Romania

Latest update

This Advice was last issued on Wednesday, 12 February 2014.   It contains new information in the Summary and under Local Travel (check with your travel insurer before engaging in "adventure sports" or hiring quad or motor bikes), as well as other editorial amendments. We continue to advise Australians to exercise normal safety precautions in Romania.

Romania overall

Summary

  • We advise you to exercise normal safety precautions in Romania.
  • There is an ongoing risk of terrorism in Europe. In the past, terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities.
  • Exercise common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour, as you would in Australia.
  • If you intend to hire cars, quad bikes, motorcycles, jet skis or engage in “adventure sports” such as bungee jumping, talk to your travel insurer to check if these activities are covered by your insurance policy, and seek advice on any restrictions that may apply (such as if you are not licensed for those vehicles in Australia). Read more at our Travel Insurance page.
  • Australia has a Consulate in Bucharest, headed by an Honorary Consul, which can provide limited consular services (not including the issue of passports). Full consular services are available from the Australian Embassy in Athens.
  • Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:
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Entry and exit

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) change regularly. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Romania for the most up to date information or visit the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

Foreign currency in excess of EUR10,000 must be declared to customs officials when entering Romania in order to obtain a declaration receipt. The receipt must be presented on departure. Failure to comply may result in confiscation of the currency.

Make sure your passport has at least three months’ validity from your planned date of departure from Romania. You should carry copies of a recent passport photograph in case you need a replacement passport while overseas.

Safety and security

Terrorism

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. You can find more information about this threat in our General advice to Australian travellers.

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

Civil unrest/political tension

You should avoid protests and demonstrations as they may turn violent.

Crime

The incidence of violent crime is low, but victims of street crime are sometimes harmed. Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and bag snatching does occur, particularly near hotels, on public transport and in train stations. Organised groups of thieves, which may include children, operate mainly in public areas, particularly in transport centres, and are known to target foreigners.

Thefts and assaults occur on intercity trains. Do not leave your compartment unattended and ensure that the door is secured from the inside.

We recommend that you do not walk alone after dark. Thefts from hotel rooms are common.

Financial and internet scams, including credit card and ATM fraud are also prevalent. Keep your credit card in sight when conducting transactions.

There have been reports of a scam involving thieves who present themselves as police officers asking for identification and wallets. . Romanian police will not stop tourists at random to demand identification or wallets, they may however, conduct checks when an individual’s behaviour is not in compliance with local laws.

Money and valuables

Before you go, organise a variety of ways to access your money overseas, such as credit cards, travellers' cheques, cash, debit cards or cash cards. Consult with your bank to find out which is the most appropriate currency to carry and whether your ATM card will work in Romania.

Romania is predominantly a cash economy, although the use of credit/debit cards is increasing. It is illegal to change money on the streets.

Make two photocopies of valuable documents such as your passport, tickets, visas and travellers' cheques. Keep one copy with you in a separate place to the original and leave another copy with someone at home.

While travelling, don't carry too much cash and remember that expensive watches, jewellery and cameras may be tempting targets for thieves.

As a sensible precaution against luggage tampering, including theft, lock your luggage. Information on luggage safety is available from Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

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.

You are required to pay an additional fee to have a lost or stolen passport replaced. In some cases, the Government may also restrict the length of validity or type of replacement passports.

Local travel

While major city streets and inter-city highways are generally in good condition, most roads are poorly maintained, badly lit and narrow. Additional driving hazards include poor driving standards, wandering livestock and horse-drawn carts on the roads. For further advice, see our road travel page.

Traffic laws are strictly enforced and police conduct frequent checks, including radar speed checks. It is essential you observe road rules, including purchasing and displaying valid highway road-toll stickers. Children under 12 years of age may not be transported in the front seat of vehicles.

If you intend to hire cars, quad bikes, motorcycles, jet skis or engage in “adventure sports” such as bungee jumping, talk to your travel insurer to check if these activities are covered by your insurance policy, and seek advice on any restrictions that may apply (such as if you are not licensed for those vehicles in Australia). Read more at our Travel Insurance page.

Emergency roadside assistance and information may be reached by dialling 9271. The telephone number for the Romanian emergency services is 112. English speaking operators are available.

You should only use authorised taxis displaying appropriate registration, licensing and tariff information. Avoid offers of taxi services from touts at airports, train stations and other public places as you may be overcharged. Authorised taxis at airports can be found at ranks outside the arrivals terminal. Authorised taxis display an airport sign on both sides of the vehicle.

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

Airline safety

Please refer to our air travel page for information about aviation safety and security.

Laws

When you are in Romania, 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.

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

Romania is the subject of an ongoing European Commission "Cooperation and Verification Mechanism" aimed at fighting corruption and helping Romania develop a more efficient and effective judicial system.

While in Romania, identification should be carried at all times. Keep your Australian passport in a safe place, and carry a photocopy which is sufficient if asked.

Driving with any amount of alcohol in your system is illegal. Penalties for drink driving range from loss of licence and a fine to a prison sentence of one to five years. Breathalyser tests are required on the scene for all drivers involved in an accident. Refusing to take a breathalyser test will result in criminal penalties.

Possession or trafficking of drugs can result in a prison sentence of up to 20 years.

You should avoid taking photographs of military installations or other official buildings.

Homosexual activity is not illegal but is not widely accepted in Romanian society. Prostitution is illegal both for homosexual and heterosexual acts. The age of consent in Romania is 18. 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.

Information for dual nationals

Romania recognises dual nationality.

Our Dual nationals page provides further information for dual nationals.

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 are generally below western standards and the availability of medical supplies is limited, particularly outside major cities. Treatment can be expensive and up-front payment is often required. In the case of serious illness or accident, medical evacuation to London or Vienna may be required. Medical evacuation costs could be considerable.

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

Rabies is endemic in Romania. Feral dogs roam city streets, often in packs, and can be vicious. Dog attacks are not uncommon. You should seek medical help immediately if bitten. You should also consider consulting your travel doctor on vaccination against rabies prior to your travel.

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. Protective measures against mosquito bites are recommended such as: wearing long sleeve, loose-fitting, light coloured clothing, using mosquito repellent; ensuring your accommodation is mosquito proof; and avoiding standing water.

Water-borne, food-borne and other infectious diseases (including tuberculosis, typhoid, measles and hepatitis) are prevalent with more serious outbreaks occurring from time to time. We recommend that you avoid raw and undercooked food. In rural areas, it is recommended that all drinking water be boiled or that you drink bottled water, and that you avoid ice cubes. Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering from diarrhoea.

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 to autumn.

Where to get help

Australia has a Consulate in Bucharest, headed by an Honorary Consul. The Consulate provides limited consular services (not including the issue of passports)

Australian Consulate, Bucharest

Ms Mihaela Nicola
Honorary Consul
The Group
3 Praga St, District 1
Bucharest 011801
Romania
Telephone: +4 037 406 0845
Facsimile: +4 031 107 1378
Email: office@australianconsulate.ro

You can also obtain full consular assistance from the Embassy of Australia in Athens, Greece:

Australian Embassy, Athens

Thon Building, Level 6
Cnr. Kifisias and Alexandras Ave
Ambelokipi
Athens 115 23 GREECE
Telephone: +30 210 870 4000
Facsimile: +30 210 870 4055
Website: www.greece.embassy.gov.au

If you are travelling to Romania, 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 missions, 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

Romania is subject to earthquakes. While serious earthquakes are rare, earth tremors are common. Information on natural disasters can be obtained from the Humanitarian Early Warning Service. If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities.

For parents

For general information and tips on travelling with children see our Travelling with children page.



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.