Entering and Residing

Please note: Albanian entry and residence procedures are under the authority of the Albanian government and the information provided here is for general information only and might be subject to change.  Questions about rules and procedures should be addressed to the General Directorate of Border and Migration of the Albanian State Police, your nearest Albanian embassy, or an attorney familiar with Albanian immigration law.  For more information you can refer to Albanian Law No. 108/2013 “On Foreigners” (pdf).

COVID-19 Information Update for Albania.

  • U.S. citizens do not need visas to enter the Republic of Albania;
  • U.S. citizens can stay up to one year in this country without a residence permit;
  • You must have a passport valid for at least three months (we recommend to have your passport at least six months valid from your planned departure from this country. You can apply to renew your passport with our consular section.)

In addition to a valid passport, the Border and Migration officer may ask you to show, but not limited to, one or more of the following:

  • Letter of invitation by the host in Albania;
  • Return ticket;
  • Confirmation of accommodation;
  • Work permit;
  • Sufficient financial means for stay in Albania (Current sum is 30 Euros per day for an adult and 15 Euros for a minor satisfied by showing either cash or credit cards in case you’re being asked for);
  • Original international certificate of vaccination when the person arrives from countries (who.int) affected by an epidemic disease or illness.

(U.S. citizens do not have to register with the regional office of the border and migration authority for stays less than one year.  If you plan to remain more than a year, or if you are offered a job, or if you will be enrolling in a school or university, you must apply for a residence permit as explained further in this page.)

U.S. citizens may stay in the Republic of Albania for up to one year without a residence permit.  When you enter the country, border and migration officer stamps your passport with the entry date.  (Lately, it has come to our attention that they do not stamp passports anymore because the record is entered electronically in their systems.  If that’s the case, we suggest you save your boarding pass or ticket as evidence of your entry to Albania for later use.)

To “restart the clock” on the one year time limit, you have to depart Albania and remain out of the country for at least 90 days.  In other words, if you stay in Albania for 1 year you would have to depart and remain outside the country for at least 90 days in order to re-enter without a residency permit.  Shorter trips outside of Albania during your stay do not lengthen or re-set the one year limit.

If you plan to stay more than a year, or if you choose to work or study, you must apply for a residence permit.  According to the Article 147 of the Albanian Law No. 108/2013 “On Foreigners”, residency permits for U.S. citizens may be valid for up to five years, depending on the purpose of your stay.  For specific requirements check with your nearest Albanian embassy or, within Albania, the Police Directorate [e.g.: Tirana office’s map here].  You may be eligible to apply for a permanent residency after five years of temporary residency status.

To renew your permit, you must apply with the Regional DBM Police at least 60 days prior to the permit’s expiration date.  The application to renew the previous permit may be denied if you have stayed more than 6 months (accumulative) outside of Albania within one calendar-year (unless you have prior permission from the Regional BDM Police).

Be advised, if you enter Albania using your American passport and wish to stay longer than one year you may be required to apply for authorization with the Albanian Border and Migration authorities or risk being fined for overstaying. There have been reports from dual national families who were fined by the Albanian immigration authorities for overstays in Albania.  If that happens, we are unable to assist.  For legal assistance on your particular situation, we suggest you contact an Albanian immigration attorney. For a list of some attorneys who practice law in Albania please visit our webpage “Legal Assistance”.

To apply for a residency permit you must appear in person at the office of the Regional Directorate of Border and Migration (DBM) Police having jurisdiction over your place of residence. Minors under 18 years old need to have at least one parent present. Exact requirements vary depending on the purpose of your stay (work, study, missionary, etc.) and different regional offices may have slightly different procedures, so you should check with the office where you plan to apply [e.g.: Tirana Regional DBM Police office’s map here] for complete instructions.

Required Documents from the United States

In addition to the documentary requirements to apply for a residence permit, the Albanian government also requests a birth certificate and a certificate of criminal status issued by the U.S. government.

  1. Your Birth Certificate: If you were born in the United States, you will need one certified copy of your birth certificate with an “apostille” attached to it. (We recommend you obtain two copies as you may need the second later to register your domicile with the vital records office having jurisdiction over your place of residence.) The “apostille” is issued by the state that issued your birth certificate and each state has its own procedures; the easiest way to find how to get an apostille on your birth certificate is to perform an Internet search for “apostille birth certificate [state where you were born].” You can also find more information on the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs webpage “Notarial and Authentication Services.” You will also need to have your birth certificate translated into Albanian by a licensed Albanian notary public.
  2. Marriage certificate (if requested): If you were married in the United States, you will need a certified copy of your marriage certificate with an “apostille” attached, as described above (obtain two copies).
  3. Affidavit of Eligibility for a Residency Permit (PDF 362 KB): The Albanian authorities require you to submit an “Affidavit of Eligibility for Residency Permit in the Republic of Albania”, which is a sworn statement regarding criminal history and other details notarized by a consular officer at the U.S. Embassy in Tirana. (The current agreement is that the affidavit must be done by the U.S. Embassy in Tirana on this document only [pdf], and there’s indication that the document might expire if not used within 90 days from the notarization date.) The standard notary fee of $50.00 applies. Payment can be mad in cash (dollars or leke) or by credit card (Visa, Master Card, American Express, Diners Club, and Discover).  Upon notarization of the document, some immigration offices require this affidavit to be authenticated by the Office of Legalization at the Albanian Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs (MEFA). Check with the nearest Post Office about the process.
  4. To obtain the above affidavit [pdf], please schedule an online appointment with our office.

If you enter Albania with your family and wish to reside more than a year, all adults over the age of eighteen must file separate applications for residence permits. Minor children are included in parents’ applications, however, if they become adults (turn 18) while in Albania they would need to apply for their own residence permit. If you have a residence permit and give birth to a child in Albania, you must notify the office of the Regional Directorate of Border and Migration having jurisdiction over your place of residence within 30 days of the child’s birth.

Article 35 of the Albanian Law No. 108/2013 “On Foreigners” (pdf) provides information on the denial of the issuance, renewal or cancellation of the residence permit. If your application for a residence permit is denied you will be notified in writing the reason of this denial. You may appeal this decision through administrative channels or courts as provided in Albanian laws. If you need legal aid with this process, we suggest you contact an Albanian immigration attorney. For a list of some attorneys who practice law in Albania please visit our web-page “Legal Assistance”.

You could be ordered removed, banned from entering Albania for five years, fined, detained, deported, or any combination of these penalties. U.S. citizens in Albania are subject to all local laws and judicial procedures, and the Embassy cannot intervene on your behalf in immigration matters.  For legal assistance, we suggest you contact an Albanian immigration attorney. For a list of some attorneys who practice law in Albania please visit our webpage “Legal Assistance”.