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Albania - Exercise normal security precautions
There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Albania. Exercise normal security precautions.
Regional Advisory for Tropojë District and the cities of Bajram Curri and Lazarat
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada advises against non-essential travel to Tropojë District and Bajram Curri, where limited police assistance and protection are offered, as well as to Lazarat, where Albanian state police and armed marijuana growers have recently engaged in violent altercations. Consult the Security tab for more information.
The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice. In the event of a crisis situation that requires evacuation, the Government of Canada’s policy is to provide safe transportation to the closest safe location. The Government of Canada will assist you in leaving a country or a region as a last resort, when all means of commercial or personal transportation have been exhausted. This service is provided on a cost-recovery basis. Onward travel is at your personal expense. Situations vary from one location to another, and there may be constraints on government resources that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide assistance, particularly in countries or regions where the potential for violent conflict or political instability is high.
Tropojë District and cities of Bajram Curri and Lazarat (see Advisory)
Police assistance and protection is limited in Tropojë District and the city of Bajram Curri; incidents of carjacking have recently been reported in these areas. In and around the city of Lazarat, Albanian state police and armed marijuana growers have recently engaged in violent altercations.
Northeastern border with Kosovo
When visiting hill towns along Albania’s northeastern border with Kosovo, you should exercise caution and heed warning signs about unexploded landmines and ordnance from the Kosovo war of 1999. Demining operations are ongoing. This is especially important to note if you are hiking in the area.
Public security is usually good, particularly in Tirana. Petty crime (pickpocketing, mugging and bag snatching) occurs, particularly on public transportation.
Women in particular should exercise caution when travelling alone. Avoid secluded areas, parks, bars and restaurants in remote areas, especially after dark.Consult our publication entitled Her Own Way: A Woman’s Safe-Travel Guide for travel safety information specifically aimed at Canadian women.
Exercise caution in the northern districts of Has, Kukës and Tropojë. Criminal gangs operate along roads in remote areas, especially in the north and areas bordering Montenegro, Kosovo and Macedonia. Use caution in areas bordering Macedonia, as security is very poor.
Economic hardship and easy availability of firearms increase the risk of violent incidents, carjacking and acts of looting. However, these actions do not typically involve tourists.
Small explosive devices have been used in targeted attacks, including in Tirana in 2015. These incidents are normally attributed to internal disputes of a personal, business or political nature.
Demonstrations occur in many Albanian centres and have the potential to suddenly turn violent. They can lead to significant disruptions to traffic and public transportation. Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media.
Travel by road can be hazardous and difficult. Road signage and road safety are poor. The presence of erratic and aggressive drivers also poses risks. Major roads are passable, but secondary roads are often poorly maintained. Use a four-wheel-drive vehicle, even in urban centres. In winter, you may encounter dangerous snow and ice conditions on poorly maintained mountainous roads in northern and southeastern Albania.
If possible, hire local drivers or taxis or use public transportation. Approved, privately owned vehicles, with drivers, can be hired for travel throughout the country. Pre-negotiate fares and schedules.
Wait for police to arrive if you are involved in a road accident, even a minor one.
Use only yellow taxis, which are normally parked at street corners in specific areas. Taxis only accept cash payment.
Car rental companies are available in the main cities and offer a variety of services and vehicles.
Travel outside the capital should be carefully planned and undertaken with the assistance of a reputable guide/interpreter or driver.
Buses, minibuses and trains operate between most major cities, but are unreliable and uncomfortable.
See Transportation Safety in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.
Landmines and unexploded ordnance from the Kosovo war of 1999 remain. These areas are clearly identified in Albanian as danger zones or are surrounded by visible tape. Remain on paved roads and avoid ditches, open fields and the shoulders of roads. While most tourist destinations are not affected, you should seek local advice on the presence of unexploded landmines.
General safety information
Exercise normal safety precautions. Ensure that your personal belongings, passports and travel documents are secure at all times. Avoid showing signs of affluence and carrying large sums of cash.
Power cuts occur frequently throughout Albania, in remote areas as well as in main cities. For your safety, always carry a flashlight while walking on the streets. Make arrangements for your well-being during outages and verify the schedule of power cuts with local authorities.
Tourist facilities are not well developed, and many goods and services are not available.
Dial 129 for police.
It is the sole prerogative of each country or region to determine who is allowed to enter. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry requirements. The following information on entry and exit requirements has been obtained from the Albanian authorities. However, these requirements are subject to change at any time. It is your responsibility to check with the Embassy of the Republic of Albania or one of its consulates for up-to-date information.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
Canadians must present a passport to visit Albania, which must be valid for at least three months beyond the date of expected departure from that country. Prior to travelling, ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity, which may be more stringent than the country's entry rules.
Tourist visa: Not required for stays up to 90 days per six-month period
Business visa: Not required for stays up to 90 days per six-month period
Student visa: Not required for stays up to 90 days per six-month period
If you wish to stay or work in Albania for more than 90 days, you must apply for a resident permit (leje qendrimi) and a work permit (leje pune), if applicable.
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. See Children for more information.
See Health to obtain information on this country’s vaccination requirements.
- Measles: Global Update - July 16, 2015 09:48 EDT
Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world. Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Rabies is a deadly illness spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).
Tick-borne encephalitis is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system. It is spread to humans by the bite of an infected tick. Vaccination should be considered for those who may be exposed to ticks (e.g., those participating in outdoor activities in wooded areas) while travelling in regions with risk of tick-borne encephalitis.
Yellow Fever Vaccination
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
|* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.|
|Country Entry Requirement*|
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in Southern Europe, food and water can also carry diseases like hepatitis A. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Southern Europe. When in doubt, remember…boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
- Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
- Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
- The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Insects and Illness
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever
Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever is a viral disease that typically causes fever, bleeding under the skin, and pain. Risk is generally low for most travellers. It is spread to humans though contact with infected animal blood or bodily fluids, or from a tick bite. Protect yourself from tick bites and avoid animals. There is no vaccine available for Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever.
There is no risk of malaria in this country.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Some infections found in Southern Europe, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Medical services and facilities
It is best to avoid government hospitals, which often lack basic drugs and equipment, and have poor hygiene standards. Dental facilities are available, but standards of dental care may differ from those in Canada.
Evacuation, which is very expensive, may be necessary in the event of serious illness or injury.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws & culture
Laws & culture
You are subject to local laws. See Arrest and detention for more information.
Canada and Albania are signatories to the European Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons. This enables a Canadian imprisoned in Albania to request a transfer to a Canadian prison to complete a final sentence. The transfer requires the agreement of both Canadian and Albanian authorities.
You must carry adequate identification at all times, such as a legible photocopy of your passport. To avoid the loss or theft of your identification documents, you should not carry your original passport, citizenship card or birth certificate with you, except when travelling from one city to another within Albania.
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Albania. However, Canadian officials may be limited in their ability to provide you with consular services if local authorities consider you an Albanian citizen. You should travel using your Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times to minimize this risk. Citizenship is determined solely by national laws, and the decision to recognize dual citizenship rests completely with the country in which you are located when seeking consular assistance. See Travelling as a dual citizen for more information.
The Albanian government considers any person born in Albania of Albanian parents to be an Albanian citizen.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
Do not photograph military installations or personnel without proper permission as it is illegal; charges may be laid or cameras may be confiscated.
If a Canadian intends to marry an Albanian, the Albanian partner should provide the list of documentation required to get married in Albania and documents must be legalized by the Embassy of Albania in Ottawa. For further details, please contact the Consulate of Canada in Albania.
While homosexuality is not illegal in Albania, it is not widely accepted. Exercise discretion as Albanian society is very conservative.
An International Driving Permit (IDP) is required as a supplement to a valid driver’s licence.
Laws against drinking and driving are strictly enforced.
The use of cellular phones while driving is prohibited.
Police have taken drastic measures to decrease the number of accidents. Respect speed limits and the rules of the road in order to avoid heavy fines and the suspension of your driving licence.
The currency of Albania is the lek (ALL). The euro is used as a benchmark for the currency.
The economy is primarily cash-based. You should carry some cash, as traveller’s cheques and credit cards are not widely accepted. International hotels in Tirana accept American Express, Visa, Diners Club and MasterCard. Automated banking machines are widely available.
Traveller’s cheques and eurocheques can be exchanged at the National Bank of Albania in Tirana. U.S. dollars and Swiss francs are also accepted.
Natural disasters & climate
Natural disasters & climate
Albania is located in an active seismic zone and experiences an average of one earthquake (3.2 to 4.0 on the Richter scale) per year.
Floods may occur during winter, particularly in northern Albania. Severe flooding occurred in southern Albania, including in Fier, in February 2015. Roads have been damaged and widespread power outages have been reported. Exercise caution, monitor media and follow the advice of local authorities.
Tirana - Consulate of Canada
Rome - Embassy of Canada
For emergency assistance after hours, contact the Embassy of Canada in Rome and follow the instructions. You may also call the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at 001-613-996-8885.
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