Albania Traveler Information - Travel Advice
Learn more about Albania Traveler Information Travel Advice with a Travel Advisory overview from the US State Department. Here we cover Visa, Safety & Security, local Laws and Insurance.
At AardvarkCompare we can’t recommend travel insurance enough. Whether you are just traveling a few hundred miles from home to see family, or traveling to the other side of the world, travel insurance should be considered an essential part of your holiday packing. The hope is that you won’t have to use your travel insurance, and that you’ll have a fun and enjoyable trip. The following Albania Traveler Information should help you make the most of your trip to Albania.
Note: Always check that your destination country is one approved for travel by your travel insurance provider.
PASSPORT VALIDITY: Three months.
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES: One page required for entry stamp.
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED: Not required. If you intend to stay more than a year in Albania, you will need to apply for a residency permit.
VACCINATIONS: Required. One must bring evidence of vaccination if arriving from countries as listed by www.who.int.
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY: 1,000,000 lekë (approximately $9,500 USD at time of publication, though the rate can fluxuate) or equivalent.
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT: 1,000,000 lekë (approximately $9,500 USD at time of publication, though the rate can fluxuate) or equivalent. For more information you can visit Albanian Customs website.
Embassies and Consulates
Rr. Elbasanit, No. 103
Telephone: +(355) (0) 4-2247-285
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(355) (0) 4-2247-285
Fax: **+(355) (0) 4-2374-957; +(355) (0) 4-2232-222
See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Albania for information on U.S. – Albania relations.
Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements
- Your passport should be valid for at least three months beyond your stay.
- You may enter the Republic of Albania as a tourist without a visa.
- You may stay up to one year in Albania without applying for a residency permit. If you wish to stay in Albania longer than one year you may apply for a residency permit once you enter the country. For more information on residency permits in Albania please see the Embassy website.
- Prospective residents or those wishing to remain in Albania for longer than one year or intend to work or study must apply for a residency permit at the office of the Regional Directorate of Border and Migration Police with jurisdiction over their place of residence.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Albania.
Safety and Security
Credible information indicates terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Europe. European governments are taking action to guard against terrorist attacks; however, all European countries remain vulnerable to attacks from transnational terrorist organizations. In 2016, the Albanian State Police arrested ISIS-linked suspects for plotting a terrorist attack on a World Cup qualifier soccer match between Albania and Israel.
Recent crime statistics indicate a decrease in numerous violent crime categories to include attempted murder, robberies by force and armed robberies. Street crime is common in urban areas, predominantly at night. The most notable are burglaries, theft, and domestic violence claims.
Attacks using small improvised explosive devices and targeting individuals in contentious disputes have occurred in the past year. Remain vigilant when parking in unattended parking areas, avoid parking overnight in non-secure areas, and inspect vehicles for suspicious items. If you find something strange, do not tamper with it and contact the Albanian Police immediately.
U.S. government employees are prohibited from travelling to the southern town of Lazarat due to potential violence associated with marijuana cultivation. The security situation there remains volatile, and police ability to protect and assist travelers in and near Lazarat is still limited.
Demonstrations and political protests are common in Albania. The protests are generally peaceful but have resulted in violence in the past. The demonstrations vary in size from several hundred to more than ten thousand participants and frequently disrupt traffic.
Avoid demonstrations whenever possible. Alerts and Messages can be found on the U.S. Embassy Tirana Website.
Victims of Crime:
U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault should first contact the U.S. Embassy. Report crimes to the local police by dialing 112, and contact the U.S. Embassy at +(355) 4 2247 285.
Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
- help you find appropriate medical care
- assist you in reporting a crime to the police
- contact relatives or friends with your written consent
- explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
- provide a list of local attorneys
- provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
- provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
- help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
- replace a stolen or lost passport
**Domestic Violence: **U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.
**Tourism: **The tourism industry is generally regulated, but rules may be unevenly enforced. Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage. Professional and certified staff may not be available to support some organized activities. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment may be sporadic due to limited hours and physical distances. Outside of a major metropolitan center, it may take more time for first responders and medical professionals to stabilize a patient and provide life-saving assistance. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
Local Laws & Special Circumstances
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.
**Arrest Notification: **If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.
- Albania's customs authorities enforce strict regulations concerning temporary import or export of particular items from Albania. Contact the Embassy of Albania in Washington, D.C. in the United States for customs requirements.
- The Albanian Government considers any person with at least one Albanian parent to be an Albanian citizen. Dual nationals may be subject to laws that impose special obligations on Albanian citizens. Please contact the Embassy of Albania in Washington, D.C. for information, and see additional information pertaining to dual nationality.
- Albania is a cash economy. Credit card acceptance is limited. ATMs are widely available in the cities.
**Faith-Based Travelers: **See our following webpages for details:
- Faith-Based Travel Information
- International Religious Freedom Report– see country reports
- Human Rights Report– see country reports
- Hajj Fact Sheet for Travelers
- Best Practices for Volunteering Abroad
**LGBTI Travelers: **There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in Albania. Albanian law does not permit same-sex marriage and does not legally recognize other countries’ same-sex marriage certificates. The government does not prosecute or discriminate against same-sex relationships. Same-sex married couples cannot apply for family residency permits, but they may register individually. Despite the law and the government’s formal support for LGBTI rights, homophobic attitudes remain.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: The Albanian Parliament ratified the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities in December 2012. However, very few of the convention’s terms have been implemented. Limited measures exist to support disabled persons. Most public buildings remain inaccessible. Public transportation for persons with disabilities is very limited.
Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Medical Care: Medical care at most hospitals and clinics in Albania is below western standards. Furthermore, facilities outside Tirana have very limited capabilities and are rarely staffed to handle serious trauma or major medical care cases. Albania has few ambulances. Injured or seriously ill U.S. citizens may be required to take taxis or other vehicles to the nearest major hospital. For more information regarding medical assistance in Albania please visit the Embassy’s website.
Sporadic blackouts throughout the country can affect food storage capabilities. Tap water is not safe to drink. Air pollution is also a problem throughout Albania, particularly in Tirana.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
**We do not pay medical bills. **Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.
Consult your personal health care provider before travel if you have a medical condition. If traveling with prescription medication, check with the government of Albania to ensure the medication is legal in Albania. Always, carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription.
**Vaccinations: **Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Further health information:
Travel and Transportation
**Road Conditions and Safety: **Exercise strong caution while driving and drive defensively.
- Be aware emergency response services are inadequate. First responders have limited medical training and equipment. Accident victims are often transported to the nearest hospital in the car of a passerby.
- Road conditions are especially poor in rural areas in winter months and during inclement weather.
- Do not travel at night. Travel outside of urban areas is particularly dangerous.
- Fuel and repair services are common in populated areas, but there is no formal roadside assistance. Tires and replacement parts may not be available.
**Traffic Laws: **You may be asked to show your passport in addition to your driver’s license if stopped. Police should provide you with a written ticket and receipt for any fine issued.
- If you have an accident, do not move your car, and wait for police to arrive.
- Disregard for traffic laws is widespread.
- You can only use an international driver’s license for one year in Albania. Apply for an Albanian driver’s license after one year.
- It is illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol. The police will seize your driver’s license and vehicle if caught. You may also be fined or receive up to six months in prison.
- It is against the law to use a mobile phone without a hands-free device while driving. You will be fined if caught.
**Public Transportation: **Public transportation options are limited and not generally recommended for visitors. However, marked taxis are considered safe and recommended for use.
- There are no commercial domestic flights.
- Rail conditions are poor, limited, and service unreliable.
- Private buses travel between most major cities almost exclusively during the day on variable schedules.
- Intra-city transit is an unofficial system of privately-owned vans operating without schedules, set fares, or, occasionally, government permission. Many of these vans do not adhere to accepted safety and maintenance standards or driver training. Consider the condition of the van before traveling in one.
- Be aware personal vehicle passengers have been robbed and killed in the past two years in Tepelene on the route from Saranda to Tirana and on the route from Athens to Tirana. Two Czech tourists were killed in a carjacking near Theth in 2015.
See our Road Safety page for more information.
Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Albania, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Albania’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.
**Maritime Travel: **Mariners planning travel to Albania should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website, and the NGA broadcast warnings website select “broadcast warnings.”
For additional travel information
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Call us in Washington, D.C. at 1-888-407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1-202-501-4444 (from all other countries) from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
- See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution and Travel Advisories.
- Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
- See traveling safely abroad for useful travel tips.
International Parental Child Abduction
Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in Albania. For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (ICAPRA) report.”
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