Visa and Residence Permits for Foreigners in Albania

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Entry to Albania

Entering and residing of foreign citizens in Albania is regulated by the Law on Aliens. Hence, the entry and residency procedures for foreign citizens are under the authority of Albanian state institutions. The main state authority responsible for foreign citizens that want to enter Albania is the institution responsible for border and migration, part of the Albanian State Police.

If you plan to travel to Albania but need to know more about specific procedures, please address your questions to the Albanian Diplomatic Mission in your country.
Find the contact of the Embassy of Albania to your country here.

Visa requirements

You may or may not need a visa to enter the Republic of Albania.  This document clearly explains when you need a visa to travel to Albania. Those who cannot find their country on the list can start an online visa application.

All the foreign citizens that can enter Albania without a visa, are permitted to stay for a period of 90 days within 180 days from the first entry.

The Albanian Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs specifies the categories of foreign citizens that can enter Albania without a visa:

  • The citizens who have a valid, multiple-entry Schengen visa that has been previously used in one of the Schengen states, or all citizens that have a permit for a stay in one of the Schengen states.
  • All the citizens that have a valid multiple-entry visa issued by countries like the US, UK, or Northern Ireland and have used the visa, or have a permit to stay in these countries.
  • Foreign nationals who are members of the family of EU nationals, when they travel with a spouse who is an EU citizen, and besides the valid passport, they also have another document (i.e. residence permit), where their status is quoted as “family member”.

Citizens from a group of countries can enter Albania without a short-term stay visa (Type C) for tourism or private reasons during the official summer season.

Update on free visa regime during the summer season  Valid for Countries marked with (**).

Citizens from the countries below can enter Albania without a visa for a short-term stay (tourism purpose) with a valid passport from May 1st until September 30th, 2022:

  • Saudi Arabia
  • Bahrein
  • Egypt
  • India
  • Qatar
  • Oman
  • Russia
  • Thailand

You can start an online visa application HERE

List of countries whose citizens don’t need a visa to enter Albania because they can also enter the Schengen area without a visa:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Bahamas
  • Brunei
  • El Salvador
  • Guatemala
  • Georgia
  • Honduras
  • Columbia
  • Costa Rica
  • Macao
  • Mauritius
  • Mexico
  • Moldavia
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Seychelles

All the citizens that need to stay in Albania for more than 90 days during a six months period and require a residence permit should apply for a long-term visa, type D.
For more information about visa applications and required documents depending on the purpose of your visit to Albania click here:

Visa Applications Depending on Visa Type

Source: MEFA

Short-term  Visa type C
Long-Term Visa type D
Aeroportual transit Aeroportual visa
visa application form

If you plan to stay more than 90 days

All foreign citizens that travel to Albania will get their passports stamped and recorded in electronic systems by border and migration officers.
Residence permits are required for all international citizens that need to stay in Albania for more than 90 days. The Law on Foreigners defines all the specifications about residence permits.

Where to Apply for an Albanian Visa?

Given that Albania’s visa policy document is available only in the Albanian language, below you can find a list for the citizens that need at least one type for traveling to Albania.  Please check the doc to find out to what type of visa are you entitled to.

The list of countries whose citizens need a visa to enter Albania, the diplomatic mission where the application can be made, as well as the respective visa service fee can be accessed HERE.

 

Residence permits

Foreign citizens can be granted a temporary or permanent stay only by the provision of a residence permit.
Article 33 of the Law on Foreigners defines:
“The authority responsible for border and migration shall issue one of the 21 following types of residence permits to the foreign citizens intending to reside in the Republic of Albania for a period longer than 90 days within 180 days, following fulfillment of the requirements foreseen in this law:

  • Type “A” residence permit, which is not renewable, gives the holder the right to reside in the Republic of Albania during the period for which the residence permit is issued
  • Type “B” residence permit, renewable, issued for a defined time period, gives to the holder the right to enter, stay and exit the Republic of Albania within the period defined in the residence permit
  • Type “C” residence is a permanent permit and gives to the holder the right to enter, stay and exit the Republic of Albania
  • Type “S” residence permit, renewable, after an interruption period of six months, which is issued to seasonal workers, gives to the holder the right to enter, stay and exit the Republic of Albania within the period of time defined in the residence permit
  • “AL Blue Card” residence permit, renewable, issued for a defined period only to the highly qualified workers, gives to the holder the right to enter, stay and exit the Republic of Albania within the period defined in the residence permit
  • “AL-C Blue Card” residence permit, is permanent and it is issued only to highly qualified workers and it gives to the holder the right to enter, stay and exit the Republic of Albania.

Moreover, the law specifies that the application for a residence permit must be conforming to the purpose of the visa used for entering Albania.

Terms and duration of residence permits

Residence permits are issued for:

  • Three months/ six months/ one year, and they can’t be renewed more than five times
  • Two years, and it can be renewed only once
  • Five years, conforming to the provisions of this law
  • A permanent residence is issued for applicants that have resided in Albania for more than five consecutive years and have strong ties and activity in Albania.

Residence permits for specific categories

Further on, there are specific residence permits for the following categories:

  • Seasonal employees
  • International citizens working for NGOs, humanitarian, charity, or religious foundations
  • Unpaid Trainees
  • Youth Exchange
  • Voluntary services
  • Scientific research
  • Students and School Pupils
  • Humanitarian grounds
  • Au pairs
  • Victims of trafficking of human beings
  • Individuals without citizenship
  • Cross-border employee
  • Freelancers
  • Retirees

Family reunification

According to the above-mentioned law on foreigners, foreign citizens equipped with a residence permit may submit an application for family reunion purposes only if the following conditions are met:

  • Family members of the applicant reside outside the territory of Albania.
  • The foreign citizen has been issued with a residence permit in the Republic of Albania for a validity period of at least one year and has the possibility to renew the permit in compliance with the provisions of this law
  • The applicant guarantees normal housing according to the general standards of health and security
  • The applicant has sickness insurance cover for him or her and his / her family members for whom he/ she has applied for family reunification;
  • The applicant has for him/herself and family members sufficient funds to prevent them from applying for welfare and getting aid
  • The applicant submits the documentation based on the provisions of the decision of the Council of Ministers.

Working permits

Those who are not Albanian citizens and wish to work in Albania for more than three months need a work permit. The request for the work permit should be completed before starting a  job. All the required documents for the application can be obtained from the Migration Office,  Albanian Embassy in one’s country of origin, or at the regional labor office.  Generally, the granting or refusal of a work permit takes no longer than 30 days after submitting the appropriate documentation. A work permit can be granted with or without time restrictions. The validity period of the work permit is based on the type of work permit.

The work permit will expire if:

the deadline is exceeded

the foreigner leaves Albania for a period longer than six months

or he/she does not start the activity for a period of three months from the date the work permit is issued.

Foreigners who will start an economic activity on the territory of the Republic of Albania are  provided with the following types of work permits

Work permit type “A” for economic activities, as an employee:

  • Type “A/P”, for employees
  • Type “A/PS”, for seasonal work
  • Type “A/TN”, for transfers within the company
  • Type “A/PS”, for students
  • Type “A/NK”, for border employment
  • Type “A/SHV”, for people who offer volunteer services
  • Type “A/AF”, for family members who enter marriage

Work permit type “B”, for independent economic activity:

  • Type “B/I”, for investors
  • Type “C” for specific cases
  • Type “D” for foreigners granted a continual work permit

All the details for visas, residence, and work permits can be found in the law on foreigners.

Immigration to Albania

If you’re from a VISA-free country, you can get a permanent residence permit if you buy real estate. Alternatives are, registering a business or getting a work contract.

Read Also: Best Cities to Live in Albania for Expats & Nomads

Source: The Albanian State Police

The Official Gazette 

Photo Credit: Pixabay