I have refugee status in Romania, a temporary residence of 3 years and refugee travel document (Convention 1951). I traveled from Romania to the Republic of Moldova using my Romanian travel document. When I needed to make a declaration from a notary (and to receive money from Western Union in a bank), they would not accept my Romanian document and told me that they required a passport or other identification document, that my Convention 1951 document can only be used for travel purposes. Immigration authorities in Romania told me that I have the same rights and obligations as Romanian citizens. When and how can I use my Romanian travel document?

  • Was the notary and/or the Western Union in Moldova or Romania?
    – mkennedy
    Sep 14, 2016 at 16:50

1 Answer 1


Immigration authorities in Romania told me that I have the same rights and obligations as Romanian citizens

A kind sincere sentiment, but not practically true. Obviously you are expected to obey the laws, and are given many of the same freedoms and access to state services, but there is a significant and critical difference between being a citizen and not being a citizen. One of those differences has to do with access to a passport.

When and how can I use my Romanian travel document?

For exactly the purpose it was meant for: to be able to travel in and out of the country from which you have been granted refugee protection.

The 1951 convention established that as a way for refugees to travel abroad with some limitations. Signatories to that convention (such as Moldova) have agreed to accept it for these purposes. However the convention does not state that any other country must recognize it for any other purpose than for travel, even a purpose for which an actual passport would often be used (proof of indentification for example). That is strictly up to those countries to decide for themselves, and since they may have no specific policy on the matter, it may be left up to individual organizations to decide for themselves. Even Romania, the country that has given you protection and issued the document, technically doesn't have to consider this document as firm proof of identification or require anybody else inside the country to do the same.

This is a limitation you may have to live with for some time.

  • (-1) This is kind of true but fails to address the question. Obviously, it's up to each country what they recognize as ID, the exact same could be written about passports, for even that might not be enough for some purposes. Question is: How is it in Romania and/or Moldova?
    – Gala
    Sep 14, 2016 at 9:29
  • 1
    He was asking for what the travel document could be used for. I've given my answer. It may not be an answer that the OP wants to hear. And you are absolutely correct about passports. While it is generally accepted as a high level form of personal identification (especially in Europe), that is completely up to the institutions/governments/individuals/etc... as to whether they will accept such. In some ways, it might depend entirely on the context.
    – ouflak
    Sep 14, 2016 at 9:33
  • I wasn't sure I understood your Romania/Moldova question. Are asking how they consider the travel document for ID purposes? Don't know about Moldova, but apparently Romania doesn't grant the document the same high regard indentification-wise, since the OP couldn't even get the document accepted by a notary. I did do some research on this, but did not find a lot of cases of the refugee travel document being used as ID in the positive or negative.
    – ouflak
    Sep 14, 2016 at 9:35
  • @outflak The notary was in Moldova from what I understand and might very well be wrong in refusing the document, that is the question. What you wrote is that a refugee travel document isn't necessarily accepted as an ID under the terms of the convention (certainly true, because international conventions are not in the business of specifying this sort of things). I still see zero actual info in your answer about what is or isn't allowed in Romania or Moldova beyond what you seem to infer from the question, i.e. you added exactly nothing and utterly failed to address it.
    – Gala
    Sep 14, 2016 at 21:17
  • Also, do refugees in Romania get another document, a permit of some kind (my guess would be yes). Can that be used in Romania (I know in France it is officially accepted for many official purposes)? In Moldova (my guess is no, but I don't know)? Is there anything else that could be used in this situation? All this is the kind of information I would expect to see in a good valuable answer, not merely generalities on the 1951 convention that anybody with a web browser could come up with (not to mention a good dose of condescension that was completely uncalled for...)
    – Gala
    Sep 14, 2016 at 21:21

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