Laurentiu-Paul POP | Avocat Timisoara | beyondlegal

The (simplified) procedure for staying in Romania as a US or Canadian citizen

You fell in love with Romania and want to stay more than 90 days? Well, this article is for you, it explains the procedure to obtain a residence permit (permis de ședere) for staying in Romania for up to a year, with an annual renewal (the residence permit can be renewed annually). If you are just looking for an immigration lawyer you can contact me here.


Laurențiu-Paul POP

laywer & more.

The procedure is „simplified” in the sense that you do not need to provide proof for means of subsistence and in the case of those who carry out commercial activities, without the conditions laid down in Article 55 of Government Emergency Ordinance no. 194/2002.

  • Collectively known as proof of subsistence, this proof can take the form of various financial records/materials indicating your financial situation. 
  • As a rule, a non-EU citizen who wants to get a visa and a legal residence in Romania by opening a business in Romania needs to adhere to some stringent conditions laid out in Article 55 of GEO no. 194/2002. In short, among other conditions, you need to provide proof that you can invest up to 100.000 euros in Romania and have a business plan.

This simplified procedure applies also to Swiss and Japanese citizens.

What are my options?

Your options are to obtain an extended stay in Romania, up to 1 year, for the following purposes:

  • Professional activities – This is mainly for liberal professions.
  • Commercial activities  – This is for foreigners who want to open a business in Romania, as a rule, among others, you need to prove that you can invest up to 100.000 euros in Romania, except for US/CAN/JAP/SWISS citizens.
  • Work – This is if you plan to be employed in Romania, the procedure is a bit complex and you need to find a company to hire you.
  • Studies – In case you want to study in Romania, the procedure with the University you are going to apply to is more complex, and you have to pay the tuition fee, which can be higher for foreigners.
  • Family reunification – This is for the cases where you have a family member in Romania with a valid stay.
  • Scientific research activities – If you want to carry out scientific research activities in Romania, the research and development institution must obtain the approval of the Ministry of Research and Innovation. 
  • Religious activities – This procedure requires that you obtain (yourself or the organization through which you will carry out the activity) the approval of the State Secretariat for Religious Affairs.

More details can be found on the website of the Romanian Immigration Department.

What is the „easy” option?

If you plan on retiring in Romania, or just to enjoy your stay more than 90 days and do not fit the above options,  then one of the easiest options is to open a company in Romania. The only disadvantage is that you will have a recurrent cost of about 300-400 lei ($65 to $85) paying the accountant, to have your taxes taken care of.

Opening a company in Romania as a US citizen or Canadian, Swiss, or Japanese citizen is a fairly straightforward process. You will need a name, an HQ and that’s about it. Of course, there are more docs to take care of, but that would be taken care of by a lawyer. 

For a company’s HQ, you need to prove that you have the right to use a space, regardless of whether it is used as a dwelling or not. For example, if you are renting in Romania, you can agree with the landlord to conclude an additional contract with the company.

Also, another option is to have a temporary HQ with a lawyer, your lawyer can provide a temporary HQ for new companies for up to 1 year.

Of course, opening a company requires additional paperwork, but those are usually obtained by your lawyer. 

What are the costs involved in the whole procedure? 

In short, you will pay the following sums of money for the procedure of obtaining a residence permit in Romania by opening a company here:

  • $130 (120 euros) consular tax
  • $93 (≈430 lei) health insurance for 1 year 
  • $55 (259 lei) residence permit tax
  • $28 (≈130 lei) taxes for opening the company

This amounts to approximately $305 in fees and taxes which is separate from the lawyer’s fee which can vary by region/specialization etc. You can get a fast quote for this service by contacting me here or by email at [email protected]

How long is the procedure?

After opening the company we gather all the documents and file them online at the Romanian Immigration Department. You should submit your application for an extension of stay in Romania/residency permit at least 30 days prior to the expiration of your 90 days of stay without a visa.

The fact is that it would take quite a while to get your residence permit, up to 2 or 3 months. The procedure entails that you make an online appointment where you scan all your documents, the file is then verified, and they will schedule you to come in person with all the original paperwork. 

But, there is no risk involved, as long as the application (file) was submitted online 30 days before the expiry of the 90 days of your stay then everything is fine.

Opening the company and gathering all the documents for the residence permit application should take about 4-10 days. Getting a physical appointment at the Immigration Office and getting your physical residence permit can take months, but as I said, once the application is filed online you are safe in staying in Romania up to 1 year.

Looking for an immigration lawyer in Romania, Timișoara, or just have additional questions? Feel free to send an email at [email protected] or contact me by any other means here.

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