Romania Visas, Work Permits and Migration
Since joining the European Union (EU) in 2007, Romania has enjoyed one of the highest levels of economic growth in the EU over the past decade. Freedom of movement for capital, goods, services and people has been instrumental in its expansion. As such, lower production costs and lower prices provide an attraction for foreign companies and ‘go-getting’ entrepreneurs, looking for opportunities, to move to and invest in this ‘Land of Dracula’. However, although a member of the EU and the European Economic Area, Romania is not a member of the Schengen agreement, as of March 2022, or part of the Eurozone; its currency is the Romanian leu.
For companies, one of the initial steps when expanding into the Romanian market is onboarding staff from the home country or from elsewhere in the world. As with most countries, documentation is required to cross its borders and it is down to the individual or company to make sure they comply with all immigration regulations and laws.
Citizens of the EU, EEA, and Switzerland (as part of the European Free Trade Association) are free to enter, live and work in Romania without visas or work permits, however, there are some administrative procedures required until Romania joins the Schengen area.
Many other countries also have agreements regarding visa-exemption for holidays, visiting friends, business purposes (but not paid employment) and sports events for a period of 90 days in a 180-day period. For those Third Country Nationals (TCNs) who do require a visa for tourism or business, short-stay (C) and long-stay (D) national visas are available. All TCNs require work permits for employment in Romania.
There are numerous options for those joining the Romanian workforce … and understanding the necessary documentation, eligibility and making the right choice for you or your staff takes expert advice. The complexities of ensuring your employees are compliant takes time, research, and money.
What Types of Work Visas, and Permits for Portugal are there?
Romania, as with all countries, requires documentation for foreigners to live or work there, but there are exemptions. As a member of the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA), they practice free movement for all members’ nationals – so no visa or work permit is required. However, because Romania as of March 2022 is still not part of the Schengen Agreement, certain documentation is required i.e., a national passport. Also, after being in the country for three months, EU/EEA and Swiss citizens need to register with the local authorities i.e., General Inspectorate for Immigration (IGI) to receive a registration certificate.
Many other countries’ nationals are exempt from applying for a visa for 90 days in a 180-day period. These citizens are allowed to work during the 90 days for certain activities, which is usual for most countries e.g., training, installing, or maintaining machinery.
For those Third Country Nationals (TCNs) who require a visa, Transit, Short Stay (C) or Long Stay (D) visas are available.
Short-Stay (C) Visas are issued for Tourism; Visiting; Business; Sports Activities; Cultural or Scientific Activities. For 90 days in a 180-day period
Long-Stay (D) Visas are issued for 90 days but with the ‘right to request an extension’ and apply for the Residence Permit to: Work (or Study). This is applied for before leaving the home country
Documentation required to enter, live and work in Romania for TCNs.
- A Visa. Long-Stay (D) to travel to Romania for work purposes is applied for before the employee leaves their home country and provides temporary residency for 90 days. The National Visa Centre is the authority that accepts applications by TCNs and issues the visas to allow travel to Romania
- A Work Permit or Work Authorization a.k.a. Employment or Work Approval. This is applied for by the employer, organization or company offering the position
- Residence Permit. If the period of employment exceeds the Long-Stay D Visa (90 days) then employees must apply for the Residence Permit within 30 days of the visa expiring
Note: Delays in processing visa and permits can create problems – so allow plenty of time to avoid hold-ups.
Types of work requiring Long-Stay (D) Visa and Residence Permit
- When transferring from company in home country to branch in Romania (D/DT)
- When employed by a Romanian company with an employment contract (D/AM)
- Companies abroad supplying services to their Romanian customers
- Entrepreneurs looking to set up a company
- Self-employed workers
Also, as of December 2021, a new visa was introduced – the Digital Nomad Visa for remote workers without the need for a separate work permit through an employer.
Types of Work Permit or Authorization are for:
- Permanent workers
- Highly qualified workers
- Seasonal workers
- Nominal work
- Cross-border workers
- ICT workers (Intra-corporate transfer)
- Posted workers
The Work Permit or ’Work Authorization’ is not a ‘general permission to work’ throughout Romania. The work permit is granted for the employer who applied, for the position offered. Work Permits come under the General Inspectorate for Immigration (IGI) where documentation is sent by the employer. Some jobs must go through a Labor Market Test, offering first refusal to local Romanians, EU/EEA/Swiss citizens by advertising through the local media and can be a condition of the work permit. Employees must also:
- Have a clean police report showing no criminal activity
- Have a certificate demonstrating good health
- Be within the work permit quotas for TCNs that can be legally employed by local Romanian companies. For 2022 the number increased to 100,000
- Be qualified for the position applied for regarding education and work experience, complying also with any legal tests conducted by the employer
- Have not been refused entry or expelled from Romania or from the Schengen Area
Note: Most documentation is in Romanian and many employers expect the minimum language requirements.
Main Work Permits for Permanent employees for companies on contract
- Single Work Permit for people working as contracted employees for either indefinite or fixed-term contract, for Romanian registered companies which is for one year, renewable. This can lead to permanent residency. Processing can take 16-20 weeks.
- Deployed or posted workers. Employees sent on a temporary basis to supply a service or complete a specific task from a company abroad for one to five years.
- Intra-corporate transfer (ICT) to a branch of the same company from a Third Country, for managers and highly skilled workers for up to three years.
- EU Blue Card for people who are highly qualified / skilled and is for two years renewable. Can be a pre-requisite for qualifying employees seeking permanent residency. Can take between 16 – 20 weeks to process.
Employers initiate the work permit process for the employees and refer all documentation required to the IGI who processes the work permit within 30 days and for EU Blue Card holders, 15 days. Employers must pay a tax of around RON 500 (€100; US$110) for each permanent TCN employed. The permit should be kept for as long as the period of employment. A copy should be given to the employee as proof, which is needed for the Work (D) Visa application. Residence Permit can be applied for 30 days before their temporary residence, i.e., Long-Stay (D) Visa, expires and can be valid for up to three years.