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Albania
Official Name:

Republic of Albania

Last Updated: April 24, 2017

Embassy Messages

Tirana

 

Further Safety and Security Information

Travel Warnings: Issued when Protracted situations make a country dangerous or unstable. Defer or reconsider travel.

Travel Alerts: Issued when short-term conditions pose imminent threats. Defer or reconsider travel.

Embassy Messages: Issued when local security issues arise.

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Tirana

Rr. Elbasanit, No. 103
Tirana, Albania

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Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

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Three months

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

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One page required for entry stamp

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

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Not required for stays under one year

VACCINATIONS:

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 None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

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1,000,000 lekë (approximately $7,800 at time of publication, though the rate can fluctuate) or equivalent

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

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1,000,000 lekë (approximately $7,800 at time of publication, though the rate can fluctuate) or equivalent

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U.S. Embassy Tirana

Rr. Elbasanit, No. 103
Tirana, Albania

Telephone: +(355) (0) 4224-7285

Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(355) (0) 4224-7285

Fax: +(355) (4) 2232-222

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Albania for information on U.S. – Albania relations.

  • 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.  Visit the Embassy of Albania’s website for more information.
  • 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 your place of residence.  Visit the Embassy of Albania’s website for information on how to apply.

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Albania.

Find information on dual nationality, prevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on our websites.

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 potentially vulnerable to attacks from transnational terrorist organizations.

Public demonstrations are frequent, often occur with little or no notice, and can cause serious traffic disruptions, roadblocks, and the blocking of public facilities.

  • Avoid demonstrations whenever possible.  
  • Past demonstrations have turned violent and resulted in deaths and injuries.  
  • Demonstration information can be found on the U.S. Embassy Tirana website.

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.

Power outages occur frequently throughout Albania which disrupt water service and interfere with traffic lights.

Crime:

  • 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.
  • Use common sense and the same personal security measures you would in the United States.
  • Do not leave bags unattended. Avoid placing passports, cash, or other valuables in the outer pockets of backpacks or purses. 
  • Do not leave valuables in plain view in unattended vehicles. Close windows and lock doors. 
  • Surrender your vehicle if you are carjacked.
  • Use ATMs located inside of banks. Check for any evidence of tampering with the machine before use. 
  • Avoid bars and clubs in Tirana. Incidents involving firearms have occurred in the past.
  • Be cautious when using public Internet cafes and free WiFi. Your sensitive personal information, account passwords, and other information may be stolen.

See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.

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- (0)-4224-7285. 

Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

  • 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.

For further information:

Medical care at private hospitals and clinics in Tirana is below western standards, and facilities outside Tirana have very limited capabilities.  Hospitals outside Tirana 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.   

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 strongly recommend you obtain supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that Medicare does not apply overseas.

Consult your personal health care provider before travel if you have a medical condition. 

Carry prescription medication in its original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription. Check with the government of Albania to ensure the medication is legal in Albania.  

Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. 

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the U.S., regardless of local law.  For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

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.

Special Circumstances:

  • 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. Large cities have banks that change travelers' checks and widely-available ATMs.

Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:

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 LGBT rights, homophobic attitudes remain.  

See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our  Human Rights report for further details.

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.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: Forced marriage in Albania is increasingly rare, but does happen in some remote areas. Often these marriages are arranged with the approval and assistance of the victim’s family. Many police officers are trained to respond to instances of domestic violence, but implementation is mixed.  Victim protection laws and resources do exist. Contact the police first in an emergency and then call the Embassy for additional assistance. See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

Road Conditions and Safety: Exercise strong caution 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:

  • 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 Tiranaon and 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 at www.marad.dot.gov/msci. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard’s homeport website, and the NGA broadcast warnings to website http://msi.nga.mil/NGAPortal/MSI.portal; select “broadcast warnings”.

Please see the Fact Sheet for this country.

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