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I've had some people tell me that when crossing the Romanian-Moldovan border by bus, the border checks are stricter and take longer than if crossing by the Bucharest-Chisinau night train.

Is this true? Is there any particular difference?

Asking myself this since reading an answer to this question about the Polish-Ukrainian border

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    I've been crossing the border last year traveling by bus. The checks were nothing special. Just a basic quick check. – cdm Oct 4 '16 at 10:19
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    @cdm care to extend that comment to a quick answer? Even if you cannot compare to the train case, a partial answer that covers the bus case would be nice. – mts Oct 10 '16 at 9:34
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+250

I've crossed the border last year traveling by bus. The checks were nothing special. Just a basic quick check. HOWEVER! It probably depends on where the passengers are from. When I was traveling, everyone in the bus was from the EU and even the bus had an EU license plate. Since September 2014, EU citizens don't even need passports to enter Moldova.

On the way back Customs officers didn't even care about the papers. They only looked under the seats, to check that we were not transporting huge amounts of wine or something.

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cdm has already noted his experience with the bus. Let me add to this by stating that, in my experience, the border checks by train, both ways, were just as perfunctory. The only thing unusual was that, when entering Moldova, a physician was present to check for any health-related problems. This check was limited to a brief visual examination and asking me whether I was sick. He was satisfied with an answer of "no". The entire "health check" took about 30 seconds. If you're not obviously suffering from a virulent disease, I think you will have no problems.

That said, it should be noted that crossing the border by train is a very time-consuming affair because of the change of gauge. The border guards collect everyone's passports before the process begins, take them away for processing, and then return them a couple hours later once the train is ready to depart again. In theory this gives the guards plenty of time to conduct very detailed checks. However, the face-to-face interaction I had with the guards was extremely brief.

  • Hrm, when I've taken it the Moldovans always scanned and stamped passports in front of you. Only my ID card was taken away because the device wouldn't read it (and yes, my ID is machine-readable) – Crazydre Mar 20 '18 at 11:08

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