Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Crossing the Transnistrian Border

Well, I made it in and out of Transnistria.  The self-proclaimed breakaway republic controls its territory from the rest of Moldova.

I was a bit nervous about trying to cross the border with my American passport.

Many people have warned me that its pretty normal for the border guards to want a bribe.  I've heard that the usual tactic is say that a person is missing a visa for Transnistria and that it should have been applied for at the embassy before arrival.  Which sounds logical except that since Transnistria isn't a real country so there are no embassies anywhere.  I was expecting to pay €10 each way.

Rather than try to deal with things on our own we had our Russian-speaking driver take us in and out of Transnistria.  Everyone has to fill out an immigration form.  You actually fill out the form twice because the top and bottom is the same.  The border guard takes the top half and you keep the bottom half with you.  If you don't have the bottom half of the form then you don't get to leave.

I did hear that the border guards tried to shake down some Canadian chaps, who stayed at our hostel, when they entered Transnistria from Ukraine.  However, with our local driver then there was no problem and no fee.  There were lots of armed guards who weren't exactly friendly looking.  I did manage to snap a quick picture from the back of the car as we left.

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