Dental And Ophthalmic Care In Romania: How To Find The Right Options For You

Romania experiences considerable challenges when it comes to its national healthcare system, and, unless you are involved in an emergency and need urgent treatment, it is advisable to seek both dental and optical care in the private sector. We will look at some of your options below.

How to register with a dentist

You can find a local dentist online. Alternatively, you may want to contact your local expat community for recommendations, particularly if you are intending to have corrective or cosmetic treatment during your stay in Romania. You will find that there are more options available in the cities, particularly in Bucharest.

To what extent does national insurance cover dentistry?

National insurance covers one free check-up per year, as well as some other services, but more sophisticated dental treatment is usually not covered. It is advisable to avoid the public sector if you can. Infrastructure and equipment are not up to Western standards, and corruption is unfortunately rife.

National insurance in Romania covers one free check-up per year, as well as some other services

Accessing private dental treatment

You will find plenty of choice in the private dental sector, and it is estimated that, overall, prices are up to 30% lower than in the UK. Here are some sample quotes:

• Scaling: €30
• Filling: €30
• Extraction: €35
• Wisdom tooth extraction: €110
• Implant: €450 to €750
• Crown: €190 to €320
• Veneers: €350
• Whitening: €230

Some medical tourist operators offer hotel packages, and they may also be able to offer advice on flights.

Check for references, qualifications and testimonials. If your private policy covers dental treatment, check with your provider to see what is covered. Also, check with the clinic to make sure that they will accept your insurance.

Make sure you are aware of any hidden costs, and discuss the full details of your chosen treatment with the clinic. For example, if you are visiting the country specifically for the treatment, find out how long you will need accommodation for, whether there will be any follow-up appointments, etc.

Many medical personnel in Romania are bilingual, as they have worked or trained elsewhere in Europe, but do not count on all medical personnel speaking English.

How to register with an optometrist in Romania

If you are looking to register with an optometrist, you may want to ask your local expat community for recommendations, or you could find a clinic online.

To find an optometrist in Romania, you may want to ask your local expat community for recommendations

To what extent does national insurance cover optical care?

As mentioned above, you are best advised to seek optical care in the private sector in Romania. You should have little difficulty in accessing independent opticians, particularly in the cities.

There are also some chains, such as Optiplaza. Founded in 2004, Optiplaza provides a variety of eye care products (including prescription glasses, contact lenses and sunglasses) and services. It has more than 40 stores, both Optiplaza and Optica Express, across the country, and it operates mostly in shopping malls in Bucharest and other cities. It also sells its optical products online.

Accessing private eye treatment

You will find quite a lot of choice in the private sector for optical care. Ama Optimex, founded in 1991, was one of the first private ophthalmology clinics in the country. The clinic treats over 20,000 patients, performs over 3,000 surgical interventions every year, and offers patients full ophthalmological consults and investigations and surgical interventions.

The most common current laser techniques used in optical corrective surgery are PRK, Lasek, LASIK, and SMILE. The most frequently used technique worldwide is LASIK. You will find that both LASIK and PRK are widely available in Romania. Some quoted costs for LASIK are from €2,000 to €6,000. Cataract surgery costs from around €280 to €500. Consultations cost up to €25. A vitrectomy (the removal of floaters in the eye) costs between €100 and €150.

Prices will vary depending on the clinic, and you can contact providers to get a more precise idea of what you will need to pay. Make sure you check references, qualifications and outcomes; your sight is extremely important.

Complementary Therapies In Romania And How To Access Them

Romania has been a centre for spas and thermal springs for generations, perhaps even since before Roman times.Aqua Herculis – the Roman name of Baile Herculane – is even named after the Greek hero/god Hercules, who is said to have bathed in the thermal water there. The inscription “Ad Aquas Herculis Sacras”, from 153 AD, is testament to its history.

Baile Herculane has 16 thermal springs with different mineral properties, which used to be classified according to their alleged properties: “the spring for injuries”, “the spring for cold”, and so on. Locals still believe that they have healing effects, and they are certainly invigorating and relaxing.

Baile Felix is currently Romania’s largest health resort. It is open year-round and was first opened in the 18th century. Its thermal waters are rich in oligominerals and supplemented by sapropelic mud. Devotees say that this is helpful in cases of rheumatism and in treating gynecological afflictions and nervous disorders.

Bazna, near the medieval town of Medias, also has a spa resort, which was established in 1842. It offers treatments based on therapeutic mud and mineral waters plus Bazna salt, which is rich in iodine and bromine.

Eforie Nord on the Black Sea coast offers mud baths, as well as the Gerovital and Aslavital original rejuvenation treatments. Mangalia Spa provides treatments for afflictions related to the kidneys, the digestive and nervous systems, the skin, and the liver.

Overall, you will find a wide range of treatments in Romania, including various forms of massage. Some spas are attached to top hotels, while others are separate and independent. Therme, for instance, near Bucharest, has been described as ‘a theme park of spas,’ and it is considered to be the biggest wellness, relaxation and entertainment centre in Europe.

You will find a wide range of treatments in Romania, including various forms of massage

Thermal spas are only one type of complementary practice that you will find in Romania. Complementary therapies in the country are well regulated. The law of the country covers in the region of 40 types of complementary and alternative medical (CAM) therapies, grouped into six main categories, and this will give you an idea of what is available:

Biological and pharmacological: apitherapy (using honey bee products), antioxidant therapies, ozone therapy
Herbal: herbal medicine, aroma therapies, algotherapy and oligotherapy (use of trace minerals)
Diet/nutrition and lifestyle: Gerson therapies, Feng Shui or vegetarianism
Alternative: acupuncture, homeopathy, yoga, Ayurveda, Qigong
Manual: presopuncture (a form of acupressure) and reflexotherapy, osteopathy, massage therapy, Feldenkrais method, chirotherapy
Bio-electromagnetic and energetic: electromagnetic therapy, crystal therapy, electro-acupuncture, natural and artificial light therapy

The law is not exhaustive; the Ministry of Health may recognize additional therapies as CAM therapies. All providers must be licensed or approved by the Ministry of Health through certified professional training.

Only doctors accredited by the College of Physicians, dentists, and pharmacists are allowed to practice the following therapies:

• Acupuncture
• Homeopathy
• Herbal therapy
• Osteopathy
• Apitherapy
• Chirotherapy

CAM practices are allowed to use the name ‘healthcare centre’ only if they employ at least one medically qualified doctor or one nurse. Otherwise, CAM therapies can be offered by anyone with a university degree and proof of training certified by the Order of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Practitioners.

The Ministry of Health accredits training courses and centres within a special department for continuous education. This publishes CAM courses/training programmes on its website.

The country’s healthcare system, which is experiencing significant challenges, does fund acupuncture. If you are registered with the national healthcare scheme, you will be entitled to receive two acupuncture treatments per year (around €30), with each course lasting no longer than 10 days. You will have to be referred by your GP or a specialist in order for the costs to be covered. All other procedures are paid on an out of pocket basis by clients.

Herbal therapy is legally recognised as a CAM therapy, as above, and you will find extensive phytotherapeutical (herbal medicine) practice in Romania. Only medical doctors, dentists and pharmacists with approved additional qualification, at least a one-year course with a diploma of competences, are allowed to practice phytotherapy in Romania.

The profession is regulated by a specialised committee for herbal therapy, and there is an association of MD phytotherapists. ANATECOR (the national association for CAM therapies) organises courses of herbal therapies for practitioners, approved by the Ministry of Labour.

You will find extensive phytotherapeutical (herbal medicine) practice in Romania

In medical schools or faculties of pharmacy, students can take optional courses in phytotherapy. As with other CAM therapies in Romania, mainstream medicine has incorporated a number of these practices.

You will find a number of yoga retreats across the country, some of which are vegan. Costs vary but are quoted at around €800 for four-day courses and around €2K+ for longer courses (which can be for up to a month). Some courses are for people who just want to learn or practice yoga, while others are for teacher training. Some centres run joint yoga and hiking programmes. Much of Romania is taken up by the beautiful Carpathian mountains, and you can enjoy the scenery while on your retreat.

Reiki is practiced in Romania, and you will find a number of practitioners, particularly in cities like Bucharest. Kinesiology and holistic massage are also on offer (this can cost from €20 to €30 per session, although prices do vary). The Indian practice of Ayurveda is also found in Romania, and some centres make their own remedies using Romanian herbs.

Some treatments are, if not wholly specific to Romania, certainly traditionally practiced in the region, such as apitherapy (bee stings, micro bee stings, honey massage). As above, this must be carried out by a licensed medical doctor. It is possible to take apitherapy tours in the country, and you may like to consider going on one during your stay. Honey is increasingly being revived as a wound remedy, in conjunction with herbal preparations, such as oil of thyme. There are a number of highly experienced practitioners of apitherapy in Romania.

How To Open A Bank Account In Romania

The Romanian banking system has proven to be remarkably resilient, even through the tumultuous financial crisis. The banking system in Romania has been aligned with EU standards. Most banks are now branches of foreign banking groups, which ensure the stability of the Romanian banking system. The level of service is generally considered to be of high quality, and modern online banking apps are commonly used.There are around 23 banks, with hundreds of branches, in Romania, each of which is influenced by the decisions made by the National Bank of Romania. The National Bank of Romania (NBR) is the country’s central bank and is headquartered in Bucharest, where it has been situated since it was originally formed in 1880. It is responsible for setting monetary policies, issuing currency, and dealing with exchange rates.

Opening a bank account in Romania

How to open a bank account in Romania and which documentation you will need for your application.

When it comes to relocating, most expatriates tend to open a local bank account in their destination country, whilst also keeping their existing bank account in their home country open. However, if you already have an account with a bank that operates in Romania, you won’t need to worry about opening an additional account. It is much more likely that this will be the case if your existing bank account is within the European region.

You can open a bank account in Romania quite easily, and you don’t need to be a Romanian resident to do so. You will need to visit a local branch of your chosen bank (usually having made an appointment in advance), and you will need to take any necessary supporting documentation with you. The specific documentation required may differ from bank to bank, so you may wish to research what you’ll need before you go.

You don't need to be a Romanian resident to open a bank account in Romania

As a general rule of thumb, the documents you will be required to present will typically include:

• Your passport (or other form of valid photo identification)
• Proof of residency (in the form of official letters, utility bills, rental contracts, etc.)
• Proof of employment (although this is not always the case)

If you do not have a job when you arrive and intend to look for work, the process may be a bit less linear. Having previous bank statements and proof of sufficient savings can help expedite your request. Some banks may also require an initial deposit in order to activate the account, and the exact amount needed for this will depend on the bank.

Most banks in Romania will offer you the option of opening an account in Leu (local Romanian currency) or Euros, and they may offer a separate account for each if you want. There are various different types of accounts (current, savings etc.) available from all major banks. The majority of accounts need to be set up in person in a face-to-face appointment. In some cases, you may be able to begin the process of opening a bank account online or by post, but you will often need to visit a local branch with your ID to finalise your application and for the account to become valid.

Note: You may not be able to find English-speaking staff in small local branches, so we recommend doing your research beforehand or taking along a friend or translator to assist you with any questions, documentation, and forms.

Banking in Romania

The nuances of the Romanian banking system and some insightful tips.

The entire process of opening a bank account in Romania is quick and painless, and it takes very little time at all. The biggest hurdle that you are likely to face is the language barrier, if you don’t speak Romainian. Aside from that, there are a few other things that you should know about banking in Romania.

For example, banks in Romania are usually open from Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. In major cities, branches are more likely to be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and they sometimes open for half a day, up until 1 p.m., on Saturdays. They are closed on Sundays.

Some of the more popular banks among the expat community in Romania include Alpha Bank, Bancpost, UniCredit and BRD. There are also a number of international banks operating within the country, such as Citibank, BNP Paribas and ING. UK and US expats may find they are less familiar with the banking providers on offer, as there is a less notable presence of some of the better-known major players.

Some of the more popular banks among the expat community in Romania include Alpha Bank, Bancpost, UniCredit and BRD

It is worth noting that it is quite common to pay for banking services in addition to your bank account in Romania, so always thoroughly read through any documentation and contracts before you sign them. Always know what you are signing up for, and consider whether it is worth upgrading for additional perks.

The most common banking fees that you are likely to come across include:

• Premium account fees
• Minimum balance maintenance fees
• Account maintenance fees
• Check deposit fees

When it comes to withdrawing money in Romania, you will likely find that using the ATMs of a different bank will incur a charge. However, if you use an ATM that belongs to your own bank, then the withdrawal should be free. If this is something that is likely to influence your choice, then it’s worth noting that OTP Bank has the most ATMs in the country. Alpha Bank is another popular choice if you are concerned about easily accessing cash.

Transfer fees are another aspect of banking in Romania to consider. If you are intending on making regular (or even semi-regular) international transfers, you may wish to consider your chosen bank account based on preferential fees. Often, many banks will charge a fixed fee (usually up to around €20) and an additional percentage of your total transfer amount. This will largely depend on whether you are transferring between EU accounts or not. You should also keep currency exchange in mind when transferring money abroad.

How To Rent Or Buy Property In Romania

Romania is a Southeastern European country, infamous for the forest covered region of Transylvania, which was the birthplace of modern vampire novels and home to fictitious Count Dracula. Overlooked by the Carpathian Mountains, Romania boasts perfectly preserved medieval towns, fortified churches and castles, and various iconic landmarks that seem like they’ve come straight out of a fairy tale.

Renting property

Lease agreements in Romania tend to last for 12 months, but shorter leases can be negotiated. To secure a lease, a deposit will be required, which will typically be equivalent to three months’ worth of rent. Rent is paid on a monthly basis and usually includes basic utilities (gas, water and electricity), but this is not guaranteed. Most rentals will usually be unfurnished, but furnished apartments can still be found for a higher price.

Where can expats find details of properties to rent?

You may be surprised to learn that most Romanians do not like to use estate agents. The general consensus seems to be that they earn too much for doing too little. Most of the time, many people find a place through word of mouth, but you can also keep an eye out for local advertisements and see what pops up. It is also worth having a quick search on Facebook for expats in Romania groups, as there may be expats who are advertising rentals or who can offer you advice.

There are also a few websites that you can use to look for a place, such as:

OLX
Expat.com
Storia
Magazinul De Case
Home ZZ
Imobiliare

What are typical rental prices in major expat destinations?

According to data statistic website Numbeo, a one-bedroom apartment in a central city location costs an average of 1,473.22 lei (Romanian leu), which is equivalent to around £266.26 (GDP) or $329.37 (USD). An apartment of a similar size in a more suburban area would cost around 1,048.33 lei (£189.47 or $234.37). A larger apartment in a city centre location with three bedrooms costs an average of 2,520.27 lei per month in rent (£455.50 or $563.45), while its suburban counterpart would cost approximately 1,803.93 lei (£326.03 or $403.30) in rent per month.

A one-bedroom apartment in a central city location in Romania will cost you about 1,473.22 lei

Are there any challenges/problems in the rental process that expats often encounter?

The general advice to expatriates is to take all due diligence and to perform any necessary background checks to ensure that they are not being scammed. If you have reason to doubt someone, you should always ask to see their ID card.

Buying property

Non Romanian citizens may freely buy and sell any property. Some foreigners who are not not EU citizens may purchase a home or apartment in Romania as well, but they are not entitled to own the land itself. The real estate landscape in Romania is always changing when it comes to foreigners, so if you are unsure about something, you should check with a lawyer.

What is the typical house buying procedure?

You should always use a local registered lawyer to “verify” the property. This is essentially the same as a title search in the United States. A local Romanian lawyer will verify the owner’s title deed and land survey documents, and will obtain a report from the Land Registry. Once checks have been conducted, an offer made, and a price negotiated, a contract can be drafted. This can be prepared by a notary or an attorney. You will also need to pay the deposit.

Both parties should attend the closing of the sale, where the notary will collect the necessary fees, the contract will be signed, and the new deed will be registered with the Land Registry. The sale will be finalised and processed.

Additional fees to take into consideration include local tax (typically between 2% and 4% of the purchase price), notary fees (0.5% to 1% of the purchase price), registration fees (approximately 0.5% to 2%), and transfer tax (1% to 3%).

If applicable, you will also need to factor in the agent’s commission, which will range from 2% to 4% of the price of the property, and translator fees, which will be a fixed price. If you get the property surveyed, the surveyor will also charge a fixed price. Also, unless you are a private buyer purchasing the property from a private owner, you will need to pay value added tax (VAT).

A local Romanian lawyer will verify the owner's title deed and land survey documents

Where can expats find details of property for sale?

Unless you are already familiar with the country and the language, or you have local contacts, you will probably benefit from working with an estate agent. The websites listed in the rental section also show properties up for sale.

Are there any challenges/problems in the house buying process that expats often encounter?

Whilst it is often beneficial to use a real estate agent, you will need to be careful which one you choose. In Romania, real estate agents are not required by law to be licensed or covered by any governmental agency. When looking at real estate agents in Romania, always look at their credentials, references, and experience. If possible, conduct research online and read reviews. Alternatively, ask for recommendations from trusted friends or colleagues.

Do local banks or other lenders issue mortgages to foreign nationals?

Non-Romanian citizens who are legally working and living in Romania are eligible to take out a mortgage loan to purchase a property in the country. It is worth comparing the lending rates and contract terms of several banks. Some popular lenders include OTP Bank and the National Bank of Romania, as well as international banks, such as HSBC. It may even be possible to secure a mortgage with a bank from your home country.

How To Apply For A Visa In Romania

Romania is becoming an increasingly popular tourist destination and it is also home to a number of working expats. Whether or not you will need a visa to travel there will depend on your nationality, as well as your reason for visiting. We will look at some of your options below.

Will I need a visa?

If you hold a British passport, you do not need a visa to enter Romania. If you are planning a stay of longer than three months, however, you will need to register as a Romanian resident. You will need to obtain a certificate from the General Inspectorate for Immigration.

If you are from an EU/EEA member state, you will not need a visa to enter the country, but you will need to register with immigration if you wish to work.

If you are a US citizen, you must have a US passport that is valid for at least three months beyond your intended departure date from Romania. If you are a US citizen and want to stay for longer than 90 days, you must obtain an extension from the Romanian Ministry of Internal Affairs.

There are various types of long-stay visa, and which one you will need to apply for depends on the purpose of your trip. For example, there are visas for family reunification, study and more.

How do I apply for an entry visa?

If you are a third country national, for example an American citizen, you will be able to enter and remain in Romania without a visa for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. However, the authorities warn that departing from Romania and attempting to re-enter the country does not “restart the clock.” US citizens who depart Romania and return will be admitted for the remainder of their 90-day allowance. If you attempt to re-enter Romania after having already spent 90 days there in the 180-day period, you may be denied re-entry.

As above, if you are from the EU or the UK, you must register with the authorities if you intend to stay in the country beyond a certain period, or if you wish to work.

You can apply for a Romanian visa (an eVisa) online.

If you are a third country national, you will be able to enter and remain in Romania without a visa for up to 90 days in any 180-day period.

How much does it cost?

The Romania eVisa costs US$68. Additionally, there is a service fee of US$30 for standard processing. For rush processing and super rush processing, the service fees are US$55 and US$85 respectively.

How long does it take?

Visa processing takes anywhere from two days to 15 days, depending on the consulate and whether you choose to expedite your application.

What will I need to apply for a work visa?

Your ability to work in Romania will depend on whether you are a citizen of an EU/EEA state. If so, you will have an advantage, in that you will be able to reside in the country and the process of applying for work will be smoother. Citizens of Romania and the EU are prioritised by the Romanian government, so if you are a third party national, you / your employer will have to prove that there is no Romanian or EU citizen who is capable of doing the job.

Whether you are an EU member or a third party national, however, you will still need to apply for a work permit.

There are a number of categories, into which the Romanian administration will put you:

• Permanent worker
• Probation worker
• Seasonal worker
• Cross-border worker
• Skilled worker
• Detached worker
• ICT (inter company transfer) worker – if you are being transferred to your existing company’s base in Romania

The General Inspectorate for Immigration will require some documents from you, which may differ slightly depending on which category you fall into. As a foreign national, you may be employed in a full-time role in Romania only by a single employer, whether an individual or a legal entity. Foreign personnel who hold a work permit may be employed by another employer in a part-time contract of up to four hours per day.

If you are a permanent worker, who is a third party national, you will need to apply first for a work authorisation, then a visa, known as a Romanian employment visa (D/AM). The General Inspectorate for Immigration will require from you / your employer:

• An application form
• Proof that your employer is legally permitted to hire you
• Company’s Certificate of Registration
• Company’s Certificate of Attestation
• Tax attestation
• Employment agency’s certificate
• Job description
• Job offer
• Proof that the company has advertised the vacancy
• A copy of the minutes of the selection process (this is also to prove that you are a better choice of candidate than an EU national)
• A declaration that you are medically fit to work and that you have at least a minimal knowledge of Romanian
• Proof of accommodation
• Proof of financial support
• Your CV
• Two photos (3cm x 4cm), in which 70% – 80% of the photo features your face, taken on a white background
• Police clearance documentation for both yourself and your employer
• Your passport

The issuance of your work permit can take up to a month.

If you are a third party national permanent worker in Romania, you will need to apply first for a work authorisation, then a Romanian employment visa.

If you are an EU citizen, the process is more streamlined. You / your employer will need to contact the General Inspectorate for Immigration with:

• Your work contract (either the original or a copy), or an original certificate issued by your employer
• An application form
• A printed screen from the general registry of employment records (REVISAL), in particular the section concerning information regarding the work contract, stamped and signed by the employer in order to authenticate it
• Tax receipts

Whether you are an EU citizen or not, you must also sign up with a doctor; this is mandatory.

EU blue card

If you have been issued a residence permit for work that requires advanced skills by an EU member country, you will be eligible for an EU blue card. This is an approved EU-wide work permit that allows highly skilled non-EU citizens to work and live in any country within the European Union (excluding Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom).

Bringing a pet into Romania

You can bring your pet into the country, but your pet will require:

• A microchip
• Proof of an anti-rabies vaccination
• A health certificate certified by a licensed vet

How To Find A Job In Romania

Romania is an intriguing option for expats seeking work in Eastern Europe: it might not be your first choice but it is definitely worth considering, as the country is the new home to some big multinationals, has a relatively low cost of living, and a currently low rate of unemployment which suggests that the economy is reasonably healthy. It is particularly worth exploring the option of Romania if you have a career in IT and like the idea of relocation, either as secondment from your existing company or with a new employer. If you are a citizen of a EU/EEA state, you will be at an especial advantage due to reciprocal employment agreements.The legal requirements for working in Romania will depend on whether you are a citizen of an EU/EEA state or from outside the region. If the former, you will have an advantage in being able to reside in the country and the process of applying for work will be smoother. Citizens of Romania itself and the EU are prioritized by the Romanian government, so if you are a third party national, you/your employer will have to prove that there is no Romanian or EU citizen who is capable of doing the job.

Whether you are an EU member or a third party national, however, you will still need to apply for a work permit.

There are a number of categories into which the Romanian administration can put you:

• permanent worker
• probationer worker
• seasonal worker
• cross-border worker
• skilled worker
• detached worker
• ICT (inter company transfer) worker; if you are being transferred to your existing company’s base in Romania

The General Inspectorate for Immigration will require some documents from you which may differ slightly depending on which category you fall into. As a foreign national you may be employed in a full-time 8 hour day in Romania only by a single employer, whether an individual or a legal entity. Foreign personnel who hold a work permit may be employed by another employer with a part-time contract of up to 4 hours per day.

Your right to work will depend on your category

For a permanent worker, who is a third party national, you will need to apply for a work authorization first, then a visa, known as a Romanian Employment Visa (D/AM). The General Inspectorate for Immigration will require from you/your employer:

• application form
• proof that your employer is legally permitted to hire you
• company’s Certificate of Registration
• company’s Certificate of Attestation
• tax attestation
• employment agency’s certificate
• job description
• job offer
• proof that the company has advertised the vacancy
• copy of the minutes of the selection process (this is also to prove that you are a better choice of candidate than a EU national)
declaration that you are medically fit to work and that you have minimal knowledge of Romanian
• proof of accommodation
• proof of financial support
• CV
• 2 x photos (3cm x 4cm and in which 70% – 80% of the photo features your face and taken on a white background)
• police clearance documentation for both yourself and your employer
• passport

The issuance of your work permit can take up to a month.

If you are an EU citizen, the process is somewhat more streamlined. You/your employer will need to contact the General Inspectorate for Immigration with:

• work contract in original/copy or a certificate issued by the employer (original)
• an application form
• a printed screen from the general registry of employment records (REVISAL), in particular the section concerning information regarding the work contract, stamped and signed by the employer in order to authenticate it
tax receipts

Whether you are an EU citizen or not, you must also sign up with a doctor: this is mandatory.

The process is more straightforward for EU citizens

If you have skills in the IT and digital sectors you will find plenty of opportunities in Romania: many of the big international operators such as Adobe, Amazon and Microsoft have a base here.

A background in telecommunications will also prove to be an advantage: Orange and Vodafone are here, too, and the telecom sector is booming.

The banking sector is also extensive, so if you work in finance, you might want to consider one of the international banks based in the country.

Romania has a 40 hour working week, consisting of 5 8-hour weekdays. Most businesses work from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

You will be entitled to a minimum 20 days of paid leave per year. This may be taken in increments if you wish, but some of it must be taken as one unbroken period of at least 15 working days.

Banking is a booming industry

If you are pregnant, you will be eligible for 126 days of maternity leave at 85% of your salary during the previous 6 months. Fathers will be entitled to 5 days of paternity leave within the first 8 weeks of the birth.

The minimum wage is currently €446 per month/€5352 per 12 calendar months.

Your spouse will be entitled to work if they are a citizen of a EU member state but if they are a third party national, they will need to apply separately.

Job Vacancies

You should have no problems approaching a company directly.

There are also two main recruitment agencies which cover Romania. Otherwise, you can check online jobs boards or the local press, if you are already on the ground.

Applying For A Job

A one page CV/resume should be fine. You will not need to translate this if you are applying to an international company but it is recommended that you learn some basic Romanian.

Romania has anti-discrimination legislation protecting you from discrimination on account of race, nationality, ethnic origin, language, religion, sex, opinion, political adherence, property or social origin.

Qualifications And Training

You may need to get copies of any qualifications apostilled, but check with your recruitment agency or prospective employer.

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How To Apply For Residency In Romania

If you are an EU or US citizen and your planned stay in Romania doesn’t exceed 90 days, then things will be pretty straightforward for you. It is recommended that you make your presence known at the nearest police precinct if you planning to remain in the country for a period longer than 10 days; there are no strict controls in place to monitor this, but it should only take up about 30 minutes of your time, so it’s worth doing.Things do start to change when you are planning to stay for longer than 90 days; in that situation, the famous Romanian red tape rears its ugly head. Your application to stay may be submitted in person at the immigration office (birou emigrari) or via their portal.

Here is how to get your Romanian residence permit if you are an EU citizen:

• complete an application form
• provide the original and copy of your ID document
• provide proof of accommodation (original and copy)
• provide proof of a valid health insurance policy
• confirm the availability of sufficient funds
• provide the criminal record certificate issued by the Romanian authorities

In order to prove you have sufficient funds you will need to have the following paperwork:

• a pension statement for the past three months
• a tax statement from the previous year proving that you meet the minimum required income – so a bank statement proving that you have the money or any other document demonstrating that you have sufficient funds
• a letter from your employer confirming regular salary and any bonus entitlement
• for students, a declaration that you have sufficient funds is acceptable along with proof that they are studying in the country; this could be a letter from school or university

Please bear in mind that you must apply for a residence permit in the country (or an extension of it) 30 days before the expiration of your current document.

You can apply for a long-term right to remain after continuously staying in Romania for the past five years. The stay is considered continuous if the absence from the Romanian territory is less than six consecutive months and does not exceed a total of 10 out of 12 months. Also, any period in which you have travelled abroad for activities of international transportation and for which you can present written evidence will not be counted towards your absence from Romania. The length of stay for study purposes is calculated at half of the long-term residence permit. Please be aware that in this instance, your residence under a short-stay visa, diplomatic visa, employment visa (including a seasonal worker visa) will not be taken into consideration.

The documents required for a new long-term residence permit application are:

• a completed application form
• a border crossing document in original and duplicate
• proof of address in original and duplicate
• if you are a family member of a Romanian citizen, you will need to pay the fee of RON 259
• if you are NOT a family member of a Romanian citizen, the charge will be RON 128

The documents required for the renewal of the long-term residence permit are:

• a completed application form
• a border crossing document in original and duplicate
• proof of address in original and duplicate
• confirmation that the 120 EUR and consular duty of RON 259 fees have been paid

You won’t be able apply for a long term right of residence in Romania if you fall into one of these categories:

• your main purpose for being in Romania is studying
• you are an asylum seeker or a beneficiary of temporary humanitarian protection, or you enjoy the temporary protection of the Romanian state
• you are in Romania with a short-stay visa or a right to stay conferred by a diplomatic or work visa

If you have a long-term right to stay in Romania, you are entitled to equal treatment when compared to Romanian citizens. This means that:

• you can work on Romanian territory without authorization, under an individual work contract approved by the Territorial Labour Inspectorate
• you have access to all forms and levels of education and professional training, including the granting of scholarships, validation of studies and recognition of diplomas, certificates, certificates of competence and professional qualifications
• you will enjoy social security and protection, healthcare and social assistance
• you can benefit from tax deductions on your global income and from tax exemptions
• you have access to public goods and services, including the obtaining of housing and freedom of association as well as affiliation and membership to a trade or professional union.

The long-term right to stay will be withdrawn in the following situations:

• in the case of cancellation or revocation, for example if you provided fraudulent or untrue information at the time of your initial application
• if you obtain a long-term right to stay in another state
• in the case of absence from the Romanian territory for a period exceeding 12 consecutive months, except if during that time you benefited from a right of temporary residence in a member state of the European Union
• in the case of absence from the Romanian territory for a period longer than six consecutive years, even if during this time you benefited from a right of temporary residence in a member state of the European Union
• upon your request
• upon being granted Romanian citizenship
• in the case of the cancellation of international protection in Romania, if the long-term right to stay was obtained in this capacity.

The above information comes from the Romanian Immigration website. A complete list of all the documents required can be found on the website but as things stand, all the lists are only available in Romanian. However, all the documents required are pretty standard and you shouldn’t have any issues obtaining them for the purpose of your application. If required, the list can be translated for a fee.

Have you lived in Romania? Share your experiences in the comments below, or answer the questions here to be featured in an interview!

Aldous Mina, Iasi

Who are you?

My name is Aldous Mina, I am a former US Peace Corps volunteer in Romania, and have worked in capacity building and market development.I am now engaged in economic development, foreign direct investments, and market entry in Central and Eastern Europe.

Where, when and why did you move abroad?

I was posted in the city of Iasi, Romania in 2008 to work with various NGO’s, Economic Development Agencies, EU and non-EU representative institutions, local and national government, chamber of commerce, foreign affairs agencies, universities and cultural outfits. I was under a US foreign diplomacy mission in the country.

What challenges did you face during the move?

The logistical aspect of the move was the toughest. I would say, preparing months in advance would make things a lot easier on someone looking to go overseas to either work and live. I believe doing research on proximity to grocery stores, post office, local transport, medical facilities, airline pre-requisites, etc would make the move a little more bearable. It is like starting all over again in a way, with the bare minimum, and being able to operate in the country at an optimum level.

How did you find somewhere to live?

The agency that I was with facilitated the housing arrangements, so that made a big difference. But as I speak to other expats, I’ve learned that most of them hired a rental agency to comb through the local market and provide them with various options from pricing, location of the property, and even the year the building was built. Some also have utilized online search engines to look up temporary housing, house sharing, roommates etc.

Are there many other expats in your area?

I was living in one of the largest cities in Romania, I’ve met expats who are mostly from Europe. Romania, being an emerging market, most professional expats who were living in my community were a part of an economic development institution or mission. Some also came to work temporarily for their companies to provide training to the local staff.

With this said, I am starting to see people from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East returning to Romania to work after graduating from Romanian universities or simply because Romanian businesses recruited them to work in labor-related industries.

What is your relationship like with the locals?

The locals are always the best, both friendship-wise and as local market experts. They often invite me to come to local events, family gatherings and other social activities. They also helped me get acclimated and familiarized with the local culture. I often get corrected on my Romanian grammar, which has been very helpful in learning my fourth language. The locals are just as curious about me as I am with them, so having a long meaningful conversation is always expected when I float around in the city enjoying my new community.

What do you like about life where you are?

I like that is provides me with a totally different life experience than that of big US cities. I lived in Washington DC, for a while, and while I loved the DC life, I often saw myself wanting to decompress and take things slowly. Being in an emerging country like Romania gives me both the rural and urban living experiences, but less of the violence and racial friction compared to America.

What do you dislike about your expat life?

Living in a developing country is a mixed bag of experiences. You will meet highly educated and successful people, with the flip side of it, which is abject poverty and illiteracy. I have never been a fan of people dividing themselves because of social status, though that is often what I see living in Romania. Furthermore, because Romania is a developing country, you often deal with unpredictable situations, such as requirements on visa applications, housing issues, local transport etc.

What is the biggest cultural difference you have experienced between your new country and life back home?

Growing up in America, I have been exposed to virtually every culture there is on this planet. With this said, I moved to Romania thinking I wouldn’t have major issues in adjusting to the local culture, and as it turned out, I was in for a ride. Perhaps because when I came to Romania, they were just transitioning into a more Westernized society after decades of communism. The mindset and local mentality was fairly tricky to navigate. In the states, I got used to predictability and ease of operating under any and every condition. The opposite proved to be true for me in Romania and many parts of Eastern Europe.

What do you think of the food and drink in your new country? What are your particular likes or dislikes?

I am the type of person who enjoys trying anything, food wise, at least once. So, let me put it this way, in Romania you will never only try food in one serving. Some of the most delicious food and healthy food I’ve eaten was in this South East European country. Romanians value healthy and natural food, so you often see their diet to be a mixture of fresh fruits, vegetables and homemade bread. Furthermore, an awesome soup that I often crave, called “ciorba de burta” is made out of tripe, egg yolk, vinegar, and beef broth, which is best served when the temperature is on the chilly side.

What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps

Patience, persistence, flexibility are words that I have come to embrace living in a developing country. Any person who is able to have a broader perspective in life would succeed anywhere on this planet, within any profession and living in any community. I would highly recommend to anyone to make it a point to experience life abroad at least once.

We now live in a very interesting time in human history. Never before have we had social media to provide us with a broader interpretation of our needs and wants in life. Living overseas would challenge you to look within and learn what you are really made of.

When I penned Faceconomics, a concept in economic development, that I infused with the use of social media, living overseas, working with various expats and their experiences, I never thought that new experiences and even industries would emerge just because foreigners are living in a foreign land. We are all expats if you really think about it, no one on this planet originated in their own land, not even the native Americans whose lineage is from Asia; they walked the land bridge aeons ago.

What are your plans for the future?

Continue my Faceconomics campaign in economic development by living and working overseas. I hope one day that expat living, knowledge transfer, amazing life experiences, investment opportunities and job creation will make this world a better place for everyone. Eradication of health issues, a more vibrant educational system, interconnected/smart communities, diminishing poverty, non-existent war and availability of water for all would be great causes to engage in, in the fourth industrial revolution.

You can keep up to date with Aldous' adventures on Facebook.

Would you like to share your experience of life abroad with other readers? Answer the questions here to be featured in an interview!

An Expat Guide To Romanian Residency Visas

Romania joined the European Union (EU) on 1 January 2007, but has yet to join the Schengen Area, which it is legally obliged to do. The Schengen Area allows borderless travel between the 26 countries who are members of the agreement. These include all the EU countries, except the UK and Ireland (Eire) which maintain their opt-outs, and four countries working towards membership: Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia and Cyprus. There are a further four countries – Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein – which are not members of the EU but have joined the Schengen Area through their membership of the European Economic Area (EEA).It is not known when Romania will join the Schengen Area. Under the EU original plan, air and sea borders were to have been opened by March 2012, and land borders by July 2012. Agreements have been delayed due to objections raised by some countries. These include concerns about measures to tackle corruption and organised crime. By October 2017, it was agreed that Romania should have access to the law enforcement Schengen Information System (SIS). All member states must agree unanimously through the European Council before Romania can join the Schengen Area and end systematic border checks.

EU Citizens’ Residency Requirements

What this means in practice is that all citizens from EU and EEA countries can arrive in Romania without obtaining a visa. However, you will be screened and asked to show your passport when entering and leaving Romania, even to travel within the EU.

You can stay for up to three months from the date of entry. If you want to stay longer, you will have to apply for a registration certificate. These are issued by the general inspectorate for immigration en at the office nearest to your accommodation address. You will be asked to provide a number of identification documents. The certificate is issued the same day. It will be valid for at least one year, and up to five years. If you are applying because you will be living with a Romanian relative, your certificate will be valid for up to ten years.

If you encounter any difficulties about your right to stay, you can seek help from the Your Europe advice service. This service offers legal advice specific to your case, free of charge and in any official EU language. You will also receive help quickly, within a week.

Right To Work

Since Romania joined the EU in 2007, citizens of any EU and EEA member state have had the right to work there. No permits or other permission are required.

If you accept employment from a Romanian business or individual, it is strongly recommended that you obtain an employment contract signed by both parties. According to Romanian law, employment contracts must be registered at the territorial labour inspectorate offices closest to the employer’s headquarters. There is an exception for EU/EEA workers, but you can ask for your position to be registered.

Make sure you are aware of Romanian tax laws. You can obtain information about your social security rights and pensions from your country of citizenship. The UK government has produced a leaflet setting out the basic facts British expats need to know, and other governments will have done the same.

Non-EU Citizens’ Residency Requirements

Many citizens of non-EU countries do not need a visa to enter Romania. To check whether you do, click the ‘get informed’ tab on the ministry of foreign affairs e-visa application page.

You may stay for a maximum of three months, as long as you have a valid passport.

If you want to stay longer, you can apply for long-term residence. Your application will take into account how long you have been in the country, any absences you have had, and the reasons for your continued stay.

Your application for a long-term right of residence in Romania won’t be granted if you:

– Hold right of temporary residence for studies in Romania
– Are in Romania with a short-stay visa or the right to stay conferred by a diplomatic or work visa
– Are an asylum seeker, beneficiary of temporary humanitarian protection or you enjoy temporary protection of the Romanian state.

You will be asked to provide the following documents to support your application for the long-term right to stay:

– A fully completed application form
– Original and duplicates of your passport
– Original and duplicates of your accommodation lease/purchase
– Proof of your health insurance cover
– A certificate showing your history on the Romanian criminal records system
– Proof that you can financially support yourself, unless you have family members who are Romanian citizens.

Your application form and documents will normally be considered within six months of the form being submitted. If an extension is required, it will be for a maximum of three months, and you will be informed this is happening.

Once the application has been approved, you will be notified in writing within 15 days. You then have 30 days to submit your documents to the local general inspectorate for immigration for a registration certificate to be issued.

Once you have been granted the long-term right to stay, then you may make an application for your children.

If any application is rejected, the applicant will receive the decision in writing within 15 days. The applicant may then ask the court of appeal to review the decision, but they only have 30 days to do this.

Romanian Residency Certificates

Holders of the residency certificate enjoy a number of benefits. No further approval or permits are required if you wish to take up paid work in Romania. You can access all levels of education and any associated scholarships, benefit from tax deductions on your global income, and have access to public goods and services. Social security and protection, healthcare and social assistance also become accessible.

Acquiring Romanian Citizenship

If you decide to make Romania your permanent home, you may apply for Romanian citizenship. If you are successful, the long-term stay residency and/or registration certificate will be cancelled.

Other events which would cause this to happen include a request for cancellation; obtaining the long-term right to stay in another country; leaving Romania for 12 consecutive months or more (unless you received temporary residence permission in another EU country for up to 6 consecutive years); or the Romanian state revoking the certificate for written and legal reasons, including in the case of international protection being cancelled.

Keep Your Visa To Hand

At any point the authorities may ask to see your identity documents, which you are required to keep with you at all times. Ideally, you will show them your residency documents, but they will accept your passport.

Once you know you are legally entitled to stay in Romania for the long term, you can enjoy building a new life there.

Have you lived in Romania? Share your experiences in the comments below, or answer the questions here to be featured in an interview!

Andrea Carman, Bucharest

Who are you?

My name is Andrea Carman (Canadian) and I’ve been living in Bucharest, Romania for close to 8 years.

Where, when and why did you move abroad?

I moved to Bucharest because I wanted more international experiences, having lived in Mexico prior to my European move.As Thoreau wrote once upon a time, “I felt like I had more lives to live.”

What challenges did you face during the move?

Challenges included learning an entirely new language, cuisine, and culture, which I found invigorating. For me, every day was “new” in the way that I never knew what to expect; Bucharest is an idiosyncratic environment. It keeps you on your toes in more ways than one!

How did you find somewhere to live?

Finding a place to live was made easier through my job as they offered assistance. I think I saw about eight apartments before making my final choice: the Romanian decor was very Eastern, in a mixed pattern and colour mixture I wasn’t a big fan of. I had to do some re-decorating, to say the least.

Are there many other expats in your area?

There aren’t many other expats in my area, but I joined the local gym and made friends with a few Romanians, most of whom speak English.

What is your relationship like with the locals?

The locals in Bucharest and in Romania in general, are very welcoming, interested in ex-pats and love speaking English with me which is probably why my Romanian is so bad.

What do you like about life where you are?

What I love about living here is that it’s a city on the move: new restaurants, cafes, bars, events and opportunities are continually present. The country has an incredible array of offerings including beaches, mountains, historical sites and if you want to leave town for the weekend, there are cheap flights to Turkey, Italy, Greece and more. NEVER a dull moment! I just booked a trekking adventure to Mt. Etna in Sicily.

What do you dislike about your expat life?

Dislikes are few, but the distance from my family in Canada is not a plus. Fortunately, they like to travel so we can organise meet-ups in various international destinations. We are all meeting for Christmas in Rome!

What is the biggest cultural difference you have experienced between your new country and life back home?

The biggest cultural difference would be the economic one. Things here are about a third less than in Canada, so my style of living on my ex-pat salary is much better than expected. I can afford to travel more and that is hugely important to me.

What do you think of the food and drink in your new country? What are your particular likes or dislikes?

The food here is amazing. Bucharest has an immense selection of international eateries at accessible prices. The same goes for beer and wine, and Romanian wines are highly regarded by connoisseurs. A beer here is about $1.50 Canadian, so drink up!

What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?

The advice I’d offer to anyone thinking about taking the plunge is to just go ahead and do it. I have had countless rewarding experiences as an ex-pat and my life is definitely the richer for having made the move. Everyone would be surprised about what you can accomplish once you leave your comfort zone.

What are your plans for the future?

My plans for the future include more travel and to live life to the fullest! Oh, and ski season is coming…

You can keep up to date with Andrea's adventure on Instagram

Would you like to share your experience of life abroad with other readers? Answer the questions here to be featured in an interview!

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