Expats moving to Romania are sure to find it both challenging and rewarding. For many, Romania conjures images of snowy mountains, medieval castles and, of course, Dracula. A relatively safe country, new arrivals soon learn that Romania has far more to offer, especially as the country grows as an international tourist destination and a gateway to business in Eastern Europe.
Situated along the western edge of the Black Sea, Romania's geography encompasses the beaches on its eastern shores and the Carpathian Mountains, which give way to rolling hills, forests, farmlands and rustic villages. Romania’s capital, Bucharest, stands on the banks of the Dambovita River and is the most popular destination for expats moving to the country.
Expats looking for work in Romania often move to its capital. They generally find employment in construction, engineering, IT, communications, software development or teaching English. Although salaries in the country are some of the lowest in Europe, this is offset by the low cost of living in Romania.
Foreigners wanting to move to Romania will need to obtain a work permit. As with many ex-communist countries, the process involves a fair amount of bureaucracy. However, EU citizens find it easier than expats from other parts of the world.
The country is a key transport hub for Eastern Europe. It has a comprehensive transport network with air, water, road and rail transportation available. Large amounts of money are also being invested in the national infrastructure.
Residents have access to public healthcare, although most expats choose to use private services. Similarly, although public education in the country is free, the majority of expat send their children to international schools in Romania. Accommodation in Romania is varied enough to suit any expat's needs and budget.
Expats moving to Romania are treading off the beaten track when it comes to worldwide expat destinations. However, as an EU-member state, it welcomes business and trade and is eager to make its mark on the business world. Despite this, there are some adjustments that new arrivals make, as most expats experience elements of culture shock. The official language in the country is Romanian, while a small proportion of the population speaks German, Hungarian and Vlax Romani. So, English-speaking expats will need to get used to how scarcely spoken their language is. English is spoken more often in larger cities such as Bucharest, Constanta and Brasov, as well as tourist destinations.
Romania offers expats a range of outdoor destinations to explore, interesting cuisine, fantastic cultural sights and opportunities, and the chance to explore a meeting-point between Eastern and Western cultures.
Population: Over 19.5 million
Capital city: Bucharest (also largest city)
Other major cities: Cluj-Napoca, Timișoara and Iași
Neighbouring countries: Romania is bordered by Moldova and Ukraine to the east, Bulgaria to the south and Serbia and Hungary to the west.
Geography: This Eastern European country sits on the Black Sea and is a mountainous country, with the Carpathian Mountains dominating the country's interior. Romania is dotted with lakes. The Danube River, which forms part of the border with Serbia and Bulgaria, flows into Romania, ending with the Danube Delta (the second largest river delta in Europe) in southeastern Romania.
Political system: Semi-presidential republic
Main languages: Romanian is the official language. English is sometimes spoken in tourist centres and major cities.
Major religions: Christianity is the largest religion in Romania, with Eastern Orthodox being the largest denomination.
Time: GMT +2 (GMT +3 for daylight savings, from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October)
Electricity: 230 volts, 50 Hz. 'Type-F', rounded two-pin plugs are used
Money: The Romanian Leu (RON), divided into 100 bani. ATMs are widely available in the country's urban areas and credit cards are accepted at the majority of establishments.
International dialling code: +40
Emergency numbers: 112
Internet domain: .ro
Transport and driving: Cars drive on the right. Getting around Romania is relatively easy thanks to its developed public transport system.
Expat interviews"There are so many things to do in Bucharest! Most weekends, and even a lot of weekdays, we struggle to choose something to do." Read more about Jessica's expat experiences.
"It’s beautiful and tranquil, surrounded by hills, not far from the mountains, yet it offers a cosmopolitan lifestyle not unlike any large Western city." Read Matt's expat experience here.
Are you an expat living in Romania?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Romania. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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