Immigration Categories

A brief description of corporate immigration categories by assignment type follows. The appropriate immigration category or status for your employees will depend on their specific details and on your company. The most common category for corporate transfers in our experience is the work permit for local hire. For details on non-typical categories not listed below (investors, special programs), please contact your representative.

  • Standard secondement: Assignment up to a maximum duration of one (1) year within a five (5) year period, after which time, a work permit for the local hire should be obtained
  • Intra company transfer: Assignment up to a maximum duration of one (1) year for trainee employees and three (3) years for managers and specialists, after which time, a work permit for local hire should be obtained
  • Work permit for local hire

Typical Process Overview

The following process overview is applicable to the local hire category. Approximate overall processing time from the time the first step is submitted to the time the employee is legal to work in Romania is typically around three (3) to three and a half (3½) months for non-EU transferees without dependents. However, note that lead time for document gathering at the start of the process should be factored in, as should processing time for completion of post arrival formalities. In Romania, the document gathering stage of the process is particularly labor intensive, as many documents must be legalized and translated. We can assist with this if required. See “Application Materials” section below for further details. Average processing time for each individual step is noted below.

Step One: Labor Market Search & Acknowledgement of Studies (Labor Market Search waived for Intra Company Transfer applications)
Processing Time: Four (4) weeks per application (it may be possible to apply simultaneously)

This application for Labor Market Search is made to the Ministry of Work, Social Protection and Family/Unemployment Agency and must run for two (2) weeks, to ensure that no qualified Romanian or other EU national can be found to fill the position.

At the same time, an application is made to the Romanian Ministry of Education for the Acknowledgement of Studies and must run for four (4) weeks to issue an equivalency confirmation in relation to the applicant’s educational qualifications.

Step Two: Work Authorization
Processing Time: Four (4) to six (6) weeks

This application is made to the Romanian Immigration Inspectorate office, which will respond within four (4) weeks. If additional documents are requested, an additional fifteen (15) working days are given to supply these.

Step Three: Long Term Visa Application for working purposes D/AM (depending on nationality; employee only)
Processing Time: Ten (10) days

Once the work authorization has been approved, the principal assignee may apply for his/her long term visa (“work visa”) at the Romanian consulate in his/her country of residence or nationality. This step can be waived for certain, “preferred” nationals, e.g. U.S., Canadian, Liechtenstein or Japanese nationals. Contact your representative for more details.

Step Four: Residence Permit (employee only)
Processing Time: Four (4) weeks

Post arrival, once the work permit is obtained and local HR has arranged the conclusion of the labor contract and the registration of the rental contract (if not previously completed, it is recommended this is done within a week to avoid any possible delays), the assignee must apply for a residence permit. Our local representatives can accompany and guide them through the process.

Step Five: Family Reunification
Processing Time: Twelve (12) weeks

Once the principal assignee’s residence permit has been issued and has a validity of at least one (1) year, a Family Reunification application is made for dependents (first grade and second grade – this process is waived in children, in Bucharest and IIfov county; therefore they can apply for obtaining the residence permit immediately after the main applicant/sponsor has the residence permit obtained). Approval for this step can take three (3) months. Again, this step can be waived for certain, “preferred” nationals, e.g. U.S., Canada, Liechtenstein or Japanese nationals. Contact your representative for more details.

Step Six: Long Term Visa Applications (family – depending on nationality) D/VF
Processing Time: Four (4) weeks

Once the family reunification application has been approved, the family members must apply for long term visas at the Romanian consulate in their country of residence or nationality. Processing time is one (1) month. This step can be waived for certain, “preferred” nationals, e.g. U.S., Canada, Liechtenstein or Japanese nationals.

Step Seven: Residence Permits (family)
Processing Time: Four (4) weeks

Finally, when the dependents have arrived in Romania, residence permit applications are submitted in person at the Immigration Inspectorate Office. The permits will take one (1) month.

Typical Documents Obtained

Following the local hire category described above will result in the procurement of the following immigration documents. Typical validity is noted next to each document name. For details on the renewal process, please see the next section, “Renewal

  • Work Authorization: Valid for one (1) year for secondements; valid for up to three (3) years for ICT transferees; indefinite for local hires as long as the residence permit is renewed each year
  • Residence Permit: At least one (1) year for standard local employments, subject to maximum of two (2) years for high skilled employments and respectively to maximum of three (3) years for ICT transfers.

Renewal

  • Renewal is possible, for local hire permits. Standard secondement permits are valid for one (1) year only in a five (5) year period; after this time, a local hire permit should be applied. Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) permits are valid as depending on the transfer period: maximum duration is one (1) year for trainee employees and three (3) years for managers and specialists.
  • Renewal processes for local hires and ICT transferees take four (4) to six (6) weeks; please allow two (2) to four (4) weeks’ lead time for document gathering Changing from an intra-company transfer permit to local hire can be completed with the employee in Romania and takes three (3) to four (4) months.

Deregistration

To ensure that assignees leave Romania after the expiration of their permission to stay and to keep tabs on the number of foreign workers in the country, the government of Romania requires all applicants to complete the following deregistration process upon departing the country:

The employer must inform the Labor authorities about the end of a labor contract of any foreigner, within thirty (30) days of the contract’s official end date. Foreigner’s residence permits will be cancelled within ninety (90) days from the official end date of the assignment

Dependents

Dependent immigration status approval depends on the immigration status of the principal applicant. Where the principal applicant is in Romania under the local hire category, the following rules apply for dependents:

  • Minimum age (spouses): Eighteen (18)
  • Maximum age (children): Eighteen (18)
  • Unmarried partners: No
  • Same sex partners: No
  • Non-traditional dependents (e.g. parents): Yes, on a case-by-case basis. For additional information you should contact your representative.
  • Work authorization granted? No
  • Note that the applicant must apply for a pre-approval for family reunification, followed by an entry visa (Long term visa D/VF) and residence permit application post arrival. Families may not legally be able to join on a long term basis until approximately six (6) months after the head of family has relocated.

Application Materials

Application materials vary depending on the immigration category being applied for and on the specifics of the case. We will advise you in detail regarding your specific case; however, general application materials for the local hire category are noted below.

  • A variety of personal and corporate documents will be needed to support the application.
  • Personal documents may include copy of diploma(s), current resume (C.V.), proof of past professional experience and police clearance certificates.
  • Corporate documents include work contracts, corporate registration certificate, organizational charts, fiscal certificates, police clearance certificate and so on.
  • All personal certificates (such as birth, marriage and degree) must have been apostilled/over-legalized (depending on the issuance country)and translated for use in Romania. We can assist with legalization and translation requirements.

Business Visitors

  • Name of visa granted: Schengen Short Stay Type C Visa
  • Duration of stay: Ninety (90) out of 180 days period prior to each day of stay in Romania
  • General activities permitted: “business only”, generally defined as attending business meetings and seminars, sign contracts or attend negotiations, learn or verify the use / installation / operation of goods purchased or sold in the commercial and industrial cooperation agreements. If you are unsure whether your assignment may be considered business or not, please contact your representative.

Change of Status

It is possible for certain nationalities to change status from business visitor to work permit holder without leaving Romania. Contact your representative for more details.

Salary and Payroll

Salary and payroll requirements vary depending on the immigration category and on the specifics of the case. In Romania, there are minimum salary requirements in place. Additionally, payroll location will affect the immigration process. Please your representative for more details for your specific situation.

Qualifications

Qualification requirements will vary from case to case and will depend on the immigration category under which the application is made. However, in general, the immigration authorities do expect to see an undergraduate level university degree. In some situations, a strong case may be made for applicants without a degree provided their level of experience and industry specific qualification is high. Please contact your representative for more details.

Red Flags

In our experience, the following points are important to note at the start of the process. If any of the below situations apply to you, contact your representative immediately for further detailed advice.

  • Absence of degree.
  • Insufficient compensation
  • Passport should be valid at least six (6) months prior to travelling to Romania;
  • Processing for dependents can separate families for up to six (6) months, causing much inconvenience. Short term trips of up to ninety (90) days out of 180 are permitted during the process, dependent on short term visa issuance. However, it is important that dependents do not relocate before they are legally allowed to take up residence in Romania.
  • Romania does have a quota system, which does not usually affect corporate applications, but which may cause some delays from time to time.
  • Romanian residence permits are printed by Romanian National Manufactory. This is the only place where are printed all permits from Romania, and this system has been known to cause administrative delay in issuance of the permits.
  • Medical examinations are be required and should clearly state that expats are healthy and do not pose a threat to public health.
  • Non-European Union (EU) assignees may only be in Romania on assignment as “intra company transferees” for a maximum of one (1) year for trainee employees and three (3) years for managers and specialists or as standard assignees, for a maximum of one (1) year. After this period, it is mandatory for them to be transferred to Romanian payroll.
  • The above process description assumes that the employee has transferred to Romanian payroll. For employees on assignment, the Labor Market Search step is not necessary.
  • The salary for an expatriate has to be at least the median salary for the economy, which in Romania is roughly €695 EUR. If the expatriate is joined by his or her family, then his/her salary has to be multiplied with the minimum gross salary for each family member (which is roughly €322 EUR). Also, for high skilled workers, the salary written in the labor contracts should be at least four (4) times the median salary per the economy, which means around €2800 EUR.

Penalties for Non-Compliance

The Romanian government takes immigration non-compliance very seriously. Penalties for non-compliance range from fines to deportation and even imprisonment.

Employee Penalties:

  • Failure by a foreign national to notify the territorial Police of his arrival within three (3) days can be subject to a fine up to 500 leu
  • Failure by a foreigner in fulfilling his obligation to leave Romania on de-registration can result in a fine of up to 1200 leu (depending on the duration of overstay)
  • Failure to inform the authorities of any changes to the passport/address/marital status or to inform the authorities in the event of loss/theft of immigration documents can result in a fine of up to 500 leu
  • Failure to submit the application for extension of relevant permits within stipulated deadlines may result in a fine of up to 500 leu

Employer Penalties:

  • Failure by the company to communicate any changes to the work contract or terms of employment to the Territorial Labor Inspectorate may result in a fine of up to 2000 leu
  • Failure by the company to fulfil its obligation to keep the employment notice and a copy of the residence permit, or of travel document, proving the legal residence of the foreigner may result in a fine of up to 1000 leu
  • Employment of foreigners in Romania without the necessary authorization can result in a fine of up to 20000 leu per employee and can have adverse consequences like cancellation of permits/subsidies/benefits of up to five (5) years and even temporary or permanent closure of place or places of business.

For specific details of penalties, please contact your representative.

Bilateral Agreements

  • European Union: Romania is a member of the European Union (EU). Many EU member countries, European Economic Area (EEA) member countries, and European Free Trade Area (EFTA) countries maintain agreements that allow individuals from member states to travel and work freely within the region without prior authorization. Nationals of new EU member countries that are within the two (2) to seven (7) year transition period following accession may still be subject to work permit or other additional requirements. For detailed information on process and requirements for nationals of EU/EEA/EFTA countries traveling to Romania, please contact Emigra Worldwide.

Note that Swiss nationals are treated as EU nationals for immigration purposes in Romania.

Note also that non EU spouses of EU nationals must apply for documents based on being a non EU national. The document issued is called Residence Card and takes ninety (90) days to be issued; the Residence Card is valid for a maximum of five (5) years.