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State Department: Romania - Consular Information Sheet, April 24, 1998

Romania - Consular Information Sheet
April 24, 1998

Country Description: Romania has undergone profound political and economic changes since the 1989 revolution and is in a period of economic transition. Most tourist facilities, while upgraded, have not yet reached Western European standards.

Entry Requirements: A passport is required. Tourist visas for stays up to thirty days are not required. For stays longer than thirty days, visas may be obtained from a Romanian embassy or consulate abroad. These may be extended at passport offices in Romania in the area of residence. Travelers can obtain visas and other information regarding entry requirements from the Romanian Embassy at 1607 - 23rd St. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 232-4747, or from the Romanian consulates in Los Angeles or New York City.

Medical Facilities: Medical care in Romania is limited. Basic medical supplies are scarce. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services. U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. Supplemental medical insurance with specific overseas coverage, including provision for medical evacuation, have proven to be useful.

For further information, travelers may contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's international travelers hotline at 1-888-232-3228, or their autofax service at 1-888-232-3299, or their Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov.

Crime Information: While most crimes in Romania are non-violent and non-confrontational, there has been an increase in the number of crimes in which the victim suffers personal harm. In late 1997 and early 1998, there have been several reports of victims hailing a taxi off the street, only to be transported to a secluded spot and physically assaulted and robbed. Crimes against tourists (robbery, mugging, pickpocketing, and confidence scams perpetrated by black-market money changers) are a growing problem in Romania. Organized groups of thieves and pickpockets operate in the train stations and on trains and buses in major cities. A number of thefts and assaults have occurred on overnight trains, including thefts from passengers in closed compartments. Money exchange schemes targeting travelers have become increasingly common. Some of these scams are rather sophisticated, involving individuals posing as plainclothes policemen, who approach the potential victim, flash a badge and ask for his/her passport and wallet. In many of these cases, the thieves succeed in obtaining passports, credit cards, and other personal documents. The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Useful information on guarding valuables and protecting personal security while traveling abroad is provided in the pamphlet "A Safe Trip Abroad," which is available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402.

Currency Information: Romania is largely a "cash only" economy; credit cards and travelers checks are of limited utility.

Drug Penalties: U.S. citizens are subject to the laws of the country in which they are traveling. Penalties for possession, use, or sale of illegal drugs in Romania are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and fines.

Ground Transportation: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen may encounter road conditions which differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

    Safety of Public Transportation: Good
    Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
    Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
    Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor

Driving, especially after dark, can be hazardous. Roads are generally narrow, badly lit, and in poor repair. Roads often are used by pedestrians and animals as well as vehicles. Road travel can be particularly dangerous during the winter when snow is on the ground.

Taxis are fairly inexpensive for inner-city transportation. Most older taxis are not equipped with seat belts. Travelers should either call for a taxi in advance or agree upon a price before entering a taxi to avoid being overcharged. Buses and trolley cars are widely available and inexpensive, although they tend to be crowded and susceptible to pickpockets.

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Romania's civil aviation authority as Category 1 -- in compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Romania's air carrier operations. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at telephone 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA Internet home page at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa.htm. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact the Pentagon at telephone (703) 697-7288.

Adoptions: Before traveling to Romania, prospective parents may wish to obtain information about both United States visa requirements and Romanian adoption laws from the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest or from the Embassy's website: http://usis.kappa.ro. Romanian adoption law mandates criminal penalties for offering money or goods to obtain the release of children for adoption. An information packet on Romanian adoptions is available by writing to the Office of Children's Issues, Room 4817, Department of State, Washington, D.C. 20520, or by telephoning (202)647-2688.

Other Information: Customs regulations prohibit the export of some items from Romania. At the time of departure, tourists may need all receipts for presentation to customs authorities. Persons who participate in or photograph demonstrations risk arrest. In and around Bucharest, there are many stray dogs. While there have not been any reported problems with rabies, travelers are advised to avoid stray dogs because a number of dog bites have been reported.

Registration and Embassy Location: U.S. citizens are encouraged to register in the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy and obtain updated information on travel and security within Romania. The U.S. Embassy in Bucharest, Romania, is located at Strada Tudor Arghezi 7-9; telephone (401) 210-40-42. After hours, a duty officer may be reached by calling (401) 210-63-84. Consular services for U.S. citizens are performed in the Consular Section located at Strada Filipescu No. 26 (formerly Strada Snagov), one block from the U.S. Embassy at the corner of Strada Batistei. The telephone number of the Consular Section is (401) 210-40-42. A U.S. Embassy branch office in Cluj-Napoca provides emergency services only to U.S. citizens; its address is Universitatii 7-9, Etage 1, telephone (40)(95) 19-38-15.

No. 98-42

This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated January 31, 1996, to update information on crime, road and aviation safety, and adoptions; to note an additional Romanian consulate in Los Angeles; new telephone numbers for CDC; and Internet addresses.

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