I know the one border between the Republic of Georgia and Russia that is not in a rebel province was officially opened in the last couple of years... but reports are conflicting as to whether people not from ex CIS countries can cross.

So can somebody please confirm one way or another, is the border between Georgia and Russia open for travellers?

  • Why the accepted answer is contradictory to other, seems to me better founded, answers?
    – crenate
    Commented Apr 4, 2013 at 9:12
  • I accepted the answer I did because I was the asker of the question, I was in Georgia for 7 months, and I met people who had crossed or had planned to cross. The accepted answer backed that up. The other answers seem to merely repeat rules and rumours and/or discuss related matters without personal experience or reliable references. But if you have some recent experience or reliable references I would like to see them included. Commented Apr 5, 2013 at 2:41

5 Answers 5


There is an account as of July 2016 from an Australian blogger, Nick of Pineapple Explorer, and his Ukranian friend crossing at Verkhniy Lars in a Georgian car, with photos to back it up. It reportedly took them 12 hours to cross (waiting in line from 4am to 4pm) in high-season.


There is single point to cross border between Georgia and Russia: Verchniy Lars. It is open for the cars since March 1, 2010. Note that you have to get the Georgian and Russian visas to cross the border.

You can't cross the Georgian border from South Ossetia or Abkhazia territories! It is criminal in the Georgia, and you can get problems there.


According to this information, all you need to cross the border, is:

  1. If your country has an agreement with Georgia about no-visa crossing (such as Ukraine, Armenia, and so on), you simply must follow the rules of border-crossing of Russia and Georgia (see it on the official sites)
  2. If your need visa to visit the Georgia, and you have it, and you follow the rules of crossing the borders - you will have no problems.
  3. you can't get visa right at border in Verchniy Lars. You can get it at all the others official borders of Georgia, but not there. I think, this can be cause of problems for some peoples.

Also, there is a stats from various sites that there were some non-Russians and non-Georgians who cross the border.

  • 3
    @VMAtm: I specifially tried to state that I knew the "rebel provinces" were not crossable - perhaps I should word that in another way? Can you confirm that non-Russians and non-Georgians can really cross at Verchniy Lars? I have read that it might be officially possible but that people have been turned away. But answerers on non-SE sites always seem to hedge their bets. Commented Jun 23, 2011 at 9:55
  • 1
    Updated the question. Main point is that you can't get visa right at border in Verchniy Lars. At all other borders you can, but not there.
    – VMAtm
    Commented Jun 23, 2011 at 10:20
  • @VMAtm: Thanks that clears it up a bit for me. I'm from Australia so I don't need a visa for Georgia but I do need a visa and an invitation for Russia, which I assumed I would have to apply for elsewhere and assumed it would not be possible to get at the border, in fact I shall ask in another question. Commented Jun 23, 2011 at 10:34
  • Some information about Russian visas can be found here: travel.stackexchange.com/questions/11/…
    – VMAtm
    Commented Jun 23, 2011 at 10:39
  • Are you limited to go in Georgia from Russia? May be you can get there from another country?
    – VMAtm
    Commented Jun 23, 2011 at 10:45

I have an updated answer to this question as of today the 12th of April 2012. A Polish traveller at my hostel in Tbilisi tells me that foreigners from various countries are now being allowed to cross the Georgia/Russia border in both directions at Verchniy Lars.

Apparently a Russian law or rule or regulation was recently repealed and there had not been a restriction on this border crossing at the Georgian side.

I'll try to include a link if I can find one.

  • 2
    I was in Kazbegi last year and thought non-CIS'ers couldn't cross, it would be nice to get some authoritative information on this, but I figure it's probably in Russian somewhere. Commented Aug 22, 2016 at 5:13

I just met a friend yesterday who came back from a journey to Georgia. He wanted also to cross the border to Russia but it wasn't possible. They told him it is only allowed for Russian and Georgian citizens.

Don't know if they told him wrong facts, but afaik the border is closed.

  • What border point he was on? Verchniy Lars?
    – VMAtm
    Commented Aug 26, 2011 at 5:19
  • Are there any results? Also, I want to know - did your friend have visa at the moment of border-crossing?
    – VMAtm
    Commented Sep 2, 2011 at 5:57
  • Visa for Russia? This is very strange. I have 4 friends who pass the border in August, 2011.
    – VMAtm
    Commented Sep 2, 2011 at 7:27
  • May be - near 08/08 there can be troubles.
    – VMAtm
    Commented Sep 2, 2011 at 7:29

It's illegal (although you CAN get from Georgia to Abkhazia and you CAN get from Abkhazia to Russia, but you'll almost certainly be arrested if you try to re-enter Georgia having entered from Abkhazia from Russia, although from the experience of friends going Georgia-Abkhazia-Georgia is doable and seemingly tacitly approved by both Georgian and Abkhaz authorities).

However, you CAN exit Georgia via Sarpi into Turkey (only a few hours' bus journey - maybe 4-5 IIRC) and then take the boat from Trabzon in Turkey to Sochi in Russia.

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