Back in 2014, I shared with you the details and requirements on getting a residence permit in Romania. However, since then, I’ve been in contact with Kevin and his family who moved from the US to Brasov in December and had to go through the entire process themselves – and have just recently renewed their residence permit in Romania for another year.

It proved that in reality things were a bit more difficult than they seem to be when you check the requirements. Getting the residence permit, for example, could only be done after they opened a company in Romania even though both Kevin and his wife are retired and had sufficient funds for living in the country. The company doesn’t have to be one that has any sort of activity, but you do have to pay some taxes and fees which is about $1,500 per year.

Another thing that they found out during the process is that kids are guaranteed to get the residence permit as part of a family reunification process, but they can only apply after the parent(s) get their own permit. In other words, you have to time your things right in order to avoid overstaying – although in this case, as long as the application from the kids comes before the 90 days they are allowed to stay expire, things will be fine.

The costs per person were at least $400 (or $800) – Kevin didn’t have the exact amount on hand when we last talked and didn’t rememeber if the costs were $800 for him and the wife or just one person. This includes lawyer and accountant fees for setting up the company and applying for the residence permit.

Finally, the entire process of getting the residence permit to stay in Romania takes about one month. However, you are not – at least in theory – allowed to stay more than 90 days in the country, so in order to keep everything legal, you should apply for residence at the end of the first 60 days since your arrival. But again I don’t think that there’s a huge risk if you delay your application by a bit.

But what about renewing your residence permit in Romania?

One would think that once you got your first residence permit, things are pretty straightforward afterwards, but they’re not as easy as you would think and there are some things that should be considered.

For example, they found out that the day that you apply for your residence permit is taken into account, no the day you get it. Since they arrived in December, close to Christmas and the New Year’s celebrations and there were many days off, it took a little bit longer for their residence permit to be ready. They were surprised to find out that the date they applied was the one when the one year countdown started, so they had to really rush things to renew it. So have this in mind when you plan for renewal!

Apart from that, it was the same lawyer that took care of everything – so make sure you keep them in your contacts list because you will most likely require their services again. However, it seems that the process of renewing your residence permit for one more year is a lot easier once you have everything set up.

I can only hope that the future will make things even easier for people to be allowed to stay in the country – with less paperwork being required and less money having to be spent. But they are really happy with the life in Romania and Brasov in particular, so it’s all worth it if you really plan to come here and stay a bit longer!

30 COMMENTS

  1. It’s good to hear that they are still enjoying Romania. I was curious about them and am glad you updated us. I have friends that did the same thing in Portugal and the process is the same. I believe it is the same over here in Spain as well. We were lucky in Malta, it was straight forward, the hard part was actually finding the office (they kept moving) and waiting in line, no appointments given, you just show up and if they took you that day, you were lucky. It was a madhouse and it cost $12 for him as an E.U resident. I hear it’s improved somewhat.

    • Hi Kemkem,
      I hope you are well! I would love your thoughts on a possible idea that I’ve been entertaining of traveling around Europe for a year or two on visas alone before settling in Romania. Doing 90 day stays in EU countries and then leave for six months, but I would have non-EU countries like Albania, Norway, Macedonia, and Montenegro to play around in between visits to other EU countries. I understand this would be a lot more expensive than staying put, but I was inspired by you and Federico, who have spent a lot of time on the move experiencing new places, even though it helps that you have a blog to help support your travels. Any tips or suggestions? Thanks Kemkem!

      • Hi JC,
        Hope you are doing well too! It sounds like a wonderful idea and it is definitely doable. I wish l could say the blog was supporting our travels..but alas..nope! We are traveling on savings. We sold our primary house as well as a couple of cheap condos that we were renting. The plan was to travel until either we can start rolling over 401k plans. I have recently started thinking about trying to monetize the blog since the numbers are slowly increasing. So far we have made $101.36 πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜€. We moved to Europe because it was a cheaper base and has a lot of budget airlines. It helps that we are only responsible for 2 dogs. If you do it, start a blog before and start building if you intend to make money. We have blogger friends who did the same for 3 years and are settling in Split as a base now. Happy to answer any more questions.😊

    • Hi Calin,

      Thanks, as this is a helpful article for us already in the planning stages to make the move to Romania. So, if I am reading this correctly, one should budget around $2,000 all together for the permit, fees, attorney and accountant costs, etc. per year? Would you have any recommendations on a accountant and/or attorney to help put this together for us who are close to starting the process? If it’s anything like here in the states, you definitely don’t want to just pick either an attorney or accountant out of the phone book at random, as you never know what you’re going to get that way. I prefer to have some personal referral from someone I know if possible. Any suggestions? Also, as Stuart and others may be wondering, I have certainly heard it’s much easier for those within the EU, as travel and movement between other EU countries is supposed to be one of the perks of being in the EU. Better still if your husband or wife is Romanian, as that simplifies the process as well. Thanks again and any suggestions for finding attorneys and/or accountants would be much appreciated!

  2. Calin:
    Seems silly to have to create a bogus company, but that’s the way it is. I bet if one has a lot of money to spare, one could probably make things happen a lot easier–ha, ha!
    Watching the news, and the people are really speaking out about the government. Do you think the PM and his lot will be forced out? I hope the prez is spared, as he seems to be a stand-up guy.
    Thanks for this article about obtaining a residence permit. Seems like knowing and being gracious to a good lawyer is invaluable, for sure!
    Thanks!
    ~Teil (USA)

    • Yeah, they could make things easier and say: “You want to stay here, you pay x amount per year”. The company thing is strange – but I am sure that there are other ways. I remember that Wandering Earl, a traveler that lived in Romania for a long time found another with some NGOs.

      Regarding the political situation in Romania, the president is in the opposing side of the government so he will certainly be spared (even though probably the government wants him gone). I don’t think that the Prime Minister will resign because politicians in Romania, like in most places in the world, are very thick skinned. They keep doing what they want to do despite everything. At least it appears that the protests reached their main goal – that of getting them to cancel the bill that decriminalized corruption and abuse acts.

      • I worry that everyone is celebrating too soon. The government “promised” to rescind the decree eliminating prison sentences for accepting bribes of less than $40,000(!) but hasn’t actually done so.

        On the resident visa front, I wonder whether EU citizens have it a little easier than Americans. I can’t imagine the EU would permit Romania to gouge the citizens of other EU countries who want to live in Romania, especially since so any Romanians live in other EU countries. Now the Americans… after the performance of Donald Trump, who chiseled off the words on the Statue of Liberty “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses…,” I would think other countries would be entitled to put the screws to U.S. citizens.

        • Very few of the protesters are celebrating, actually and, even though the number of people protesting has diminished in the past few days, there are still protests and the numbers of people taking part increases during the weekends. Everybody is indeed still worried about the fact that they’re in no hurry to cancel that decree and they could still change their mind at any moment.

          Regarding the situation for UE nationals, in theory it should be easier indeed: it is allowed (I repeat, in theory) to apply for residence in Romania if you can prove that you are financially self-sufficient and the monthly amounts are really low. But this still has to go through manual approval and sometimes it seems that it all depends on the mood of the person with the stamp…

  3. Just when I was about to give up I discovered the Republic of Georgia. They give a bunch of countries 360 day tourist visas, easily renewed by crossing their border and returning. Due to a pro-American gov’t most street signs, menus, etc are in both Georgian and English. Can get 100 mbps internet there. The Caucasus are the highest mountains in Europe with some over 18,000 ft. Georgia is considered the cradle of wine making and ran across an article that ranked 30 European cuisines and Georgia’s came in 4th. Violent crime is extremely low. The capital, Tbilisi, is 1.5 million and has pretty much everything. Batumi on the Black Sea is a popular resort. And they’ve got good air connections to Europe including Wizz Air. Did I mention the cost of living is even lower than the Balkans? And the Georgians are known for their hospitality. Looked into transporting my dog over but will cost around $3000 so we’re waiting for him to pass. He’s 16 but in good health. Heading to Mexico in March until then.

    • Hi Wade,

      Tbilisi sounds like a great place for me to go while in-between, especially if I end up spending a year or so having to leave the EU between using 90 day visas in Romania, Bulgaria, etc. How did you find out all of this? It does look good in pics I was able to find, and the numbeo site does show low cost of living. Hard to find any expats writing about their experiences there though, unless you can recommend any sites to check out or get more info? Thanks!

      • Hi JC, I ran across a number of things Googling “living in Georgia” as well as searching the same on YouTube. There’s a very good blogger named Reinis Fischer who’s lived there for years with a lot of info. I don’t know how Georgia stacks up against Romania but I suspect being in the EU Romania is much more developed overall. Romania gives many cities to visit while Tbilisi is Georgia’s one true city. I forget the name but Tbilisi has a decent English language bookstore with attached cafe and wi-fi. Bulgaria is the only country in the Balkans that has a retirement visa but as an American there’s a lot of red tape and some high fees. Georgia’s requirements makes the hardest thing about staying there is just getting there.

          • P.S. again, forums to look at…Tripadvisor, Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree, and Expat Exchange are good sources. Facebook has a couple of groups for Tbilisi that are about rentals.

        • Thanks so much for all the sources to check out! I am very interested, as I plan to make my way over there by fall, and at least start in Eastern Europe. The good news is none of the countries I’ve added to my list to possibly visit are that difficult to move between. Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Estonia, and now Georgia. Ironically, just checking fares out of Ft. Lauderdale; RT flights to Tbilisi or Bucharest are generally no more than going to Alaska. I found RT flights as cheap as $600 bucks! If you like cooler temps (like me), Haapsalu Estonia is a beautiful, cheap little seaside resort and worth checking out too, it’s also only a short bus and ferry ride from Helsinki! I’m budgeting enough money to spend at least a couple of months each place, giving me long enough to check it out and hopefully get a feel for each general area. Ultimately, barring something unexpected, I still plan to try and settle in Sibiu sometime in the next 1-1/2 to 2 years. Unless things are drastically different than my research has found, being in the general Transylvania & the Carpathian mountains area is where I want to end up, and Sibiu is smaller and a better fit than Brasov for me. It’s amazing how many people I’ve talked to lately, many around my age, thinking of leaving the U.S. either temporarily or permanently, but almost all are headed to Mexico, or Central America, and a few to South America. Having lived in Orlando and Miami Beach for almost 30 years, I’m tired of tropical weather and miss seasons. Eastern Europe gives me real seasons, and mountains! Thanks again and take care!

          • Here’s an idea…A Canadian airline, Westjet, flies from Orlando through Canada to London. From there a number of discounters can fly you into numerous Eastern European countries. Much less than flying direct from Miami although Turkish Airlines might not be too bad. Good luck!

      • You could also try more specific searches, like “cost of living” or “expat in” followed by the city, not the country. Since Georgia is also an US state, the results will be misleading. But Tblisi or Batumi could be more specific.

        About Georgia – I don’t know their current situation, but don’t forget that this is a former Soviet country which was invaded by Russia recently. Make sure you carefully look into the situation there in order to reduce risks to a minimum.

        • You’re right should’ve said “living in Georgia republic(or country).” Russia did invade in 2008, and separated two areas that have a large Russian minority from the rest of the country. Beyond that don’t see Putin wasting much time there when he’s got bigger fish to fry. Probably that very pro-American administration had Russians in Georgia concerned about the direction it was taking.

  4. I will be moving to Brasov from the US in July and find this information useful. I wonder if my residency permit will be easier to obtain if I make it official and marry my long-term, Romanian citizen wife. Today is Valentine’s Day, after all. Perhaps I should propose.

    • Congratulations, Jim! I wish you two a happy, healthy and long marriage! Felicitari! Let’s see, if I become a Muslim, I can have four wives, one in each country I want to live in…

  5. Salut, Calin!

    My wife and I are looking to move to Iasi in the next coming months, and I have a few questions. My apologies if this has already been covered elsewhere on your site…I haven’t had the chance to go through all of your posts, yet. I’m a US citizen and my wife has dual Romanian/US citizenship (Romanian by birth). Do you think it will be difficult for me to get a long term visa or even a residency card if we file under “family unification” and my wife petitions for me? We own a home on 1000mp of land just outside of Iasi, I will still be working for my multinational company remotely from our home in Iasi, and make a good salary even by US standards. My main concern is the part about providing proof of medical insurance during the entire length of visa validity. If I get a long term visa, that could amount to quite a bit of money, since I believe I would have to get an “international policy” from the US, and those can cost well over $300/month. We have read some conflicting things from the MAI, one page saying I need to apply for a visa, and another saying I can apply for residency straight away once we get into RO. Since I’m from the US and don’t need a visa to stay up to 90 days, I would think the medical insurance aspect would be irrelevant, since I would be covered by Romanian healthcare once I obtain residency (I think?). If you have any insight, I would love to hear it. Great articles, by the way, definitely keep it up!

    Oh, and I forgot to add, we are officially married in RO, as well. The consulate in NYC took care of that for us and we have the Certificat de Căsătorie.

    Cheers!
    Eric

    • Hello Eric,

      There should be no problems to get the visa under family unification – it wouldn’t hurt to try and find a lawyer in Iasi who did this before, as there might be some minor things that could get overlooked and delayed, but a lawyer would surely know what to do. They won’t be expensive either and they would save you a lot of time and potential headaches because they would handle everything for you.

      Regarding proof of medical insurance, you will have to get some private health insurance in Romania first to meet the requirements. I am not sure they even accept foreign insurance and private health insurance is around $20-$30 per month in Romania. After getting the Visa, you will only get state insurance if you pay for it (5.5% of your income). So if no income is declared/earned in Romania, you have two options: either pay for it yourself (it will be calculated on 5.5% of the minimum wage in the country, which would be around 800 RON per year). Alternately, you could just stick with the private health insurance, which is what I recommend because dealing with the state health system in Romania might not be the best thing in the world πŸ™‚

      I hope you will enjoy Iasi and Romania!

  6. Calin, how do I find this private health insurance that is around $20-$30 per month? Everything I look at is “scump!” I’m sure I’m not Googling the right sources.

    • Hello Jim,

      You will surely find good offers at Regina Maria (through Groupama) – look at their “packages” as well. Medlife, Uniqa and Allianz Tiriac also offer good alternatives.

      Update: Kevin’s family did it through Omniasig, which costs 90 Euros per year.

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