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Travel Warning & Consular Information Sheet for Moldova

Moldova - Consular Information Sheet
June 29, 2001

COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Moldova has been an independent nation since 1991. Its capital, Chisinau, offers adequate hotels and restaurants, but tourist facilities in other parts of the country are not highly developed, and many of the goods and services taken for granted in other countries are not yet available. Moldova is a democracy with a freely elected government.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: Visas are required of American citizens traveling to (or transiting) Moldova. All visas must be obtained in advance of arrival from a Moldovan Embassy or Consulate. Only those U.S. citizens who can provide evidence that they reside in a country in which Moldova has no Embassy or Consulate are permitted to obtain a tourist/business visa at the Chisinau airport. No invitation is necessary. Any person applying for a visa for a stay of more than three months must present a certificate showing that the individual is HIV negative. Only tests performed at designated clinics in Moldova are accepted. For more information on entry requirements, please contact the Moldovan Embassy, 2101 S. Street N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone: (202) 667-1130, (202) 667-1131, or (202) 667-1137, fax: (202) 667-1204, e-mail: moldova@dgs.dgsys.com.

IMPORTANT NOTE: All foreign citizens staying in Moldova for more three days or longer are required to register with local authorities at the Office of Visas and Registration. The place of registration (usually, a district police station) depends on where a visitor is staying in Moldova. Most hotels will register guests automatically. The Embassy encourages U.S. citizens to ask about registration when checking into a hotel. U.S. citizens not staying in a hotel are responsible for registering with authorities. To find out exactly where to register, a U.S. citizen may call the central Office for Visas and Registration at (373) (2) 21-30-78, and be prepared to give the address of the residence in Moldova. Under Moldovan law, those who fail to register with authorities may be required to appear in court and pay a fine. For more information on registering with Moldovan authorities, U.S. citizens are encouraged to call the Consular section at the U.S. Embassy in Chisinau (373) (2) 40-83-00.

In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/departure.

SAFETY/SECURITY: A separatist regime controls a narrow strip of land in the Transnisteria region of eastern Moldova. This regime is not recognized by the United States or other countries. Since no formal diplomatic relations exist between the United States and local authorities, the provision of consular assistance to American citizens cannot be relied upon. Travelers should exercise caution in visiting or transiting the area. Travelers should be aware that there are numerous road checkpoints in the Trans-Dniester region.

CRIME INFORMATION: Moldova has experienced a rise in crime due to worsening economic conditions in recent years, increasing organized criminal activity, and more frequent travel by foreigners to Moldova. These conditions have heightened the risk to visitors of violent and/or other street crime. Many Americans have reported theft of money and small valuables from hotel rooms and local apartments. Cases of breaking and entering into homes and offices have increased as well. It is wise for travelers to exercise the same precautions with regard to personal safety and protection of valuables in Chisinau that they would in any major U.S. city.

Train and bus service are below Western standards and an increasing number of U.S. citizens have been victims of crime such as thefts, while traveling on international trains to and from Moldova.

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlet, A Safe Trip Abroad, for ways to promote a trouble-free journey. The pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.

MEDICAL FACILITIES: Medical care in Moldova is limited, with severe shortages of basic medical supplies. Elderly travelers and those with existing health problems may be at risk due to inadequate medical facilities. The U.S. Embassy maintains lists of such facilities and English-speaking doctors. Rabies vaccinations may be useful, as casual exposure to stray dogs is common throughout Chisinau. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends the Hepatitis A or IG, and B series for certain travelers. The CDC also recommends typhoid vaccinations for the travelers to Moldova. Consult your physician about immunizations.

MEDICAL INSURANCE: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs incurred outside the United States unless supplemental coverage is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas including emergency services such as medical evacuations.

When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical evacuation to the U.S. may cost well in excess of $50,000. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme difficulties. When consulting with your insurer prior to your trip, ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare provider or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.

Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure, Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page or autofax: (202) 647-3000.

OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Information on vaccinations and other health precautions may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via their Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov.

TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Moldova is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Safety of Public Transportation: Poor
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor

Moldova's highway infrastructure consists mainly of two-lane roads, unevenly maintained and unlighted. Caution should be taken to prevent collisions with agricultural vehicles. Travel before dawn and after dusk should be avoided if at all possible. Drivers and pedestrians should exercise extreme caution to avoid accidents, which are commonplace. Many accidents involve drunk drivers.

For additional general information about road safety, including links to foreign government sites, see the Department of State, bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html.

AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial service by local carriers at present, or economic authority to operate such service, between the U.S and Moldova, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Moldova's Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with international aviation safety standards. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's Internet web site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact the DOD at (618) 229-4801.

CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Moldova's laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Moldova are strict and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.

SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Travelers may have difficulty finding public telephones and receiving and making international and local calls. Losses have been reported from international letter and package mail, both of which are subject to a customs inspection before delivery. "Express" mailing services such as DHL and Federal Express are available in Chisinau, although prices are expensive in most cases, and shipments arrive from (or reach) the U.S. in no less than five (5) business days.

Moldova is generally a cash-only economy. Traveler's checks and credit cards are accepted only at a few select locations in Chisinau.

CHILDREN'S ISSUES: On May 29, 2001, the Moldovan Government issued a decree temporarily banning adoption of Moldovan orphans by non-Moldovan citizens. For further information on the temporary ban, contact the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Moldova at telephone (373) (2) 40-83-00. For information on international adoption of children, international parental child abduction, and international child support enforcement issues, please refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html or telephone (202) 736-7000.

REGISTRATION/EMBASSY AND CONSULATE LOCATION: Americans living in or visiting Moldova are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Chisinau and obtain updated information on travel and security within Moldova. The U.S. Embassy is located in Chisinau, Moldova, Strada Alexei Mateevici 103; telephone (373)(2) 23-37-72, after-hours telephone (373)(2) 23-73-45.

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