is an annual report produced in conjunction with the Regional Security Office
at the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest. OSAC encourages travelers to use
this report to gain baseline knowledge of security conditions in Romania.
For more in-depth information, review OSAC’s Romania country page for
original OSAC reporting, consular messages, and contact information, some of
which may be available only to private-sector representatives with an OSAC
current U.S. Department of State Travel
Advisory at the date of this report’s publication assesses Romania at Level
1, indicating travelers should exercise normal precautions. Review OSAC’s
report, Understanding the
Consular Travel Advisory System.
Overall Crime and
U.S. Department of State has assessed Bucharest as being a LOW-threat location for crime directed at or affecting official
U.S. government interests.
Most crimes against visitors are limited to crimes of opportunity
or scams. Violent crime is rare. Travelers should be aware of scams involving
individuals posing as plainclothes police officers, approaches of quick friendship
at train/subway stations, and pickpocketing in crowded areas. Panhandlers --
often groups of teenagers -- can be aggressive and have resorted to
grabbing/tearing clothing to distract and steal from their target. Organized
groups of thieves and pickpockets, including very young children and
well-dressed young adults, operate in train stations and on public
transportation. Review OSAC’s report, All
That You Should Leave Behind.
Take extreme care when patronizing nightclubs, which can charge
exorbitant prices and are relentless in pursuing payment. Simple assaults
outside of clubs are possible, especially late at night, after consumption of alcohol,
especially if the victim is alone. Review
OSAC’s report, Shaken:
The Don’ts of Alcohol Abroad.
Money exchange schemes are common. Some of these scams have become
rather sophisticated, involving individuals posing as plainclothes police
officers who approach the potential victim, flash a badge or other
official-looking document, and accuse the victim of changing money illegally. After
the initial approach, the scammer normally asks the victim to prove that they did
not change money illegally and demands to see their money or wallet. The
thieves often succeed in obtaining money, passports, and cell phones. If someone
offers to change money on the street or accuses you of changing money
illegally, continue walking. There are other variations to this scam. Sometimes,
the individuals pose as border officials and request passports for an
immigration inspection. The bottom line is that legitimate plainclothes police
officers do not ask travelers to present identification. If you encounter a
situation like this, insist on the presence of a uniformed police officer.
Organized crime threats include drug smuggling, cybercrime, human
trafficking, financial crime, and counterfeiting. Romania is addressing these
issues to varying degrees and is also actively engaged in stemming illegal
migration as part of its role as a guardian to one of the European Union’s
Cybercrime is a major threat and a constant challenge for local
law enforcement, despite international cooperation efforts. Romania is a well-known
hub for phishing, credit card fraud, fraudulent electronic auction bids, and
hacking. Credit card, ATM skimming, and Internet fraud are among the most
common crimes affecting foreigners in Romania. Only use ATMs located at banks.
These offer more security against skimming attempts and include camera monitoring.
Check the ATM for any evidence of tampering before use. Review
OSAC’s reports, The
Overseas Traveler’s Guide to ATM Skimmers & Fraud and Taking
nationals have lost considerable amounts of money, ranging from a few hundred
to hundreds of thousands of dollars, from online scams originating from
Romania. Beware of any emails requesting any personal information, such as
social security number, bank account numbers, or login information. The U.S.
Embassy will never request such information from customers, visa applicants, or
dating is also an area of caution. Scammers will often create fake profiles of
young Romanians to begin online relationships with U.S. nationals. Be very
careful in starting an online relationship, particularly if the individual asks
for money or makes repeated requests for support (e.g. for visa fees, plane
tickets, medical bills, insurance coverage). In recent cases, some individuals
have given thousands of dollars to online scammers, and even traveled to meet
them, only to be stood-up at the airport with no support here in Romania. Exercise caution when traveling to Romania to meet
individuals known only through contact over the Internet.
Road Safety and Road Conditions
Driving is hazardous in Romania, and is perhaps the greatest safety
concern visitors will encounter. While major streets in larger cities and major
inter-city roads are generally in fair to good condition, many secondary roads
are in poor repair, unpaved, poorly illuminated, narrow, and lacking marked
lanes. There is little regard for commonly accepted rules of the road, speed
limits, or consideration of other drivers. Road rage incidents are also
possible. If you choose to self-drive, practice defensive driving techniques.
While traffic codes have improved, the government is inconsistent and generally
deficient with enforcement.
There have been recent cases of brief detainments of Americans for
traveling without an International Driver’s License (IDL). Romania does not
currently accept U.S. driver’s licenses. All drivers possessing only a U.S. driver’s
license should obtain an IDL prior to visiting Romania. U.S. nationals
(non-diplomats) must have a Romanian driver’s license or an IDL, regardless of
the amount of time spent in country, if they intend to drive. If police stop
someone driving without an IDL, they may require the driver to travel to a
police station to complete an official statement and pay a fine. In a few
cases, police have confiscated the licenses of U.S. nationals, since it is
technically part of a criminal case, returning them only after levying a fine or
completing a short court hearing.
Visitors who plan to self-drive must familiarize themselves with
traffic laws and should be aware that there is a zero-tolerance policy with
regards the consumption of alcohol. Authorities routinely conduct breathalyzer
tests on all parties after an accident. Refusal to take a breathalyzer test may
result in criminal penalties regardless of whether alcohol was involved. Police
often use checkpoints for traffic violations or DUI checks, in particular in
areas where speed limits change abruptly due to entry into municipal zones. In
instances where a driver is exceeding the speed limit by more than 50 km per
hour or is determined to be under the influence of alcohol or unsafe to drive,
police may confiscate the driver’s license and provide further directions as to
the next steps.
Parked vehicles often block sidewalks, forcing pedestrians to walk
in the streets. Maintain vigilance when driving to avoid hitting those who are
walking in the streets. Using mobile phones while driving is illegal, with
exception of hands-free systems.
Travelers should drive between cities only during the day, as
there is little lighting on roads outside of major cities. Drivers should also
be aware of pedestrians, farm animals, horse-drawn carts, and a lack of
shoulders when driving in the countryside. If an accident takes place in a
rural location, emergency medical response may not meet U.S. standards in terms
of capabilities or timeliness.
Romania experiences severe winters, and does not maintain roads to
the same standard as those in the U.S. Travelers must prepare for these
conditions and expect lengthy delays if traveling by vehicle, train, or air
during the winter.
In the event of a two-car accident with no injuries where both
parties agree to the circumstances of the accident, they may complete a
Romanian Mutual Agreement form (Constatare
Amiabila de Accident). The at-fault party must provide a copy of the
completed form and a copy of their insurance to the other party involved. If a
mutual agreement is unreachable, both parties must drive to the nearest police
station to report the accident. If unable to do so immediately, both parties must
report the accident to the police within 24 hours. In the event of an accident
under any other circumstances, the drivers should contact police at the
emergency number (112) and await response.
Comply with all police orders and remain
respectful. If you receive a ticket, you must pay the fine via the local office
of the National Fiscal Administration (ANAF), CEC Bank, public administration
authorities (online at www.ghiseul.ro),
and send the receipt and a copy of the ticket to the police. Payment of fines
directly to the police officer is no longer possible. If paid within calendar
15 days, only 50% of the fine stipulated on the traffic violation report is
OSAC’s reports, Road
Safety Abroad, Driving
Overseas: Best Practices, and Evasive
Driving Techniques; and read the State Department’s webpage on driving
and road safety abroad.
Public Transportation Conditions
Public transportation in Romania is inexpensive and reliable.
Inter-city travel options include a variety of buses, trams, trolleybuses, and
“maxitaxis” (shared taxis). Purchase bus or tram tickets at newsstands or
street kiosks before boarding, and validate the ticket once aboard. For
“maxitaxis” you may buy a ticket directly from the driver. Bucharest is the
only Romanian city with an underground metro; it is also inexpensive and
reliable, although station locations are not always convenient.
Train travel is inexpensive and convenient, and can be enjoyable,
if you are careful. Travelers should consider paying a little extra for the
roomier first-class seating option, which affords more privacy. Comfort and
privacy decrease with lower classes of service. Crimes against train passengers
are not uncommon, particularly in rural areas and on overnight trains. Some thefts
and assaults have occurred on trains, including thefts from closed
compartments. If you are considering a trip via train, avoid traveling alone,
especially overnight. Most incidents reported to the Embassy have involved a
lone traveler. If traveling with a small group on the overnight train, sleeping
in shifts will allow you to protect your belongings. Do not leave personal
property unattended. Laptops, cell phones, iPods, wallets, and purses are usually
the preferred theft items. Review OSAC’s report, Security
In Transit: Airplanes, Public Transport, and Overnights.
Visitors should exercise care and rely on the recommendations of
hotels and dining establishments when selecting taxis. Dishonest taxi drivers may
take advantage of unsuspecting visitors. Always check to ensure that the taxi
has a functioning meter and that the side of the taxi clearly lists the metered
rate. Companies such as Black Cab, Speed Taxi, and Uber are reputable and
reliable. Review OSAC’s report Safety
and Security in the Share Economy.
U.S. Department of State has assessed Bucharest as being a LOW-threat location for terrorism directed at or affecting official
U.S. government interests. There have been no
significant reports of locally or regionally motivated terrorism incidents in
Romania in several years.
Europe has experienced a significant uptick in terrorist threats,
and Romania is not immune to these threats as an active NATO member. However,
several factors mitigate the terrorist threat in Romania: there is no
significant refugee flow from the Middle East; Romania has a very small, well-integrated
Muslim populace; Romania has robust, effective security services; and Romania
is not a member of the Schengen agreement.
While the possibility of an international or transnational
terrorism incident targeting U.S. nationals is unlikely, you should remain
situationally aware and prepared to react, particularly in crowded tourist
areas or at major public events.
Religious, and Ethnic Violence
U.S. Department of State has assessed Bucharest as being a LOW-threat location for political violence directed at or affecting
official U.S. government interests.
Romania has had no major recent instances of civil unrest.
Relatively small, infrequent, and peaceful protests occurred throughout 2019 in
various major cities in reaction to many contentious political, economic, and
judicial issues related to various allegations of official corruption or
The Government of Romania grants permission to groups who wish to
assemble for demonstration purposes. Romanian law requires a demonstration permit,
but police do not enforce this law strictly. Police and gendarmes normally manage
demonstrations well, providing officers nearby for public order and safety. No
major anti-U.S. protests have occurred in recent years. Nevertheless, it is
wise to avoid these gatherings due to possible hooliganism or occasional
confrontations between protesters and the police. Normal traffic patterns may change
significantly before, during, and after the event. Review
OSAC’s report, Surviving
No major instances of religious or ethnic violence have occurred
in Romania in the last several years. A sizeable ethnic Hungarian populace
resides in the Transylvania region, and some ethnic Hungarian groups advocate
for separation from Romania. This desire has not manifested into any
significant civil unrest or violence.
Several Romanian cities, including Bucharest, are in active
seismic zones. The last major earthquake in Bucharest took place in 1977, with
a loss of over 1,000 lives. Smaller quakes occur on a frequent basis.
Civil authorities have plans in place for major disasters, but
financial resources to prepare for natural disasters are not available. A major
disaster would overwhelm local authorities quickly. Travelers should assume
that authorities would determine priorities in the event of a natural disaster
with no guaranteed support for visitors.
Heavy winter snowfall and spring flooding have made parts of the
country inaccessible at times. Streets and sidewalks are often icy and
hazardous during winter.
Avoid contact with stray dogs. Review OSAC’s report,
Economic Concerns/Intellectual Property Theft
Economic and financial crimes continue to be a concern, and the
authorities expect an increase of illegitimate activities (e.g. cigarette/alcohol
smuggling, sales of counterfeit products) due to global economic conditions. Although
not a significant financial center, Romania’s role as a narcotics conduit
leaves it vulnerable to money laundering, which occurs via the banking system,
currency exchange houses, and casinos.
Romania has capable and effective intelligence services. While
there is no known intent to monitor U.S. business travelers, the capabilities
to do so exist.
Personal Identity Concerns
While Romanians are generally more conservative and religiously
observant than their Western European counterparts, hate crimes related to
gender, sexual orientation, race, or nationality are rare.
There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or
the organization of LGBTI+ events in Romania. However, the annual gay pride
parades in Bucharest have been the scene of violent protests in past years. Review
the State Department’s webpage on security for LGBTI+
laws and regulations require public places, the outdoor environment,
transportation, and housing to be accessible for persons with mobility issues.
Although there has been progress, accessibility varies greatly. While large
cultural institutions and supermarkets generally provide access for persons
with mobility issues, accessibility on sidewalks, hotels, and public
transportation remains problematic. Sidewalks and streets are uneven, even in
major cities. Small hotels and tourist sites often do not have elevators or
ramps. Access to public transportation lacks adequately markings for people
with visual impairments and other disabilities. Platforms at subway stations
may be narrow, steep and slippery. Review the State Department’s webpage on
security for travelers
Romania is a major transshipment point for Southwest Asian heroin
transiting the Balkan route, and small amounts of Latin American cocaine bound
for Western Europe.
Kidnappings are uncommon, though there continue to be parental
child abduction cases reported to the U.S. Embassy. Review
OSAC’s report, Kidnapping:
emergency line in Romania is 112. English speakers
are available to answer police emergency and emergency response calls.
Identify police easily by their distinct blue uniform. The level
of assistance expected from police varies. Authorities are often ineffective at
deterring crime, and response to emergency calls can be too slow to disrupt
incidents in progress. Romanian police do have the capability to conduct
complex criminal investigations, but are heavily burdened with petty crimes. If
a victim desires a serious response by local authorities, they must be prepared
to devote time and effort to wade through bureaucracy. If a visitor is on a
schedule that precludes this, assume there will be no legal or law enforcement
While uncommon, police may ask for bribes. Under no circumstances
should you offer a bribe or agree to pay one.
emergency line in Romania is 112. Response times for
emergency services vary widely depending on the region of the country and
nature of emergency. Medical care, capabilities, and quality of service are
generally not at the same standard as compared to the U.S. or Western Europe. Basic
medical supplies are limited in Romania, especially outside of major cities. Hospitals
often lack nursing care and assistance for the elderly.
Most prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications are
available in Romania but are often sold under different names. If traveling
with prescription medication, check to ensure the medication is legal and available
if you may require a refill. Always carry your prescription medication in
original packaging with your doctor’s prescription. Review OSAC’s report, Traveling
contact information for available medical services and available air ambulance
services on the U.S.
Embassy website. The U.S. Department of State strongly recommends
purchasing international health insurance before traveling internationally. Ensure that your health insurance plan provides medical
evacuation (medevac) insurance prior to arriving. Most care providers overseas
only accept cash payments. Review the State Departments webpage on insurance
Avoid consuming tap water, as heavy metals from old pipes and
industrial run-off can be present. Review OSAC’s report, I’m Drinking What in My
Tuberculosis is an increasingly serious health concern in Romania.
The CDC offers additional information on vaccines and health guidance for Romania.
OSAC Country Council
The Bucharest Country Council meets three to four times a year.
Contact OSAC’s Europe team for more
information or to join.
U.S. Embassy Contact
Bulevardul Dr. Liviu
Librescu 4-6, București 015118
Regular hours: 0800 –
1700, Monday – Friday. The Embassy closes on American and Romanian holidays.
Telephone: +40 021 200 3300.
emergencies: +40 021 200 3433.
you travel, consider the following resources: