Marriage in Albania is under the jurisdiction of the Albanian government and the information provided below is subject to change. Rules may be interpreted differently by different offices and jurisdictions. If you have questions about the process, they are best directed to the Office of Civil Status (Zyra e Gjendjes Civile) in the city where you plan to get married.
Foreign nationals in Albania may marry in a civil ceremony, a religious ceremony, or both. The marriage must be registered with the Office of Civil Status (Zyra e Gjendjes Civile) to be considered legal in Albania and the U.S. There are no residency requirements for foreign nationals who choose to get married in Albania.
Documents you might need:
- Your Birth Certificate:
If you were born outside of Albania, you will need a certified copy of your birth certificate issued within the last three months authenticated with a special seal called “Apostille”. For the United States, the state that issued your birth certificate will also issue the apostille. The easiest way to find specific instructions for getting an apostille is to do an Internet search for “birth certificate apostille XX (state),” but general information on apostilles is provided here. You will need to have your apostilled birth certificate translated into Albanian at a licensed Albanian notary public.
- Divorce Decree or Certificate (if applicable):
If you were married before, local authorities might request a certified copy of your divorce decree or certificate with an apostille attached to it, or an apostilled death certificate for your previous spouse, with an official translation. (See above for more on apostilles and translations.)
- Your U.S. passport and a Copy of the Biographic Page;
- If your future spouse is an Albanian citizen, his or her Personal Certificate and Albanian Passport or ID Card;
- Two Witnesses:
The witnesses must be present when the marriage is registered and they can’t be related to either you or your new spouse.
- Affidavit of Eligibility to Marry:
In support of the Government of Albania’s efforts to prevent further spread of COVID-19 by limiting public gatherings and increasing social spacing, the U.S. Embassy has cancelled all routine American citizen services and is providing emergency services only. If you require an emergency service, please write to ACSTirana@state.gov.
Albanian authorities require proof of legal capacity to enter into a marriage contract in the form of certification by competent authority that no impediment exists to the marriage. No such document exists in the United States. U.S. citizens who wish to get married in Albania must provide an “Affidavit of Eligibility to Marry in the Republic of Albania” (PDF 284 KB) certification issued by the U.S. Embassy in Tirana. The standard notary fee of $50.00 applies. We accept cash (dollars or leke) and credit cards (Visa, Master Card, American Express, Diners Club, and Discover).
- Please schedule an online appointment with our office in order to obtain the above affidavit.
A marriage may be registered between a man and a woman who are at least 18 years old. Marriage of a person under 18 requires court approval.
At least 11 days before the planned marriage, the future spouses must appear at the Office of Civil Status in the municipality where the marriage registration will take place. If one spouse is an Albanian citizen, this will be the district where he or she has legal residence. If neither of the spouses hold Albanian citizenship, they may marry at the Civil Status Office covering their usual place of residence.
A legal marriage performed in Albania is fully valid in the United States. There is no need to ‘register’ your marriage with the embassy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I marry in Albania to an Albanian citizen?
U.S. citizens may marry in Albania to Albanian citizens who are at least 18 years old. However, the local Court of the city where the marriage takes place, for specific reasons, may allow marriage before that age. You may marry in a civil ceremony, religious ceremony, or both. However, only a civil ceremony is considered legal under the Albanian law.
Can I register my marriage at the U.S. Embassy in Tirana?
No. Marriages of U.S. citizens in Albania are not registered at the U.S. Embassy in Tirana. Such marriages are registered at the Office of Civil Status of the city where the marriage was performed. A marriage may be registered between a man and a woman who are at least 18 years old. However, the Court of the city where the marriage took place, for specific reasons, may allow marriage before that age.
What documents do I need to bring with me from the United States?
If you were born in the United States, please bring a certified copy of your birth certificate issued within the last three months authenticated with a special seal called “apostille”. Additionally, in cases of previous marriages, the divorce must be registered in Albania. Please obtain a divorce decree or certificate with an “apostille” attached to it. The “apostille” is placed by the issuing authority in the United States. For information on how to “apostille” a U.S. issued document, please visit the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs web page “Apostille Requirements”.
Do I need to translate the documents that I will bring with me from the United States?
Yes. If your documents are issued in a language other than Albanian, you will need to translate those by a certified translator. You may translate your documents at a certified translator in the United States before placing the “apostille” by the U.S. state authority, or you may translate those in Albania at an authorized notary public after yout get the “apostille” attached.
How do I register my marriage in Albania?
You will need (or ask your future spouse) to appear at the Municipality’s Administrative Unit (Vital Records Office) having jurisdiction over your future spouse’s place of residence file a request to marry. That office’s registrar will provide you (or your future spouse) with more information in that regard.
How do I obtain a permit (freedom to marry/marriage license) in order to register my marriage in Albania?
Albanian authorities require proof of legal capacity to enter into a marriage contract in the form of certification by competent authority that no impediment exists to the marriage. No such document exists in the United States. U.S. citizens who wish to get married in Albania must provide an “Affidavit of Eligibility to Marry in the Republic of Albania” (PDF 284 KB) issued by the U.S. Embassy in Tirana. As per the agreement with the Albanian government this document can only be notarized at the U.S. Embassy in Tirana in person. The standard notary fee of $50.00 applies. We accept cash (dollars or leke) and credit cards (Visa, Master Card, American Express, Diners Club, and Discover). Please schedule an online appointment with our office in order to obtain this document.
How long will it take me to get an Affidavit of Eligibility to Marry from the Embassy?
The moment you appear at our office of the U.S. embassy to obtain this document, it will take approximately 5 to 10 minutes to fill out, sign and notarize the document.
For how long is the Affidavit valid?
The affidavit is valid for a period of three months. If you do not use this affidavit withing three months of its issuance, you will need to obtain another one against a fee. However, we suggest you contact the local vital office to inquire about the validity of this document before coming to obtain a new one at our office.
After I obtain the Affidavit of Eligibility to Marry, what should I do with it?
Send the document together with other required documents to the civil registry office to register your marriage. There have been instances when the registry clerk requests the document to be authenticated by the office of legalization at the Albanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). If that’s the case, we suggest you take this document to a local post office (could be TNT or Albanian Courier) and request to be authenticated by the MFA. The post office clerk will advise you on the procedures of having the form returned to you once authenticated by the MFA, so you can provide it back to the civil registry office.
What documents do I need to bring to the City Hall to announce our planned marriage?
You need to bring the following:
- Affidavit of Eligibility to Marry in Albania;
- Your Birth Certificate;
- Divorce Decree or Certificate (if applicable and requested);
- A Photocopy of your U.S. passport;
- Personal Birth Certificate for your Future Spouse;
- A Photocopy of Your Future Spouse’s ID or Passport.
How long will it take to get officially married after we announce our planned marriage at the Civil Status Office?
As soon as you file an announcement, the local registrar makes an announcement by posting a notification sheet in places designated by the municipality or commune, showing the civil components of your future spouse, and the place of marriage. According to the Albanian law, this announcement will be shown for 11 consecutive days before you can get officially married. The Civil Status Officer will tell you when the actual marriage date will be.
After 11 days have passed, what will be the procedure of getting married?
On the scheduled date of your official marriage registration, you will need to be present together with your future spouse in order to sign the marriage agreement in front of the representative from that municipality unit.
Two witnesses are required. The witnesses should not be related to you or your spouse by blood or marriage, and must be present at City Hall at the time the marriage will be registered. The witnesses must present proper identification and will need to sign your marriage agreement papers.
After I sign the marriage agreement and our marriage is officially registered, how do I obtain an Albanian marriage certificate?
The time frame for the production of the marriage certificate varies widely from civil status office to office. The registrar will let you know when the certificate will be available. Usually, it’s within the day or might take one to two days for the certificate to be processed.
Is the Albanian marriage certificate recognized in United States?
Civil marriage in Albania is a fully recognized legal marriage. According to U.S. statutes, marriages performed abroad that are valid under the laws of that country are generally accepted as valid by any state in the United States. Marriages performed in Albania that are not registered with the Albanian General Directorate of Civil Status have no validity. If you plan to use this marriage certificate in United States, you must request to be authenticated with a special seal called “Apostille” by the Albanian Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs’ Office of Legalization. To do so, go to the nearest Post Office and request the document to be authenticated with an apostille.
Overall, how long does it take to get married in Albania and obtain a marriage certificate?
The process begins by coming to the Embassy to obtain the “Affidavit of Eligibility to Marry in Albania.” The next step will require 1 business day getting the affidavit to the Albanian MFA and back. Following receipt of the Affidavit from the Albanian MFA, you must work with the Civil Status Office to announce your marriage, which will take 11 days. After the 11 days you may schedule the date of the official marriage. Following the marriage, it may take 1-2 business days for the marriage certificate to be processed. Please plan your trip accordingly.