbilisi is generally considered to be fairly high compared to other countries. While there is national health insurance available in the country, private health insurance is typically more expensive and often comes with a limited selection of coverage. Medical costs in general are on the high side and can be hard to manage for those on low or fixed incomes. That said, there are opportunities to cut costs, such as using a local GP or shopping around for the best deals," remarked one expat in Tbilisi.

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Is the cost of living in Tbilisi high?

We asked people about the cost of living in Tbilisi, they wrote:

"The cost of living in Tbilisi is relatively low compared to other European countries. Rental prices for a one bedroom apartment in Tbilisi would typically be in the range of 400-500 US dollars per month and for a two bedroom apartment the range is around 500-650 US dollars per month. A meal for two at a moderately priced restaurant can range from around 20-30 US dollars, making it an affordable option for dining out," commented one expat who moved to Tbilisi.

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What are the visa & residency requirements in Tbilisi?

"Visitors to Tbilisi, Georgia are required to obtain a visa prior to entry, unless they have citizenship of the European Union, Switzerland, or the United States or they are citizens of visa-exempt countries. Visas are typically issued for a 90-day period and can be obtained in the visitor’s home country through a Georgian embassy or geographically nearest Georgian consulate. In order to apply for a visa, an applicant needs to submit an application form, proof of identity, evidence of sufficient funds to finance their stay, travel insurance information, as well as an invitation letter from an individual in Georgia if applicable. It is possible for foreign nationals to apply for residency in Tbilisi, Georgia after they have lived in the country for more than eighteen consecutive months. To do so, they must provide a valid passport, proof of a clean criminal record, a medical certificate, documentary evidence of financial means to support themselves, details of their economic activities in the country, and a copy of the rental agreement of their home in Georgia. Additionally, their applications must include proof that they have sufficient knowledge of the Georgian language. After the documents have been submitted, applicants will be interviewed and must pass a general knowledge quiz on the country. As part of the residency application process, the applicant is also required to pay a fee," said one expat living in Tbilisi.

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Why do people move to Tbilisi?

When we asked people why foreigners move to Tbilisi, they responded:

"Tbilisi, Georgia is an incredibly attractive destination for expats from around the world. With its unique blend of ancient architecture, natural scenery and a vibrant cultural scene, Tbilisi provides a refreshing change of pace for those seeking a new life abroad. The city's low cost of living, excellent infrastructure and thriving economy also attract those looking for financial stability. Additionally, the city's friendly people, delicious traditional Georgian cuisine, rich art and music scene, and its vibrant nightlife are appealing aspects for those looking to experience a new culture. With so many things to explore and discover, Tbilisi is fast becoming a popular choice among expats looking to experience life in a rapidly growing Eastern European city," said an expat in Tbilisi.

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About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

Tbilisi, Georgia

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