Digital Nomads Are Flocking To Tbilisi, Georgia

By U Cast Studios
June 8, 2021

Digital Nomads Are Flocking To Tbilisi Georgia
Image Courtesy Of The Sovereign Man

As you may have heard, taxes are going up.

And not just in the United States, but in other countries as they, too, fight ballooning deficits and sovereign debt. To top it off, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is pushing for a global minimum corporate tax rate.

This article was written by Simon Black and originally published by the Sovereign Man.com.

People are again considering moving — whether it be from an urban area to rural one… or to a completely different country. In these times, it makes sense to reduce your expenses (and, if possible, legally reduce the amount of taxes you owe).

And one such place is Georgia (the country).

Situated in the former USSR, it is fast becoming the destination for location independent entrepreneurs, remote workers and digital nomads.

A good friend of Sovereign Man’s moved there before the pandemic, and in our recent Sovereign Man: Confidential Case Study, we unpacked his feedback on finding low-cost liberty in the former USSR.

Our friend Lucas (not his real name) is a brilliant young man, the kind you want on your side.

He embodies the Sovereign Man spirit, in that he considers the entire world, not just his native country, as a platform for the opportunities he seeks. He speaks three languages, is incredibly tech savvy, and has created systems to both generate and invest income from wherever he lives.

In short, he harnesses the tools in front of him to create the life he wants.

Lucas grew up in Germany. He is thoroughly practical, with a bent towards efficiency. So it makes sense that he started his research journey by creating a checklist.

He wanted a country with:

  • A low cost of living
  • Low taxes
  • The ability to gain temporary residency relatively easily and inexpensively
  • Good Internet/mobile infrastructure
  • Access to nature, and
  • The ability to bring in both his girlfriend (from Asia) and his Puerto Rican cat.

That last requirement might strike you as funny, but when Lucas and his girlfriend searched for apartments in Berlin, they found these to be incredibly expensive — and it was near impossible to bring their cat.

Germany also did not make it easy for Lucas’s girlfriend, Valerie, to gain residency.

The two decided to search elsewhere. Puerto Rico offered nice tax incentives, but was too difficult to immigrate to for non-Americans. Asia was not quite the right fit for Lucas either, nor was South America.

The easiest answer was to look outside the EU, but still closer to home… somewhere halfway between Asia and Europe that would welcome Valerie.

And the answer was Georgia.

Lucas’s family had roots in the former Soviet Union. Ironically, he found more personal and financial freedom there than he had in Germany. 

We asked Lucas to give us an update on life in Georgia, and some details about living there for those of you considering an alternative to your home country.

(The full report, which features his first-hand insights, is over 20 pages long. Hence we will give you only the key highlights below. )

Georgia: A Freelancer Finds Freedom in the Former Soviet Union

Tbilisi, Georgia.

Most of you have never been there. But Tbilisi, the country’s capital, is fast becoming an appealing place for digital nomads and other freelancers due to its low-cost, low-tax lifestyle.

It also has remained relatively free (especially for a city) during the Great Awful, and it offers a number of positives during these times of uncertainty.

Benefits of living in Georgia: 

  1. Low cost of living: Rent a 120 square meter (1,300 sq.ft.), 2-bedroom apartment just outside the city center for only $550 per month, or a nice one-bedroom apartment in the middle of Old Town Tbilisi for as little as $350 per month. And order in lunch and dinner for two, from their equivalent of Uber Eats, for only $400 per month. 
  2. Super low tax options: Pay only 1% in turnover tax if you earn less than $145,000 per year by qualifying for their Individual Entrepreneur Small Business Status (please note that not all types of services qualify for this tax bracket — more details in the full report). 
  3. Easy visa and residency policies: Citizens of nearly 100 countries can enter Georgia without the need for a visa, and then legally live AND work there for a full year. (This is rare — and it’s annually renewable.) 
  4. Ease of doing business: Georgia is ranked 7th among 190 countries in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business 2020 Ranking, just behind the United States (and ahead of the United Kingdom, Norway, Germany and many other countries). 
  5. Beautiful scenery and countryside living: Georgia is an extremely beautiful country with a lot of scenic variety. Visit the beach at the Black Sea in summer. Sample amazing local wine at one of the dozen wineries in the Kakheti region (Georgia has been making wine for 8,000 years!) And in winter, go skiing or snowboarding in Gudauri.

Disadvantages of Georgia:

  1. Environmental pollution: The air pollution in Georgia can be quite severe and is a lot more noticeable than in other countries — especially in winter. 
  2. “Soviet” service provider mentality: While most Georgians are wonderful, warm, friendly, and welcoming people, the same friendliness doesn’t always extend to their service and work ethics. So if smart service is something you value, a move to Georgia will require a significant mindset adjustment. 
  3. Limited travel and flight connections: Tbilisi is not a huge international hub, and direct flights were limited, even before COVID-19. Also, many flights arrive in Georgia or leave in the middle of the night. So if you are a frequent traveler, Georgia may not be the best hub for you. Turkish Airlines does, however, offer flights in and out of Georgia to France, Germany, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and other countries though.

But there are a LOT more things to consider (and significant pitfalls to avoid!)

The full SMC report also covers a range of other factors to consider, including lockdowns and personal freedom, how to find trustworthy Georgian lawyers and accountants, expat community building and networking, language considerations, education, as well as Georgian healthcare.

Along with many more insights from an entrepreneur who has moved there…

Conclusion

Georgia is a beautiful, culturally rich, business-friendly country with low taxes and a low-cost lifestyle. For the right type of person — especially for a younger digital nomad — it can tick a lot of boxes.

In our next Sovereign Man: Confidential piece on Georgia, we’ll be covering how to gain Georgian residency as a freelancer/entrepreneur/remote worker, as well as how to benefit from the country’s generous tax system.

Perhaps it will give you some ideas to think about… and a place to consider if you’re feeling squeezed into a box back home.

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