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Albania

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Summary

  • Exercise normal safety precautions in Albania. Use common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour. Monitor the media and other sources for changes to local travelling conditions.
  • There is an ongoing risk of terrorism in Europe. Terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities. See Safety and security
  • Political protests have been taking place regularly in central Tirana in 2019. Demonstrations are likely to continue in Tirana and may also occur elsewhere in the country. Avoid protests and large gatherings as they can turn violent. Follow the instructions of local authorities. See Safety and security
  • Earth tremors are common. Serious earthquakes are less frequent but can cause landslides and avalanches, resulting in damage to infrastructure, homes and property, causing injuries and death. See Natural disasters
  • Australia doesn't have an Embassy or Consulate in Albania. The Australian Embassy in Rome provides consular assistance to Australians in Albania. The British Embassy in Tirana can provide limited consular assistance to Australians.​ See Where to get help

Entry and exit

Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Australian Government cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.

Visas

You can visit for 90 days without a visa. For longer stays, you'll need a visa.

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact an Embassy or Consulate of Albania for up-to-date information.

Passport

Check the expiry date of your Australian passport before you travel. Some countries won’t let you enter unless your passport is valid for six months from when you plan to leave that country.

Your passport is a valuable document and attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. Always keep it in a safe place.

Be aware of attempts to get access to your passport by deception. If you're forced to hand over your passport, contact the Embassy for advice.

If your passport is lost or stolen, you must notify the Australian Government as soon as possible.

Money

The local currency is the Albanian Lek (ALL). Declare currency in excess of US$5,000 on arrival and departure.

ATMs and credit card facilities are available in larger cities and in tourist areas. Many service providers prefer cash payment. You can exchange major currencies at banks and authorised exchange bureaus. Cases of credit card fraud occur.

Safety and security

Civil unrest and political tension

Avoid large crowds, protests and demonstrations where possible as they may turn violent. Demonstrations can occur with little or no warning. Political protests have been taking place regularly in central Tirana in 2019 and there have been some violent incidents. Demonstrations are likely to continue in Tirana and may also occur elsewhere in the country.

  • Avoid demonstrations, protests and political rallies as they may turn violent.
  • Monitor local media and other sources for advice of possible unrest and avoid those areas.
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities.

Terrorism

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world, including in Europe. Terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities. Targets have included public events, public transport, transport hubs, and places frequented by foreigners.

  • Be alert to possible threats, especially in public places.
  • Report any suspicious activity or items to police.
  • Keep an eye on the news for any new or emerging threats.
  • Take official warnings seriously and follow the instructions of local authorities.
  • If there is an attack, leave the affected area immediately if it is safe to do so. 

More information: Terrorist threat worldwide

Local travel

From December to February, severe weather may cause flooding, particularly in northern Albania, causing disruption to local travel and transport services.

Heavy snowfall in mountainous areas may also disrupt travel. Monitor local media for the latest information.

Landmines

Landmines are a hazard in the north-east border areas of Albania, particularly in hill towns along the north-eastern border with Kosovo.

  • Avoid entering locations displaying landmine or unexploded ordnance warning signs.
  • Seek information from local authorities if you're unsure.

Road travel

You're three times more likely to be killed in a motor vehicle accident in Albania than in Australia. The local driving style is often aggressive. Secondary roads are poorly maintained. Road lighting is limited and often affected by power outages. During winter months, mountain roads are icy and slippery. Theft from vehicles is common.

  • Check your travel insurance will cover you before driving.
  • Familiarise yourself with local road rules.
  • Use snow chains in winter.

Driver's licence

You’ll need both an International Driving Permit and an Australian driver's licence to drive.

More information: Road safety and driving

Taxis

Only use registered taxis and authorised limousines, preferably arranged through your hotel. Avoid flagging down taxis in the street. Consider sitting in the back seat rather than the front.

Public transport

Bus and rail travel is unreliable. Safety standards on public transport can be poor. Take care of your belongings on public transport as petty crime does occur.

Sea travel

Before embarking on a ferry or other boat, check whether there is appropriate safety equipment. A number of international cruise lines stopover in Albania. More information: Cruises

Air travel

There are no commercial domestic flights within Albania.

The Australian Government does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety.

More information: Air travel

Laws

You're subject to local laws and penalties, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.

If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.

Drug laws

There are strict penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.

More information: Carrying or using drugs

Other laws

You must carry identification at all times.

It is illegal to photograph military installations and military personnel.

Australian laws

Some Australian criminal laws apply overseas. If you commit these offences, you may be prosecuted in Australia. Laws include those relating to:

  • bribery of foreign public officials
  • child pornography
  • child sex tourism
  • female genital mutilation
  • forced marriage
  • money laundering
  • terrorism.

More information: Staying within the law

Dual Nationals

The Albanian Government considers anyone born in Albania or to an Albanian parent to be Albanian citizens.

If you’re male and an Australian-Albanian dual national you may be subject to compulsory military service. If you are or could be a citizen of Albania, seek advice on your obligations from an Embassy or Consulate of Albania before you travel.

More information: Dual nationals

Local customs

Homosexuality isn't illegal in Albania, but it's not widely accepted.

More information: LGBTI travellers

Health

Travel insurance

Take out comprehensive travel insurance before you depart to cover overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation.

Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government won't pay for your medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs. This can be very expensive and cost you many thousands of dollars upfront.

Confirm:

  • what circumstances and activities are and are not covered under your policy
  • you're covered for the whole time you will be away.

More information: Travel insurance

Physical and mental health

Consider your physical and mental health before travelling, especially if you have an existing medical condition.

  • At least eight weeks before you depart, see your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and implications for your health.
  • Get vaccinated before you travel.

If you need counselling services while overseas, contact the Australian Consular Emergency Centre in Canberra on +61 2 6261 3305 and ask to speak to a Lifeline telephone counsellor.

More information:

Medication

Not all medication available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is available in other countries. Some may even be illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.

If you're on medication, seek advice from an Embassy or Consulate of Albania on whether your medicine is legal in Albania, before you travel. If it is illegal, consult your doctor about alternatives well in advance of your travel.

Take legal prescription medicine with you so you remain in good health. Always carry a letter from your doctor stating what the medicine is, how much you'll take and that it's for personal use only.

More information: Prescription medicines

Health risks

Insect-borne diseases

You can be exposed to tick-borne encephalitis if you visit forests or country areas. Ticks are active from spring to autumn.

Diseases transmitted by sandflies (including sandfly fever and leishmaniasis) are common in coastal regions.

Protect yourself against insect-borne diseases:

  • ensure your accommodation is insect-proof
  • avoid insect bites, including by using insect repellent and wearing long, loose fitting, light coloured clothing
  • check your body for ticks during and after travel in forested areas and if affected remove any ticks from your body as soon as possible.

Other infectious diseases

Water-borne, food-born and other infectious diseases (including tuberculosis, typhoid, hepatitis, brucellosis and rabies) are common with more serious outbreaks occurring occasionally.

  • Boil drinking water or drink bottled water.
  • Avoid ice cubes. 
  • Avoid unpasteurised dairy products.
  • Avoid raw and undercooked food.
  • Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering from diarrhoea.

Medical facilities

Hygiene and medical standards are lower than in Australia. Access to medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, and specialist doctors is limited.

Medical facilities outside Tirana are limited and can rarely handle serious trauma or major medical care cases. Ambulances are limited and patients must often take taxis or other vehicles to the nearest major hospital.

If you become seriously ill or injured, you'll need to be evacuated to a destination with appropriate facilities. Air evacuations can be very expensive.

Natural disasters

From December to February, severe weather may cause flooding, particularly in northern Albania, causing disruption to local travel and transport services.

Earth tremors are common. Serious earthquakes are less frequent but can cause landslides and avalanches, resulting in damage to infrastructure, homes and property, causing injuries and death.

If there is a natural disaster or severe weather:

  • secure your passport in a safe, waterproof location or carry it on you at all times
  • contact friends and family in Australia with regular updates about your welfare and whereabouts
  • closely monitor the media, other local sources of information and the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System
  • follow the advice of local authorities.

Where to get help

Depending on what you need, your best option may be to contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurance provider. Your travel insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.

Emergency phone numbers

  • Police: 129
  • Fire: 128
  • Medical emergencies: 127
  • Traffic police: 126
  • Emergencies at sea: 125

Always get a police report when reporting a crime. 

Tourism services and products

For complaints relating to tourism services or products, contact your service provider directly.

Australian Government

Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.

Australia doesn't have an Embassy or Consulate in Albania. If you need consular assistance, contact the Australian Embassy in Rome, Italy.

Australian Embassy, Rome

Via Antonio Bosio 5
00161 Rome, ITALY   
Phone: (39) 06 85 2721
Fax: (39) 06 85 272 300
Email: consular-rome@dfat.gov.au
Website: italy.embassy.gov.au
Facebook: Australian Embassy, Italy
Twitter: @AusAmbRome

Check the Australian Embassy website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.

You can get limited consular assistance (not including the issuing of Australian passports) from the British Embassy in Tirana:

British Embassy
Rruga Skenderbej 12
Tirana, ALBANIA   
Phone: +355 (42) 34 973
Fax: +355 (42) 47 697

If you can't contact one of these embassies in a consular emergency, contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre in Canberra on +61 2 6261 3305, or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

Additional information