In order to reside in Romania for over 90 days one must obtain a temporary residence permit. The list of required documents is long and quite intimidating.
1) Fulbright certificate.
To verify that I am here for a justifiable reason. The Fulbright folks gave me this document. (photocopy)
2) Residence paper.
This is a tenancy contract of some sort. My lease with the landlord, which she had to register at the tax office, provided this for me. (photocopy and original—the immigration office took the photocopy, I kept the original)
3) A passport sized photo.
I got this taken at a photo shop on Piaţa Unirii. When I actually went to the immigration office they didn’t want a picture, they took one of their own. (10 lei)
4) Medical insurance from the national health insurance company.
I approached this particular item with great fear. I had read about long lines and hours of waiting. I was prepared for bureaucracy.
I arrived at 7:30 am. I had deciphered online that I needed to go to the office for foreigners, room 320, so I found the number issuing box and hit 320. It spit out number 4002. Not sure where I was to wait I went up to 320. No one there, no one in the large hallway, and the door said they opened at 8am. I checked out the other floors and decided to wait at the office. When I got back there was a couple standing infront of the door, looking as confused as I was. I asked them in English if they knew what to do. We started chatting and I found out they were a recently married couple, he, Romanian, she, Bosnian. She had 7 more days before her temporary visa would run out. At 8am 4000 came up on the electronic display above the door and then 4001 and then 4002, my number. I went in and handed over my papers. He entered things into the computer, had me sign, and sent me down to the cashier to pay.
As I exited I told the couple it had gone quickly and easily and asked them if they’d like me to wait. They did. With our combined forces and one native speaker I figured we could find the cashier. They came out triumphant and we all went downstairs to pay. (143 lei)
5) Medical certificate.
Normally you can go to the student clinic for this, but it doesn’t open before school starts. I needed to get the residency card in the first 30 days I’m here and as soon as possible after getting the health insurance so that they don’t make me buy another month. So, I called my pastor here in Cluj, an American, and she recommended her English speaking doctor.
The doctor saw me 2 days later. She looked over my records from my medical exam in the U.S., took my blood pressure, measured my height and weight, and provided me with the medical certificate. (50 lei)
6) Photocopies of my passport and the passport page showing the stamp from when I came into the country.
7) Two application forms, filled out in blue ink, all in capital letters.
8)A 4 lei fee to the post office.
I first paid a 1 lei fee and then was told it was actually 2 lei, so I had to go back and pay another lei. At the immigration office I was told that for non-E.U. applicants the fee was 4 lei, so back to the post office to pay 2 more lei. Keep in mind 1 lei is about $0.30. Still not sure what this fee is or why the post office.
Waived for Fulbright scholars: A consular fee of 120 euros, paid in lei, with the receipt from the same day showing the exchange of 120 euros into lei, paid at the CEC bank (read that a couple times, eventually it becomes clear). A receipt is given to show you’ve paid this fee.
The day finally came for me to hand over my sheaf of papers to the immigration office. The center for international cooperation sent a Romanian to help me through the process. The immigration office is in the mall near me. How convenient! We arrived before the magic number machine would spit out
numbers, so we waited. Despite getting the first number, 2000, a woman with her child jumped in front of us.
I passed off my papers and the immigration office spent some time looking through them. He asked a few questions translated by my companion. Other than a need to pay 2 more lei to the post office, all was in order. We went upstairs to the post office to pay those additional lei and brought the receipt back down to the immigration office. The officer provided me with a piece of paper to show I have applied for a visa and I was told to come back in 30 days to get the actual visa card.
This process involved a lot of offices and paperwork, but I was surprised at how smoothly it went overall.
Couldn’t be worse than the Vogons in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy!
For your amusement: