COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Romania is a republic and a member of both NATO and the European Union. The country has a market-oriented economy with developed tourist facilities in the capital, Bucharest, and facilities of varying quality throughout the rest of the country. Read the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Romania for additional information.
SMART TRAVELER ENROLLMENT PROGRAM (STEP) / EMBASSY LOCATION: If you are going to live in or visit Romania, please take the time to tell our Embassy or Consulate about your trip. If you enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements. It will also help your friends and family get in touch with you in an emergency.
The Department's Smart Traveler app, available through iTunes and the Android market, provides easy access to updated official country information, travel alerts, travel warnings, maps, and U.S. embassy locations. Travelers can also set up e-tineraries to keep track of arrival and departure dates and make notes about upcoming trips.
U.S. Embassy Bucharest
B-dul Dr. Liviu Librescu Nr. 4-6
Sector 1, Bucharest
Telephone: (40) 21 200-3300 and/or (40) 21 270-6000
Emergency after-hours telephone: (40) 21 200-3433
Fax: (40) 21 200-3578
ENTRY / EXIT REQUIREMENTS FOR U.S. CITIZENS: You must have a valid passport to enter Romania. U.S. citizen visitors are granted 90 days of stay without a visa within a given six-month period. For stays longer than 90 days, you must obtain an extension of stay from the Romanian Immigration Office in the area of your residence. If you stay longer than 90 days, you will need an exit visa. We do not recommend “extending” the 90-day period by traveling to another country for a short period and then returning to Romania; people attempting this are often being denied re-entry to Romania as the Romanian Government is enforcing visa regulations more vigorously than in the past. Visit the Embassy of Romania website for the most current visa information, or contact the Romanian Embassy at 1607 23rd St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone number (202) 232-4747, or one of Romania’s consulates in Los Angeles, Chicago, or New York.
Foreigners are required to carry identification documents at all times. U.S. citizens who obtain a temporary or permanent residence permit must present the document upon the request of any “competent authorities.” Foreigners who do not have a residence permit should present their passports. The Embassy recommends carrying a copy of the relevant document with you at all times.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Romania.
Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.
THREATS TO SAFETY AND SECURITY: Romania remains largely free of terrorist incidents. The Romanian equivalent to the “911” emergency line is 112. English-speaking operators are available.
Prior police notice is required for public demonstrations and police oversight is routinely provided. The ongoing financial crisis and resulting austerity measures have increased the occurrences of strikes and public demonstrations in Romania, especially in Bucharest. To date, protests have remained peaceful. However, even demonstrations that are meant to be peaceful can become violent and unpredictable; you should avoid them if at all possible. Be alert and aware of your surroundings and pay attention to what the local news media has to say. Information on specific demonstrations can be found on the Embassy website’s Demonstration Notices page.
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CRIME: While most crimes in Romania are nonviolent, crimes do occur in which people do get hurt and even severely injured, especially at nightclubs and bars. Reports of sexual assault are uncommon; however, to be safe, be vigilant, especially at night and in situations involving alcohol. Although racial prejudice exists in Romania, especially toward those who look like Roma (“gypsies”), hate crimes are rare. An annual gay pride parade in Bucharest has been the scene of violent protests in past years.
Crimes against tourists, such as robbery, mugging, pick pocketing, and confidence schemes remain problematic. Organized groups of thieves and pickpockets, sometimes including minors, operate in train stations and on trains, subways, and buses in major cities. A number of thefts and assaults have occurred on overnight trains, including thefts from passengers in closed compartments. The U.S. Embassy recommends using the highest class available for train travel, and traveling with at least one other person. Avoid leaving your personal belongings unattended; stow them securely out of sight if leaving them in a parked car.
Credit-card and Internet fraud remain among the most common crimes affecting foreigners in Romania. Romania is largely a "cash-only" economy. While an increasing number of businesses accept credit cards, you may wish to use cash for goods and services rendered due to the risk of credit-card fraud. Vendors, including restaurant staff, have been known to misuse credit card information by making illegal purchases on a customer's account. There are an increasing number of Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) located throughout major cities, and sophisticated identity theft rings target them. Try to use ATMs located inside banks and check for any evidence of tampering before use. Be cautious when using publicly available Internet terminals, such as in Internet cafes, as sensitive personal information, account passwords, etc. may be compromised.
You should be alert to money exchange schemes targeting travelers. Some of these ploys have become sophisticated, involving individuals posing as plainclothes policemen who approach you, flashing a badge, and asking for your passport and wallet. Legitimate plainclothes Romanian Police Officers do not ask travelers to present identification. If presented with a situation like this, you should insist on the presence of a uniformed police officer and request that any problem be resolved at a police station.
You should be cautious about entering into contracts with Romanian groups and/or organizations. There have been a number of incidents where such contracts have not been honored. As a result, the U.S. Embassy recommends that all contracts entered into by foreigners are reviewed by a Romanian attorney. The Romanian legal system is difficult for foreigners to navigate, making the assistance of a local attorney nearly essential.
You should be very careful about developing relationships with individuals known only through contact over the Internet. Professional thieves in Romania commonly target U.S. citizens by contacting them through chat rooms or personal advertisements. They generally identify themselves as young Romanian women and develop a "relationship" with their victims over time. Requests for money may not begin for six months or longer when a fictional child becomes ill, a job is lost; a business needs start-up cash, etc. While numerous variations of this scam exist, money extortion remains the ultimate goal. If you believe you may have fallen victim to this kind of scam, contact American Citizens Services at the U.S. Embassy. Romanian authorities may be reluctant to prosecute these crimes unless you can show that coercion was used or a significant amount of your money was stolen.
Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal to bring back into the United States, but by buying them you may be breaking local law too.
VICTIMS OF CRIME: If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. We can:
The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Romania is 112. English-speaking operators are available.
Please see the Embassy’s Victim Assistance Brochure and Romanian Social Services Handout for specific information about victim assistance in Romania as well as the Department of State’s more general information on victims of crime, including victim compensation programs in the United States. Please also see the Embassy’s list of attorneys in Romania who speak English and work with U.S. citizens.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While traveling or living in Romania, you are subject to Romanian laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Romanian laws and legal systems can be vastly differentthan our own. Criminal penalties may vary as well. Please see the Embassy’s legal information for more details about Romanian law and penalties. Please also note the Embassy’s judicial assistance information for more information about the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty in force between Romania and the United States. You can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you engage in sexual conduct with children or use or disseminate child pornography. Under Romanian law, engaging in sexual conduct with a minor under the age of 15, or a minor between the ages of 15 and 18 where the adult has abused the minor's trust or had influence/authority over the minor, is a crime punishable with a 3-10 year prison sentence. Engaging in illicit sexual conduct with someone who has a physical or psychological disability is punishable with a 3-12 year prison sentence. Distribution of obscene materials depicting minors is a crime punishable with a 1-5 year prison sentence. Prostitution is illegal in Romania, regardless of the age of the participants.
Penalties for the possession, use, or trafficking of illegal drugs in Romania are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.
If you are arrested in Romania, authorities of Romania are required to notify the U.S. Embassy of your arrest. If you are concerned the Department of State may not be aware of your situation, you should request the police or prison officials to notify the embassy. A consular officer from the embassy will visit you, but will not be able to get you out of jail; you will need to consult an attorney. A list of English speaking attorneys can be found on the embassy’s website The Romanian authorities will provide you with an attorney and translator if you cannot afford one.
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Stray dogs are common in Romania and generally tolerated. Strays are often fed and are seen frequently in public areas, especially in or near parks. Some statistics report one dog bite hourly in Bucharest. Because the immunization status of stray dogs is unknown, precautions to prevent rabies are recommended. See the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for more details. If you encounter dogs that appear aggressive, it is best to change your path to avoid contact with them.
Romania's customs authorities strictly regulate temporary importation or exportation of firearms, antiquities, and medications, into and from Romania. Romanian law allows you to bring cash into or out of Romania; however, you must declare sums larger than 10,000 Euros or the equivalent. You should contact the Embassy of Romania in Washington or one of Romania's consulates in the United States (see above) for specific information regarding customs requirements.
The unit of currency in Romania is the leu (also called the RON). ATMs, called "bancomats" in Romanian, are widely available throughout larger cities. However, ATMs that accept debit cards from the United States are less widespread. Look for international banks or ATMs that have symbols for international networks such as STAR and PLUS.
While major credit cards are accepted in many places, there is risk of fraud (see Crime). Contrary to practice in the United States, a PIN is usually required to make credit card purchases. Many American banks allow cardholders to establish such a PIN prior to travel, in case one is needed. Regardless, you should notify your bank of your international travel, and the potential legitimate use of your card abroad, prior to leaving the United States. Travelers' checks are of limited use but may be used to purchase local currency at some exchangehouses.
Both official and societal corruption remains problematic in Romania despite many new laws enacted prior to Romania’s entry into the European Union in 2007. For more details, please see the Embassy’s website page on corruption.
We are not aware of any special problems regarding dual-national Romanian-American citizens in Romania.
Disaster Preparedness: Romania is situated in a seismically active region and has a history of devastating earthquakes, with the greatest risk occurring in Bucharest. Mountainous areas of the country can be subject to torrential rains and flash floods, especially in the spring and summer months. Winter storms are severe and icy streets and sidewalks are hazardous; you should wear shoe traction devices to prevent slipping and be alert for falling icicles. While responsibility for caring for disaster victims, including foreigners, rests with Romanian authorities, disaster preparedness is also a personal responsibility. Additional information is available from the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Accessibility: While in Romania, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from that in the United States.
Romanian laws and regulations require that public places, the outdoor environment, means of transportation, and housing are made accessible. Accessibility is observed by a national authority and local governments. The following measures have been promoted by the Government of Romania in order to facilitate accessibility: marking parking areas; installing lifts and accessible toilets in public buildings; improving accessibility in housing; financial incentives for accessibility measures; installing special lighting for the visually impaired; and provisions specially adapted for motor vehicles. Special transport arrangements for persons with disabilities include free urban and interurban transport on buses and trains.
Accessibility varies greatly in Romania, with a big difference between urban and rural areas. Public transportation and building access are better in Bucharest and other large cities, international airports and large hotels. However, Romania is not an easy country for disabled travelers. Sidewalks and streets are uneven, and many small hotels and tourist sites do not have elevators or ramps. Access to public transportation is not adequately marked for people with visual impairments. Persons with disabilities will face obstacles when trying to gain access to public transportation. Where buses equipped for persons with disabilities do exist, a disabled person may find that the bus stops right in front of a parked car to which he/she cannot gain access. In addition, platforms may be narrow, steep, and slippery, especially at subway stations. There are few designated or reserved parking places for disabled people. Public institutions, cultural institutions and supermarkets are well lit, and most have a ramp at the entrance for use by people with mobility difficulties. The great majority of the buildings have corridors spacious enough for a wheelchair user to pass through comfortably. Central public institutions and supermarkets are best equipped with facilities for persons with disabilities. Restaurants, subway stations, and smaller public institutions are not.
Access for people with disabilities to Romania's tourist attractions has improved in recent years; however, it is advised to check with all service providers prior to your visit, ensuring that they will be able to meet your particular needs. Advance notice and reservations will also help ensure that you receive the best possible assistance.
MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION: Medical care in Romania is generally not up to Western standards, and basic medical supplies are limited, especially outside major cities. Some medical providers that meet Western quality standards are available in Bucharest and other cities but can be difficult to locate. Sanitary conditions in hospitals are variable. Nursing care and assistance from orderlies is often lacking in hospitals. Families often provide basic assistance to hospitalized relatives that U.S. citizens generally expect the hospital to provide. Travelers seeking medical treatment should choose their provider carefully.
Most prescription drugs and over-the-counter medication are available in Romania but may be sold under different brand names. Specific individual drugs may not be available due to differences in laws and regulations. Tuberculosis is an increasingly serious health concern in Romania. For further information, please consult the CDC's information on TB.
Response times for emergency services vary widely depending on the region of the country and the nature of the emergency. Romania has helicopter services available for the most critical medical evacuation situations.
A list of hospitals and physicians is available on the Embassy website. You can also find Information regarding health threats or other medical issues affecting visitors to Romania.
Good information on vaccinations and other health precautions can be found via the CDC website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) website, which also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: You can’t assume your insurance will go with you when you travel, so it’s very important to find out BEFORE you leave. You need to ask your insurance company two questions:
In Romania, doctors and hospitals expect payment in cash at the time of service from foreigners. Your regular U.S. health insurance may not cover doctors’ and hospital visits in other countries. Medicare/Medicaid is NOT valid in Romania. If your policy doesn’t provide overseas coverage, take out another one for your trip. For more information, please see our medical insurance overseas page.
Because of the limitations of medical care in Romania, the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest strongly recommends that you purchase overseas travel insurance with specific coverage for medical evacuation.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in Romania, you will encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. Traffic accidents are arguably the single most dangerous threat for U.S. citizens visiting Romania. The World Economic Forum ranks Romania 142 out of 144 states for road quality, with a limited number of freeways and infrequent passing lanes. While major streets in larger cities and major inter-city roads are generally in fair to good condition, many secondary roads are in poor repair, unpaved, badly lighted, narrow, and lacking marked lanes. According to the European Union Road Federation, Romania has the highest per vehicle rate of traffic fatalities of any country in the EU. It is essential to practice defensive driving techniques if you choose to drive here.
Roads, especially in the mountains, can be particularly dangerous when wet or covered with snow or ice. Winter snow removal, even in cities and on major highways, can be intermittent. Pedestrians, animals, cyclists, and horse-drawn carts share many roads with motor vehicles and it can be extremely difficult to see, particularly at night in rural areas. Parked vehicles often block sidewalks, forcing pedestrians to walk in the streets. Maintain vigilance when driving to avoid hitting those who are walking in the streets. Cross the street only at crosswalks, and always look both ways before crossing. Crosswalks are generally poorly marked and may be ignored by drivers even if there is a traffic light.
Romanian traffic laws are very strict. The traffic police can confiscate any form of a driver's license or permit for 1-3 months and request payment of fines at the time of the infraction; this includes minor infractions such as failing to yield to pedestrians at crosswalks. Driving under the influence of alcohol or causing an accident resulting in injury or death could result in imprisonment. There is zero tolerance for driving under the influence of alcohol. Police are required to give all drivers involved in an accident breathalyzer tests on the scene. Refusal to take a breathalyzer test will result in criminal penalties regardless of whether or not alcohol was involved.
U.S. driver's licenses are only valid in Romania for up to 90 days. Before the 90-day period has expired, U.S. citizens must either obtain an international driving permit in addition to their U.S. driver's license or a Romanian driver's license. Wearing a seat belt is mandatory. Children under 12 years of age may not be transported in the front seat.
Unless otherwise marked with road signs, speed limits are as follows:
The host country authority responsible for road safety is the Traffic Police of the Romanian Ministry of Interior. You can reach emergency roadside help and information for vehicle assistance and towing services by dialing 9271. For ambulance services, fire brigade or police, dial 112.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Romania’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Romania’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.
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This replaces the Country Specific Information for Romania dated April 8, 2012 to update the sections on Smart traveler enrollment program (step) / embassy location and Accessibility.