Can you drive in Romania? Do you have to obtain a local driver's license? Find out the answers to your queries in this article.
Whether you are making a long or short stay in Romania, you will probably want to drive. Indeed, driving your own car will allow you travel more independently, without having to rely on public transport. However, specific conditions apply to driving in Romania. Therefore, make sure that you have a driver's license which will be recognized in the country before traveling.
But in general, foreigners are allowed to drive with their national driver's license, or with an international driver's license if they are making a maximum of 90 days stay in the country. Beyond that, they are required to obtain a Romanian driver's license.
You must be at least 18 years old to be allowed to drive in Romania. Moreover, you must be in possession of your driver's license while driving. Note that the international driver's license is valid for 90 days in the country. Once this period has expired, you must exchange your international driver's license against a Romanian driver's license.
As regards nationals of the European Union and of the European Economic Areas, as well as Swiss nationals, they are allowed to use their national driver's license, regardless the duration of their stay in the country. In fact, they are not required to exchange their driver's license. In case of loss or theft, however, they have to report it to the local authorities, and then fill in formalities related to exchanging their driver's license.
Exchanging your driver's license
The application for the exchange of driver's license has to be made at the nearest police station to your place of residence. Procedures generally last one or two weeks. Fees of some 400 lei apply. Documents to be produced are the following:
- your original driver's license along with a copy
- a notarized translation of your national driver's license issued in your home country
- an authentication certificate sworn before a public notary
- a duly filled and signed application form
- your resident card
- a medical certificate proving your ability to drive
- an extract of your clean criminal record
- two passport size identity photos.
Good to know:
Romanian authorities can eventually inquire about your antecedents (accidents, infractions, etc.) before granting you the local driver's license.
Apply for a local driver's license
You can apply for a Romanian driver's license once you have become a resident in the country. The same applies to students who have been living in the country for six months. Theoretical and practical courses are provided by driving schools. To enroll for examinations, you have to register at the nearest police station to your place of residence by producing proof of residence or a university registration certificate.
As regards the examination, you can choose to pass it in an international communication language, for instance, English. The examination consists of two parts: testing your knowledge of the road traffic code and a 25 minutes driving test.
According to Romanian laws, you must have certain equipment aboard your vehicle. For instance, your car must be equipped with a pre-warning triangle, a headlamp, a reflective vest, a fire extinguisher and a first aid kit. You must also be in possession of a valid driver's license, your health insurance card, your identity card and the vehicle ownership documents (grey card). In case you are not the vehicle's owner, you must be in possession of a proxy letter issued by the owner. The Rovignette, for its part, is equal to the tax payment card, is also compulsory. Note that its price generally varies according to the type of vehicle and the validity period.
Speed is limited at 50 km/h in agglomerations, 90 km/h in cities, 100 km/h on roads and 130 km/h on the highway.
Romanian authorities are very strict regarding driving after consumption of alcoholic drinks. In fact, zero tolerance is applied.
Wearing seat-belts is compulsory, both in the front and in the rear of the vehicle.
You are advised to be very careful while driving in Romania, especially in villages and rural areas. Indeed, most roads are in a very poor condition, just like in city outskirts. But despite these inequalities, two major highways connect Bucharest to Pitesti and Bucharest to Constanta.