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.
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