“On April 18, when we arrived at the Tbilisi airport, officials took our passports and told us to wait for ten minutes to finish the paperwork. That ten minutes turned into two and a half hours. Finally, a police officer arrived and took us in a room to check our bags. The officer finally told us that we have been denied entry,” Saleh al Saifi, 1 of the six Omanis told Muscat Daily.
Saifi mentioned that no cause was offered for the denial of entry. “We asked for the reason but was given none. We filed a complaint at the airport.”
The six Omanis, all more than 40 years old, collected their baggage and left for Muscat on the following day.
Saifi advised these who strategy to pay a visit to Georgia to feel twice. “I would advise people not to travel to the country at the moment. Even with proper documents, entry is not guaranteed. Another problem was that we were also not allowed to contact anyone there, be it officials or the airline for re-booking. It was a difficult time for all of us.”
got in touch with the Embassy of Georgia in Saudi Arabia, which appears right after Oman, to know why the Omanis had been deported in spite of getting correct travel documents.
An official in the Embassy of Georgia in Saudi Arabia mentioned, “Omani citizens can travel to Georgia without a visa and stay there for one year. They should have valid passports, return tickets, hotel reservations, bank statement and health insurance.”
The official nonetheless mentioned that immigration guidelines have been tightened in current instances but he had no clear explanation on why some travellers are getting sent back. “Immigration rules have been tightened at the Tbilisi and Batumi airports. Several travellers have been not allowed to enter and sent back by the same plane without any compensation. The final decision is made by airport authorities. Even if passengers have all required documents, there is no guarantee that they will be allowed entry. The embassy does not take any responsibility for this.”
He added that the choice to permit entry to any traveller solely lies in the hands of airport authorities. “It is not only Omanis who have been denied entry but travellers from many other countries including Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, India and the US.”
Information Source: Muscat Daily