In 1999, Chivu was chosen to represent the Romania national under-21 team and quickly made the step up to play for the full side. In 2001, he won Cyprus International Football Tournament 2001. He represented his country at both UEFA Euro 2000 and Euro 2008. Despite being capped only four times prior to the Euro 2000, he started all four matches and scored his first international goal. At Euro 2008, he earned plaudits for his performance, keeping previous FIFA World Cup champions Italy and runners-up France at bay, despite being played in a less familiar role as a holding midfielder. He captained Romania through World Cup qualification, but they failed to make the play-offs, finishing fifth in their group. On 21 May 2011, Chivu announced his retirement from the national team.