ROMANIA

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Country Description: Romania has undergone profound political and economic changes since the 1989 revolution and is in a period of economic transition. Most tourist facilities, while being upgraded, have not yet reached Western European standards.

Passport and/or Visa Requirements: Tourist visas for stays of up to thirty days are not required. For stays of longer than thirty days, visas may be obtained from a Romanian embassy or consulate abroad. These may be extended at passport offices in Romania in the area of residence. Travelers can obtain a visa and other information regarding entry requirements from the Romanian Embassy at 1607 23rd St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone number (202) 232-4747 or the Romanian consulates in Los Angeles or New York City.

Medical Facilities: Medical care in Romania is limited. There is a severe shortage of basic medical supplies. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services. U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. Travelers have found supplemental medical insurance with specific overseas coverage, including provision for medical evacuation by air, useful.

There have been a number of confirmed cases of cholera, mainly in the Constanta Region. Further information on health matters can be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's International travelers hotline on (404) 332-4559.

Travel Warnings, Advisories and Areas of Instability: Crimes against tourists (robbery, mugging, pickpocketing, and confidence scams perpetrated by black-market money changers) are a growing problem in Romania. Organized groups of thieves and pickpockets operate in the train stations and on trains and buses in major cities. A number of thefts have occurred on overnight trains, including thefts from passengers in closed compartments. In Bucharest, street crime is increasing, though physical assaults of any kind are still rare. Money exchange schemes targeting travelers have become increasingly common in Romania. Some of these scams have become rather sophisticated, involving individuals posing as plainclothes policemen, who approach the potential victim, flash a badge and ask for his/her passport and wallet. In many of these cases, the thieves succeed in obtaining the passports, credit cards, and other personal documents.

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. Useful information on guarding valuables and protecting personal security while traveling abroad is provided in the pamphlet "A Safe Trip Abroad" which is available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402.

Currency Information: Credit cards and travelers checks are of limited utility in Romania.

Drug Penalties: U.S. citizens are subject to the laws of the country in which they are traveling. Penalties for possession, use, or sale of illegal drugs are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and fines.

Adoptions: Before traveling to Romania, prospective parents may wish to obtain information about both United States visa requirements and Romanian adoption law from the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest. Romanian adoption law mandates criminal penalties for offering money or goods to obtain the release of children for adoption. An information packet on Romanian adoptions is available by writing the Office of Childrens Issues, Room 4817, Department of State, Washington, D.C. 20520, or by telephoning (202) 647-2688.

Other Information: Customs regulations prohibit the export of some items from Romania. At the time of departure, tourists may need all receipts for presentation to customs authorities. Persons who participate in or photograph demonstrations risk arrest.

Registration and Embassy Location: U.S. citizens may register in the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy and obtain updated information on travel and security within Romania. The U.S. Embassy in Bucharest, Romania, is located at Strada Tudor Arghezi 7-9; telephone (40)(1) 210 40-42. After hours, a duty officer may be reached by calling (40)(1) 210 63-84. Consular services for U.S. citizens are performed in the Consular Section located at Strada Filipescu No. 26 (formerly Strada Snagov), one block from the U.S. Embassy at the corner of Strada Batistei. The telephone number of the consulate is (40)(1) 210 40 42. An embassy branch office in Cluj-Napoca provides emergency services to U.S. citizens only; its' address is Universitatii 7-9, Etage 1, telephone (40)(95) 19-38 15.

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