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Moldova

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Summary

  • Exercise normal safety precautions in Moldova. Use sense and look out for suspicious behaviour as you would in Australia. Monitor the media and other sources for changes to local travel conditions.
  • Reconsider your need to travel to Transnistria as tensions may be heightened reflecting developments in Ukraine. See Safety and security.
  • There has been a significant influx of asylum seekers into Europe, causing disruption to some cross-border road and train transport services. Further disruptions are possible. Make contingency plans. See Local travel.
  • Avoid all demonstrations, rallies and localised street disturbances as they may turn violent. See Safety and security.
  • Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. Terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities in recent years. See Safety and security.
  • Australia does not have an Embassy or Consulate in Moldova. The Australian Embassy in Russia provides consular assistance to Australians in Moldova. See Where to get help.
  • See Travel smart for general advice for all travellers.

Entry and exit

If you're visiting Moldova for up to 90 days (within a six month period), you won't need a visa. For longer stays, you'll need a visa. Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact an Embassy or Consulate of Moldova, or visit the Moldova Government website for up-to-date information.

Record your entry date and, where applicable, check your visa dates carefully. Penalties for overstays include deportation.

Entry or exit through Transnistria

Avoid entering or exiting Moldova through Transnistria. There are numerous checkpoints along the routes into and out of Transnistria but these are not official border or immigration control points. If you enter through Transnistria then cross the internal boundary between Transnistria and Moldova proper, you could face difficulties leaving Moldova as your passport will not show a valid entry stamp.

Other formalities

Visitors to Moldova must register at their port of entry. Registration is automatically carried out by passport control authorities at border crossings, except when entering through Transnistria.

There are strict regulations covering the export of antiques, artworks (including modern art and even posters if they are particularly rare or valuable) and items of historical significance from Moldova. If you want to export such items, first seek approval from the Moldovan Department of Monuments. You'll need to provide evidence of approval to export and may need to provide relevant receipts of purchase when you depart Moldova. 

All goods must be processed by Moldovan customs authorities to be allowed entry into Ukraine. As such, businesses based within Transnistria could face difficulties importing or exporting goods if they are not registered in Moldova.

Passport

Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months from the date you intend to return to Australia and has at least two blank pages.

Your passport is a valuable document and attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. Always keep it in a safe place.

Be aware of attempts to obtain access to your passport by deception.  If you are forced to hand over your passport, contact the Embassy for advice.

If your passport is lost or stolen, you must notify the Australian Government as soon as possible.

Money

The currency is the Moldova Leu (MDL).  The Euro and US dollars are both easily exchanged for MDL at banks and licensed money-changers. Australian dollars are rarely accepted.

The economy in Moldova is cash-based. Travellers' cheques and credit cards are accepted only in some of the major hotels. Keep your credit card in sight at all times when making purchases – fraud is a risk.

There are very few automatic teller machines (ATM) outside of the capital. Be careful when using ATMs as there have been cases of unauthorised withdrawals after using electronic banking facilities in Moldova. Where possible, use ATMs in controlled areas, such as within banks, shops and shopping centres.  

Safety and security

Civil unrest and political tension

In recent times, large politically-motivated demonstrations have occurred in Chisinau and other locations in Moldova. Demonstrations and localised street disturbances can occur with little warning and can become violent. Civil unrest can attract a heavy police presence.

  • Avoid demonstrations, protests rallies and localised street disturbances.
  • Monitor local media and other sources for advice of possible unrest and avoid those areas.
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities.

Political tensions in Transnistria are influenced by developments in Ukraine. Transnistria is not under government control and the security situation is fragile.

  • Reconsider your need to travel to Transnistria. Consider deferring non-essential travel, staying as short a time as possible, eliminating some activities from your itinerary or choosing a less risky destination.

If you choose to travel to Transnistria, despite the risks:

  • first confirm your travel insurance will cover you
  • take appropriate personal security measures
  • have contingency plans in place
  • don't enter Moldova through Transnistria. See Local travel.

Crime

You could encounter pick-pocketing, bag snatching or other petty crime, particularly in Chisinau. Criminals target trains and hotel rooms.

There have been cases of police officers or people posing as police officers requesting bribes, including in tourist areas.

Internet fraud, including some dating and marriage scams, originate in Moldova.

  • Pay close attention to your personal belongings, particularly on trains and in other crowded areas.
  • Carry only what you need. Leave other valuables in a secure location.
  • If you're stopped by police and asked to pay a 'fine', request identification or offer to accompany them to the nearest police station to pay. Get an official receipt.
  • Be wary of business, dating or marriage proposals from people you meet through the internet.
  • Monitor local sources of information on crime.

More information: Scams

Terrorism

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world, including in Europe. In the past, terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities.

  • Be alert to possible threats, especially in public places.
  • Exercise particular caution around locations known to be possible terrorist targets.
  • Report any suspicious activity or items to police.
  • Monitor local news for any new or emerging threats.
  • Take official warnings seriously and follow the instructions of local authorities.
  • If there is an attack, leave the affected area immediately if it is safe to do so. 

More information: Terrorist threat worldwide

Local travel

Mass movement of asylum seekers has put significant pressures on border controls in Europe in recent years. Always carry your passport when crossing borders. Monitor local media and ask transport providers for up-to-date information on border conditions.

Road travel

Roads are poorly maintained and street lighting is rare. Pedestrians, farm vehicles and wandering livestock on roads make driving hazardous.

Driving with a blood alcohol level greater than zero is illegal.

  • Familiarise yourself with local road rules before you drive.
  • Drive defensively.
  • Don't drink and drive.
  • Avoid driving at night.

More information: Road safety and driving

Motorcycles

Check with your travel insurer whether your policy covers you when riding a motorcycle. Wear, and ensure your passenger wears, a correctly fastened and approved helmet.

Driver's licence

If you want to drive in Moldova, make sure that you get an International Driver's Permit before you depart Australia.

Taxis

Use only official taxis and limousines, preferably one booked through your hotel. Unofficial taxis may overcharge and not comply with safety standards. Official looking taxis can be unlicensed. Do not share a taxi with strangers or flag down unofficial taxis.

Public transport

Buses connecting Chisinau with other major cities are frequent, though standards are not the same as in Australia.

Air travel

The Australian Government does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Moldova.

More information: Air travel

Laws

You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.

If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular services charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.

Drug laws

Possession or trafficking of illegal drugs can result in severe penalties, including long jail sentences and heavy fines.

More information: Carrying or using drugs

Other laws

You'll need to carry identity documentation (at least a copy of your passport) at all times. If you fail to produce appropriate documentation to police upon request, you could be detained and fined.

The following activities are illegal in Moldova:

  • driving with a blood alcohol level greater than zero
  • photographing military facilities, government buildings and other infrastructure
  • operating a business without first registering it through the State Registration Chamber of the Ministry of Informational Development.  Businesses in Transnistria are included in this requirement.

Australian laws

Some Australian criminal laws apply overseas. If you commit these offences, you may be prosecuted in Australia. Laws include those relating to:

  • bribery of foreign public officials
  • child pornography
  • child sex tourism
  • female genital mutilation
  • forced marriage
  • money laundering
  • terrorism.

More information: Staying within the law

Dual nationals

Read Dual nationals.

Local customs

Same-sex relationships are legal in Moldova, but are not widely accepted by society.

More information: LGBTI travellers

Health

Travel insurance

Take out comprehensive travel insurance before you depart to cover overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation.

Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for your medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs. This can be very expensive and cost you many thousands of dollars upfront.

Confirm:

  • what circumstances and activities are and are not covered under your policy
  • that you are covered for the whole time you will be away.

More information: Travel insurance

Physical and mental health

It's important to consider your physical and mental health before travelling, especially if you have an existing medical condition.

  • At least eight weeks before you depart, see your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and implications for your health.
  • Get vaccinated before you travel.

More information:

Medication

Not all medications available over the counter or by prescription in Australia are available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.

Take prescription medicine with you so you remain in good health. Always carry on your person a letter from your doctor stating what the medicine is, how much you'll take and that it's for personal use only.

Before you leave Australia, contact an Embassy or Consulate of Moldova to check if your medication is legal and to get advice on any quantity restrictions that may apply.

More information: Prescription medicines

Health risks

Tick-borne encephalitis

Travel in forested areas brings the risk of exposure to tick-borne encephalitis and other tick-borne diseases. Ticks are common from spring to autumn.

  • Use insect repellent.
  • Wear long, loose fitting, light-coloured clothing.
  • Check your body for ticks during and after travel in forested areas.

Other infectious diseases

Water-borne, food-borne and other infectious diseases (including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, hepatitis, measles and rabies) are prevalent, with more serious outbreaks occurring from time to time.

  • Boil drinking water or drink bottled water.
  • Avoid ice cubes.
  • Avoid unpasteurised dairy products.
  • Avoid raw and undercooked food.
  • Seek medical attention if you suspect poisoning, if you have a fever or suffer from diarrhoea.

Medical facilities

Medical facilities in Moldova are limited and there are frequent shortages of medical supplies.

If you become seriously ill or injured, you'll need to be evacuated to a destination with appropriate facilities. Medical evacuation can be very expensive.

Natural disasters

Moldova is in an active earthquake zone and may be hit by severe weather conditions (heavy snow and wind), which can result in power outages.

If there is a natural disaster or severe weather:

  • secure your passport in a safe, waterproof location or carry it on you at all times (in a waterproof bag)
  • contact friends and family in Australia with regular updates about your welfare and whereabouts
  • closely monitor the media, other local sources of information and the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System
  • follow the advice of local authorities.

Where to get help

Depending on what you need, your best option may be to first contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurer. Your travel insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.

Emergency phone numbers

  • Firefighting and rescue services: 901
  • Medical emergencies: 903
  • Criminal issues, contact police: 902 or contact the nearest police station.

Always get a police report when reporting a crime. 

Tourism services and products

For complaints relating to tourism services or products, contact your service provider directly.

Australian Government

Read the Consular services charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.

Australia does not have an embassy or consulate in Moldova. For consular assistance, contact the Australian Embassy in Moscow, Russia:

Australian Embassy, Moscow

Podkolokolny Pereulok 10a/2
109028 Moscow, Russia
Telephone + 7 495 956-6070
Facsimile + 7 495 956-6170
Website: russia.embassy.gov.au

Check the Australian Embassy website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.

In a consular emergency if you’re unable to contact the Embassy, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre in Canberra on +61 2 6261 3305, or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

Additional information

Additional resources