Romania Expat Guide | Adam Fayed
Romania Expat Guide – that will be the topic of today’s article.
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In south-eastern Europe, Romania is widely renowned for one too many things.
Castles, salt mines, mountains, Latin heritage, and many other things make Romania a great destination.
Let us have a look at some of the fascinating facts about Romania.
— The Parliament Palace of Romania is the second largest building and the heaviest building in the world.
— Romania is among the countries that have the fastest internet speeds in the world.
— The second largest delta in Europe, i.e., the Danube Delta, is the best-preserved delta in Europe.
— Timisoara is the second city in the world to have electric street lamps, while the first was New York. It is the first to have electric street lamps in Europe.
— Peles Castle, located in Romania, is the first electrified castle in Europe.
— Romania is home to seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
These are among the very few facts that make Romania an amazing place for tourists.
Today, we are here to discuss in-depth information about Romania, which is useful for expats.
Without any delay, let’s get into our topic for today, which is “Romania Expat Guide”.
Let us start by discussing the currency in Romania.
As it is in Europe, one might safely assume that the currency of Romania is the Euro. Well, you are wrong.
The currency of Romania is called “Romanian Leu”, which is called “Lei” in its plural form. It is represented as “RON” or “Lei” while being written.
A Leu is further divided into 100 Bani (Ban in singular form). Let us look at the denominations of these currencies available in Romania.
The banknotes used in Romania are as follows.
— 1 Leu
— 5 Lei
— 10 Lei
— 20 Lei
— 50 Lei
— 100 Lei
— 200 lei
— 500 Lei
Among these, 20 Lei and 500 Lei are rarely used whereas other notes can be seen commonly.
When it comes to coins, Romania has four coins which are:
— 1 Ban
— 5 Bani
— 10 Bani
— 50 Bani
However, the 1 Ban and 5 Bani coins are rarely used in the country.
By the time of writing this article, the cost of 1 Leu is equivalent to USD 0.20.
The banking system in Romania is simple and banking services are easily available for expats. This includes internet banking.
Some of the common documents needed by expats to open a bank account are:
— Proof of residency
— Previous bank account statements
— Initial deposit
In certain circumstances, individuals might also be required to submit employment contracts or salary slips.
The actual requirements for expats to open a bank account might vary from bank to bank.
Some of the best banks available for expats in Romania are as follows.
— Alpha bank
— BRD (Groupe Societe Generale)
The international bank branches available in Romania are ING, BNP Paribas and Citibank.
ATMs can easily be found all over the major cities in locations such as bank branches. You can even find them at other places such as shopping malls in Romania.
However, it becomes hard to find an ATM in the rural regions as well as villages in Romania.
Many places in the major cities accept credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard, Plus, etc.
In general, Romania is a cash-based country, and therefore, it may be hard to use a card at all times.
Credit card fraud seems to be prevalent in Romania and because of that, you should stay attentive.
All the necessary precautions are to be taken to avoid being a victim of credit card scams.
After banking, one of the important financial aspects that need to be dealt with by an expat is taxation.
Personal Income Tax
Tax residents are liable for taxes on their worldwide income with an exception. The exception is the salary from overseas which has been provided for the services rendered abroad.
Tax residents of Romania are also exempt from taxes in another situation. This is when they qualify as a tax resident of a state having a double tax treaty (DTT) with Romania.
Unless proven as a tax resident from a DTT state, people domiciled in Romania are imposed with taxes.
On the other hand, non-domiciled citizens and foreigners are subject to tax on Romanian-sourced income.
As an expat, you will be exempt from taxes unless you earn income from Romanian sources.
The personal income tax in Romania is imposed at a flat rate of 10%.
There are, however, certain exceptions for the following tax rates in Romania.
— Income from the transfer of immovable property
— Income derived from gambling
Romania does not impose taxes on its individuals at a local level.
The tax residency in Romania is determined by the following factors.
A person who is domiciled in Romana shall be treated as a tax resident.
A person who has vital interests in Romania shall also be treated as a tax resident.
Individuals who stay in Romania for a period exceeding 183 days in a calendar year is also tax resident.
Romanian citizens, who are sent abroad as civil servants or employees, are also deemed, tax residents.
The social contributions that are to be made by employers and employees in Romania are discussed below.
The pension insurance contribution for employees is 25%, whereas the health insurance contribution is 10%.
For employers, a 4% pension insurance contribution applies for particular working conditions.
Whereas an 8% pension insurance contribution applies for special working conditions.
For normal working conditions, there are no pension insurance contributions to be made by an employer.
Employers are required to make a labour insurance contribution of 2.25%.
To know about the details related to exceptions as provided by the law, click here.
The standard VAT rate is 19% and applies to most supplies of goods and services.
To get details related to reduced VAT rates and VAT exemptions, click here.
The following types of taxes are not imposed in Romania, which are as follows.
— Net wealth/worth tax
— Inheritance tax
— Gift tax
— Estate tax
A building tax at a rate of 0.08% to 0.2% is imposed on residential buildings and 0.2% to 1.3% on non-residential buildings.
Depending on the rank of the area where the land is located, individuals also need to pay a land tax.
Given below are a few useful links related to taxes in Romania.
Foreign Tax Relief and Tax Treaties
Corporate Income Tax (CIT)
The standard corporate income tax in Romania is 16%. This is applicable to the following types of companies in Romania.
— Romanian Companies.
— Non-resident companies operating with the help of a permanent establishment (PE) in Romania.
— Foreign companies, which are deemed tax residents based on the place of effective management.
The corporate income tax for nightclubs and gambling activities is different from normal.
This can either be the 5% of the revenue generated or 16% of the taxable profits obtained.
Whichever of these two is highest will be considered as CIT for nightclubs and gambling operations.
A company is said to be tax resident in Romania upon satisfying any of the following conditions.
— The company has been set up as per Romanian law.
— The headquarters of a company is located in Romania or when it is set up as per EU law.
— A company having its place of effective management in Romania.
To know more details about the Place or Effective management or Permanent Establishment, click here.
Healthcare and Insurance
Healthcare in Romania is free for individuals who are working in Romania.
Anyhow, the standards of healthcare may not match those of the expat’s home country.
The healthcare services available in major cities such as Bucharest are better. Yet, hospitals located in smaller towns in Romania aren’t well equipped.
Common types of over-the-counter medicine and prescription medicine can easily be obtained.
However, expats who prefer a specific brand should bring enough supplies along with them.
Because of the strenuous circumstances and low salaries, bribery is common in Romania.
People expecting better quality services often gift money to nurses or doctors in Romania.
The National Health Insurance House (NHIH) is held accountable for public medical care in Romania.
NHIH offers free or subsidized services to Romanian residents and expats alike.
Employees in Romania have public healthcare contributions deducted from their salaries.
Nonetheless, expats don’t find the public healthcare services in Romania to be effective.
Some of the common complaints related to public healthcare in Romania are:
— Shortage of medical staff
— Outdated medical equipment
— Long waiting times
EU citizens can utilize their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for getting public healthcare. This EHIC is to be issued in another EU country to be used in Romania.
Following Brexit, UK citizens make use of the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) to get these services.
Private hospitals are considered to be the best by expats in Romania. Private medical facilities in Romania can only be found in urban areas and they have English-speaking staff.
While opting for private healthcare facilities in Romania, individuals are required to pay cash.
Afterwards, they can claim their medical expenses from their health insurance company.
To get a Romanian visa, expats should get private medical insurance. This offers access to better services and allows individuals to use private facilities.
Because public healthcare facilities lack higher standards, it is wise to get a private health insurance policy.
Education is free in Romania as per the constitution and it is regulated by the Ministry of National Education.
Even though the education itself is free, students are required to pay for supplementary materials and uniforms.
Kindergarten is optional under the age of five years, and following that, compulsory schooling starts at five.
It is mandatory for everyone to pursue schooling up to 12th grade in Romania.
It is estimated that a student would reach the age of eighteen by the time of completing 12th grade.
School education comes to an end after 12th grade in Romania when the students graduate from the baccalaureate.
Besides the public education system, there is an equivalent private system as well as a tutoring system.
Higher education in Romania is offered by the following types of educational institutions.
— Study academics
— Schools of higher education
— Other equivalent establishments
All the above-mentioned educational facilities are collectively called Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).
These can be state-owned, privately owned, non-profit, or focused on public interest.
Some of the best-known Romanian universities, which also happen to be the oldest, are:
— University of Iasi
— University of Bucharest
— University of Cluj
The tertiary education system in Romania is similar to that of many other countries.
A three-year bachelor’s degree, a two-year master’s degree, and a three-year doctoral degree.
Certain disciplines such as engineering, medicine, and architecture might vary compared to normal degrees.
As per the stats obtained from the internet, the literacy rate of Romania is 98.84% as of 2022.
The minimum wages in Romania are around 1,500 Lei per month, which is equivalent to something around €300.
However, companies in Romania have an obligation from the law to increase the minimum wage after one year.
The average median salary of an individual in Romania is around 3,850 Lei per month. This is equivalent to an amount of up to €780 per month.
These are the average take-home salaries in Romania after tax-cuttings and excluding the benefits.
The average median salary including those can be as much as 6,500 Lei.
Some of the industries paying good salaries in Romania are IT, Oil Extraction, Engineering, Banking, etc.
Note: These salaries are to be considered for reference purposes rather than being assumed as actual salaries. Salaries depend on influencing factors such as experience, skill level, education level, and location.
Cost of Living
The cost of living for a single person in Romania can be around 3,650 lei to 4,650 lei.
Whereas a family of four people require something around 10,500 lei to 11,500 lei.
Romania happens to be the third cheapest country in Eastern Europe, and at the same time, it is also cheaper than 91% of the countries in the world.
The actual cost of living of an individual or a family will depend on certain factors. Such contributing factors include lifestyle, location, etc.
However, the costs represented in this article can be used for reference purposes rather than actual costs.
That being said, given below are some of the costs in Romania.
Milk (1 litre): 5.87 lei to 5.96 lei.
White bread (500g): 3.19 lei to 4.20 lei.
Rice (1kg): 6.51 lei
Eggs (12): 12 lei to 14 lei
Local cheese (1kg): 30 lei to 40 lei
Potatoes (1kg): 2.75 lei to 3.10 lei
Tomatoes (1kg): 8 lei
Onions (1kg): 3 lei
Apples (1kg): 4.30 lei to 4.70 lei
Chicken (1kg): 24 lei to 34 lei
Beef (1kg): 40 lei
Water bottle (1.5 litres): 2.70 lei
Wine (mid-range): 25 lei to 31 lei
Domestic beer (0.5 litres): 3.60 lei to 3.80 lei
Imported beer (0.33 litre): 6 lei
Marlboro (20s pack): 22.50 lei
Monthly public transport costs around 80 lei to 85 lei, and a one-way ticket will cost 3 lei.
A new car such as a Volkswagen golf 1.4 tsi would cost around 70,000 lei to 80,000 lei.
Rent and Utilities
The prices related to renting in Romania are as follows.
A single-bedroom apartment in a city locality would cost around 1,700 lei to 1,920 lei
A single-bedroom apartment outside a city locality would cost around 1,240 lei to 1,320 lei.
A three-bedroom apartment in a city locality would cost around 2,950 lei to 3,120 lei.
A three-bedroom apartment outside a city locality would cost around 2,050 lei to 2,250 lei.
For utilities, an individual is expected to pay up to 400 lei to 570 lei. This includes basic utilities such as heating, cooling, electricity, water, etc.
The costs to be paid for utilities depend on the number of people, location, size of the apartment, etc.
Internet in Romania would cost around 39 lei to 49 lei depending on the internet speed.
Buying a property
Individuals who are citizens of the EU and EEA regions can buy property as easily as a resident.
However, such individuals should not have an already existing residence to do so.
EU citizens without a Romanian Personal Identification Number will need a Fiscal Identification Number.
Buying a property in Romania could set you back by 5,000 lei to 15,000 lei per square metre when it is in a city.
When it’s outside a city, you can expect to pay 4,000 lei to 10,520 lei.
Disclaimer: All the statistics in this article have been gathered from the following websites.
Over the past few years, Romania experienced a significant decrease in its crime rate.
However, Romania is said to have frequent economic crimes and corruption crimes.
Like many other countries, Romania is no exception to being susceptible to cyber crimes.
Nevertheless, the judiciary of Romania always strives to close as many crimes as possible.
There are four categories of visas for people who are visiting or travelling to Romania.
The four types of visas in Romania are as follows.
The first type is the Romania Airport Transit Visa, which is also called the A-Type visa.
The visa holder is allowed to enter the international area of the Romanian airport.
By this, we mean that you will need this visa while waiting for a connecting flight to go to another destination.
Sometimes, individuals are required to wait for substantial periods while waiting for their flights.
At this time, the Romania Transit Visa or B-Type visa comes in handy. This allows the holder to stay in Romania for five days while on their way to another country.
The C-Type visa, which is the Romania Short Stay Visa allows the holder to stay in the country for 90 days.
Furthermore, the 90-day period offered with this visa is valid only for six months.
The Romanian Short Stay Visa is made available for some specific reasons. Let’s have a look at the sub-categories of short-stay visas in Romania.
— Romanian Tourist Visa (C/TU)
— Romanian Business Visa (C/A)
— Romanian Official Mission Visa (C/M)
— Romanian Private Visit Visa (C/VV)
— Romanian Sports Visa (C/SP)
— Romanian Tourist Visa for Transport (C/TR)
— Romanian Tourist Visa for any other activity that does not break Romanian laws (C/ZA)
Besides those from a country exempt from a Romanian short-stay visa, one must apply for it before travel.
To know more details about the short-stay visa in Romania, click here.
Individuals who want to stay in Romania for a period longer than 90 days require the Romanian Long Stay Visa.
To be precise, the visa itself grants the holder access to stay in the country for 90 days.
However, the holder will be granted a residence permit, which can be used for:
— Family Reunion purposes
— Some other reasons
People who apply for a short-stay visa in Romania cannot apply for the Romanian Residence Permit.
You can apply for a visa in Romania by yourself, where you’ll be required to submit the necessary details.
If you are applying for another person along with yourself, the individuals are required to submit their applications.
For someone who can’t apply on their own, such as a dependent child, you must provide a separate application.
On the other hand, legal representatives can apply on your behalf if you are underage or travelling with a tourist group.
A legal representative can also apply on your behalf if you are travelling as a part of an organized trip.
To get more details such as the process of applying and application fees, click here.
As said earlier, the residence permit can only be obtained by applying for a long-stay visa.
The permit can be valid from one to five years duration by applying along with the necessary documents.
This application for a residence permit needs to be submitted 30 days before the expiry of the visa.
Applicants are required to meet to satisfy the following requirements to get a temporary residence permit.
— Valid Travel Document
— Proof of residence
— Valid Health Insurance
— Should have the same purpose for the stay, which should be the same as that mentioned in the visa.
After acquiring a temporary residence permit, an individual can apply for permanent residence by fulfilling the following conditions.
First, they are required to submit proof of continuous stay In Romania of at least five years.
An absence of six consecutive months during these five years is allowed.
A valid national health insurance is also necessary while applying for permanent residence.
Individuals are required to have a means of income, which should meet the minimum income requirements in Romania.
The people applying for a permanent residence permit should have proficiency in the language.
They should not pose any sort of threat to Romanian national security.
Furthermore, people who do not satisfy the above-mentioned conditions can still apply for permanent residence if:
— The individuals are of Romanian origin, or else, they were born in Romania and their stay is in the interest of Romania.
— Individuals who make an investment of at least 1,000,000 euros in Romania or have created at least 100 full-time jobs.
You are allowed to get Romanian citizenship through four different methods, which are:
While applying for citizenship, the following documents should be submitted regardless of the category.
— Original Passport and notarized copy
— Civil status documents like birth certificates, marriage certificates, and change of name. etc. These should be translated into the Romanian language and are to be notarized.
— Certified copy as well as the original criminal record in Romania or the country of origin.
— Written proof of Romanian descent like the birth certificate of your parents or grandparents or ancestors.
After being in the country for eight years, one can apply for citizenship through naturalization.
There is no specific visa for individuals who want to retire in Romania. Therefore, you can stay with a permanent residence permit and apply for citizenship through naturalization.
This guide will be extremely helpful for those who want to visit, work, study, or retire in Romania.
Having said that, it can be somewhat hard for an individual to take care of their finances as an expat.
Especially when you are a beginner or don’t have enough time to manage your wealth.
If you are seeking the assistance of a financial expert for financial planning or wealth management services, then you are in luck.
You can feel free to contact me to get access to top-notch financial services targeted towards expats.
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