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International Travel

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Country Information

Albania

Country Information

Albania
Republic of Albania
Last Updated: April 24, 2017
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Embassy Messages

Tirana

 

Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

Three months

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

One page required for entry stamp

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

Not required for stays under one year

VACCINATIONS:

 None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

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

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

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

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Embassies and Consulates

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

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Destination Description

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

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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.  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.

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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 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:

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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. 

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.

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Health

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:

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Travel and Transportation

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”.

Hague Convention Participation
Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
No
What You Can Do
Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US
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Embassies and Consulates

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

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General Information

For information concerning travel to Albania, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for Albania.

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA).  The report is located here.

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Hague Abduction Convention

Albania is not a signatory to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention), nor are there any bilateral agreements in force between Albania and the United States concerning international parental child abduction.

Albania acceded to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention) on August 1, 2007; however, the United States and Albania are not yet treaty partners.  Until Albania and the United States establish a treaty relationship per Article 38 of the Convention, parents whose children have been abducted from the United States to Albania or wrongfully retained in Albania are unable to invoke the Convention to pursue their children’s return or to seek access to them.

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Return

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.  The government of Albania maintains information about custody, visitation, and family law on the Internet here.

Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Albania and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances.

The Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children’s Issues provides assistance in cases of international parental child abduction.  For U.S. citizen parents whose children have been wrongfully removed to or retained in countries that are not U.S. partners under the Hague Abduction Convention, the Office of Children’s Issues can provide information and resources about country-specific options for pursuing the return of or access to an abducted child.  The Office of Children’s Issues may also coordinate with appropriate foreign and U.S. government authorities about the welfare of abducted U.S. citizen children.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance.

Contact information:

U.S. Department of State
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone:  1-888-407-4747
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
Website: travel.state.gov/

Email: AskCI@state.gov 

Parental child abduction is a crime in Albania. Per Article 127 of the Albanian Penal Code, it is illegal to take a child from the person exercising parental authority or who has been entrusted to raise and educate the child. It is also unlawful for one parent to keep a child during visitation beyond the time allotted by a court order. Noncompliance by one party constitutes a criminal act and is punishable by a fine or up to six months of imprisonment. The entirety of the Article can be found here. 

Parents may wish to consult with an attorney in the United States and in the country to which the child has been removed or retained to learn more about how filing criminal charges may impact a custody case in the foreign court.  Please see Possible Solutions - Pressing Criminal Charges for more information. 


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Visitation/Access

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from Albania to the United States.  Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Albania and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances.

The Office of Children’s Issues may be able to assist parents seeking access to children who have been wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States.   Parents who are seeking access to children who were not wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States should contact the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Albania for information and possible assistance.

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Retaining an Attorney

Neither the Office of Children’s Issues nor consular officials at the U.S. Embassy or Consulates in Albania are authorized to provide legal advice.

The U.S. Embassy in Tirana, Albania, posts a list of attorneys, including those who specialize in family law.

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the persons or firms included in this list. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

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Mediation

We are unaware of any Mediation services available in Albania at this time.

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.  For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Hague Convention Participation
Hague Adoption Convention Country?
Yes
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
Is this country a U.S. Hague Partner?
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Hague Convention Information

Albania is party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention or Convention). Intercountry adoption processing in Convention countries is done in accordance with the requirements of the Convention; the U.S. implementing legislation, the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (IAA); and the IAA’s implementing regulations; as well as the implementing legislation and regulations of Albania.

U.S. IMMIGRATION REQUIREMENTS FOR INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTIONS

To bring an adopted child to the United States from Albania, you must meet eligibility and suitability requirements. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determines who can adopt under U.S. immigration law.

Additionally, a child must meet the definition of Convention adopteeunder U.S. law in order to immigrate to the United States on an IH-3 or IH-4 visa.

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Who Can Adopt

In addition to the U.S. requirements, Albania obliges prospective adoptive parents to meet the following requirements in order to adopt a child from Albania:

  • Residency:  There are no published residency requirements or restrictions.
  • Age of Adopting Parents:  Under Albanian law, prospective adoptive parents must be a minimum of 18 years older than the adopted child.
  • Marriage:  Both married and single prospective adoptive parents are permitted. When an adoptive parent is married, the consent of their spouse is required.
  • Income:  A prospective adoptive parent’s income is considered by the court during the adoption process as an indicator of the potential parents’ ability to care for the child, however, there are no guidelines posted.
  • Other:  Adoption by same-sex couples is not permitted in Albania.
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Who Can Be Adopted

Because Albania is party to The Hague Adoption Convention, children from Albania must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be eligible for adoption. For example, the Convention requires that Albania attempt to place a child with a family in-country before determining that a child is eligible for intercountry adoption. In addition to Albania's requirements, a child must meet the definition of a Convention adopteefor you to bring him or her back to the United States.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS:

Eligibility requirements are set forth in Albanian Law 9695, dated March 19, 2007, on adoption procedures and the Albanian Adoption Committee: Only children who are on the official lists of the Albanian Adoption Committee are eligible for adoption. The Albanian Adoption Committee lists registered Albanian children when:

  1. Abandonment has been declared by way of a final judgment (see article 250 of Albanian Family Code)
  2. Consent has been given by their biological parents; OR
  3. Consent has been given by the court for the children kept under care (see article 246 of Albanian Family Code).
  • Relinquishment: According to Article 246 of the Albanian Family Code, the consent of both parents is required for the adoption of a minor. If one of the parents is deceased, is unable to express his or her will, or had his or her parental rights terminated, the consent of the other parent will suffice. When both parents are deceased, or when their capacity to act has been removed, or when the parents are not known, the court decides if the child may be adopted. If the adoptee is over 10 years old the child’s opinion may be considered and if he or she is 12 years of age or above his or her consent is required.
  • Abandonment: Under Albanian law, a child can be declared abandoned if the parents have not been involved with the child for a period of six months before the request for the declaration of the abandonment was submitted. For a child housed in an institution since birth, the timeframe of one year is reduced to three months.
  • Age of Adoptive Child: A child must be under 18 at the time of the court decision granting adoption. To be eligible for a U.S. visa through the Convention adoption process, the child must have been under the age of 16 when the court adoption decree is granted.
  • Sibling Adoptions: Sibling adoption is encouraged. However, separation may be permitted if a court determines it serves the best interests of child.
  • Special Needs or Medical Conditions: Most of the children available for intercountry adoption from Albania have special needs.
  • Waiting Period or Foster Care: An orphan must have been available for domestic adoption for a period of three months before a prospective adoptive parent residing outside Albania may initiate adoption proceedings.
  • Other: Consent for the adoption may be withdrawn by the biological parents for a minimum period of three months from the time it was given and up until the time a court enters an adoption decree. Before finalizing the adoption, the court verifies that the above-mentioned timeframes have been fulfilled, that all necessary efforts to return the child to the biological parents have been made, and that the probationary period with the adoptive family has been successful.
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How to Adopt

WARNING: Albania is party to the Hague Adoption Convention. Do not adopt or obtain legal custody of a child in Albania before a U.S. consular officer issues an “Article 5 Letter” in the case. Read on for more information.

Albania's Adoption Authority

Albania’s Adoption Committee
Rr: Mine Peza, Pallati 87/3
Shkalla 2, Tirana
Albania
Tel: +355 (0)4 222 7487; +355 (0)4 222 6465
Fax: +355 (0)4 222 7487

Note: If any of the following occurred prior to April 1, 2008 (the date on which the Hague Adoption Convention entered into force with respect to the United States), the Hague Adoption Convention may not apply to your adoption: 1) you filed a Form I-600A identifying [Albania] as the country where you intended to adopt; 2) you filed a Form I-600; or, 3) the adoption was completed. Under these circumstances, your adopted child’s visa application could continue to be processed in accordance with the immigration regulations for non-Convention adoptions. For more information, read about Transition Cases.

The Process

Because Albania is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, adopting from Albania must follow a specific process designed to meet the Convention’s requirements. A brief summary of the Convention adoption process is given below. You must complete these steps in the following order so that your adoption meets all necessary legal requirements. Adoptions completed out of order may result in the child not being eligible for an immigrant visa to the United States.

  1. Choose a U.S. accredited or approved adoption service provider
  2. Apply to USCIS to be found eligible to adopt
  3. Be matched with a child by authorities in Albania
  4. Apply to USCIS for the child to be found eligible for immigration to the United States and receive U.S. agreement to proceed with the adoption
  5. Adopt the child in Albania
  6. Obtain a U.S. immigrant visa for your child and bring your child home
  1. Choose a U.S. Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider The first step in adopting a child from Albania is to select an adoption service provider in the United States that has been accredited or approved to provide services to U.S. citizens in Convention cases. Only accredited or approved adoption services providers may provide adoption services between the United States and Albania. The U.S. accredited or approved adoption service provider will act as the primary provider in your case. The primary adoption service provider is responsible for ensuring that all adoption services in the case are done in accordance with the Hague Adoption Convention and U.S. laws and regulations. Learn more about Agency Accreditation.

    All adoptions must be processed by an adoption agency accredited by the Albanian Adoption Committee. Currently, two U.S. adoption agency have been authorized:

    Bethany Christian Services
    901 Eastern Avenue, NE
    Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503-1295
    Tel: (616) 459-6273
    Fax: (616) 459-0343

    Nightlife Christian Adoptions
    767 Lane Allen Road
    Lexington, KY 40504
    Tel: (859) 263-9964
    Fax: (859) 263-9957

  2. Apply to USCIS to be Found Eligible to Adopt

    After you choose an accredited or approved adoption service provider, you must apply to be found eligible to adopt by the responsible U.S. government agency, the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), by submitting Form I-800A. Read more about Eligibility Requirements.

    Once USCIS determines that you are “eligible” and “suited” to adopt by approving the Form I-800A, your adoption service provider will provide your approval notice, home study, and any other required information to the Adoption Committee of Albania part of your adoption dossier. Albania’s Adoption Committee will
    review your application to determine whether you are also eligible to adopt under Albania’s law.

  3. Be Matched with a Child in Albania

    If both the United States and Albania determine that you are eligible to adopt, and the central authority for Convention adoptions has determined that a child is available for adoption and that intercountry adoption is in that child’s best interests, the central authority for Convention adoptions in Albania may provide you with a referral for a child. The referral is a proposed match between you and a specific child based on a review of your dossier and the needs of a specific child in Albania. The adoption authority in Albania will provide a background study and other information, if available, about the child to help you decide whether to accept the referral or not. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs and provide a permanent home for a particular child. If you accept the referral, the adoption service provider communicates that to the adoption authority in Albania. Learn more about this critical decision.

  4. Apply to USCIS for the Child to be Found Eligible for Immigration to the United States and Receive U.S. Agreement to Proceed with the Adoption

    After you accept a match with a child, you will apply to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for provisional approval for the child to immigrate to the United States (Form I-800). USCIS will make a provisional determination as to whether the child meets the definition of a Convention Adoptee and will be eligible to enter the United States and reside permanently as an immigrant.

    After provisional approval of Form I-800, your adoption service provider or you will submit a visa application to the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Tirana in Albania that is responsible for issuing immigrant visas to children from Albania. A consular officer will review the Form I-800 and the visa application for possible visa ineligibilities and advise you of options for the waiver of any noted ineligibilities.

    WARNING: The consular officer will send a letter (referred to as an “Article 5 Letter”) to the Albania’s Central Authority in any intercountry adoption involving U.S. citizen parents and a child from Albania where all Convention requirements are met and the consular officer determines that the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States. This letter will inform the Albania’s Central Authority that the parents are eligible and suited to adopt, that all indications are that the child may enter and reside permanently in the United States, and that the U.S. Central Authority agrees that the adoption may proceed.

    Do not attempt to adopt or obtain custody of a child in Albania before a U.S. consular officer issues the Article 5 Letter in any adoption case.

    Remember: The consular officer will make a final decision about a child’s eligibility for an immigrant visa later in the adoption process.

  5. Adoption of a Child in Albania

    Remember: Before you adopt (or gain legal custody of) a child in Albania, you must have completed the above four steps. Only after completing these steps, can you proceed to finalize the adoption or grant of custody for the purposes of adoption in Albania.

    The process for finalizing the adoption or gaining legal custody of a child in Albania includes the following:

    • ROLE OF THE ADOPTION AUTHORITY: Maintains the list of children eligible for adoption and matches prospective children to prospective parents.
    • ROLE OF THE COURT: Reviews the case and determines if the adoption should be granted based on the welfare and best interests of the child.
    • ROLE OF ADOPTION AGENCIES: Coordinates between the Adoption Committee and the prospective parents, prepares paperwork and court documents, schedules the court date, and assists adoptive parents to obtain a new birth certificate and passport for the child.
    • TIME FRAME: The timeframe varies depending on the court workload. Currently, the wait time from when the parents are matched with a child until a final court decision is approximately two to three months. This process requires two court sessions, approximately two to three weeks apart.
    • ADOPTION APPLICATION: Handled by the accredited adoption agency.
    • ADOPTION FEES: In the adoption services contract that you sign at the beginning of the adoption process, your agency will itemize the fees and estimated expenses related to your adoption process.

      Some of the fees specifically associated with adopting from Albania include:

      1.Court Expenses and certificates – approximately $50.00 (submission of request, court decrees, stamps, court fees, birth certificates)
      2. Fees for an interpreter to attend the court sessions – $100.00 per session. Most adoptions require two court sessions. This is required in all cases.
      3. Fees for a psychologist to attend the court sessions – $100.00 per session. The court will determine if an adoption case requires a psychological assessment in some cases.
      4. Translation and notarization of all adoption paperwork – $250.00 (dossier, court papers, certificates)
      5. Child's passport
          a. Expedited passport application, issued within three working days – $150.00.
          b. Regular passport application, issued within approximately 3 weeks – $60.00.
      6. Photos of the child – $15.00 (for passport application, for birth certificates, for visa and for medical check)
      7. Medical exam – $80.00 for children under 15 years old, and $135.00 for children over 15 years old.
      8. Blood test for syphilis – $10.00.

    • DOCUMENTS REQUIRED:
      • A written request clearly stating the reasons why the adoptive parent(s) want(s) to adopt a child;
      • Birth certificate and marriage certificate of the adopting parent(s). Divorce decree and former spouse's death certificate as applicable;
      • Police records of the adopting parent(s);
      • Personal, family, social and medical information on the adopting parent(s);
      • Home Study (An evaluation study on the adopting family made by a social worker).
  6. All the above-mentioned documents must be submitted through an adoption agency authorized by the Albanian Adoption Committee.

    Note: Additional documents may be requested.

    Authentication of Documents:

    The United States and Albania are parties to the Hague Apostille Convention. U.S. public documents must be authenticated with an Apostille by the appropriate U.S. Competent Authority.

  7. Obtain an Immigrant Visa for your Child and Bring Your Child Home 

    Now that your adoption is complete (or you have obtained legal custody of the child for the purpose of adopting the child in the United States), there are a few more steps to take before you can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for three documents before your child can travel to the United States:

    Birth Certificate

    If you have finalized the adoption in Albania, you will first need to apply for a birth certificate for your child so that you can later apply for a passport.

    If you have been granted custody for the purpose of adopting the child in the United States, the birth certificate you obtain will, in most cases, not yet include your name.

    The adoption agency will help you obtain a new birth certificate for the child. The final court decision specifies the adoptive parents’ names, which will be entered in the Vital Office's record of the child.

    Albanian Passport

    Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so s/he will need a travel document or passport from Albania.

    The adoptive parents apply for the child’s passport at the passport office, in the same jurisdiction as the civil registry office that issued the child’s revised birth certificate (usually the two offices are co-located). The passport office will keep one copy of the court-issued adoption decree. Most passport offices can process expedited passport applications in three to four business days.

    There is a 13 day waiting period after the court date before the decision goes into effect. The child must remain in Albania during these 13 days, although s/he may reside with the adoptive parents during that time. Please remember that your newly adopted child will travel to the U.S. for the first time on his/her Albanian passport. S/he may need to obtain a transit visa in order to be permitted to travel through certain countries (such as the United Kingdom). The transit country cannot issue this visa until the child has a passport. In many cases the transit visa application may take several days or more to process. (Note: this procedure is separate from the U.S. immigrant visa process). Therefore, prospective adoptive parents should be prepared to arrive in Albania a day or two before the court date and to remain in the country for at least three weeks.

    U.S. Immigrant Visa

    After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need your child’s U.S. visa from the U.S. Embassy in Tirana. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. As part of this process, your child needs a medical examination from one of the embassy-approved physicians.

    For this process you will need:

    • DS-260 application for an Immigrant Visa;
    • Immigrant visa fee, which can be paid by you or by the adoption service provider when submitting the DS-260;
    • Three visa photos of the child;
    • The child's birth certificate and passport;
    • A medical report for the child,
    • If the child will be 16 years old at the time of the visa interview, he or she must provide police clearances from the Ministry of Justice, Prosecutor, and Court offices. If this age requirement will apply to your child, remind your adoption service provider to coordinate with the Consular Section to obtain the correct clearances.

Child Citizenship Act

For adoptions finalized abroad prior to the child’s entry into the United States: A child will acquire U.S. citizenship upon entry into the United States if the adoption was finalized prior to entry and the child otherwise meets the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

For adoptions finalized after the child’s entry into the United States: An adoption will need to be completed following your child’s entry into the United States for the child to acquire U.S. citizenship.

*Please be aware that if your child did not qualify to become a citizen upon entry to the United States, it is very important that you take the steps necessary so that your child does qualify as soon as possible. Failure to obtain citizenship for your child can impact many areas of his/her life including family travel, eligibility for education and education grants, and voting. Read more about the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

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Traveling Abroad

Applying for Your U.S. Passport

A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave Albania. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.

Getting or renewing a passport is easy. The Passport Application Wizardwill help you determine which passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print—all in one place.

Obtaining a Visa to Travel to Albania

United States citizens can stay in Albania for up to a year without the requirement of a visa. For further information, please see the Department of State’s Country Specific Information.

Staying Safe on Your Trip

Before you travel, it is always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country. The Department of State provides Country Specific Information for every country of the world about various issues, including the health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability.

Staying in Touch on Your Trip

When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to enroll with the Department of State. Enrollment makes it possible to contact you if necessary. Whether there is a family emergency in the United States or a crisis in Albania, enrollment assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.

Enrollment is free and can be done online via the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

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After Adoption

Post-Adoption/Post-Placement Reporting Requirements

Adoption service providers must provide the Albanian Adoption Committee with three post-placement reports during the first year after the adoption and two additional reports during the second year. We strongly urge you to comply with Albania’s post-adoption requirements in a timely manner. Your adoption agency may be able to help you with this process.

Post-Adoption Resources

Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. There are many public and private nonprofit post-adoption services available for children and their families. There are also numerous adoptive family support groups and adoptee organizations active in the United States that provide a network of options for adoptees who seek out other adoptees from the same country of origin. Take advantage of all the resources available to your family, whether it is another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services.

Here are some places to start your support group search:

Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. government links does not imply endorsement of contents.

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Contact Information

U.S. Embassy in Albania 
Rruga Elbasanit
No. 103
Tirana
Albania
Tel: +355 (0)4 224 7285
Fax: +355 (0)4 237 4957
Email: TiranaUSConsulate@state.gov
Internet: Tirana.usembassy.gov

Albania’s Adoption Committee
Rr: Mine Peza
Pallati 87/3
Shkalla 2
Tirana
Albania
Tel: +355 (0)4 222 7487; +355 (0)4 222 6465
Fax: +355 (0)4 222 7487

Embassy of Albania
1312 18th Street, NW
4th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20036
Tel: (202) 223 4942
Fax: (202) 628 7342
Email: embassy.washington@mfa.gov.al
Internet: embassyofalbania.org

Albania also has a consulate in New York.

Office of Children’s Issues
U.S. Department of State
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20522-1709
Tel: 1-888-407-4747
Email: AdoptionUSCA@state.gov
Internet: adoption.state.gov

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about immigration procedures:
National Customer Service Center (NCSC)
Tel: 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)
Internet: uscis.gov

For questions about filing a Form I-800A or I-800 petition:
National Benefits Center
Tel: 1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-816-251-2770 (local)
Email: NBC.Adoptions@DHS.gov

Reciprocity Schedule

Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.

Explanation of Terms

Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.

Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).

Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.

Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.

Visa Classifications
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
 
Visa
Classification
Fee Number
of Entries
Validity
Period
A-1 None Multiple 60 Months
A-2 None Multiple 60 Months
A-3 1 None Multiple 12 Months
B-1 None Multiple 36 Months
B-2 None Multiple 36 Months
B-1/B-2 None Multiple 36 Months
C-1 None Multiple 36 Months
C-1/D None Multiple 36 Months
C-2 None One 15 Days
C-3 None Multiple 48 Months
CW-1 11 None Multiple 12 Months
CW-2 11 None Multiple 12 Months
D None Multiple 36 Months
E-1 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2 2 None Multiple 36 Months
E-2C 12 None Multiple 36 Months
F-1 None Multiple 36 Months
F-2 None Multiple 36 Months
G-1 None Multiple 60 Months
G-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-3 None One 6 Months
G-4 None Multiple 60 Months
G-5 1 None Multiple 12 Months
H-1B None Multiple 36 Months 3
H-1C None Multiple 36 Months 3
H-2A None N/A N/A3
H-2B None N/A N/A3
H-2R None Multiple 12 Months 3
H-3 None Multiple 36 Months 3
H-4 None Multiple 36 Months 3
I None Multiple 36 Months
J-1 4 None Multiple 36 Months
J-2 4 None Multiple 36 Months
K-1 None One 6 Months
K-2 None One 6 Months
K-3 None Multiple 24 Months
K-4 None Multiple 24 Months
L-1 None Multiple 36 Months
L-2 None Multiple 36 Months
M-1 None Multiple 36 Months
M-2 None Multiple 36 Months
N-8 None Multiple 12 Months
N-9 None Multiple 12 Months
NATO 1-6 10 None Multiple 60 Months
NATO-7 None Multiple 12 Months
O-1 None Multiple 36 Months 3
O-2 None Multiple 36 Months 3
O-3 None Multiple 36 Months 3
P-1 None Multiple 36 Months 3
P-2 None Multiple 36 Months 3
P-3 None Multiple 36 Months 3
P-4 None Multiple 36 Months 3
Q-1 6 None Multiple 12 Months 3
R-1 None Multiple 36 Months
R-2 None Multiple 36 Months
S-5 7 None One 1 Month
S-6 7 None One 1 Month
S-7 7 None One 1 Month
T-1 9 N/A N/A N/A
T-2 None One 6 Months
T-3 None One 6 Months
T-4 None One 6 Months
T-5 None One 6 Months
T-6 None One 6 Months
TD 5 N/A N/A N/A
U-1 None Multiple 48 Months
U-2 None Multiple 48 Months
U-3 None Multiple 48 Months
U-4 None Multiple 48 Months
U-5 None Multiple 48 Months
V-1 None Multiple 120 Months
V-2 None Multiple 120 Months 8
V-3 None Multiple 120 Months 8
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Country Specific Footnotes

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

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Visa Category Footnotes
  1. The validity of A-3, G-5, and NATO 7 visas may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the person who is employing the applicant. The "employer" would have one of the following visa classifications:

    • A-1
    • A-2
    • G-1 through G-4
    • NATO 1 through NATO 6

  2. An E-1 and E-2 visa may be issued only to a principal alien who is a national of a country having a treaty, or its equivalent, with the United States. E-1 and E-2 visas may not be issued to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident. The spouse and children of an E-1 or E-2 principal alien are accorded derivative E-1 or E-2 status following the reciprocity schedule, including any reciprocity fees, of the principle alien’s country of nationality.  

    Example: John Doe is a national of the country of Z that has an E-1/E-2 treaty with the U.S. His wife and child are nationals of the country of Y which has no treaty with the U.S. The wife and child would, therefore, be entitled to derivative status and receive the same reciprocity as Mr. Doe, the principal visa holder.  

  3. The validity of H-1 through H-3, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.

    Under 8 CFR §214.2, H-2A and H-2B petitions may generally only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries. The current list of eligible countries is available on USCIS's website for both H-2A and H-2B visas. Nationals of countries not on this list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A or H2-B petition in limited circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security if specifically named on the petition.  

    Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.

  4. There is no reciprocity fee for the issuance of a J visa if the alien is a United States Government grantee or a participant in an exchange program sponsored by the United States Government.

    Also, there is no reciprocity fee for visa issuance to an accompanying or following-to-join spouse or child (J-2) of an exchange visitor grantee or participant.

    In addition, an applicant is eligible for an exemption from the MRV fee if he or she is participating in a State Department, USAID, or other federally funded educational and cultural exchange program (program serial numbers G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-7).

    However, all other applicants with U.S. Government sponsorships, including other J-visa applicants, are subject to the MRV processing fee.

  5. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian and Mexican nationals coming to engage in certain types of professional employment in the United States may be admitted in a special nonimmigrant category known as the "trade NAFTA" or "TN" category. Their dependents (spouse and children) accompanying or following to join them may be admitted in the "trade dependent" or "TD" category whether or not they possess Canadian or Mexican nationality. Except as noted below, the number of entries, fees and validity for non-Canadian or non-Mexican family members of a TN status holder seeking TD visas should be based on the reciprocity schedule of the TN principal alien.

    Canadian Nationals

    Since Canadian nationals generally are exempt from visa requirement, a Canadian "TN' or "TD" alien does not require a visa to enter the United States. However, the non-Canadian national dependent of a Canadian "TN", unless otherwise exempt from the visa requirement, must obtain a "TD" visa before attempting to enter the United States. The standard reciprocity fee and validity period for all non-Canadian "TD"s is no fee, issued for multiple entries for a period of 36 months, or for the duration of the principal alien's visa and/or authorized period of stay, whichever is less. See 'NOTE' under Canadian reciprocity schedule regarding applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality.

    Mexican Nationals

    Mexican nationals are not visa-exempt. Therefore, all Mexican "TN"s and both Mexican and non-Mexican national "TD"s accompanying or following to join them who are not otherwise exempt from the visa requirement (e.g., the Canadian spouse of a Mexican national "TN") must obtain nonimmigrant visas.

    Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality, who have a permanent resident or refugee status in Canada/Mexico, may not be accorded Canadian/Mexican reciprocity, even when applying in Canada/Mexico. The reciprocity fee and period for "TD" applicants from Libya is $10.00 for one entry over a period of 3 months. The Iranian and Iraqi "TD" is no fee with one entry over a period of 3 months.

  6. Q-2 (principal) and Q-3 (dependent) visa categories are in existence as a result of the 'Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998'. However, because the Department anticipates that virtually all applicants for this special program will be either Irish or U.K. nationals, the Q-2 and Q-3 categories have been placed only in the reciprocity schedules for those two countries. Q-2 and Q-3 visas are available only at the Embassy in Dublin and the Consulate General in Belfast.

  7. No S visa may be issued without first obtaining the Department's authorization.

  8. V-2 and V-3 status is limited to persons who have not yet attained their 21st birthday. Accordingly, the period of validity of a V-2 or V-3 visa must be limited to expire on or before the applicant's twenty-first birthday.

  9. Posts may not issue a T-1 visa. A T-1 applicant must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a U.S. port of entry, where he/she will apply for an adjustment of status to that of a T-1. The following dependents of a T-1 visa holder, however, may be issued a T visa at a U.S. consular office abroad:

    • T-2 (spouse)
    • T-3 (child)
    • T-4 (parent)
  10. The validity of NATO-5 visas may not exceed the period of validity of the employment contract or 12 months, whichever is less.

  11. The validity of CW-1 and CW-2 visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (12 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

  12. The validity of E-2C visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (24 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

 

 

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General Documents

Please check back for update.

Birth, Death, Burial Certificates

Birth

Most civil documents are available. While document security has increased, Albanian civil documents are not always reliable or accurate. There are some villages where records may have been destroyed in World War II or during civil unrest in the late 1990s. In such cases, a local issuing authority should be able to provide official confirmation about what documents were burned or destroyed. All civil documents presented in support of a visa application should be less than one year old at the time they are provided. Only machine-typed civil documents are acceptable. Albanian birth certificates should reflect the bearer's current marital status at the time of issuance, and are issued in the bearer's current name (i.e. in a woman's married name, not in her maiden name). Religious birth records are not acceptable. There does not appear to be any restriction on sending documents abroad.

General Issuing Authority Information: The issuing authority is the Office of Civil Status located in City Hall or in commune where the person is registered.

Birth Certificates

  • Available for use abroad
  • Fees: 200 Lek for the 6-language translated certificate for use abroad. This is the only type of certificate accepted by Post.
  • Document Name:Certifikate Lindjeje
  • Issuing Authority: Gjendja Civile - Civil Status Office
  • Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: Format: A-4 pre- printed format, white and green border color, with a serial number, a hologram containing the seal of Albanian State and the inscription "Republika e Shqiperise, Ministria e Punëve të Brendshme (In English – Republic of Albania, Ministry of Internal Affairs), institution's wet seal, issuing clerk's signature, and fee stamp.
  • Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Civil Status Office Registrar
  • Registration Criteria:
    • Registering a newborn in Albania: the parent must obtain the Certificate of Assistance in Birth from the Maternity and apply at the Office of Civil Status to register the child in the act of Births Record, and in the online National Registry of Civil Status.
    • Registering a child born outside Albania outside Albania: the requestor must obtain an apostille to the foreign birth certificate in order to register to the Office of Civil Status a child born outside Albania.
  • Procedure for Obtaining: The requestor must show in person to the Office of Civil Status, present an I.D., pay the fee and obtain the certificate. The requestor should cite that he or she needs the birth certificate for a foreign embassy. Alternatively, he or she may go to a notary and authorize a third party to obtain the birth certificate on his or her behalf.
  • Certified Copies Available: Not available
  • Alternate Documents: None
  • Exceptions: Post encounters applicants of Cham origin, whose place of birth was Greece, but do not have a Greek birth certificate. Instead, they present an Albanian birth certificate. They are asked to provide a statement from Greek Authorities that no records exist for them.
  • Comments: Only certificates reading Birth Certificate "Certifikate Lindjeje" are accepted.. Certificates that read Personal Certificate "Certifikate Personale" and religious birth records are not acceptable. Individuals less than 16 years old are issued birth certificates with photo. Albanian documents submitted as part of the U.S. visa process should be less than one year old at the time they are provided.

 

Death/Burial

  • Available
  • Fees: 50 Lek per certificate, or 200 Lek for the 6-language translated certificate for use abroad. Both types of certificates are acceptable.
  • Document Name: Certifikate Vdekje – Death Certificate
  • Issuing Authority: Gjendja Civile – Civil Status Office
  • Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: Format: A-4 pre- printed format, white and green border color, with a serial number, a hologram containing the seal of Albanian State and the inscription "Republika e Shqiperise, Ministria e Punëve të Brendshme (In English – Republic of Albania, Ministry of Internal Affairs), institution's wet seal, issuing clerk's signature, and fee stamp. 
  • Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Civil Status Office Registrar
  • Registration Criteria: A family member obtains a death report from the family doctor, where is written the cause of death, and applies at the Civil Status Office to register the death in the Act of Deaths Record and in the online National Registry of Civil Status.
  • Procedure for Obtaining: The requestor must show in person to the Office of Civil Status, present an I.D., pay the fee and obtain the certificate. Alternatively, he or she may go to a notary and authorize a third party to obtain the birth certificate on his or her behalf.
  • Certified Copies Available: None
  • Comments: Albanian documents submitted as part of the U.S. visa process should be less than one year old at the time they are provided.

 

Marriage, Divorce Certificates

Marriage

Available

Fees: 50 Lek per certificate, or 200 Lek for the 6-language translated certificate for use abroad. Both types of certificates are acceptable.

Document Name: Certifikate Martese

Issuing Authority: Gjendja Civile - Civil Status Office

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: Format: A-4 pre- printed format, white and green border color, with a serial number, a hologram containing the seal of Albanian State and the inscription "Republika e Shqiperise, Ministria e Punëve të Brendshme (In English - Republic of Albania, Ministry of Interior), institution's wet seal, issuing clerk's signature, and fee stamp.

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Civil Status Office Registrar

  • Registration Criteria:
    • Registering a marriage occurred in Albania: The requestors appear at their respective Offices of Civil providing information of the person they intend to marry. The Civil Status Office Clerk sends to the other future spouse's Civil Status Office a certificate of marriage announcement. The couple will have to wait 11 days once their marriage is announced in the Civil Status Office, and then they can proceed with registering the marriage. The groom is opted to keep married name or her maiden name. Both future spouses and two witnesses must be present in front of the Civil Status Office Clerk Status to sign the Act of Marriages Record. The marriage is also registered in the online National Registry of Civil Status. Upon marriage registration, the spouses are issued marriage certificates.
    • Registering a marriage occurred outside Albania: the requestor must obtain an apostille to the foreign marriage certificate in order to register the marriage occurred outside Albania in the Civil Status Office. Only after registering the marriage at the Civil Status Office, requestor can update his or her civil status to "married".

Procedure for Obtaining: The requestor must show in person to the Office of Civil Status, present an I.D., pay the fee and obtain the certificate. Alternatively, he or she may go to a notary and authorize a third party to obtain the birth certificate on his or her behalf.

Certified Copies Available: Not available

Alternate Documents: None

Comments: The marriage certificate should show both married name and maiden name. Albanian documents submitted as part of the U.S. visa process should be less than one year old at the time they are provided.

Divorce

Unavailable

Comments: While there are no divorce certificates, there are divorce decrees one can get from the district court. Please refer to court records section for detailed information.

 

Adoption Certificates

Unavailable.

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Identity Card

Available

Fees: 1,500 Lek

Document Name: Leternjoftim - I.D. card

Issuing Authority: Ministry of Internal Affairs

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: it is a plastic card, written in Albanian and English. It contains the photograph, date, and place of birth, and the personal identity number, issuance date, expiry date, and sex. It has in the background an eagle, which is located in the middle of the card, the map of Albania and the map of Europe, respectively on the left and on the right side.

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Ministry of Interior, through the ALEAT Company. Its office is usually located next to Civil Registry Office of the commune or city hall, or in a centralized office, responsible for several communes.

Registration Criteria: Upon requestor's application for an I.D. card, the ALEAT Company verifies his or her identity with the Civil Registry office, which checks the identity in the National Registry of Civil Status. Once the identity is confirmed, the ALEAT Company fills out an application form in their database, takes a photo of requestor, and his or her fingerprints.

Procedure for Obtaining: Requestor purchases a coupon at the Albanian Post Office of $12.00 and then must apply in person at the ALEAT Company nearby the commune or city hall where he or she resides. After two to three weeks, applicants must go back to the same office to have the right thumb fingerprint scanned, in order to be issued the I.D. card.

Certified Copies Available: None

Alternate Documents: None

Exceptions: an I.D. card is issued to individuals 16 year old and above.

 

Police, Court, Prison Records

Police Records

The Albanian police clearance consists of a criminal court certificate from the Ministry of Justice concerning any convictions. The Ministry of Justice certificate is transmitted directly from the Albanian authorities to the U.S. Embassy Tirana; it may not be accepted directly from the applicant.

Ministry of Justice Certificate

Available

Fees: 200 Lek for the certificate, and an additional Albanian Post Office fee, depending on the district the requestor is applying from.

Document Name: Vertetim i Gjendjes Gjyqesore - Judicial Status Certificate

Issuing Authority: Judicial Status Section, General Directorate of Prisons, Ministry of Justice

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: A-4 format, yellow color, with a serial number, institution's wet seal, issuing clerk's wet seal, and fee stamp.

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Judicial Status Section Specialist

Registration Criteria: All final court decisions are submitted to the Judicial Status Section, General Directorate of Prisons, Ministry of Justice. These records are then entered in a database of the Judicial Status Section.

Procedure for Obtaining: To obtain a criminal court certificate from the Ministry of Justice (in Albanian - Vertetim i Gjendjes Gjyqesore or Deshmi Penaliteti), the requestor must apply in person by submitting a photocopy of his or her ID card or birth certificate through the Albanian Post Office, and must pay the necessary fee. Apply in current and in any former names, including maiden names.  Applicants must clearly note on the application at the post office that they are applying for a U.S. visa. If the person cannot physically be in Albania, s/he may delegate a Power-of-Attorney to apply on their behalf. If the interview will be conducted at an embassy or consulate other than Tirana, the interested person must note on the application at the Albanian Post Office that they are applying for a U.S. visa in (name of country where the visa interview will occur). Once received by the Consular Section, scanned copies of certificates will be forwarded to the respective post via email.

Certified Copies Available: None

Alternate Documents: None

Exceptions: None

Comments: NVC no longer receives Ministry of Justice certificates, but only a copy of the application’s fee receipt. By arrangement with the Albanian authorities, court certificates for applicants for U.S. visas are transferred directly to U.S. Embassy Tirana. Therefore the applicant will not receive an original copy of the criminal court certificate nor is it necessary for them to send the document to NVC. Only court certificates obtained directly through U.S. Embassy Tirana are acceptable; applicants may not present their own certificates. Applicants should send NVC a copy of the receipt of payment along with a statement in English as evidence that they have applied for the MOJ certificate.

Albanian documents submitted as part of the U.S. visa process should be less than one year old at the time they are provided.

 

Court/Prison Records
 

Available

Fees: 800 lek

Document Name: Vendim i Gjykates

Issuing Authority: District Court

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: A-4 format or half of A-4 format, signed by the judges who issued the verdict and District Court's wet stamp.

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Gjykata e Rrethit Gjyqesor - District's name, signed by the Chancellor and Chief Secretary. A part of Court records are currently saved at the Ministry of Justice/ General Directorate of Prisons/ The Judicial Status Office.

Registration Criteria: convicted person's name is entered in electronic and handwritten court register.

Procedure for Obtaining:  Requestor must submit e request to the Chief Secretary.

Certified Copies Available: Yes

Alternate Documents:

Comments:  A court decision is required only if applicant has been convicted of a crime. The court decision certificate must be translated in English and notarized.

 

Police Certificates
 

Unavailable

 

Military Records

Available

Fees:  No fee

Document Name: Vertetim

Issuing Authority: Personnel Recruitment Center , General Headquarter of Armed Forces, Ministry of Defense

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: White color, ½ of A-4 format, wet seal.

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: The head of Personnel Recruitment Center

Registration Criteria: All males at age 18 were registered in the military record of the Mobilization and Recruitment Center. Based on law no.9047, dated July 10, 2003, "On the Military Service in Republic of Albania" amended by law no. 9999, dated September 24, 2008, amended, there is no longer compulsory military service.

Procedure for Obtaining: The requestor shows his I.D. and obtains the document.

Certified Copies Available: None

Alternate Documents: None

Comments:  Only applicants with date of birth before September 24, 1990 are required to submit a military record. 

Passports & Other Travel Documents

Types Available (Regular, Diplomatic, Official, etc.): Regular, Diplomatic, and Official passport

Fees: 7,500 Lek for regular application, 18,000 Lek for expedited request.

Document Name: Pasaporte

Issuing Government Authority: Ministry of Internal Affairs

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format:

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Ministry of Interior, through the ALEAT Company. Its office is usually located next to Civil Registry Office of the commune or city hall, or in a centralized office, responsible for several communes.

Registration Criteria: Upon requestor's application for passport, the ALEAT Company verifies his or her identity with the Civil Registry office, and with the Police Officer in charge for the borough. Once the identity is confirmed, the ALEAT Company fills out an application form in their database, takes a photo of requestor, and his or her fingerprints.

  • Procedure for Obtaining:
    • Regular application: Requestor first obtains a coupon for regular passport application at the Albanian Post Office, and then goes to the Civil Registry to obtain a birth certificate for passport issuance. After that, he or she goes to the Police Commissariat with a birth certificate, two passport style photos (4cmx5cm), and fills out a form with personal information and provides it to the police. Once the police officer in charge for the borough of requestor's residence has verified the identity, he sends the name to the ALEAT Company. Requestor checks his or her name in the list of verified identities by police, and applies for the passport with ALEAT Company. The passport is issued approximately three to four weeks after the application.
    • Expedited request: Requestor first obtains a coupon for expedited passport application at the Albanian Post Office, and then goes to the Civil Registry to obtain a birth certificate for passport issuance. After that, he or she goes to the ALEAT Company and applies for the passport with ALEAT Company. Once the police officer in charge for the borough of requestor's residence has verified the identity, he sends the name to the ALEAT Company. The passport is issued approximately three days after the application, provided that applicant appears before 10:00 am when applying for the passport.

 

Other Records

Not applicable.

 

Visa Issuing Posts

Tirana, Albania (Embassy)

Street Address:

Rr. Elbasanit, No. 103
Tirana, Albania

Phone: (355)-(4)-224-7285

Visa Services

All visa categories for all of Albania.

Foreign Consular Office Contact Information

Washington, DC (202) 223-4942 (202) 628-7342

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Tirana
Rr. Elbasanit, No. 103
Tirana, Albania
Telephone
+(355) (0) 4224-7285
Emergency
+(355) (0) 4224-7285
Fax
+(355) (4) 2232-222
Albania Country Map

Learn about your destination
Additional Information for Reciprocity

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

Country Information

Albania
Republic of Albania
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Embassy Messages

Tirana

 

Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

Three months

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

One page required for entry stamp

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

Not required for stays under one year

VACCINATIONS:

 None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

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

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

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

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Embassies and Consulates

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

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Destination Description

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

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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.  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.

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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 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:

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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. 

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.

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Health

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:

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Travel and Transportation

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”.

Hague Convention Participation
Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
No
What You Can Do
Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US
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Embassies and Consulates

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

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General Information

For information concerning travel to Albania, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for Albania.

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA).  The report is located here.

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Hague Abduction Convention

Albania is not a signatory to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention), nor are there any bilateral agreements in force between Albania and the United States concerning international parental child abduction.

Albania acceded to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention) on August 1, 2007; however, the United States and Albania are not yet treaty partners.  Until Albania and the United States establish a treaty relationship per Article 38 of the Convention, parents whose children have been abducted from the United States to Albania or wrongfully retained in Albania are unable to invoke the Convention to pursue their children’s return or to seek access to them.

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Return

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.  The government of Albania maintains information about custody, visitation, and family law on the Internet here.

Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Albania and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances.

The Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children’s Issues provides assistance in cases of international parental child abduction.  For U.S. citizen parents whose children have been wrongfully removed to or retained in countries that are not U.S. partners under the Hague Abduction Convention, the Office of Children’s Issues can provide information and resources about country-specific options for pursuing the return of or access to an abducted child.  The Office of Children’s Issues may also coordinate with appropriate foreign and U.S. government authorities about the welfare of abducted U.S. citizen children.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance.

Contact information:

U.S. Department of State
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone:  1-888-407-4747
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
Website: travel.state.gov/

Email: AskCI@state.gov 

Parental child abduction is a crime in Albania. Per Article 127 of the Albanian Penal Code, it is illegal to take a child from the person exercising parental authority or who has been entrusted to raise and educate the child. It is also unlawful for one parent to keep a child during visitation beyond the time allotted by a court order. Noncompliance by one party constitutes a criminal act and is punishable by a fine or up to six months of imprisonment. The entirety of the Article can be found here. 

Parents may wish to consult with an attorney in the United States and in the country to which the child has been removed or retained to learn more about how filing criminal charges may impact a custody case in the foreign court.  Please see Possible Solutions - Pressing Criminal Charges for more information. 


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Visitation/Access

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from Albania to the United States.  Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Albania and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances.

The Office of Children’s Issues may be able to assist parents seeking access to children who have been wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States.   Parents who are seeking access to children who were not wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States should contact the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Albania for information and possible assistance.

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Retaining an Attorney

Neither the Office of Children’s Issues nor consular officials at the U.S. Embassy or Consulates in Albania are authorized to provide legal advice.

The U.S. Embassy in Tirana, Albania, posts a list of attorneys, including those who specialize in family law.

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the persons or firms included in this list. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

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Mediation

We are unaware of any Mediation services available in Albania at this time.

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.  For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Hague Convention Participation
Hague Adoption Convention Country?
Yes
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
Is this country a U.S. Hague Partner?
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Hague Convention Information

Albania is party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention or Convention). Intercountry adoption processing in Convention countries is done in accordance with the requirements of the Convention; the U.S. implementing legislation, the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (IAA); and the IAA’s implementing regulations; as well as the implementing legislation and regulations of Albania.

U.S. IMMIGRATION REQUIREMENTS FOR INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTIONS

To bring an adopted child to the United States from Albania, you must meet eligibility and suitability requirements. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determines who can adopt under U.S. immigration law.

Additionally, a child must meet the definition of Convention adopteeunder U.S. law in order to immigrate to the United States on an IH-3 or IH-4 visa.

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Who Can Adopt

In addition to the U.S. requirements, Albania obliges prospective adoptive parents to meet the following requirements in order to adopt a child from Albania:

  • Residency:  There are no published residency requirements or restrictions.
  • Age of Adopting Parents:  Under Albanian law, prospective adoptive parents must be a minimum of 18 years older than the adopted child.
  • Marriage:  Both married and single prospective adoptive parents are permitted. When an adoptive parent is married, the consent of their spouse is required.
  • Income:  A prospective adoptive parent’s income is considered by the court during the adoption process as an indicator of the potential parents’ ability to care for the child, however, there are no guidelines posted.
  • Other:  Adoption by same-sex couples is not permitted in Albania.
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Who Can Be Adopted

Because Albania is party to The Hague Adoption Convention, children from Albania must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be eligible for adoption. For example, the Convention requires that Albania attempt to place a child with a family in-country before determining that a child is eligible for intercountry adoption. In addition to Albania's requirements, a child must meet the definition of a Convention adopteefor you to bring him or her back to the United States.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS:

Eligibility requirements are set forth in Albanian Law 9695, dated March 19, 2007, on adoption procedures and the Albanian Adoption Committee: Only children who are on the official lists of the Albanian Adoption Committee are eligible for adoption. The Albanian Adoption Committee lists registered Albanian children when:

  1. Abandonment has been declared by way of a final judgment (see article 250 of Albanian Family Code)
  2. Consent has been given by their biological parents; OR
  3. Consent has been given by the court for the children kept under care (see article 246 of Albanian Family Code).
  • Relinquishment: According to Article 246 of the Albanian Family Code, the consent of both parents is required for the adoption of a minor. If one of the parents is deceased, is unable to express his or her will, or had his or her parental rights terminated, the consent of the other parent will suffice. When both parents are deceased, or when their capacity to act has been removed, or when the parents are not known, the court decides if the child may be adopted. If the adoptee is over 10 years old the child’s opinion may be considered and if he or she is 12 years of age or above his or her consent is required.
  • Abandonment: Under Albanian law, a child can be declared abandoned if the parents have not been involved with the child for a period of six months before the request for the declaration of the abandonment was submitted. For a child housed in an institution since birth, the timeframe of one year is reduced to three months.
  • Age of Adoptive Child: A child must be under 18 at the time of the court decision granting adoption. To be eligible for a U.S. visa through the Convention adoption process, the child must have been under the age of 16 when the court adoption decree is granted.
  • Sibling Adoptions: Sibling adoption is encouraged. However, separation may be permitted if a court determines it serves the best interests of child.
  • Special Needs or Medical Conditions: Most of the children available for intercountry adoption from Albania have special needs.
  • Waiting Period or Foster Care: An orphan must have been available for domestic adoption for a period of three months before a prospective adoptive parent residing outside Albania may initiate adoption proceedings.
  • Other: Consent for the adoption may be withdrawn by the biological parents for a minimum period of three months from the time it was given and up until the time a court enters an adoption decree. Before finalizing the adoption, the court verifies that the above-mentioned timeframes have been fulfilled, that all necessary efforts to return the child to the biological parents have been made, and that the probationary period with the adoptive family has been successful.
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How to Adopt

WARNING: Albania is party to the Hague Adoption Convention. Do not adopt or obtain legal custody of a child in Albania before a U.S. consular officer issues an “Article 5 Letter” in the case. Read on for more information.

Albania's Adoption Authority

Albania’s Adoption Committee
Rr: Mine Peza, Pallati 87/3
Shkalla 2, Tirana
Albania
Tel: +355 (0)4 222 7487; +355 (0)4 222 6465
Fax: +355 (0)4 222 7487

Note: If any of the following occurred prior to April 1, 2008 (the date on which the Hague Adoption Convention entered into force with respect to the United States), the Hague Adoption Convention may not apply to your adoption: 1) you filed a Form I-600A identifying [Albania] as the country where you intended to adopt; 2) you filed a Form I-600; or, 3) the adoption was completed. Under these circumstances, your adopted child’s visa application could continue to be processed in accordance with the immigration regulations for non-Convention adoptions. For more information, read about Transition Cases.

The Process

Because Albania is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, adopting from Albania must follow a specific process designed to meet the Convention’s requirements. A brief summary of the Convention adoption process is given below. You must complete these steps in the following order so that your adoption meets all necessary legal requirements. Adoptions completed out of order may result in the child not being eligible for an immigrant visa to the United States.

  1. Choose a U.S. accredited or approved adoption service provider
  2. Apply to USCIS to be found eligible to adopt
  3. Be matched with a child by authorities in Albania
  4. Apply to USCIS for the child to be found eligible for immigration to the United States and receive U.S. agreement to proceed with the adoption
  5. Adopt the child in Albania
  6. Obtain a U.S. immigrant visa for your child and bring your child home
  1. Choose a U.S. Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider The first step in adopting a child from Albania is to select an adoption service provider in the United States that has been accredited or approved to provide services to U.S. citizens in Convention cases. Only accredited or approved adoption services providers may provide adoption services between the United States and Albania. The U.S. accredited or approved adoption service provider will act as the primary provider in your case. The primary adoption service provider is responsible for ensuring that all adoption services in the case are done in accordance with the Hague Adoption Convention and U.S. laws and regulations. Learn more about Agency Accreditation.

    All adoptions must be processed by an adoption agency accredited by the Albanian Adoption Committee. Currently, two U.S. adoption agency have been authorized:

    Bethany Christian Services
    901 Eastern Avenue, NE
    Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503-1295
    Tel: (616) 459-6273
    Fax: (616) 459-0343

    Nightlife Christian Adoptions
    767 Lane Allen Road
    Lexington, KY 40504
    Tel: (859) 263-9964
    Fax: (859) 263-9957

  2. Apply to USCIS to be Found Eligible to Adopt

    After you choose an accredited or approved adoption service provider, you must apply to be found eligible to adopt by the responsible U.S. government agency, the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), by submitting Form I-800A. Read more about Eligibility Requirements.

    Once USCIS determines that you are “eligible” and “suited” to adopt by approving the Form I-800A, your adoption service provider will provide your approval notice, home study, and any other required information to the Adoption Committee of Albania part of your adoption dossier. Albania’s Adoption Committee will
    review your application to determine whether you are also eligible to adopt under Albania’s law.

  3. Be Matched with a Child in Albania

    If both the United States and Albania determine that you are eligible to adopt, and the central authority for Convention adoptions has determined that a child is available for adoption and that intercountry adoption is in that child’s best interests, the central authority for Convention adoptions in Albania may provide you with a referral for a child. The referral is a proposed match between you and a specific child based on a review of your dossier and the needs of a specific child in Albania. The adoption authority in Albania will provide a background study and other information, if available, about the child to help you decide whether to accept the referral or not. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs and provide a permanent home for a particular child. If you accept the referral, the adoption service provider communicates that to the adoption authority in Albania. Learn more about this critical decision.

  4. Apply to USCIS for the Child to be Found Eligible for Immigration to the United States and Receive U.S. Agreement to Proceed with the Adoption

    After you accept a match with a child, you will apply to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for provisional approval for the child to immigrate to the United States (Form I-800). USCIS will make a provisional determination as to whether the child meets the definition of a Convention Adoptee and will be eligible to enter the United States and reside permanently as an immigrant.

    After provisional approval of Form I-800, your adoption service provider or you will submit a visa application to the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Tirana in Albania that is responsible for issuing immigrant visas to children from Albania. A consular officer will review the Form I-800 and the visa application for possible visa ineligibilities and advise you of options for the waiver of any noted ineligibilities.

    WARNING: The consular officer will send a letter (referred to as an “Article 5 Letter”) to the Albania’s Central Authority in any intercountry adoption involving U.S. citizen parents and a child from Albania where all Convention requirements are met and the consular officer determines that the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States. This letter will inform the Albania’s Central Authority that the parents are eligible and suited to adopt, that all indications are that the child may enter and reside permanently in the United States, and that the U.S. Central Authority agrees that the adoption may proceed.

    Do not attempt to adopt or obtain custody of a child in Albania before a U.S. consular officer issues the Article 5 Letter in any adoption case.

    Remember: The consular officer will make a final decision about a child’s eligibility for an immigrant visa later in the adoption process.

  5. Adoption of a Child in Albania

    Remember: Before you adopt (or gain legal custody of) a child in Albania, you must have completed the above four steps. Only after completing these steps, can you proceed to finalize the adoption or grant of custody for the purposes of adoption in Albania.

    The process for finalizing the adoption or gaining legal custody of a child in Albania includes the following:

    • ROLE OF THE ADOPTION AUTHORITY: Maintains the list of children eligible for adoption and matches prospective children to prospective parents.
    • ROLE OF THE COURT: Reviews the case and determines if the adoption should be granted based on the welfare and best interests of the child.
    • ROLE OF ADOPTION AGENCIES: Coordinates between the Adoption Committee and the prospective parents, prepares paperwork and court documents, schedules the court date, and assists adoptive parents to obtain a new birth certificate and passport for the child.
    • TIME FRAME: The timeframe varies depending on the court workload. Currently, the wait time from when the parents are matched with a child until a final court decision is approximately two to three months. This process requires two court sessions, approximately two to three weeks apart.
    • ADOPTION APPLICATION: Handled by the accredited adoption agency.
    • ADOPTION FEES: In the adoption services contract that you sign at the beginning of the adoption process, your agency will itemize the fees and estimated expenses related to your adoption process.

      Some of the fees specifically associated with adopting from Albania include:

      1.Court Expenses and certificates – approximately $50.00 (submission of request, court decrees, stamps, court fees, birth certificates)
      2. Fees for an interpreter to attend the court sessions – $100.00 per session. Most adoptions require two court sessions. This is required in all cases.
      3. Fees for a psychologist to attend the court sessions – $100.00 per session. The court will determine if an adoption case requires a psychological assessment in some cases.
      4. Translation and notarization of all adoption paperwork – $250.00 (dossier, court papers, certificates)
      5. Child's passport
          a. Expedited passport application, issued within three working days – $150.00.
          b. Regular passport application, issued within approximately 3 weeks – $60.00.
      6. Photos of the child – $15.00 (for passport application, for birth certificates, for visa and for medical check)
      7. Medical exam – $80.00 for children under 15 years old, and $135.00 for children over 15 years old.
      8. Blood test for syphilis – $10.00.

    • DOCUMENTS REQUIRED:
      • A written request clearly stating the reasons why the adoptive parent(s) want(s) to adopt a child;
      • Birth certificate and marriage certificate of the adopting parent(s). Divorce decree and former spouse's death certificate as applicable;
      • Police records of the adopting parent(s);
      • Personal, family, social and medical information on the adopting parent(s);
      • Home Study (An evaluation study on the adopting family made by a social worker).
  6. All the above-mentioned documents must be submitted through an adoption agency authorized by the Albanian Adoption Committee.

    Note: Additional documents may be requested.

    Authentication of Documents:

    The United States and Albania are parties to the Hague Apostille Convention. U.S. public documents must be authenticated with an Apostille by the appropriate U.S. Competent Authority.

  7. Obtain an Immigrant Visa for your Child and Bring Your Child Home 

    Now that your adoption is complete (or you have obtained legal custody of the child for the purpose of adopting the child in the United States), there are a few more steps to take before you can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for three documents before your child can travel to the United States:

    Birth Certificate

    If you have finalized the adoption in Albania, you will first need to apply for a birth certificate for your child so that you can later apply for a passport.

    If you have been granted custody for the purpose of adopting the child in the United States, the birth certificate you obtain will, in most cases, not yet include your name.

    The adoption agency will help you obtain a new birth certificate for the child. The final court decision specifies the adoptive parents’ names, which will be entered in the Vital Office's record of the child.

    Albanian Passport

    Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so s/he will need a travel document or passport from Albania.

    The adoptive parents apply for the child’s passport at the passport office, in the same jurisdiction as the civil registry office that issued the child’s revised birth certificate (usually the two offices are co-located). The passport office will keep one copy of the court-issued adoption decree. Most passport offices can process expedited passport applications in three to four business days.

    There is a 13 day waiting period after the court date before the decision goes into effect. The child must remain in Albania during these 13 days, although s/he may reside with the adoptive parents during that time. Please remember that your newly adopted child will travel to the U.S. for the first time on his/her Albanian passport. S/he may need to obtain a transit visa in order to be permitted to travel through certain countries (such as the United Kingdom). The transit country cannot issue this visa until the child has a passport. In many cases the transit visa application may take several days or more to process. (Note: this procedure is separate from the U.S. immigrant visa process). Therefore, prospective adoptive parents should be prepared to arrive in Albania a day or two before the court date and to remain in the country for at least three weeks.

    U.S. Immigrant Visa

    After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need your child’s U.S. visa from the U.S. Embassy in Tirana. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. As part of this process, your child needs a medical examination from one of the embassy-approved physicians.

    For this process you will need:

    • DS-260 application for an Immigrant Visa;
    • Immigrant visa fee, which can be paid by you or by the adoption service provider when submitting the DS-260;
    • Three visa photos of the child;
    • The child's birth certificate and passport;
    • A medical report for the child,
    • If the child will be 16 years old at the time of the visa interview, he or she must provide police clearances from the Ministry of Justice, Prosecutor, and Court offices. If this age requirement will apply to your child, remind your adoption service provider to coordinate with the Consular Section to obtain the correct clearances.

Child Citizenship Act

For adoptions finalized abroad prior to the child’s entry into the United States: A child will acquire U.S. citizenship upon entry into the United States if the adoption was finalized prior to entry and the child otherwise meets the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

For adoptions finalized after the child’s entry into the United States: An adoption will need to be completed following your child’s entry into the United States for the child to acquire U.S. citizenship.

*Please be aware that if your child did not qualify to become a citizen upon entry to the United States, it is very important that you take the steps necessary so that your child does qualify as soon as possible. Failure to obtain citizenship for your child can impact many areas of his/her life including family travel, eligibility for education and education grants, and voting. Read more about the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

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Traveling Abroad

Applying for Your U.S. Passport

A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave Albania. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.

Getting or renewing a passport is easy. The Passport Application Wizardwill help you determine which passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print—all in one place.

Obtaining a Visa to Travel to Albania

United States citizens can stay in Albania for up to a year without the requirement of a visa. For further information, please see the Department of State’s Country Specific Information.

Staying Safe on Your Trip

Before you travel, it is always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country. The Department of State provides Country Specific Information for every country of the world about various issues, including the health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability.

Staying in Touch on Your Trip

When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to enroll with the Department of State. Enrollment makes it possible to contact you if necessary. Whether there is a family emergency in the United States or a crisis in Albania, enrollment assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.

Enrollment is free and can be done online via the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

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After Adoption

Post-Adoption/Post-Placement Reporting Requirements

Adoption service providers must provide the Albanian Adoption Committee with three post-placement reports during the first year after the adoption and two additional reports during the second year. We strongly urge you to comply with Albania’s post-adoption requirements in a timely manner. Your adoption agency may be able to help you with this process.

Post-Adoption Resources

Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. There are many public and private nonprofit post-adoption services available for children and their families. There are also numerous adoptive family support groups and adoptee organizations active in the United States that provide a network of options for adoptees who seek out other adoptees from the same country of origin. Take advantage of all the resources available to your family, whether it is another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services.

Here are some places to start your support group search:

Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. government links does not imply endorsement of contents.

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Contact Information

U.S. Embassy in Albania 
Rruga Elbasanit
No. 103
Tirana
Albania
Tel: +355 (0)4 224 7285
Fax: +355 (0)4 237 4957
Email: TiranaUSConsulate@state.gov
Internet: Tirana.usembassy.gov

Albania’s Adoption Committee
Rr: Mine Peza
Pallati 87/3
Shkalla 2
Tirana
Albania
Tel: +355 (0)4 222 7487; +355 (0)4 222 6465
Fax: +355 (0)4 222 7487

Embassy of Albania
1312 18th Street, NW
4th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20036
Tel: (202) 223 4942
Fax: (202) 628 7342
Email: embassy.washington@mfa.gov.al
Internet: embassyofalbania.org

Albania also has a consulate in New York.

Office of Children’s Issues
U.S. Department of State
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20522-1709
Tel: 1-888-407-4747
Email: AdoptionUSCA@state.gov
Internet: adoption.state.gov

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about immigration procedures:
National Customer Service Center (NCSC)
Tel: 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)
Internet: uscis.gov

For questions about filing a Form I-800A or I-800 petition:
National Benefits Center
Tel: 1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-816-251-2770 (local)
Email: NBC.Adoptions@DHS.gov

Reciprocity Schedule

Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.

Explanation of Terms

Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.

Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).

Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.

Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.

Visa Classifications
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
 
Visa
Classification
Fee Number
of Entries
Validity
Period
A-1 None Multiple 60 Months
A-2 None Multiple 60 Months
A-3 1 None Multiple 12 Months
B-1 None Multiple 36 Months
B-2 None Multiple 36 Months
B-1/B-2 None Multiple 36 Months
C-1 None Multiple 36 Months
C-1/D None Multiple 36 Months
C-2 None One 15 Days
C-3 None Multiple 48 Months
CW-1 11 None Multiple 12 Months
CW-2 11 None Multiple 12 Months
D None Multiple 36 Months
E-1 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2 2 None Multiple 36 Months
E-2C 12 None Multiple 36 Months
F-1 None Multiple 36 Months
F-2 None Multiple 36 Months
G-1 None Multiple 60 Months
G-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-3 None One 6 Months
G-4 None Multiple 60 Months
G-5 1 None Multiple 12 Months
H-1B None Multiple 36 Months 3
H-1C None Multiple 36 Months 3
H-2A None N/A N/A3
H-2B None N/A N/A3
H-2R None Multiple 12 Months 3
H-3 None Multiple 36 Months 3
H-4 None Multiple 36 Months 3
I None Multiple 36 Months
J-1 4 None Multiple 36 Months
J-2 4 None Multiple 36 Months
K-1 None One 6 Months
K-2 None One 6 Months
K-3 None Multiple 24 Months
K-4 None Multiple 24 Months
L-1 None Multiple 36 Months
L-2 None Multiple 36 Months
M-1 None Multiple 36 Months
M-2 None Multiple 36 Months
N-8 None Multiple 12 Months
N-9 None Multiple 12 Months
NATO 1-6 10 None Multiple 60 Months
NATO-7 None Multiple 12 Months
O-1 None Multiple 36 Months 3
O-2 None Multiple 36 Months 3
O-3 None Multiple 36 Months 3
P-1 None Multiple 36 Months 3
P-2 None Multiple 36 Months 3
P-3 None Multiple 36 Months 3
P-4 None Multiple 36 Months 3
Q-1 6 None Multiple 12 Months 3
R-1 None Multiple 36 Months
R-2 None Multiple 36 Months
S-5 7 None One 1 Month
S-6 7 None One 1 Month
S-7 7 None One 1 Month
T-1 9 N/A N/A N/A
T-2 None One 6 Months
T-3 None One 6 Months
T-4 None One 6 Months
T-5 None One 6 Months
T-6 None One 6 Months
TD 5 N/A N/A N/A
U-1 None Multiple 48 Months
U-2 None Multiple 48 Months
U-3 None Multiple 48 Months
U-4 None Multiple 48 Months
U-5 None Multiple 48 Months
V-1 None Multiple 120 Months
V-2 None Multiple 120 Months 8
V-3 None Multiple 120 Months 8
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Country Specific Footnotes

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

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Visa Category Footnotes
  1. The validity of A-3, G-5, and NATO 7 visas may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the person who is employing the applicant. The "employer" would have one of the following visa classifications:

    • A-1
    • A-2
    • G-1 through G-4
    • NATO 1 through NATO 6

  2. An E-1 and E-2 visa may be issued only to a principal alien who is a national of a country having a treaty, or its equivalent, with the United States. E-1 and E-2 visas may not be issued to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident. The spouse and children of an E-1 or E-2 principal alien are accorded derivative E-1 or E-2 status following the reciprocity schedule, including any reciprocity fees, of the principle alien’s country of nationality.  

    Example: John Doe is a national of the country of Z that has an E-1/E-2 treaty with the U.S. His wife and child are nationals of the country of Y which has no treaty with the U.S. The wife and child would, therefore, be entitled to derivative status and receive the same reciprocity as Mr. Doe, the principal visa holder.  

  3. The validity of H-1 through H-3, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.

    Under 8 CFR §214.2, H-2A and H-2B petitions may generally only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries. The current list of eligible countries is available on USCIS's website for both H-2A and H-2B visas. Nationals of countries not on this list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A or H2-B petition in limited circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security if specifically named on the petition.  

    Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.

  4. There is no reciprocity fee for the issuance of a J visa if the alien is a United States Government grantee or a participant in an exchange program sponsored by the United States Government.

    Also, there is no reciprocity fee for visa issuance to an accompanying or following-to-join spouse or child (J-2) of an exchange visitor grantee or participant.

    In addition, an applicant is eligible for an exemption from the MRV fee if he or she is participating in a State Department, USAID, or other federally funded educational and cultural exchange program (program serial numbers G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-7).

    However, all other applicants with U.S. Government sponsorships, including other J-visa applicants, are subject to the MRV processing fee.

  5. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian and Mexican nationals coming to engage in certain types of professional employment in the United States may be admitted in a special nonimmigrant category known as the "trade NAFTA" or "TN" category. Their dependents (spouse and children) accompanying or following to join them may be admitted in the "trade dependent" or "TD" category whether or not they possess Canadian or Mexican nationality. Except as noted below, the number of entries, fees and validity for non-Canadian or non-Mexican family members of a TN status holder seeking TD visas should be based on the reciprocity schedule of the TN principal alien.

    Canadian Nationals

    Since Canadian nationals generally are exempt from visa requirement, a Canadian "TN' or "TD" alien does not require a visa to enter the United States. However, the non-Canadian national dependent of a Canadian "TN", unless otherwise exempt from the visa requirement, must obtain a "TD" visa before attempting to enter the United States. The standard reciprocity fee and validity period for all non-Canadian "TD"s is no fee, issued for multiple entries for a period of 36 months, or for the duration of the principal alien's visa and/or authorized period of stay, whichever is less. See 'NOTE' under Canadian reciprocity schedule regarding applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality.

    Mexican Nationals

    Mexican nationals are not visa-exempt. Therefore, all Mexican "TN"s and both Mexican and non-Mexican national "TD"s accompanying or following to join them who are not otherwise exempt from the visa requirement (e.g., the Canadian spouse of a Mexican national "TN") must obtain nonimmigrant visas.

    Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality, who have a permanent resident or refugee status in Canada/Mexico, may not be accorded Canadian/Mexican reciprocity, even when applying in Canada/Mexico. The reciprocity fee and period for "TD" applicants from Libya is $10.00 for one entry over a period of 3 months. The Iranian and Iraqi "TD" is no fee with one entry over a period of 3 months.

  6. Q-2 (principal) and Q-3 (dependent) visa categories are in existence as a result of the 'Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998'. However, because the Department anticipates that virtually all applicants for this special program will be either Irish or U.K. nationals, the Q-2 and Q-3 categories have been placed only in the reciprocity schedules for those two countries. Q-2 and Q-3 visas are available only at the Embassy in Dublin and the Consulate General in Belfast.

  7. No S visa may be issued without first obtaining the Department's authorization.

  8. V-2 and V-3 status is limited to persons who have not yet attained their 21st birthday. Accordingly, the period of validity of a V-2 or V-3 visa must be limited to expire on or before the applicant's twenty-first birthday.

  9. Posts may not issue a T-1 visa. A T-1 applicant must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a U.S. port of entry, where he/she will apply for an adjustment of status to that of a T-1. The following dependents of a T-1 visa holder, however, may be issued a T visa at a U.S. consular office abroad:

    • T-2 (spouse)
    • T-3 (child)
    • T-4 (parent)
  10. The validity of NATO-5 visas may not exceed the period of validity of the employment contract or 12 months, whichever is less.

  11. The validity of CW-1 and CW-2 visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (12 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

  12. The validity of E-2C visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (24 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

 

 

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General Documents

Please check back for update.

Birth, Death, Burial Certificates

Birth

Most civil documents are available. While document security has increased, Albanian civil documents are not always reliable or accurate. There are some villages where records may have been destroyed in World War II or during civil unrest in the late 1990s. In such cases, a local issuing authority should be able to provide official confirmation about what documents were burned or destroyed. All civil documents presented in support of a visa application should be less than one year old at the time they are provided. Only machine-typed civil documents are acceptable. Albanian birth certificates should reflect the bearer's current marital status at the time of issuance, and are issued in the bearer's current name (i.e. in a woman's married name, not in her maiden name). Religious birth records are not acceptable. There does not appear to be any restriction on sending documents abroad.

General Issuing Authority Information: The issuing authority is the Office of Civil Status located in City Hall or in commune where the person is registered.

Birth Certificates

  • Available for use abroad
  • Fees: 200 Lek for the 6-language translated certificate for use abroad. This is the only type of certificate accepted by Post.
  • Document Name:Certifikate Lindjeje
  • Issuing Authority: Gjendja Civile - Civil Status Office
  • Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: Format: A-4 pre- printed format, white and green border color, with a serial number, a hologram containing the seal of Albanian State and the inscription "Republika e Shqiperise, Ministria e Punëve të Brendshme (In English – Republic of Albania, Ministry of Internal Affairs), institution's wet seal, issuing clerk's signature, and fee stamp.
  • Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Civil Status Office Registrar
  • Registration Criteria:
    • Registering a newborn in Albania: the parent must obtain the Certificate of Assistance in Birth from the Maternity and apply at the Office of Civil Status to register the child in the act of Births Record, and in the online National Registry of Civil Status.
    • Registering a child born outside Albania outside Albania: the requestor must obtain an apostille to the foreign birth certificate in order to register to the Office of Civil Status a child born outside Albania.
  • Procedure for Obtaining: The requestor must show in person to the Office of Civil Status, present an I.D., pay the fee and obtain the certificate. The requestor should cite that he or she needs the birth certificate for a foreign embassy. Alternatively, he or she may go to a notary and authorize a third party to obtain the birth certificate on his or her behalf.
  • Certified Copies Available: Not available
  • Alternate Documents: None
  • Exceptions: Post encounters applicants of Cham origin, whose place of birth was Greece, but do not have a Greek birth certificate. Instead, they present an Albanian birth certificate. They are asked to provide a statement from Greek Authorities that no records exist for them.
  • Comments: Only certificates reading Birth Certificate "Certifikate Lindjeje" are accepted.. Certificates that read Personal Certificate "Certifikate Personale" and religious birth records are not acceptable. Individuals less than 16 years old are issued birth certificates with photo. Albanian documents submitted as part of the U.S. visa process should be less than one year old at the time they are provided.

 

Death/Burial

  • Available
  • Fees: 50 Lek per certificate, or 200 Lek for the 6-language translated certificate for use abroad. Both types of certificates are acceptable.
  • Document Name: Certifikate Vdekje – Death Certificate
  • Issuing Authority: Gjendja Civile – Civil Status Office
  • Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: Format: A-4 pre- printed format, white and green border color, with a serial number, a hologram containing the seal of Albanian State and the inscription "Republika e Shqiperise, Ministria e Punëve të Brendshme (In English – Republic of Albania, Ministry of Internal Affairs), institution's wet seal, issuing clerk's signature, and fee stamp. 
  • Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Civil Status Office Registrar
  • Registration Criteria: A family member obtains a death report from the family doctor, where is written the cause of death, and applies at the Civil Status Office to register the death in the Act of Deaths Record and in the online National Registry of Civil Status.
  • Procedure for Obtaining: The requestor must show in person to the Office of Civil Status, present an I.D., pay the fee and obtain the certificate. Alternatively, he or she may go to a notary and authorize a third party to obtain the birth certificate on his or her behalf.
  • Certified Copies Available: None
  • Comments: Albanian documents submitted as part of the U.S. visa process should be less than one year old at the time they are provided.

 

Marriage, Divorce Certificates

Marriage

Available

Fees: 50 Lek per certificate, or 200 Lek for the 6-language translated certificate for use abroad. Both types of certificates are acceptable.

Document Name: Certifikate Martese

Issuing Authority: Gjendja Civile - Civil Status Office

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: Format: A-4 pre- printed format, white and green border color, with a serial number, a hologram containing the seal of Albanian State and the inscription "Republika e Shqiperise, Ministria e Punëve të Brendshme (In English - Republic of Albania, Ministry of Interior), institution's wet seal, issuing clerk's signature, and fee stamp.

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Civil Status Office Registrar

  • Registration Criteria:
    • Registering a marriage occurred in Albania: The requestors appear at their respective Offices of Civil providing information of the person they intend to marry. The Civil Status Office Clerk sends to the other future spouse's Civil Status Office a certificate of marriage announcement. The couple will have to wait 11 days once their marriage is announced in the Civil Status Office, and then they can proceed with registering the marriage. The groom is opted to keep married name or her maiden name. Both future spouses and two witnesses must be present in front of the Civil Status Office Clerk Status to sign the Act of Marriages Record. The marriage is also registered in the online National Registry of Civil Status. Upon marriage registration, the spouses are issued marriage certificates.
    • Registering a marriage occurred outside Albania: the requestor must obtain an apostille to the foreign marriage certificate in order to register the marriage occurred outside Albania in the Civil Status Office. Only after registering the marriage at the Civil Status Office, requestor can update his or her civil status to "married".

Procedure for Obtaining: The requestor must show in person to the Office of Civil Status, present an I.D., pay the fee and obtain the certificate. Alternatively, he or she may go to a notary and authorize a third party to obtain the birth certificate on his or her behalf.

Certified Copies Available: Not available

Alternate Documents: None

Comments: The marriage certificate should show both married name and maiden name. Albanian documents submitted as part of the U.S. visa process should be less than one year old at the time they are provided.

Divorce

Unavailable

Comments: While there are no divorce certificates, there are divorce decrees one can get from the district court. Please refer to court records section for detailed information.

 

Adoption Certificates

Unavailable.

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Identity Card

Available

Fees: 1,500 Lek

Document Name: Leternjoftim - I.D. card

Issuing Authority: Ministry of Internal Affairs

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: it is a plastic card, written in Albanian and English. It contains the photograph, date, and place of birth, and the personal identity number, issuance date, expiry date, and sex. It has in the background an eagle, which is located in the middle of the card, the map of Albania and the map of Europe, respectively on the left and on the right side.

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Ministry of Interior, through the ALEAT Company. Its office is usually located next to Civil Registry Office of the commune or city hall, or in a centralized office, responsible for several communes.

Registration Criteria: Upon requestor's application for an I.D. card, the ALEAT Company verifies his or her identity with the Civil Registry office, which checks the identity in the National Registry of Civil Status. Once the identity is confirmed, the ALEAT Company fills out an application form in their database, takes a photo of requestor, and his or her fingerprints.

Procedure for Obtaining: Requestor purchases a coupon at the Albanian Post Office of $12.00 and then must apply in person at the ALEAT Company nearby the commune or city hall where he or she resides. After two to three weeks, applicants must go back to the same office to have the right thumb fingerprint scanned, in order to be issued the I.D. card.

Certified Copies Available: None

Alternate Documents: None

Exceptions: an I.D. card is issued to individuals 16 year old and above.

 

Police, Court, Prison Records

Police Records

The Albanian police clearance consists of a criminal court certificate from the Ministry of Justice concerning any convictions. The Ministry of Justice certificate is transmitted directly from the Albanian authorities to the U.S. Embassy Tirana; it may not be accepted directly from the applicant.

Ministry of Justice Certificate

Available

Fees: 200 Lek for the certificate, and an additional Albanian Post Office fee, depending on the district the requestor is applying from.

Document Name: Vertetim i Gjendjes Gjyqesore - Judicial Status Certificate

Issuing Authority: Judicial Status Section, General Directorate of Prisons, Ministry of Justice

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: A-4 format, yellow color, with a serial number, institution's wet seal, issuing clerk's wet seal, and fee stamp.

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Judicial Status Section Specialist

Registration Criteria: All final court decisions are submitted to the Judicial Status Section, General Directorate of Prisons, Ministry of Justice. These records are then entered in a database of the Judicial Status Section.

Procedure for Obtaining: To obtain a criminal court certificate from the Ministry of Justice (in Albanian - Vertetim i Gjendjes Gjyqesore or Deshmi Penaliteti), the requestor must apply in person by submitting a photocopy of his or her ID card or birth certificate through the Albanian Post Office, and must pay the necessary fee. Apply in current and in any former names, including maiden names.  Applicants must clearly note on the application at the post office that they are applying for a U.S. visa. If the person cannot physically be in Albania, s/he may delegate a Power-of-Attorney to apply on their behalf. If the interview will be conducted at an embassy or consulate other than Tirana, the interested person must note on the application at the Albanian Post Office that they are applying for a U.S. visa in (name of country where the visa interview will occur). Once received by the Consular Section, scanned copies of certificates will be forwarded to the respective post via email.

Certified Copies Available: None

Alternate Documents: None

Exceptions: None

Comments: NVC no longer receives Ministry of Justice certificates, but only a copy of the application’s fee receipt. By arrangement with the Albanian authorities, court certificates for applicants for U.S. visas are transferred directly to U.S. Embassy Tirana. Therefore the applicant will not receive an original copy of the criminal court certificate nor is it necessary for them to send the document to NVC. Only court certificates obtained directly through U.S. Embassy Tirana are acceptable; applicants may not present their own certificates. Applicants should send NVC a copy of the receipt of payment along with a statement in English as evidence that they have applied for the MOJ certificate.

Albanian documents submitted as part of the U.S. visa process should be less than one year old at the time they are provided.

 

Court/Prison Records
 

Available

Fees: 800 lek

Document Name: Vendim i Gjykates

Issuing Authority: District Court

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: A-4 format or half of A-4 format, signed by the judges who issued the verdict and District Court's wet stamp.

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Gjykata e Rrethit Gjyqesor - District's name, signed by the Chancellor and Chief Secretary. A part of Court records are currently saved at the Ministry of Justice/ General Directorate of Prisons/ The Judicial Status Office.

Registration Criteria: convicted person's name is entered in electronic and handwritten court register.

Procedure for Obtaining:  Requestor must submit e request to the Chief Secretary.

Certified Copies Available: Yes

Alternate Documents:

Comments:  A court decision is required only if applicant has been convicted of a crime. The court decision certificate must be translated in English and notarized.

 

Police Certificates
 

Unavailable

 

Military Records

Available

Fees:  No fee

Document Name: Vertetim

Issuing Authority: Personnel Recruitment Center , General Headquarter of Armed Forces, Ministry of Defense

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: White color, ½ of A-4 format, wet seal.

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: The head of Personnel Recruitment Center

Registration Criteria: All males at age 18 were registered in the military record of the Mobilization and Recruitment Center. Based on law no.9047, dated July 10, 2003, "On the Military Service in Republic of Albania" amended by law no. 9999, dated September 24, 2008, amended, there is no longer compulsory military service.

Procedure for Obtaining: The requestor shows his I.D. and obtains the document.

Certified Copies Available: None

Alternate Documents: None

Comments:  Only applicants with date of birth before September 24, 1990 are required to submit a military record. 

Passports & Other Travel Documents

Types Available (Regular, Diplomatic, Official, etc.): Regular, Diplomatic, and Official passport

Fees: 7,500 Lek for regular application, 18,000 Lek for expedited request.

Document Name: Pasaporte

Issuing Government Authority: Ministry of Internal Affairs

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format:

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Ministry of Interior, through the ALEAT Company. Its office is usually located next to Civil Registry Office of the commune or city hall, or in a centralized office, responsible for several communes.

Registration Criteria: Upon requestor's application for passport, the ALEAT Company verifies his or her identity with the Civil Registry office, and with the Police Officer in charge for the borough. Once the identity is confirmed, the ALEAT Company fills out an application form in their database, takes a photo of requestor, and his or her fingerprints.

  • Procedure for Obtaining:
    • Regular application: Requestor first obtains a coupon for regular passport application at the Albanian Post Office, and then goes to the Civil Registry to obtain a birth certificate for passport issuance. After that, he or she goes to the Police Commissariat with a birth certificate, two passport style photos (4cmx5cm), and fills out a form with personal information and provides it to the police. Once the police officer in charge for the borough of requestor's residence has verified the identity, he sends the name to the ALEAT Company. Requestor checks his or her name in the list of verified identities by police, and applies for the passport with ALEAT Company. The passport is issued approximately three to four weeks after the application.
    • Expedited request: Requestor first obtains a coupon for expedited passport application at the Albanian Post Office, and then goes to the Civil Registry to obtain a birth certificate for passport issuance. After that, he or she goes to the ALEAT Company and applies for the passport with ALEAT Company. Once the police officer in charge for the borough of requestor's residence has verified the identity, he sends the name to the ALEAT Company. The passport is issued approximately three days after the application, provided that applicant appears before 10:00 am when applying for the passport.

 

Other Records

Not applicable.

 

Visa Issuing Posts

Tirana, Albania (Embassy)

Street Address:

Rr. Elbasanit, No. 103
Tirana, Albania

Phone: (355)-(4)-224-7285

Visa Services

All visa categories for all of Albania.

Foreign Consular Office Contact Information

Washington, DC (202) 223-4942 (202) 628-7342

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Tirana
Rr. Elbasanit, No. 103
Tirana, Albania
Telephone
+(355) (0) 4224-7285
Emergency
+(355) (0) 4224-7285
Fax
+(355) (4) 2232-222
Albania Country Map

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Additional Information for Reciprocity

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.