Updated 2 months ago

Can you drive in Romania? Do you have to obtain a local driver's license or can you use an international one? Let's find out.  

Whether you are making a long or short stay in Romania, you will probably want to drive. While the country has a rather developed system of public transportation, driving your own car will allow you to travel more independently and on your own schedule. However, specific conditions apply to driving in Romania.

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 of stay in the country. Beyond that, most expats are required to obtain a Romanian driver's license.

Conditions

You must be at least 18 years old to be allowed to drive in Romania and in possession of your international driver’s license. Note, however, that the international driver’s license is valid for only 90 days of your stay. Once this period has expired, you will need to apply for 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 of the duration of their stay in the country.

Exchanging your driver's license

The application for the exchange of a driver's license has to be made at the police station nearest to your place of residence. Procedures generally last for one to two weeks and the fees of about 86 euros apply.

You will need to present the following documents:

  • your original driver's license along with a copy
  • a notarised 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
  • a copy of a clean criminal record
  • two passport-size identity photos.

 Good to know:

Romanian authorities may 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. The process includes theoretical and practical courses and exams curated by driving schools. To enrol for examinations, you will have to register once again at the police station nearest to your residence — make sure to bring your proof of residence or a university registration certificate

As for the examination, you will have a choice of languages to take it in and exams in English are available. The exam consists of two parts: testing your knowledge of the road traffic code and a 25-minute driving test.

Driver's obligations

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. When driving in Romania, you will also need carry the Rovignette, a tax payment card, which is required in order to pay Romanian road tax. The price for these cards differs depending on the type of vehicle and the validity period.

Highway code

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.

Roads

You are advised to be very careful while driving in Romania, especially in villages and rural areas. Sadly, most roads are in very poor condition, even on the outskirts of big cities. However, the two major highways connecting Bucharest to Pitesti and Bucharest to Constanta are in a very good state.

 Useful links:

Rovignette
Romanian National Company of Motorways and National Roads
Romanian Police
RAC – Driving in Romania

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.