Romania is situated in South Eastern part of Central Europe; bordered by Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria, the Black Sea, Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova with terrains consist of mountains, hills and plains. The country has a climate with four distinct seasons.
Romania may not sound familiar to you but if I would say Transylvania, you might be thinking twice if it is the place associated with Dracula. It might be, yes or no. It is for you to discover.
The following were written based on my experience as a Filipino currently residing in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates who traveled to Romania for 13 days this October 2016.
It is not as difficult as we assume. The official website to start your visa is http://evisa.mae.ro/.
From their home page, more information can be read or you can browse directly by clicking Apply for a visa. There are 3 basic steps to be followed. Starting with the Apply button make sure you have a valid e-mail ID and a computer or laptop to start with your application. Simply follow the instructions and it will guide you properly what to do next. When uploading your documents, I suggest uploading the scanned ones in PDF form as it has lower memory to consume. Avoid taking photos from your mobile and upload it, as you might run out of space for other documents.
When you are filling up the online forms, you can usually choose between Dubai and Abu Dhabi for the Diplomatic Mission/ Consular Post of Romania. Though I wanted to process my visa from Abu Dhabi, it wasn’t an option by that time. When I phoned Dubai Consular Post of Romania, they told me that the Consular Post in Abu Dhabi is temporarily not available. The only option left for me is to process the visa in Dubai.
For type of travel document we have the Ordinary/ National Passport and our Philippine passport is already Biometric.
Since I am encouraging you to visit Romania for Tourism, choose Short-stay then Tourism (marked C/TU).
The next page will lead you to some questions if you are in particular situations like if you are a resident or traveling to other countries that are member of European Union, if you are a family member of Romanian citizen and others. Otherwise, you can choose ‘ I do not find myself in any of the above-mentioned situations.’
Then, you’ll have to upload the following documents:
Valid travel document which is our passport and must be valid by at least 3 months. Since we will be leaving and coming back here in UAE, I am sure that the consul will be checking our residence visa, so we’ll just consider it then, that it will not expire in the next 3 months.
2 Recent photographs 3 x 4 cm
Proof of accommodation
Valid travel tickets
Travel medical insurance- I got my travel insurance from one of the travel agencies in Abu Dhabi as suggested by a friend. The insurance coverage is 500, 000 USD and that is for 15 days for 100 AED. Romanian Embassy requires travel insurance with the number of days you’ll stay in Romania plus one day after your departure. The insurance is for 15 days only. If you take insurance good for 17 days it means you’ll buy an insurance good for 30 days with an increased payment.
Means of support – They require 3 months bank statement, I submitted good for 6 month plus salary certificate and certificate of employment.
Proof of itinerary. (Which I forgot to upload.)
Another page will ask you to fill-up the Application Form. After giving all the information they require, it will prompt you to print a copy. It’s a must to have a hard copy or you can save it and print it out later.
Two days after uploading the documents, I received an email instructing me to visit the Consulate of Romania in Dubai to submit the original documents which I uploaded. They will give specific date and time for your appointment.
Bring all the original documents you uploaded including the printed Application Form and head to the Romanian Consulate in Villa No.44- 12B St, Dubai. As I have to travel from Abu Dhabi I have to take the bus going to either Al Jafiliya Bus Station or Al Ghubaiba Bus Station and took a taxi to Consulate of Romania that cost me 16-20 AED.
I had my appointment at 10 am. The Romanian lady was very accommodating. She asked me how I knew about Romania. Why I want to go to Romania? Where will I go to Romania? (And I remember again that I forgot to attach my itinerary.) And I replied, I will arrive in Cluj, then I will go to Maramures, Sibiu, Sinaia, Brasov then I will depart from Bucharest.
I have paid 260 AED for the visa. I was hoping that they will give me my visa on that same day. Unfortunately, no visa released that day. But I was so positive that I will have my Romanian visa soon.
And yes, after 2 days, I received an email again to take back my passport with the visa in it.
Maybe you don’t know, but I am the laziest person to process a visa but I tried to pull it off for the sake of experiencing something new and it is to experience autumn. If I was able to make it, then you can chase your dreams as well.
Note: If you are traveling to other European Countries with Schengen Visa, you can use it to enter Romania, if it is included in your multiple stops.
Flights from UAE
Direct flight duration is from 5-6 hours.
Many airlines offer flights to Bucharest. From Abu Dhabi is Qatar Airways with connecting flight to Doha, Qatar then to Bucharest. A friend took a back and forth flight with this airline in July 2016 and it cost her around 2,000 AED.
Dubai has direct flights also thru Fly Dubai from Dubai Airport to Bucharest. Another airline with direct flight is Tarom Airline.
During my trip I took Wizz Air that offers direct flight from Dubai Al Maktoum Airport (DWC) to Bucharest or Cluj. I arrived in Cluj.
Airfare wise, Tarom has promotions for as low as 400 AED back and forth. But it is very seldom though, so once you have the chance, book a flight and beg to your company to allow you to go on leave. Flight with Fly Dubai is around 1,600 AED and offers promotions of around 700 to 1000 AED that comes with 20 kg baggage.
Why I chose Wizz Air? Well, it just came in time with 25% discount. I had the flexibility to choose a flight going to Cluj or Bucharest. I have paid 865 AED for a flight from Dubai to Cluj then Bucharest to Dubai. For this airfare, it includes a hand carry baggage not more than a size of 56 X 45 X 25 cm and another bag with size of 40 X 30 X 18 cm and a preferred seat. Meal isn’t included. It’s fine; it was a 5 hours and 30 minutes trip only.
Please take note that Wizz Air is very strict with the baggage size.
How to reach Dubai Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC)?
To be honest, I don’t even know where it is. But the easiest and cheapest route is to go to Ibn Batuta Mall. If you’re from Dubai, take a Metro and stop at Batuta Mall Metro Station. If you are coming from Abu Dhabi, take the 101 bus from the bus terminal to Ibn Batuta Mall.
At Ibn Batuta Mall, it’s not difficult to locate the bus terminal. It is just adjacent to the Metro and mostly, there are passengers queuing and waiting for the buses.
You must have a NOL Card to be able to use the bus with at least 5 AED loaded. To make sure you are waiting on the right place, ask the ones from the RTA where does the bus going to DWC stops, there are signage as well. The bus comes every one hour and that is by 1130H, 1230H, 1330H and so on.
From Batuta Mall to DWC was around 45 minutes and with less chance to be stuck in traffic. Taking a taxi might cost you around 65 AED. The route offered a relaxing view of a vast desert and then the bus stops with the few establishments around the industrial area. The road was even lined with trees and dates.
The airport isn’t huge that it will save you from too much walking. Since there are less flights coming from this airport, DWC is not crowded.
Hello, Autumn in Romania…
Don’t forget to bring a comfortable pair of footwear because Romania’s beauty can be revealed if you are walking along the streets, hiking to a hill or a mountain and climbing thru flights of stairs.
Keep an eye on weather forecasts but be flexible as well as it might change anytime.
Avoid bringing too much processed ready-to-eat meals, the country’s vegetables and fruits are mostly organic and Romanian traditional dishes are nutritious and appealing to the taste buds.
Don’t stick too much with your itinerary, listen to the suggestions of the locals, you might see something surprising more than what you expected.
Being cautious with pickpocketers? I felt so safe but it’s our responsibility to look after out things. I’ve seen around 5-8 gypsies, just ignore them or be away from. They won’t harm you.
Are you afraid that somebody will bite you and suck and drink your blood? You are free to bring garlic, anyway. But, if you see the gorgeous ladies and handsome gentlemen in Romania, take it from me, how you wish then to be bitten by them. Sad thing, they won’t. Instead, they’re one of the friendliest and helpful people you’ll ever meet.