Although Romania is an EU member, it has yet to adopt the Schengen visa. Until this situation changes, expats may need to apply for a separate visa for Romania.
Expats have various options for getting a visa to suit their specific needs. Whether planning a business trip or moving to Romania to join family or to work, there is a process that applicants have to go through to get their Romanian visa. This can be time-consuming, but organised expats with the right supporting documents should get through the process quite smoothly.
Holders of a multiple-entry visa for, and legal residents of, Schengen area countries are allowed to enter Romania without a visa and stay for 90 days in a 180-day period.
Short-stay tourist visas for Romania
To apply for a short-stay tourist visa for Romania, expats must have a valid passport with at least two blank pages. EU citizens and nationals of selected countries, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the US, do not need a visa to enter Romania as a visitor.
Though Romania isn't a Schengen visa country, expats with a multiple-entry Schengen visa don't need to have a separate visa for Romania for stays of less than 90 days.
Nationals of non-exempt countries will need to apply for a Romanian tourist visa. There are different categories of short-stay visas which cater to different travel purposes, most of which limit visits to a maximum period of 90 days.
Expats should apply for a visa at their closest Romanian embassy or consulate. A variety of supporting documents need to be provided. This includes application forms, passport photos, bank statements, proof of health insurance and proof of onward travel. The embassy will return the original documents to the applicant, in case they are requested by Romanian border police upon entry.
The process can take up to 30 days and application fees can vary for certain countries. More detailed information can be found on the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.
Long-stay visas for Romania
There are several long-stay visas for Romania which fall into different categories based on the purpose of the stay, including economic activities, employment, studies and family reunification. The validity of a visa varies depending on the category. Expats will have to pay an application fee.
Employment visas for Romania
Applying for a work permit in Romania requires that an expat's prospective employer prove to the Romanian government that they have been unable to fill the position with a Romanian national. Once the government has approved this and granted a work permit, expats will need to apply for a long-stay visa for employment purposes.
Residence visas for Romania
Expats moving to Romania with the intention of staying permanently will need to apply for a temporary residence permit. This allows individuals to stay in Romania for longer than 90 days and can be obtained from the Romanian Embassy. It's also advisable for expats to contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the area in which they plan to live before moving to Romania.
Expats who aren't married to a Romanian citizen can apply for permanent residence after living in the country for five years. Applicants for permanent residence permits for Romania will need to undergo health checks, criminal clearance and provide documents relating to their civil status, financial situation and medical insurance.
Family-joining visas for Romania
Family members wishing to join an expat living in Romania need to apply for a long-stay visa for family rejoining. To do this, they'll need to fill out an application for each person wanting to travel to Romania. Documents such as passports, photos, police clearance and medical checks will be required. The expat living in Romania will also need to get approval from immigration authorities.
*Visa regulations are subject to change at short notice and expats should contact their respective embassy or consulate for the latest details.
►Read Working in Romania for an overview of the job market.
"We tackled the visa process ourselves, but if I got to do it over again, I would use a professional. The process is lengthy and complex. We started the process in March and I didn’t receive my residency card until November. There were countless trips to the immigration office where we received confusing and often contradictory instructions from the staff." See what else Jessica has to say about life in Romania.
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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