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Passport and/or Visa Requirements: Visas are required of American citizens traveling to (or transiting) Moldova. All Americans traveling to Moldova can obtain a tourist/business visa, valid for 30 days, at the Chisinau airport or the Romanian/Moldovan border crossing points of Leuseni and Cahul. No invitation is necessary. Visa applications and a visa fee schedule from the Moldovan Embassy should be requested at least one month in advance. Visas for travel to other Newly Independent States are necessary and difficult to obtain in Moldova. For more information on entry requirements, please contact the Moldovan Embassy, 2101 S Street N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 667-1131; fax (202) 667-1204.
HIV Testing Requirement: 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. The certificate must be in both Russian and English and valid for three months from the date of medical examination and special test. Further details can be obtained from the nearest Moldovan embassy or consulate.
Travel Warnings, Advisories and Areas of Instability: A separatist Communist regime controls a narrow strip of land in the Trans-Dniester region of Eastern Moldova. There are frequent checkpoints, so travelers to this area should exercise extreme caution.
Medical Facilities: Medical care in Moldova is limited. There is a severe shortage of basic medical supplies, including disposable needles, anesthetics, antibiotics, and vaccines. Elderly travelers and those with existing health problems may be at risk due to inadequate medical facilities. The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of local doctors who are willing to treat English-speaking patients, but has yet to identify an English-speaking doctor in Moldova.
Doctors and hospitals expect immediate cash payment for health services. U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States, so supplemental medical insurance with specific overseas coverage and provision for medical evacuation can prove useful.
Rabies vaccinations may be useful as casual exposure to stray dogs is common throughout Chisinau. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend Hepatitis B series for certain travelers. Further information on health matters can be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's international travelers' hotline at (404) 332-4559 or by visiting the CDC Internet home page at http://www.cdc.gov.
Travel Warnings, Advisories and Areas of Instability: Moldova has seen a rise in crime since independence. Due to worsening economic conditions, increasing organized criminal activity, and more frequent travel by foreigners to Moldova, the possibility of becoming a victim of violent and/or street crime is significant.
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 a major U.S. city.
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. The Department of State's pamphlet "A Safe Trip Abroad" provides useful information on guarding valuables and protecting personal security while traveling abroad. Additional information on the region can be found in the brochure "Tips for Travelers to Russia and the Newly Independent States." Both publications are available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington D.C. 20402.
Internal Travel: There are no internal flights in Moldova. Only Air Moldova, Moldavian Air, Aeroflot, Transaero, and Romania's Tarom regularly fly to Moldova. These companies provide services to Moldova which are below Western standards. Train and bus service is also below Western standards and an increasing number of Americans have been victimized while traveling on international trains to and from Moldova. A car and driver may also be rented on an hourly or daily basis.
Road Conditions: Moldova's infrastructure consists mainly of two-lane roads, unevenly maintained and unlighted. Caution should be taken to prevent collisions with agricultural vehicles, and travel before dawn and after dusk should be avoided if at all possible.
Telephone and Postal Service: 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 D.H.L. 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.
Currency Regulations: Moldova is generally a cash only economy. Traveler's checks and credit cards are accepted only at a few select locations in Chisinau.
Drug Penalties: U.S. citizens are subject to the laws of the country in which they are traveling. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs are strict and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and fines.
Registration and Embassy Location: Americans 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 in Chisinau, Moldova, is located at Strada Alexei Mateevici 103; telephone (373)(2) 23-37-72, after hours telephone (373)(2) 23-73-45.
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