is an annual report produced in conjunction with the Regional Security Office
at the U.S. Embassy in Chisinau. OSAC encourages travelers to use
this report to gain baseline knowledge of security conditions in Moldova.
For more in-depth information, review OSAC’s Moldova 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 Moldova at Level
1, indicating travelers should exercise normal precautions. Exercise increased
caution in Transnistria due to the unresolved conflict between this
breakaway region and the central government. Review OSAC’s report, Understanding the Consular
Travel Advisory System.
Overall Crime and
Embassy has no curfews, restrictions on travel, or “off-limits” areas, although
caution is advisable when traveling in the separatist Transnistria region.
Crime appears to be uniform throughout Moldova, including in Transnistria.
However, ongoing political conflict may limit the U.S. Embassy’s ability to
respond to specific situations in Transnistria. Reports of difficulty crossing
the myriad checkpoints leading into this area are common. Security personnel
often stop travelers for long periods or turn them away altogether. Travelers
to Transnistria should adhere to all posted traffic signs and follow verbal
orders of security personnel posted there.
U.S. Department of State has assessed Chisinau as being a LOW-threat location for crime directed at or affecting official
U.S. government interests. Foreigners are subject to petty crime (e.g. pickpocketing,
theft), which is most common in crowded areas in major population centers (e.g.
public transportation, bars, restaurants). There have been reports of
occasional home burglaries, but these are quite rare. Do not to leave valuables
in plain sight in parked vehicles, as criminals have smashed car windows and stolen
items from vehicles. Review OSAC’s reports, All
That You Should Leave Behind.
crimes (e.g. carjacking, home invasions, kidnappings) are extremely rare. Reported
cases do not typically involve foreigners; they most often occur in the border
regions, and likely relate to smuggling activity.
crime is prevalent, but related violence almost never affects the international
community. The deterioration of stability in southern Ukraine has also
contributed to an increase in organized criminal activity, especially in
southern Moldova, where smuggling of stolen and illegal goods is most common. Moldova’s
location is ideal for smuggling into the European Union. Commercial goods are
most frequently smuggled to avoid customs charges. Such activity is common but
rarely has an impact on international visitors. Human trafficking and drug
smuggling are also present.
nationals have reported cases of sexual harassment and assault. All reported
cases occurred in Chisinau, most often in crowded areas or on public
transportation. Most cases involved touching or grabbing a female victim against
her will. Some cases involving U.S. nationals occurred on busy sidewalks and on
trolleybuses; bystanders did not intervene to help the victim. Cases reported
to police are often difficult to prosecute due to inadequate laws regarding
sexual harassment and assault. Moldovans generally do not make eye contact or
smile at strangers. Traveling in pairs or groups, maintaining a low profile,
and adopting local behaviors in public are steps that may help mitigate the
risk of sexual harassment and assault. Review the State Department’s webpage on
security for female
dining out, pay restaurant staff directly instead of leaving money behind with
the bill. Local establishments usually do not take responsibility for items
left behind by patrons, including currency intended as payment. Moldova is
mostly a cash-only economy. Businesses accept credit cards in Chisinau, and
occasionally in the rest of the country, but rarely in small villages. Use your
credit card with caution and protect your personal information. Restaurants bring
portable card readers to the table. Your server should never need to take your
payment card out of your line of sight. Review OSAC’s reports, The
Overseas Traveler’s Guide to ATM Skimmers & Fraud and Taking
and Internet-based fraud scams occur regularly in Moldova. Scammers use text messaging
or phony social media profiles. Always be suspicious of unsolicited
communications, even if they appear to come from your service provider; contact
your service provider directly, as opposed to replying by chat or text message,
if you need to manage your account. Most scams occurring in Moldova are
conducted in the Romanian or Russian languages, and do not target foreigners specifically.
Review OSAC’s reports, Cybersecurity
Practices for Maximizing Security on Public Wi-Fi, and Traveling
with Mobile Devices: Trends & Best Practices.
Road Safety and Road Conditions
the poorest countries in Europe, much of Moldova’s infrastructure is
underdeveloped. Most roadways fall below Western standards. Exercise great
caution when driving at night, as most roadways lack adequate lighting. In
rural regions, horse and tractor-drawn wagons, livestock, and other hazards are
common on roads and difficult to see, particularly at night. Review OSAC’s
Safety Abroad, Driving
Overseas: Best Practices, and Evasive
Driving Techniques; and read the State Department’s webpage on driving
and road safety abroad.
often fail to take appropriate safety measures and do not adhere to traffic
laws. Many roadways lack the traffic control signage that would be found in
Western countries. Drive defensively; Moldovan drivers are aggressive by U.S.
2014, Moldova installed traffic cameras on several major roadways in/around
Chisinau. The cameras have been effective in reducing speeding on key roads,
but speeding motorists continue to be a problem.
will take any person suspected of consuming alcohol before driving to the
nearest police station for investigation. Authorities will charge individuals
with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) between .03 and .079 with an administrative
offense and levy a fine. BACs at .08+ criminal and can result in substantial
fines and/or incarceration.
Public Transportation Conditions
trains, trolleybuses, and buses are old and can break down. Minibus accidents
are frequent and can be fatal. The U.S. Embassy strongly encourages travelers
to ride only in minibuses equipped with seatbelts.
from reputable and established companies are generally safe. However, travelers
should be cautious to ensure taxi drivers are driving sober. The Embassy
strongly encourages the use of official taxis only. Taxis managed by legitimate
companies typically are clearly numbered, with markings representing the
company; you may also ask if the driver is prepared to give you a receipt or
“check” before embarking on your journey. Review OSAC’s report, Security
In Transit: Airplanes, Public Transport, and Overnights.
International Airport (KIV) is safe and well organized. There have been no
aviation-related security incidents in Moldova in recent years. As there is no
direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in
Moldova, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the
government of Moldova’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International
Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards.
Other Travel Conditions
pedestrians dress in dark clothing and walk alongside or on the streets, due to
the poor quality of most sidewalks. This is especially common in the winter
because of the lack of snow removal from sidewalks. Clearing streets after
rainstorms or heavy snowfall is sporadic in Chisinau, and rare outside of the
traveling on foot, ensure that your clothing has reflective markers that make you
visible to motorists. Aggressive stray dogs are common, particularly in
villages and city parks after dark.
steps leading to building entrances are often fitted with indoor wall tile;
this makes entrance and exit quite perilous in wet or icy conditions. Take
great precaution on all stairs in Moldova; foreigners have had medical
emergencies after slipping on ice.
U.S. Department of State has assessed Chisinau as being a LOW-threat location for terrorism directed at or affecting official
U.S. government interests. There are no known terrorist groups conducting
operations in Moldova. With little Moldovan control over the eastern borders
between separatist Transnistria and Ukraine, the U.S. Embassy remains vigilant
of the risk of terrorist groups entering Moldovan territory.
2019, there were no incidents of terrorism directed toward the U.S. Embassy,
U.S. nationals, or U.S. interests in Moldova. The U.S. Embassy works closely
with Moldovan security services on counter-terrorism issues.
Religious, and Ethnic Violence
U.S. Department of State has assessed Chisinau as being a MEDIUM-threat location for political violence directed at or
affecting official U.S. government interests.
June 2019, there were serious political demonstrations in Chisinau with
participants surrounding specific government buildings during a tense political
standoff between rival governments. While the situation ultimately resulted in
a peaceful transition of power, the risk of political violence at that time was
significantly elevated. Security forces demonstrated an improved ability to
manage demonstrations and protests but continue to struggle with workforce
shortages and resource constraints.
significant demonstrations continued to occur with some regularity throughout 2018
and 2019, there have been no further significant clashes or violence as a
require permits for most forms of public demonstration. There is an additional
provision for “spontaneous protests.” The process requires that the police
inform affected parties of the protest. Police appear to fulfill this
obligation. Permits are not necessary for groups fewer than 25; this provision
also has no time/place restrictions.
in eastern Ukraine has brought Moldova onto the front line of regional
politics. While there is increased border security and accusations of Moldovans
fighting with the separatists in eastern Ukraine, to date there has been no reported
violence in Moldova as a direct result.
of anti-U.S. sentiment are rare. Public rallies and social and traditional
media outlets have denounced U.S. policy toward Moldova. In 2019, there were
multiple small and peaceful demonstrations in front of the U.S. Embassy, though
most were not anti-U.S. but rather sought to draw official U.S. attention to
If you are staying in a rural hotel or bed & breakfast in the
winter months, be careful to ensure proper ventilation. Carbon monoxide
poisoning has been an issue in the past in situations where village housing
lacks proper ventilation protocols to avoid an overnight buildup of gas.
Because of the poor conditions of most windows, ventilation exists; however,
when a village home or hotel has upgraded its windows without upgrading the
heating system, issues can occur.
Economic Concerns/Intellectual Property Theft
considering doing business in Transnistria should exercise extreme caution.
Many Transnistrian firms have not registered legally with Moldovan authorities,
which may complicate or prevent the import or export of goods. The Government
of Moldova will not recognize the validity of contracts for the privatization
of firms in Transnistria without the approval of the appropriate Moldovan
There are no legal restrictions on
same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI+ events in Moldova.
However, traditional cultural attitudes towards LGBTI+ individuals may result
in discrimination and harassment. Annual organized pride demonstrations
typically draw hostile attention from conservative groups. Review the State
Department’s webpage on security for LGBTI+ travelers.
Narrow and steep wheelchair ramps
with limited access. Streets, sidewalks, and other public paths lack proper
maintenance. Ensure your accommodations are accessible before traveling to
Moldova. Review the State Department’s webpage on security for travelers with disabilities.
There is limited cultivation of opium poppy and cannabis in
Moldova, mostly for consumption in former Soviet states. Moldova is a
transshipment point for illicit drugs from Southwest Asia via Central Asia to
Russia, Western Europe, and possibly the U.S. There is widespread crime and
underground economic activity related to illegal drugs. Penalties for
possessing, using, or trafficking illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders
should expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.
Review OSAC’s report, Kidnapping: The Basics.
to allegations in 2015 that preschool employees were exploiting children for
the purpose of producing pornography, U.S. Embassy personnel may not enroll
children in private preschool “Izvoraşul Cunoştinţelor,” at 9 strada George
Meniuc in Chisinau, and its associated preschool “Casuţa din Poveşti,” at 26B
strada Universităţii in Chisinau.
photographs in/around security zones, peacekeeping posts, bridges, military
installations, and “official government buildings” is illegal. In many, but not
all of these locations, authorities have posted signs prohibiting photography. Review
OSAC’s report, Picture This: Dos and
Don’ts for Photography.
large sums of foreign currency (equivalent of 10,000 Euros and above) and
declare all valuable goods with Moldovan customs authorities when you arrive in
the country. Failure to do so can result in confiscation, fines, and/or arrest.
Read the State Department’s webpage on customs
and import restrictions for information on what you
cannot take into or out of other countries.
emergency line in Moldova is 112. Police response to crimes, especially in
areas foreigners frequent, is good but hampered by a lack of resources. The
police are particularly capable at basic policing, but a lack of equipment
hampers their ability to conduct complex investigations. The U.S. Embassy is
working with the government to improve policing abilities. Most authorities
primarily speak Romanian or Russian, and have limited English-language
abilities. The primary law enforcement entity is the General Police
Inspectorate. Although cities, villages, and districts each have their own
police structures, these entities are all subordinate to the national General
Police Inspectorate. Moldovan police have the word “POLITIA” printed on the
backs of their uniforms. Traffic police should also display a metal badge on
the outside of their uniforms. For local first responders, refer to the
congestion may delay police and emergency medical response significantly;
private vehicles often do not pull off the road to allow emergency vehicles to
pass. It is common in Chisinau for emergency services to take 20-40 minutes to
respond, depending on your location in the city.
of bribes by authorities at all levels is a concern. Drivers should be aware
that traffic infractions are subject to official adjudication. Do not participate
in or condone bribery. Call the Moldovan Ministry of Internal Affairs
anti-corruption hotline at +373-080-055-555 or +373-022-257-333.
the State Department’s Crime Victims Assistance brochure.
emergency line in Moldova is 112. The
quality of most medical services is not up to Western standards. Hospital accommodations are inadequate,
technology is not advanced, and there may be shortages of routine medications
and supplies. Pharmacies do not always stock to Western standards, and may not label
products in English. Some patients have reported poor quality and/or
counterfeit medications. Certain private clinics with 24/7 emergency
care offer care closer to western standards. Find contact information for
available medical services and available air ambulance services on the U.S.
you are sick or injured, go to Western Europe or return to the United States
for treatment. The U.S. Department of State strongly recommends purchasing
international health insurance before traveling internationally. Review the
State Departments webpage on insurance
is an increasingly serious health concern in Moldova. The CDC offers additional
information on vaccines and health guidance for Moldova.
OSAC Country Council
Chisinau Country Council currently meets quarterly and has approximately 50 members.
Interested U.S. private-sector representatives in Moldova should contact the Embassy Regional Security Office or OSAC’s
Europe team for more information or to join.
U.S. Embassy Contact
U.S. Embassy Moldova, 103
Mateevici Str., Chisinau
Business hours: 0830 – 1730,
Monday – Friday
Emergency (24/7): +373-069-11-0851
you travel, consider the following resources: