Moldova

Latest update

This Advice was last issued on Friday, 28 November 2014.   This advice has been reviewed and reissued with new information in the Summary, under Entry and Exit (visa changes), Safety and Security (national elections scheduled for 30 November 2014, and travel advice level increase for the Transnistria region), Laws (doing business in Moldova), and updated details under Where to get help and Additional information. We have raised the level of our advice for the Transnistria region to reconsider your need to travel due to an unpredictable security situation, particularly in the lead-up to and during the election period. The overall level of this advice has not changed, we continue to advise Australians to exercise normal safety precautions in the rest of Moldova.

Moldova overall

Transnistria

Summary

  • We advise you to exercise normal safety precautions in Moldova.
  • You should exercise common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour as you would in Australia, and monitor the media and other sources for information on local travelling conditions.
  • Australians do not need a visa to travel to Moldova for stays up to 90 days within a six month period.
  • Parliamentary elections are scheduled for 30 November 2014. Australians should be vigilant in the period leading up to, during and immediately following the election.
  • You should avoid large public gatherings, political rallies and protests as they may turn violent.
  • The security situation in the Transnistria region is unpredictable as it is not under government control. We now advise Australians to reconsider the need to travel to Transnistria, as tensions may be heightened following developments in Ukraine, particularly during the coming election period.
  • There is an ongoing risk of terrorism in Europe. In the past, terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities.
  • Australia does not have an Embassy or Consulate in Moldova. The Australian Embassy in Russia provides consular assistance to Australians in Moldova.
  • See also our general advice for business travellers.
  • Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:
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Entry and exit

From January 2014, Australians no longer need a visa to travel to Moldova for stays up to 90 days within a six month period. Penalties for overstays may be enforced and could include deportation. Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact the nearest embassy or consulate of Moldova, or visit the Moldova Government website for the most up-to-date information.

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.

Entry to Moldova through Transnistria: You should avoid entering Moldova through the Transnistria border. There are numerous checkpoints along the routes into and out of Transnistria, however these are not considered to be border or immigration control points. As such, you will not be registered by Moldovan authorities as having legally entered Moldova. Should you subsequently cross the internal boundary between Transnistria and Moldova proper, you might face difficulties departing as your passport will not show a valid entry stamp.

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. An approval from the Moldovan Department of Monuments is required for the export of such material and this may be requested at the point of departure. We recommend you keep receipts of any such purchases in case they are requested at your point of departure.

Make sure your passport has at least six months validity from your planned date of return to Australia. You should carry copies of a recent passport photo with you in case you need a replacement passport while overseas.

Safety and security

Terrorism

There is an ongoing risk of terrorism in Europe. In the past, terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities.

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. See our Terrorist Threat Overseas bulletin for more information on terrorism and our General advice to Australian travellers for tips on staying safe overseas.

Civil unrest/Political tension

Parliamentary elections are scheduled for 30 November 2014. The security situation in Moldova remains fluid and there is potential for an increase in violence throughout the country. You should avoid protests, demonstrations, political rallies and large public celebrations as they may turn violent without warning.

Transnistria:

We now advise you to reconsider your need to travel to Transnistria. The security situation is unpredictable and the region is not under government control. Tensions may be heightened following developments in Ukraine, particularly during the coming Moldovan election period. You should think seriously about your need to travel there, which may mean 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, you should be aware of the significant risks and have security measures and contingency plans in place. You should also check to see if your travel insurance covers you.

Crime

Petty crime such as pick-pocketing and bag snatching occurs, particularly in Chisinau. Criminals are known to 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 dating and marriage scams do occur. For more information see our International Scams page.

Money and valuables

The economy in Moldova is cash-based and travellers cheques and credit cards are only accepted in some of the major hotels. There are very few automatic teller machines (ATM) outside of the capital. Both the Euro and US Dollar are accepted currencies in Moldova, however Australian dollars may not be accepted.

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. Keep your credit card in sight at all times when making purchases.

Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport. If your passport is lost or stolen overseas, report it online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.

Review the general advice to Australian travellers for further information on being safe and prepared abroad.

Local travel

Foreigners can be subject to frequent document inspections requiring presentation of current passports and visas. You should carry at least a copy of your passport at all times. Failure to provide identity documents may result in detention or a fine.

Roads are poorly maintained and street lighting is rare. Driving at night should be avoided. Sharing the roads with pedestrians, farm vehicles and wandering livestock can make driving particularly hazardous. For further advice, see our road travel page.

Airline safety

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

Please also refer to our general air travel page for information on aviation safety and security.

Laws

When you are in Moldova, be aware that local laws and penalties, including ones that appear harsh by Australian standards, do apply to you. If you are arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you but we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail. Research local laws before travelling.

Information on what Australian consular officers can and cannot do to help Australians in trouble overseas is available from the Consular Services Charter.

You are required to carry identity documentation (at least a copy of your passport) at all times. Failure to produce appropriate documentation to police upon request may result in detention and fines.

Possession or trafficking of illegal drugs can result in severe penalties, including long jail sentences and heavy fines. See our Drugs: Don’t carry or consume drugs overseas - Ever page.

Driving with a blood alcohol level greater than zero is an offence.

Foreigners have been questioned and detained for photographing military facilities, government buildings and other infrastructure.

Same-sex relationships are legal in Moldova, but are not widely accepted by society. See our LGBTI travellers page.

Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money, laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child pornography, and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.

Australian authorities are committed to combating sexual exploitation of children by Australians overseas. Australians may be prosecuted at home under Australian child sex tourism and child pornography laws. These laws provide severe penalties of up to 25 years imprisonment for Australians who engage in child sexual exploitation while outside of Australia.

Doing business in Moldova

Australians intending to travel to Moldova for business should read our Business travel advice. In addition, our Living and Working overseas page provides further information for Australians considering working and living overseas.

Registration of a business in Moldova is performed through the State Registration Chamber of the Ministry of Informational Development. Under Moldovan law, all companies (including those located in Transnistria) are required to register with Moldovan authorities.

In 2006, Ukraine instituted customs regulation for goods imported via Transnistria. 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.

Information for dual nationals

Our Dual nationals page provides further information.

Health

We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. 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 a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.

It is important to consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. We encourage you to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our health page also provides useful information for travellers on staying healthy.

Medical facilities in Moldova are limited and there are frequent shortages of medical supplies. In the event of a serious illness or accident, medical evacuation to a destination with appropriate facilities may be necessary. Medical evacuation costs would be considerable.

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. We advise you to boil all drinking water or drink bottled water, and avoid ice cubes. You should also avoid unpasteurised dairy products and raw and undercooked food.

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. We recommend you take precautions against being bitten by ticks and use insect repellent.

Where to get help

Depending on the nature of your enquiry, your best option may be to contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurance provider in the first instance.

If the matter relates to criminal issues, contact the local police. You should also obtain a police report when reporting a crime.

In an emergency, dial the following 24 hour emergency numbers from a mobile or landline:

  • 901 for fire and rescue
  • 902 for police
  • 903 for Medical Emergencies

The Consular Services Charter explains what the Australian Government can and cannot do to assist Australians overseas. Australia does not have an Embassy or Consulate in Moldova. You can contact the Australian Government at the Australian Embassy in Russia for consular assistance. See contact details below:

Australian Embassy - Moscow

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

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

If you are travelling to Moldova, whatever the reason and however long you'll be there, we encourage you to register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You can register online or in person at any Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. The information you provide will help us to contact you in an emergency - whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or a family issue.

In a consular emergency, if you are unable to contact the above Embassy you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

In Australia, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra may be contacted on (02) 6261 3305.

Additional information

Natural disasters, severe weather and climate

Information on natural disasters can be obtained from the Humanitarian Early Warning Service. If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities.

Additional Resources

For additional general and economic information to assist travelling in this country, see the following links:



While every care has been taken in preparing this information, neither the Australian Government nor its agents or employees, including any member of Australia's diplomatic and consular staff abroad, can accept liability for any injury, loss or damage arising in respect of any statement contained herein.

Maps are presented for information only. The department accepts no responsibility for errors or omission of any geographic feature. Nomenclature and territorial boundaries may not necessarily reflect Australian Government policy.