Albania - Consular Information Sheet
June 27, 2000
Travel Warning (Issued June 12, 2000): The Department
of State warns U.S. citizens of the potential danger of travel
to Albania. The security situation throughout Albania remains
unstable. During the political and economic unrest in 1997, many
weapons were looted from government arms depots and remain in
unauthorized civilian hands. All gatherings of large crowds should
be avoided, particularly those involving political causes or striking
The crime rate is high throughout Albania, with instances of
armed robberies, assaults, bombings and carjackings. Armed crime
is rampant in Shkoder and other towns in northwestern Albania.
Throughout the country, street crime is fairly common and occurs
particularly at night.
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Albania is the poorest and least
developed country in Europe. Facilities for tourism are not well
developed, and many of the goods and services taken for granted
in other European countries are not yet available. Hotel accommodations
are limited outside of Tirana, the capital.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport is required. An entry card
will be issued at the point of entry for $45.00 (U.S.) that is
valid for a stay up to 30 days. An extension up to 180 days may
be obtained by applying at the local police station. After 180
days, the Ministry of Interior accepts extension requests. There
is a departure fee of $10.00 (U.S.), payable in U.S. dollars or
local currency (lek). For additional information, please contact
the Embassy of the Republic of Albania at 2100 S Street, N.W.,
Washington, D.C. 20008, tel. (202) 223-4942.
DUAL NATIONALITY: Dual nationals may be subject to Albanian
laws that impose special obligations. The Albanian government
considers any person born in Albania of Albanian parents to be
an Albanian citizen. This has in the past delayed notification
to the U.S. Embassy in certain consular cases. For additional
information, click Dual
SAFETY/SECURITY: Organized criminal gangs are endemic
to all regions; gangland-style assassinations and street fights
can erupt without warning. It is not unusual to hear sporadic
gunfire in Tirana and other Albanian cities. Travel at night outside
the main urban areas is particularly dangerous and should be avoided
given the possibility of encountering armed robbers in isolated
rural areas and deplorable road conditions. The U.S. Government
maintains security procedures regarding the travel of U.S. Government
employees outside Tirana, with such travel restricted to secure
vehicles with escort. In most cases, traditional police assistance
and protection is minimal. A high level of security awareness
should be maintained at all times.
CRIME INFORMATION: Albania has a high rate of crime throughout
the country with instances of armed robberies, assaults, and bombings.
Carjackings are a matter of considerable concern, especially for
drivers of four-wheel drive and sport-utility vehicles. Anyone
who is carjacked should surrender the vehicle without resistance.
Armed crime is rampant in Shkoder and other towns in northwestern
Albania. Throughout the country, streetcrime is fairly common
and occurs particularly at night. U.S. citizens are not deliberately
targeted by criminals, but criminals seek targets of opportunity,
selecting those who appear to have anything of value. Pickpocketing
is widespread; many U.S. citizens report the theft of their passports
The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported
immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or
consulate. U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State’s
Safe Trip Abroad for ways to promote a more trouble-free
journey. The pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent
of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.
20402, via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs
MEDICAL FACILITIES: Beyond rudimentary first aid treatment,
medical facilities and capabilities are limited. Emergency and
major medical care requiring surgery and hospital care is inadequate
due to lack of specialists, diagnostic aids, medical supplies,
and prescription drugs. Travelers with previously diagnosed medical
conditions may wish to consult their physician before travel.
As prescription drugs may be unavailable locally, travelers may
also wish to bring extra supplies of required medications.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: U.S. medical insurance is not always
valid outside the United States. U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs
do not provide payment for medical services outside the United
States. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment
for health services. Uninsured travelers who require medical care
overseas may face extreme difficulties.
Please check with your own insurance company to confirm whether
your policy applies overseas, including provision for medical
evacuation, and for adequacy of coverage. Serious medical problems
requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United
States can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Please ascertain
whether payment will be made to the overseas hospital or doctor
or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses that you
incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric
treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.
Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas
insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State’s Bureau
of Consular Affairs brochure Medical
Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available
via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page or autofax: (202)
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Information on vaccinations
and other health precautions may be obtained from the Center for
Disease Control and Prevention’s hotline for international traveler’s
at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299),
or via their Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign
country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ
significantly from those in the United States. The information
below concerning Albania is provided for general reference only,
and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Safety of Public Transportation: Poor
Urban Road Condition/Maintenance: Poor
Rural Road Condition/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: None
Major roads in Albania are passable, but often in very poor repair.
During the winter months, travelers may encounter dangerous snow
and ice conditions on the roads through the mountains in Northern
Albania. Buses travel between most major cities almost exclusively
during the day, but may be unreliable and uncomfortable. Many
travelers looking for public transport prefer to use privately
owned vans, which function as an alternate system of bus routes
and operate almost wholly without schedules or set fares. There
are no commercial domestic flights and few rail connections.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial
air service at present between the United States and Albania,
nor economic authority to operate such service, the U.S. Federal
Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Albania’s Civil
Aviation Authority for compliance with international aviation
safety standards for oversight of Albania’s air carrier operations.
For further information, travelers may contact the Department
of Transportation within the U.S. at tel. 1-800-322-7873, or visit
the FAA Internet web site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some
foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of
air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific
carriers, travelers may contact the DOD at tel. 618) 229-4801.
CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Albania’s customs authorities may
enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into
or export from Albania of some items. It is advisable to contact
the Embassy of Albania in Washington or one of Albania’s consulates
in the United States for specific information regarding customs
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S.
citizen is subject to that country’s laws and regulations, which
sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States
and may not afford the protections available to the individual
under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe
than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating
Albania’s laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or
imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal
drugs in Albania are strict, and convicted offenders can expect
jail sentences and heavy fines.
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Albania is largely a cash economy.
Credit cards and travelers checks are rarely accepted, except
at the major new hotels in Tirana and some international airline
offices. Travelers checks can be changed at banks in larger towns.
CHILDREN’S ISSUES: For information on international adoption
of children, and international parental child abduction, please
refer to Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html,
or telephone (202) 736-7000.
REGISTRATION AND EMBASSY LOCATION: U.S. citizens visiting
or remaining in Albania are strongly encouraged to register at
the U.S. Embassy and obtain updated information on travel and
security within Albania. Americans are asked to inform the Embassy
should they depart Albania. The U.S. Embassy in Tirana is located
at Rruga E Elbasanit 103, tel. (355)(42) 32875, fax (355)(42)
This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated September
14, 1999, to update information on the Travel Warning, Entry Requirements,
Safety/Security, Crime Information, Medical Insurance, and Customs
Regulations; to add information on Special Circumstances; and
to delete Y2K information