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Romania

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Summary

  • Exercise normal safety precautions in Romania. Use common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour, as you would in Australia. Monitor the media and other sources for information on local conditions.
  • Protests occur in Bucharest and other major cities and may turn violent without warning. Services, traffic and public transport may be disrupted. Avoid demonstrations, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media.
  • Drink spiking occurs, particularly in Centrul Vechi (the old town in Bucharest). Never leave food or drink unattended. Don't accept food, beverages, gum or cigarettes from strangers or new acquaintances. See Safety and security
  • Check with your travel insurer to ensure activities, such as car hire, quad bikes, motorcycles, jet skis or 'adventure sports' are covered by your insurance policy. Seek advice on any restrictions that may apply (such as if you are not licensed for those vehicles in Australia). See Safety and security
  • Winter tyres are mandatory on roads covered in snow, usually from November to March. Use tyre chains when driving in extreme weather conditions. See Local travel

Entry and exit

Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Australian Government cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements. 

Visas

You don't need a visa for stays of less than 90 days for tourism. For other kinds of travel you need a visa.

Romania isn't a party to the Schengen Convention, but it's working towards becoming a member of the Schengen area. Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as customs and quarantine regulations) may change as they're realigned with those of the Schengen area. Contact an Embassy or Consulate of Romania for up-to-date information.

More information:

Other formalities

Special rules apply to the entry of children under the age of 18, including Australian-Romanian dual nationals.

All children must be accompanied by an adult and must have a valid passport.

Children travelling with only one parent or guardian must produce a legal document signed by any non-travelling parents, giving approval for the child's travel. Alternatively, where applicable, a death certificate of a parent registered on the birth certificate of the child, or a court order granting sole custody to the travelling (or authorising) parent must be shown. The documents must be translated into Romanian.

More information:

Passport

Check the expiry date of your Australian passport before you travel. Some countries won’t let you enter unless your passport is valid for six months from when you plan to leave that country.

Always carry your passport when crossing borders, even within the Schengen area.

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're forced to hand over your passport, contact the Australian Embassy in Athens for advice.

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

Money

The local currency is the Romanian Leu (RON).

Romania is a member of the European Union (EU) and complies with EU currency regulations. Declare cash of 10,000 Euros or more (or equivalent) if you're travelling between Romania and any non-EU country. If you don't declare, or you give incorrect information, you'll be fined. You don't need to declare cash if you're travelling to or from another EU country.

Romania is predominantly a cash economy, but credit card and debit card use is increasing.

It's illegal to change money on the streets. Exchange money at banks, large hotels or exchange bureaux.

Safety and security

Crime

Pickpocketing and bag-snatching occur, particularly near hotels, on public transport and in train stations. Organised groups of thieves, which may include children, target foreigners.

Thefts from hotel rooms are common. Thefts and assaults occur on intercity trains. Drink-spiking is an issue, especially in Centrul Vechi (the old town in Bucharest).

There have been reports of thieves who present themselves as police officers asking for identification and wallets. Romanian police won't stop you at random to demand your identification or wallet, but they may conduct checks if your behaviour doesn't comply with local laws.

Financial scams, including credit card and ATM fraud, are common. Internet fraud, including dating and marriage scams, also occur in Romania.

  • Pay close attention to your personal belongings, particularly near hotels and on and around public transport.
  • Carry only what you need. Leave other valuables in a secure location.
  • Avoid walking in quiet and poorly lit streets, especially at night.
  • Lock hotel and train compartment doors from the inside. Don't leave your train compartment unattended.
  • Don't accept food, drinks, gum or cigarettes from strangers or new acquaintances.
  • Don't leave food or drinks unattended.
  • Avoid ATMs that open onto the street, especially at night. Use ATMS in banks, shops and shopping centres.
  • Keep your credit card in sight at all times.
  • Be alert to internet scams and other fraud. Be sceptical of any request for bank account details and be wary in any business-like dealings, especially online.
  • Be wary of any connections made through internet dating schemes or chat rooms.

More information:

Civil unrest and political tension

Protests occur in Bucharest and other major cities and may turn violent without warning. Services, traffic and public transport may be disrupted. Avoid demonstrations, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media.  

Terrorism

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world, including in Europe.

In recent years, terrorists have staged attacks in a number of European cities. In addition, a number of planned attacks have been disrupted by European security services.

  • 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 the media 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's safe to do so. 

More information: Terrorism threat worldwide

Local travel

Tours and adventure travel

Transport and tour operators don't always follow recommended safety standards, including for adventure activities, such as bungee jumping. They may not provide sufficient safety equipment, follow maintenance standards, or observe safety precautions.

If you plan to hire a car, quad bike, motorcycle, jet ski or other vehicle, or participate in adventure activities, speak with your travel insurer to confirm the activity is covered by your insurance policy. Seek advice on any restrictions that may apply (such as only being covered if you're properly licensed for that vehicle type in Australia).

  • Insist on minimal safety requirements.
  • Always use available safety equipment, such as lifejackets or seatbelts, even if others don't.
  • If appropriate safety equipment isn't available, use another provider.

Accessibility

Accessibility for travellers with disabilities is limited in some parts of Romania. Public transport and building access facilities for the disabled are better in Bucharest and other large cities, international airports and large hotels.

Road travel

Major city streets and inter-city highways are generally in good condition but most other roads are poorly maintained, badly lit and narrow. Additional driving hazards include poor driving standards, wandering livestock and horse-drawn carts on the roads.

Familiarise with Romanian traffic laws before you drive.

  • The minimum age for driving in Romania is 18 years.
  • You need a road toll sticker (Rovinieta) to use national roads. Purchase one online or from petrol stations and border points. Driving without a sticker may lead to a fine. More information: Rovinete
  • Children under 12 years of age can't sit in the front seat of any vehicle
  • Driving with any amount of alcohol in your system is illegal.

If you drink and drive, you may lose your licence, receive a fine or be sentenced to prison for up to five years. Breathalyser tests are required on the scene for all drivers involved in an accident. Refusing to take a breathalyser test is a crime.

Road travel can be dangerous when roads are wet or covered with ice and snow. Winter tyres are mandatory on roads covered in snow, usually from November to March. Use tyre chains when driving in extreme weather conditions. Check weather alerts for Romania on meteoalarm.

Traffic laws are strictly enforced and police conduct frequent checks, including radar speed checks. Penalties include loss of licence and fines.

If you need emergency roadside assistance, call 9271.

More information: Road safety and driving

Motorcycles

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

Driver's licence

You need an International Driving Permit (IDP), along with your current Australian driver's licence to drive a vehicle in Romania. Driving without an IDP could void your travel and vehicle insurance.

If you stay longer than 185 days, you can apply for a Romanian Driver’s Licence through the General Directorate for Driving Licences and Car Registration. More information: DRPCIV (Romanian only)

More information: Road safety and driving

Taxis

Authorised taxis are generally safe and reliable. At airports they can be found at ranks outside the arrivals terminal. They display taxi registration, licensing and tariff information and have an airport sign on both sides of the vehicle.

  • Only use authorised taxis.
  • Avoid offers of taxi services from touts at airports, train stations and other public places as you may be overcharged.

Air travel

The Australian Government doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See the Aviation Safety Network for information on aviation safety.

More information: Air travel

Laws

You're subject to 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

Penalties for possession or trafficking of drugs can be severe, and include prison sentences of up to 20 years.

More information: Carrying or using drugs

Other laws

Carry photo identification at all times. Keep your Australian passport in a safe place, and carry a photocopy.

The following activities are illegal:

  • taking photographs of airports, military installations or other secure locations
  • prostitution
  • sexual conduct with a person under 18
  • driving a vehicle with any amount of alcohol in your system
  • refusing to take a breathalyser test.

Australian laws

Some Australian criminal laws apply overseas. If you commit these offences, you can 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

Local customs

Homosexuality isn't illegal but it's not widely accepted in Romanian society.

More information: LGBTI travellers   

Health

Travel insurance

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

Regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government won't 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 aren't covered under your policy
  • you're covered for the whole time you'll be away.

More information: Travel insurance

Physical and mental health

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 medication available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is 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 a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating what the medicine is, how much you take and that it's for personal use only.

Before you leave Australia, check if your medication is legal in each country you're travelling to.

More information: Prescription medicines

Health risks

Rabies

Rabies is widespread. Feral dogs roam city streets, often in packs. Dog attacks are common.

  • Consult your travel doctor on vaccination against rabies before you travel.
  • If you're bitten or scratched by a dog or other animal, get treated as soon as possible.

More information: Infectious diseases

Tick-borne encephalitis

Travel in forested areas brings the risk of exposure to tick-borne encephalitis. Ticks are very common in country areas and are active from spring (March to June) and autumn (September to December).

West Nile virus

West Nile virus is a transmitted by mosquitos. In the past, the Romanian Health Ministry has confirmed cases of West Nile virus in Alba, Bucharest, Cluj, Constanta, Dolj, Galati, Mures, Sibiu and Teleorman. There is no vaccine to prevent West Nile virus.

Protect yourself against mosquito-borne illnesses:

  • ensure your accommodation is mosquito proof
  • take measures to avoid insect bites, including using insect repellent and wearing long, loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing.

Measles

An outbreak of measles has spread across Romania in recent years. Make sure your vaccinations are up-to-date before you travel.

More information: Measles fact sheet (Department of Health)

Other infectious diseases

Water-borne, food-borne and other infectious diseases (including tuberculosis, typhoid and hepatitis) occur, with more serious outbreaks from time to time.

  • In rural areas, drink boiled or bottled water, and avoid ice cubes.
  • Avoid raw and undercooked food.

Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering from diarrhoea.

More information: Infectious diseases

Medical facilities

Medical facilities are generally well below Australian standards and the availability of medical supplies is limited, particularly outside major cities.

Treatment can be expensive and up-front payment is often required.

Romania has three decompression chambers, all located in the port city of Constanta on the Black Sea coast.

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

Natural disasters

Serious earthquakes are rare, but earth tremors are common.

Flooding is common in the autumn and winter months (September to March).

If there is a natural disaster or severe weather:

  • secure your passport in a safe, waterproof location or carry it on you
  • 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.

More information:

Where to get help

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

Emergency phone numbers

  • Fire: 112
  • Medical emergencies: 112
  • Criminal issues, contact police: 112

English speaking operators are available.

For non-emergency criminal issues, contact the local police at 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 has a Consulate in Bucharest, headed by an Honorary Consul. The Consulate provides limited consular services and doesn't issue passports.

Australian Consulate, Bucharest

Honorary Consul
The Group
3 Praga St, District 1
Bucharest 011801
Romania
 Phone: +4 0374 060 845 or +4 0212 062 200
Fax: +4 031 107 1378
Email: office@australianconsulate.ro

The Australian Embassy in Athens provides full consular assistance to Australians in Romania.

Australian Embassy, Athens

5 Hatziyianni Mexi Street, Level 2
Athens 115 28 GREECE
Phone: +30 210 870 4000
Fax: +30 210 870 4111
Website: greece.embassy.gov.au
Facebook: Australia in Greece

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 Consulate or Embassy contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre in Canberra on +61 2 6261 3305 from overseas, or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

Additional information