Safety and security

Crime

Be alert to the risk of street crime and petty theft, particularly in Chisinau, and for pickpockets and bag snatchers in crowded areas. Take precautions when using ATMs, there have been instances of credit card and ATM fraud see Money

Streets, pavements, and other public paths are not well maintained or illuminated including in Chisinau and other cities. It’s useful to carry a small torch after dark, as street lighting is poor.

Keep your valuables and passport in hotel safes and carry a copy of your passport with you.

Although most visitors experience no difficulties, some visitors of Asian or Afro-Caribbean descent have reported being stared at, verbally abused, assaulted, denied entrance into some clubs and restaurants, or harassed by police.

Transnistria

The Transnistria region is not under Moldovan government control and seeks independence.

There are many checkpoints along roads leading into and out of Transnistria. You should avoid taking photographs of checkpoints, military facilities, and security forces or other sights of strategic importance, including buildings used by the de facto authorities and power plants. If you’re caught taking photographs of such installations or personnel you may face arrest or detention.

You should exercise caution if you travel to Transnistria and avoid getting into difficulty with the Transnistrian authorities. If you do get into trouble, try to contact the British Embassy in Chisinau at an early stage. The embassy will do its best to provide consular help where needed. But in practice this will be very limited.

See the Entry requirements section for further details on entry into Transnistria.

Road travel

To drive a vehicle into Moldova you will need the following documents:

  • car registration
  • valid insurance (Green Card)
  • UK driving licence
  • passport
  • if you are not the owner, written permission from the owner to drive the vehicle. This should be translated into Romanian and legalised.

The vehicle will need to be declared to the customs authority at the point of entry into Moldova. Vehicles can be brought into Moldova without payment of import taxes for a maximum of 90 cumulative days in a 365-day period, from the date of first entry. Contact the Moldovan Embassy in London if you have more detailed questions about bringing a vehicle in to the country. The British Embassy is unable to offer help to individuals attempting to bring vehicles into Moldova without the correct documentation.

Avoid driving outside urban areas, particularly at night. Driving standards are poor and roads are of variable quality. There are a high number of traffic accidents, including fatalities. You should comply with all local speed limits. There is a zero tolerance policy on drink driving.

From 1 November until 31 March, drivers are obliged to travel with headlights on at all times. Winter tyres should also be fitted to road vehicles during this period. Failure to do so could result in a fine.

Official looking taxis can be unlicensed. Do not share a taxi with strangers or flag down unofficial taxis. You should negotiate a price before getting into a taxi. Where possible ask your hotel to get a taxi for you, or to give you the telephone number of a reputable company.

The Department of Traffic Police has published the following helpline:

42, Vasile Alecsandri street, Chisinau, Moldova Telephone: 00 373 (22) 255-920 Fax: 00 373 (22) 255-200 email: pol.rutiera@mai.gov.md email: info@pr.gov.md (Moldovan officials speak Romanian, Russian and limited English)

Foreign-registered cars driven by foreign nationals are allowed into Transnistria upon payment of a vignette (a form of road pricing). The fee depends upon the duration of the stay. Civil liability insurance is mandatory, except for categories such as cars registered in certain CIS states, diplomatic vehicles or vehicles registered to NGOs.