COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: The Republic of Moldova is a parliamentary democracy. Moldova is a member of NATO's Partnership for Peace program as well as a member of the Council of Europe. The capital, Chisinau, offers adequate hotels and restaurants, but tourist facilities in other parts of the country are not always highly developed and some of the goods and services taken for granted in other countries are not yet available. For more information please read the Department of State Fact Sheet on Moldova.
SMART TRAVELER ENROLLMENT PROGRAM (STEP) / EMBASSY LOCATION: If you are going to visit or live in Moldova, please take the time to tell our Embassy 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 Google Play Store, provides easy access to updated official country information, travel alerts, travel warnings, maps, and U.S. embassy locations. Travelers can also set up e-itineraries to keep track of arrival and departure dates and make notes about upcoming trips.
103, Mateevici Street, Chisinau, Moldova
Telephone: (373) (22) 40-83-00
Emergency after-hours telephone: (373)(22) 23-73-45
Fax: (373)(22) 22-63-61
ENTRY / EXIT REQUIREMENTS FOR U.S. CITIZENS: If you have a U.S. passport, you do not need a visa to enter Moldova. The Moldovan Ministry of Foreign Affairs posts a current list of countries whose citizens do not need visas to enter Moldova. For more information on entry requirements, please contact the Embassy of Moldova in Washington, D.C. or the Embassy of Moldova in a country near you.
U.S. citizens can stay in Moldova for up to 90 days within a six-month period. Residence permits are required for stays over 90 days. Immigration, residence, and work permits are issued for up to five years. The Moldovan Government receives applications at a "one-stop window" located at the Bureau of Migration office at 124, Stefan cel Mare Street in Chisinau.
Visitors to Moldova are required to register their arrival with the Moldovan government. Visitors are typically automatically registered upon arrival at Chisinau Airport or a land border with Romania or Ukraine.
U.S. citizens are permitted to enter Moldova through the separatist region of Transnistria. However,visitors who enter Moldova through Transnistria are not automatically registered and must register themselves within three days of their arrival in right-bank (western) Moldova at the Ministry of Information Development (MID) registration office located in central Chisinau at 49 Kogalniceanu Street.
If you plan to stay in Transnistria, you should register with the Passports Division of the Ministry of Interior in the city or town in which you are staying within the first 24 hours of your arrival.HIV/AIDS restrictions:Some HIV/AIDS entry restrictions exist for visitors and foreign residents. HIV testing is not required if you visit for less than 90 days; however HIV testing is required if you visit for longer than 90 days and/or apply for a residence permit. Please check this information with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before you travel.
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: Although there have been no terrorist incidents and we are currently unaware of terrorist threats against U.S. citizens in Moldova, stay aware of your surroundings at all times. Because police have the legal right to ask for identification on the street, carry your passport or a photocopy with you at all times.
A separatist regime controls the Transnistria region, east of the Dniester River. Be careful when visiting or crossing Transnistria, since the U.S. Embassy may not be able to help if you encounter difficulties. There are many checkpoints along roads leading into and out of Transnistria. Taking photographs of checkpoints, military facilities, and security forces is prohibited.
Members of racial minority groups visiting Moldova have sometimes reported that they were stared at, verbally abused, denied entrance into some clubs and restaurants, or harassed by police.
While Moldovan police can be helpful and might assist travelers in need, U.S. citizens have sometimes been harassed, mistreated, or subjected to extortion by Moldovan police. If a policeman stops you, you have a right to see his identity card ("legiti-MAT-seeya" in Romanian). Traffic police should also display a metal badge on the outside of their uniforms. If the policeman harasses you or asks for a bribe, try to remember the official's name, title, badge number, and description, and contact the U.S. Embassy. If you refuse to pay a bribe, you might be delayed, but there have been few reports of any problems beyond inconvenience.
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Be cautious when using ATMs in Moldova. Some U.S. citizens have reported unauthorized access to their accounts after using ATMs (although banks sometimes post their fees later as separate transactions). They have also reported PIN theft from ATMs in Moldova, either by "skimming" devices, which record the card information, or by hidden cameras or "shoulder surfing."
Train and bus services are below Western European standards and some U.S. citizens have been robbed while traveling on international trains to and from Moldova. Be on your guard against pickpockets on public transit. U.S. citizens who use the Moldovan postal service have reported that international letters and package mail are sometimes opened or pilfered.
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 if you purchase them you may also be breaking local law.
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 equivalents to the "911" emergency line in Moldova are: 901 (Fire), 902 (Police) and 903 (Ambulance). You may have difficulty finding an English-speaking operator.
Please see our information on victims of crime ,including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.
Internet fraud warning: There are various Internet scams in Moldova that target foreigners. Since 2008, "phishing" schemes have hacked the bank accounts of U.S. businesses and transferred the money to Moldova. Internet auction fraud, in which buyers fail to pay for purchases or send counterfeit checks as payment, is not uncommon.
Be aware of dating scams, in which someone you met over the Internet asks for money. They may say they need money to help their family, buy plane tickets, pay medical bills, provide "economic solvency funds," etc. A number of U.S. citizens have been defrauded. Fraud committed in Moldova is subject to Moldovan law and could prove difficult to prosecute. The U.S. Embassy can do little to assist U.S. citizens defrauded via the Internet. Please see our information on International Financial Scams.
If arrested: If you are arrested in Moldova, authorities of Moldova are required to notify the U.S. Embassy of your arrest. However, Moldovan police, particularly in Transnistria, do not always report the arrest or detention of U.S. citizens. 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 U.S. Embassy of your arrest.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While you are traveling in Moldova, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Moldovan laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own. In some places you may be taken in for questioning if you don't have your passport with you. In some places, it is illegal to take pictures of certain buildings. In some places driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail. These criminal penalties will vary from country to country. There are also some activities that might be legal in Moldova, but still illegal in the United States, and you can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or possessing or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States.If you break local laws in Moldova, your U.S. passport will not help you avoid arrest or prosecution.
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: You should register large sums of foreign currency and declare all valuable goods with Moldovan customs authorities when you arrive in Moldova. Contact the Moldovan Embassy in Washington, D.C. for more information about customs requirements.
Business in Transnistria: As noted in the "Threats to Safety and Security" section above, a separatist regime controls a narrow strip of land in eastern Moldova known as Transnistria ("Pridnestrovie" in Russian). Exercise caution if you plan to do business in Transnistria. The U.S. Embassy cannot offer consular or commercial services to U.S. citizens in Transnistria. Moldovan law requires firms (including those located in Transnistria) to register with the Moldovan Government and to use Moldovan customs seals on their exports. Under a December 2005 agreement between Moldova and Ukraine, Ukrainian customs and border officials require Moldovan customs seals on goods exported from Moldova, including Transnistria, and are enforcing this requirement with EU assistance. Transnistrian firms not legally registered with Moldovan authorities operate in contravention of Moldovan law, which complicates or even prevents the import or export of goods. The Government of Moldova has indicated that it will not recognize the validity of contracts for the privatization of firms in Transnistria that are concluded without the approval of the appropriate Moldovan authorities. A number of Internet fraud schemes also originate in Transnistria.
If you are a women traveling abroad, please review our travel tips on the Women Travelers page on Travel.State.gov.
LGBT RIGHTS: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals are specifically protected by anti-discrimination laws with respect to employment, and organization of LGBT events are generally allowed. However, traditional cultural attitudes result in LGBT individuals often facing de-facto discrimination and harassment by state and private actors. For further information on LGBT travel, please read our Information for LGBT Travelers page.
Telephone, internet, and postal service: Cell phone coverage in Moldova is excellent. Many restaurants, bars, and public places in Chisinau have free Wi-Fi Internet access, but availability is limited outside Chisinau. Express mail services, such as DHL, UPS, and Federal Express, are available in Chisinau.
Accessibility: While in Moldova, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from what you find in the United States. There are very few wheelchair ramps in Moldova, and most are narrow and steep. Most streets, sidewalks, and other public paths are not well maintained.
You are encouraged to call ahead to inquire about accessibility with your hotel before traveling to Moldova.
Commercial transactions: Moldova is still generally a cash-only economy. Credit cards are often accepted in Chisinau, but rarely in the rest of the country. Use your credit card with caution, and protect your personal information.
MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION: Medical care is substandard throughout Moldova, including in Chisinau. If you are sick or injured, try to go to Western Europe for treatment. In an emergency, try to contact the local ambulance service. Hospital accommodations are inadequate, technology is not advanced, and there may be shortages of routine medications and supplies. Elderly travelers and those with existing health problems may be at particular risk. The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of medical facilities and English-speaking doctors, but cannot endorse any doctors.
If you take prescription or over-the-counter medications, you should bring an extra supply with you. Pharmacies are not always stocked to Western standards, products are not always labeled in English, and poor quality and/or counterfeit medications have been reported.
You can find good information on vaccinations and other health precautions on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention( CDC) website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) website, whichalso contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.
Tuberculosis is an increasingly serious health concern in Moldova. For further information, please consult the CDC's information on TB.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: You cannot assume your insurance will go with you when you travel. It is very important to find out BEFORE you leave whether or not your medical insurance will cover you overseas. You should ask your insurance company two questions:
In many places, doctors and hospitals still expect payment in cash at the time of service. Your regular U.S. health insurance may not cover doctor and hospital visits in other countries. If your policy doesn't go with you when you travel, it's a very good idea to take out another one for your trip. For more information, please see our medical insurance overseas page.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in Moldova, you may encounter very different road conditions from those in the United States.
Moldova's highway infrastructure consists mainly of two-lane roads that often lack signage, are unevenly maintained, and seldom have lighting. Be careful of tractors, bicyclists, horse-drawn carts, pedestrians, and livestock on the road. Streets in Moldova are not well maintained. Try to limit driving outside cities to daylight hours. Many Moldovan drivers would be considered aggressive or erratic by U.S. standards. Many accidents involve drunk drivers. In 2009, Moldova adopted a law that established a maximum legal blood alcohol content of 0.03%, well under the levels allowed in most states in the United States. If you drive with a blood alcohol level above 0.08%, you will be charged in criminal court. However, traffic police generally do not have testing equipment at roadside, so if they can smell alcohol on your breath, you're likely to becharged with a crime. If this happens, you have the right to request a blood test to confirm your actual blood alcohol level. To be safe, don't drink alcohol before driving. The quality and safety of public transportation vary widely. Trains, trolleybuses, and buses are often old and frequently break down. Taxis are available in most urban areas, and vary from old Soviet-era vehicles to new Western European or U.S. vehicles. Emergency services are generally responsive, although you may not find an English-speaking operator. You can call police at 902 and an ambulance at 903.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Moldova, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the Government of Moldova's Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA's safety assessment page.
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This replaces the Country Specific Information for Moldova dated February 6, 2013 to replace the following sections: Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, Entry/Exit Requirements, Safety and Security, and LGBT Traveler Information.