Information for foreigners wishing to reside in Albania
Entry to Albania
At the port of entry (Rinas, Durrės, Kapshtic, etc.), your passport will be stamped with your date of arrival. Be sure to check that the immigration police have stamped your passport and entered the date correctly. This allows you to stay in Albania for 20-30 calendar days (length depends on the stamp given).
- There are some countries that require visas for entry into Albania. A list is available at the AEP office. If you have team members coming to Albania and are unsure as to whether or not they need a visa, please contact us and we will let you know.
A few days before the 20-day period ends you must go to the local Police Station and ask for an extension. The entry permit (visa) can be renewed for an additional 60 days. The maximum total stay could then be 90 days. You will need the following to get an extension:
- Passport photocopies and passport. (notarised copies, see #2 under Remarks)
- Request (Kėrkesė) to the police office requesting an extension in which the purpose of your stay and your Albanian address are specified.
- Financial guarantee and Vendim. (see #8 under Remarks)
(If you have resided in Albania for more than 90 days, but have not gone through the following residency permit process, you are considered illegal and must go to a police station immediately. Depending on the circumstances, a fine may be assessed.)
If you want to stay longer than 90 days you must apply for an Albanian Residence Permit (Lejė Qėndrimi LQ). The validity varies in length from 3 months to 5 years. According to the law, you can eventually get permanent resident status, but it is difficult to do and usually granted under specific circumstances (i.e. if you are married to an Albanian).
Steps to do for getting a Lejė Qėndrimi
- Request (Kėrkesė) to the police office requesting a residence permit in which the purpose of your stay and some personal details are specified.
- Notarised Photocopies of relevant passport pages. (Photo page, most recent entry stamp). Also include a notarized caopy of each child's passport and most recent entry stamp to submit with each applying parent.
- Court certificate from your home country, stating whether there are criminal proceedings pending against you. (legalised and notarised)(Depending on your HOME COUNTRY, this may need to be legalized at the Albanian embassy in your HOME Country before coming to AL)
- Certificate by the police from your home country about conduct for the last 6 months, stating that you have not been in jail or arrested during this period. (legalized and notarised)(Depending on your HOME COUNTRY, this may need to be legalized at the Albanian embassy in your HOME Country before coming to AL)
- Rental contract. (notarised, and translated if not originally done in Albanian)
- 2 colour photos. (passport sized, i.e. 3.5x4.5cm)
- Financial guarantee.
- Certificate from host or employer stating purpose of stay, how does he/she relate to the declared activity, involvement in the activity and its necessity.
- Declaration form in Albanian fully completed for every adult.
- *Marriage certificate. Technically, according to Albanian Law, a legalised, notarised translation of your marriage certificate is required to receive a LQ, however, at the time of this LQ Process Update, the local police station (in Tirana), was not requiring it for LQ. Please note that other localities may still require it.
- #1 is something you write yourself in ink or typed/printed. It needs to be in Albanian. It must include your name, number of passport, nationality, citizenship, the date of your most recent entrance into Albania, home address and telephone number. A form for this request is available at the AEP office should you need it.
- #2: Copy the page with your identity details and the page with the stamp of your last entry into Albania. If a visa was needed to enter the country, you also need a copy of this visa. The photocopies of all these pages must be notarised. Have your passport with you when you apply. You will show it to the police to verify the origins of the photocopies, but you will get your passport back immediately.
- #3 and #4 are combined into one paper for most countries.
- Not all countries offer such a letter at all.
- For example American Law says that one is not obliged to reveal criminal information. As a result, the US Embassy has agreed to give, upon sworn oath, an Affidavit of Eligibility for Residence Permit. Obtain this directly from the US Embassy.
- Before proceeding, you need to get an official translation of the document.
- Then you must get the document LEGALIZED. There are two ways to legalize it:
- PLEASE check in your HOME COUNTRY before arriving, not all nationalities can do this process in AL.
- You can do that in your home country at the Foreign Ministry. After that you need to go to the Albanian Embassy in your country and ask for a stamp to prove that the stamp your Foreign Ministry used was the proper stamp.
- You can do it in Albania. You have to go first to the Embassy of your country for a stamp certifying that your original police source is a valid source for your nationality (i.e. the Albanian government could never keep track of what a police record for e.g. a particular canon of Switzerland should look like). After that, you need a stamp from the Office of Legalization (Zyra e Legalizimit) to confirm that the stamp from your Embassy is a legal stamp. It is near the American Embassy. The price of the legalization stamp varies with the country, but is often around $35.
- The whole translated and legalized document should then be copied and notarized.
- #5: The contract must be at least the length of the request you are making. For example, for a 1-year LQ, you need to show a 1-year rental contract. It has to be a valid contract that is formalized by a notary. You then must present a notarised photocopy of that official contract to the police.
- We recommend that contracts are registered and the 10% tax due is paid. Pre-payment of this tax is not required as part of the leje qėndrimi process.
- #6: In some cases, they ask for pictures of the children as well. Since both husband and wife apply separately, that means 4 pictures of each child (2 per parental application).
- #7 and #8 (#3 under Extending stays): AEP can provide this for you if your organisation is a member of AEP.
- #8 is a letter written from AEP verifying what you do. The detailed description asks for things like work permits and bank statements, but for us under the AEP umbrella, the letter we use verifying your status within the organization is sufficient.
- #9 is a letter from the Cults Committee saying that your religious-oriented work is approved (this includes all AEP members, even those doing development & aid activities rather than direct church work).
- You will also receive a copy of the AEPs Vendim Gjykate. It is proof that the AEP is legally registered in the Albanian courts.
- The cost for getting 8 & 9 from AEP is 700 leke per person.
- #9: We have blank copies of this form at the AEP office. Information for the children must be written out on both mother and fathers applications.
- NOTE: For children under the age of 18, it is not necessary to ask for a separate LQ. Their info is included in form 10. For children over the age of 18, a separate Leje Qendrimi is required.
- #10: *If required by your local police station, your marriage certificate should be legalised, translated, and notarised in Albania. You should have your original marriage certificate with you for these processes.
- Gather your documents. Do not go to the police without all of your documents ready (including necessary translations, legalisations, & notarisations).
- Go to the police station in your district.
- There are often different police stations for different services.
- Police stations have specific hours for dealing with LQs. Check with your local station for this information.
TR Station: 9-11:00 Monday(submit & pick-up), 10-13:00 Thursday(submit & pick-up), 9-11:00 Friday (pick-up only)
- Present your documents. The officer on duty will examine the documents (including comparing passport copy to the original you have with you). If all the documents appear to be in order, then he/she will receive them all together. You will then be given a Vendim with your name and the date of your application written on it.
- Pay your fee (If necessary-see below):
- Those working for charitable, philanthropic, humanitarian, or religious organizations (as of 16 April 2003) do not have to pay any fee for LQs. If the police station doesnt accept your word, refer him or her to Vendim, Nr. 220, date 10.04.2003.
- For those who still need to pay, the following is the relevant fee structure
- 3-month validity: 3,600 lekė (new lekė)
- 6-month 7,200 lekė
- 1-year 24,000 lekė
- 5-year 60,000 lek
- Permanent resident 120,000 lek
- Note: A 6-month is less than half the cost of a 1-year. If staying shorter, one can thus save money by the shorter validity.
- Note: In some districts, they let you wait and pay once you receive the LQ. At the least, one does not ask for payment at all! These are exceptions, though.
- Keep your Vendim
- Firstly, you will need it to get your LQ later.
- Secondly, that Vendim is proof that you are in process. You are legally allowed to remain in country from the point of application until an answer is returned.
- This proof is only for police checks within the country. You cannot travel in and out of the country with this Vendim. Those who have an easy time getting visas (e.g. Westerners) you will have to pay the entry tax upon coming back into Albania. Others will need to get a visa to be able to come back in. As this can be burdensome, it is often best to plan to remain in country during the application process.
- Come back to collect LQ
- You must come in person, unless previously arranged with police.
- The law states that all requests will be answered within 30 days. This is, unfortunately, rarely the case. The police usually ask you to come back in 6 weeks, and even then 8 weeks is a better guess. If after 12 weeks they have not given you an answer, notify AEP and we will make contact with your local police. Give us your name, city, and the date you deposited the application. Please do not ask us for help before the 3-month mark as we cannot do anything before that point.
- Make notarised photocopies of your LQ immediately for safekeeping. That photocopy will be very useful in getting a new one, in the case that you lose your LQ.
- Keep your LQ with you:
- The law states that you are obligated to carry your LQ with you at all times. We know of cases where people have been asked to give a copy of their LQ, so perhaps a notarised copy will suffice.
- You definitely should have the original with you when crossing the border. It will save you having to pay the entry tax.
- Note: You need to leave a copy of your LQ with the border police in order to avoid paying the tax. To save trouble finding a photocopy machine at the border, we recommend keeping extra copies along with the original.
RENEWAL PROCESS FOR LQs:
Make sure to submit (to the police station) for a renewal of your LQ at ONE month before your current LQ expires!! We recommend that you begin gathering the necessary documents at least three and a half months in advance (i.e. requesting documents from the AEP) to ensure that everything is ready on time. If you are late in submitting for your renewal, the police can fine you 60,000-90,000 new lekė ($600-$900 US). Please inform the AEP Office the date of your LQ expiration, upon receipt of your first LQ. We have started a new section of our database by which we can notify you in sufficient time when you should begin the renewal process.
- The renewal process is, thankfully, easier. You only need the following:
- Financial and employment guarantee
- Number 8 and 9 above. AEP members can get via the AEP office.
- 2 passport photos
- Again, then law only says that you need a picture of the applicant, but in practice they sometimes want the children as well, and want 2 of each per applicant.
- A notarised copy of your old LQ (or the original if submitting the original, make sure that you keep a notarised copy for yourself).
- Request (Kėrkesė) in Albanian explicitly stating why you want to stay longer.
- If your passport number has changed, you must submit a notarised copy of relevant passport pages.
- If you have a new rental contract, you must submit a notarised copy of your contract.
5-year LQ are being issued. One must have had at least 2 consecutive Leje Qendrimi's and provide fotocopies of them when they submit documents for renewal. This LQ can be stamped in one's passport once it has been approved. Contact the AEP office for more details.
- Stay in-country:
- Legally, the authorities have the right to cancel the residency permit if one has been out of the country for more than 3 months if on a 1-yr LQ, 6 months if on a 5-yr LQ, 2 years if a permanent resident. You can ask for an extension at your local police station.
- If you are out of the country for more than three months, and your LQ expires during this time, you will need to start the process of applying for a LQ from the beginning when you return to the country.
- (If you do not apply for your renewal in time (one month before expiration), then you will have to pay a fine that can vary from 60 000 to 90 000 New lekė. To avoid this fine, if you do not apply for renewal in time, you can apply for an LQ from the beginning, with all the necessary documents (See Steps for Getting a LQ above), and should not be subject to a fine.
If you have more questions, please call (+355) 04-234 708 or e-mail . Also see the Albanian Ministry of Interior Website for more details www.moi.gov.al
AEP office (Albanian Encouragement Project)
Rr. Zenel Baboci 37, Tirana, Albania
Mail: K.P. 119, Tirana, Albania
Phone (355) 4-234708 Fax (355) 4-235806
Updated November 2007