Traveling Luck for Moldova

Moldova is located in Eastern Europe, northeast of Romania.

Moldova has borders with Romania for 450km and Ukraine for 939km.

Land in Moldova is rolling steppe, gradual slope south to Black Sea.

Moldovan land covers an area of 33843 square kilometers which is slightly larger than Maryland

As for the Moldovan climate; moderate winters, warm summers.

Moldovan(s) speak Moldovan (official, virtually the same as the Romanian language), Russian, Gagauz (a Turkish dialect).

Moldovan National Map

Moldovan Map

Regions of Moldova

Formerly part of Romania, Moldova was incorporated into the Soviet Union at the close of World War II. Although independent from the USSR since 1991, Russian forces have remained on Moldovan territory east of the Dniester River supporting the Slavic majority population, mostly Ukrainians and Russians, who have proclaimed a "Transnistria" republic. The poorest nation in Europe, Moldova became the first former Soviet state to elect a Communist as its president in 2001.


Moldova Country Profile

Moldova remains one of the poorest countries in Europe despite recent progress from its small economic base. It enjoys a favorable climate and good farmland but has no major mineral deposits. As a result, the economy depends heavily on agriculture, featuring fruits, vegetables, wine, and tobacco. Moldova must import almost all of its energy supplies. Energy shortages contributed to sharp production declines after the breakup of the Soviet Union in December 1991. As part of an ambitious reform effort after independence, Moldova introduced a convertible currency, freed prices, stopped issuing preferential credits to state enterprises, backed steady land privatization, removed export controls, and freed interest rates. The government entered into agreements with the World Bank and the IMF to promote growth and reduce poverty. The economy returned to positive growth in 2000, and has remained at or above 6% every year since. Further reforms will come slowly because of strong political forces backing government controls. The economy remains vulnerable to higher fuel prices, poor agricultural weather, and the skepticism of foreign investors.

Moldovan natural resources include lignite, phosphorites, gypsum, arable land, limestone

landlocked; well endowed with various sedimentary rocks and minerals including sand, gravel, gypsum, and limestone

Moldovan religion is Eastern Orthodox 98%, Jewish 1.5%, Baptist and other 0.5% (2000).

Natural hazards in Moldova include landslides (57 cases in 1998).

Travel Advice on Moldova

Moldova

This advice has been reviewed and reissued with amendments to the Summary and Entry Requirements section.  The overall level of the advice has not changed.

SUMMARY

  • The threat from terrorism is low.  But you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.
  • We advise caution if considering travelling to Transnistria, where there is no official British representation and British consular services may be limited in their ability to help.  You should consult the British Embassy, Chisinau for the most up-to-date information.

  • The main type of incident for which British Nationals require consular assistance in Moldova is for medical emergencies.

  • You should be vigilant to petty crime, particularly in Chisinau.  Leave your passport, travel documents and other valuable items in a safe place.  But you should always carry a photocopy of your passport for identification purposes, as police checks are frequent.

  • There are strong penalties for possession or use of drugs.

  • Avoid taking photographs of military or government installations.

  • British citizens holding valid passports can enter Moldova for up to 90 days without requiring a visa.

  • The Moldovan authorities are now strictly enforcing penalties (including deportation) against foreign visitors who overstay the terms of their visas.  As a visitor you are allowed to spend no more than 90 days in a 6 months period in Moldova.  Alternatively, you must regularise your stay by applying for a residence or work visa.  Please see the Entry Requirements section of this travel advice for more details.

  • We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.  Please see: Travel Insurance


SAFETY AND SECURITY



Road Safety
You should avoid driving after dark outside Chisinau.  There is little street lighting, people and animals are often on the road, and road conditions are poor.
Travel to Transnistria
Transnistria (northeast Moldova) is not under Moldovan government control and seeks independence.  Since July 2006, there have been two explosions on or near public transport in the regional capital Tiraspol.  While the exact motives remain unclear, there is no evidence to suggest that these attacks were linked to any terrorist group or organisation.  If you are thinking of going to Transnistria, you should consult the British Embassy in Chisinau for the latest information; (tel: +373 22 225902; fax: +373 22 242500; email: enquiries.chisinau@fco.gov.uk.
It is very important to avoid getting into difficulty with the Transnistrian authorities.
The Embassy will do its best to provide Consular help where needed.  But in practice this will be very limited.  Anyone in trouble with the Transnistrian authorities should try to telephone the Embassy in Chisinau at an early stage.


LOCAL LAWS AND CUSTOMS

There is a zero tolerance policy in Moldova for possessing or supplying any drugs.  Whilst legislation stipulates that fines are possible penalties for drug use/supply, in practice possession of even small quantities of drugs (Class B/C drugs as well as Class A) could result in long prison terms (2-5 years, 5-8 for repeat offenders) in addition to heavy fines.
There is no legal ban on gay/lesbian relationships.  There is an active social and lobbying group on gay/lesbian issues in Chisinau.  But public attitudes are less tolerant.  The Moldovan government does not formally recognise unmarried partners.
The authorities in the Transnistrian region of Moldova can be uncomfortable with visitors taking photos in Transnistria.  We advise caution if taking photos of even the most normal buildings/monuments, and we strongly advise against taking photographs of any peacekeeping or military staff/installations, which could lead to difficulty.
You should also avoid taking photos of military facilities in Moldova proper.
There are frequent police checks.  You should carry with you at least a copy of identification documents (passport) at all times.  Drivers should hold a valid international driving licence and original car/insurance documents, and should keep to speed limits.


ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

The Moldovan Government lifted the visa requirement for EU nationals on 1 January 2007.  Visas are no longer required to enter Moldova if your stay is under 90 days.  The Moldovan Embassy in London: Moldovan representation in the UK, now issues visas. 
You should check your visa after it has been issued and before travelling to ensure that it is valid for the time of the proposed visit, as there have been occasional errors resulting in fines and delays to travel plans.  The Moldovan authorities are now strictly enforcing penalties (including deportation) against foreign visitors who overstay the terms of their visas.  As a visitor you are allowed to spend no more than 90 days in a 6 months period in Moldova.  Alternatively, you must regularise your stay by applying for a residence or work visa.
Before setting off you should ensure that your passport has at least six months validity and at least one unused page.
If you arrive in Moldova by air you will automatically be registered with the local authorities.  If you travel to Moldova by land you are required to register your stay if you intend to stay in private accommodation for more than three days.  If you are staying in hotel accommodation then registration should be automatic.  You must register with the Department of Information Technologies (address:  42 Pushkin Str. Chisnau; tel:; 504 656) or the local passport office (the British Embassy can provide you with the address of the relevant passport office for your area) within three working days.  To register your stay in Moldova you must present the following documents:
  • a written request for registration giving details of where your are staying, for how long and the reason for the visit; and
  • your passport
Failure to register may result in fines and/or difficulties when leaving Moldova.
Single parents or other adults travelling alone with children should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country.  For further information on exactly what will be required at immigration, please contact the Moldovan representation in the UK.


HEALTH

We recommend that you take out full, comprehensive insurance and make sure that this covers medical evacuation in an emergency.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.  Please see: Travel Insurance.
Non Russian/Romanian speakers may encounter difficulties in a medical emergency.  The Embassy has details of English-speaking doctors.
You are advised to drink only bottled water.
You should seek medical advice before travelling and ensure that all appropriate vaccinations are up-to-date.  For further information on health, check the Department of Health website at www.dh.gov.uk.
Avian Influenza (Bird Flu)
There have been no reported cases of Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) in Moldova during the current series of outbreaks.  But the World Health Organisation has confirmed cases elsewhere in the region.
You should read this advice in conjunction with the Avian and Pandemic Influenza Factsheet on the FCO website.


GENERAL

If things go wrong when overseas, please see: What We Can Do To Help
The British Embassy in Chisinau does not issue passports.  Applications for new passports are accepted in Chisinau for forwarding to the British Embassy in Bucharest for processing, but this may take up to 20 working days.  If you use a courier, you will have to pay the cost.

Money

The most widely accepted foreign currencies are the US Dollar and the Euro.  We recommend that you carry some US Dollars cash.  The Dollar notes should be in perfect condition or they may not be accepted.  It is not always easy to exchange Sterling for the local currency.  Credit cards are not widely accepted in Moldova, though Lei can be obtained from a number of ATM machines in Chisinau.