Entry & Exit Formalities
President Vadim Krasnoselski is more tourist-friendly than his predecessors, and visiting the republic involves much less red tape than it once did. These rules are subject to change, especially if tensions with Moldova increase.
All visitors to Transdniestr are required to show a valid passport at the 'border' (if arriving by train this happens at the train station). The formalities are fairly straightforward and take about five minutes.
Your passport will be scanned and used to generate a slip of paper called a 'migration card', with basic information like your name, nationality and date of birth. You must keep the paper with your passport at all times and surrender it when leaving (so don't lose it!).
Migration cards are free of charge and allow for stays of up to 45 days. If you plan to stay overnight you must provide the border officials with an address for each day of your stay (day trippers who stay for less than 10 hours are exempt from this requirement). If later on you need to deviate from your stated itinerary, notify the OVIR office in Tiraspol or you could face difficulties upon exiting the republic (although they are not so strict about this any more).
Entering From Ukraine
Thawing relations between Chişinău and Tiraspol mean that you can now get a Moldovan entry stamp if you enter Transdniestr from Ukraine. If for whatever reason you fail to secure a Moldovan entry stamp, you must register your presence in Moldova proper at one of the following within three days of arriving:
- Bureau for Migration and Asylum in Chişinău
- Any local passport office outside of Chişinău.
Be prepared to present valid proof of arrival in the form of a bus or train ticket, along with your passport. You may be fined or worse when leaving Moldova if you fail to comply.
Transdniestr has two regional TV channels. TSV (Televidenie Svobodnogo Vybora, or Free Choice Television), is owned by the influential, pro-government Sheriff group. Prednestrovskaya Moldovskaya Respublika is the official state channel. Both channels air in Russian.
Radio 1 (Radio Pridnestrove) is the government-run radio station, while Inter FM is a private channel.
The two local newspapers are in Russian: Pridnestrove is a government-run, nationalist affair aligned with the Sheriff conglomerate that advocates the virtues of an independent state; state-funded Dnestrovskaya Pravda is marginally more liberal. Novaya Gazeta is a small opposition weekly and there are Moldovan- and Ukrainian-language weeklies as well.
Transdniestran stamps featuring local hero General Suvorov can only be used for letters sent within the Transdniestran republic and are not recognised anywhere else. To send mail internationally (or to Moldova proper) you should use Moldovan stamps, available in any post office in Transdniestr.
Not recognised anywhere outside Transdniestr, the quirky local currency, the Transdniestran rouble, is the only way to pay for stuff in the breakaway republic, as credit cards are not accepted. You can easily exchange dollars, euros, Russian roubles or Moldovan lei at exchange kiosks and banks. The Bank of the Republic of Transdniestr (www.cbpmr.net) posts daily exchange rates.
The 4G and wireless coverage for Moldovan SIM cards is notoriously poor in Transdniestr, although the situation is improving as tensions between the two sides ease. Purchase a local Transdniestran SIM card for the best coverage.