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Latest updates: Safety and security - local elections planned on June 30, 2019
Albania - Take normal security precautions
Take normal security precautions in Albania.
Safety and security
Until 2014, the city of Lazarat and its surrounding areas was a major marijuana producing region where violent clashes between police and marijuana producers occurred regularly. Although the situation has recently improved, police assistance and protection remains limited, and response times are often delayed.
Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and bag snatching, occurs, particularly on public transportation and in tourist areas. Theft from vehicles is common.
Economic hardship and easy availability of firearms increase the risk of violent incidents, looting and carjacking. Small explosive devices have been used in targeted attacks, including in Tirana. A few violent incidents have also occurred at or near the Tirana International Airport.
These incidents are normally attributed to internal disputes of a personal, business or political nature. Tourists are not usually targeted but violent confrontations between rival organized criminal gangs can occur.
- Ensure that your personal belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times
- Never leave personal belongings unattended in a vehicle, and use secure parking facilities, especially overnight
- Avoid showing signs of affluence and carrying large sums of cash on you
- Be vigilant when travelling in rural and remote areas, especially in areas bordering North Macedonia, where security is very poor.
There is a threat of terrorism in Europe. Terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities and there is a potential for other violent incidents, which could target areas frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. Continue to exercise normal security precautions.
Landmines and unexploded ordnance from the 1999 Kosovo war remain, particularly in hill towns along Albania’s northeastern border with Kosovo. 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.
Demonstrations and elections
Local elections are due to take place on June 30, 2019. Demonstrations could occur before, during and after the elections.
Remain cautious and avoid any demonstrations during the campaign period.
Anti-government demonstrations have been taking place in Central Tirana since February 2019. Violent incidents have occurred, including the use of Molotov cocktails and other projectiles. Police have used tear gas and water cannons to disperse crowds. Clashes have resulted in many injuries.
Demonstrations are likely to continue in Tirana and may also occur elsewhere in the country. Further confrontations between protesters and security forces are possible. Demonstrations can also involve acts of vandalism. They can lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.
- Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
- Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations
More about mass gatherings (large-scale events)
Women travelling alone may be subject to some forms of harassment and verbal abuse.
Safe-travel guide for women
Tourist facilities are not well developed, and many goods and services are not available.
Power cuts occur frequently throughout Albania, in remote areas as well as in main cities.
- Always carry a flashlight while walking on the streets
- Verify the schedule of power cuts with local authorities
- Make arrangements for your well-being during outages
Road conditions and road safety are poor throughout the country. Major roads are passable, but secondary roads are often poorly maintained. In winter, you may encounter dangerous snow and ice conditions on poorly maintained mountainous roads in northern and southeastern Albania. Power outages can also affect street lighting and traffic signals.
Drivers are extremely aggressive and reckless and pedestrians are often found walking along the sides of roads, including on major highways.
- Use a four-wheel-drive vehicle, even in urban centres
- Inspect rental vehicles thoroughly and ensure the company will be available to assist in case of mechanical problems
- Carefully plan your travel outside the capital
- Hire a reputable local guide/interpreter or driver. Approved, privately owned vehicles, with drivers, can be hired for travel throughout the country
- Pre-negotiate fares and schedules
Buses, minibuses and trains operate between most major cities, but are unreliable, uncomfortable and safety standards are poor.
Use only yellow taxis, which are normally parked at street corners in specific areas. Taxis only accept cash payment.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
General information about foreign domestic airlines
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from the Albanian authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid for at least 3 months beyond the date you expect to leave from Albania.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest diplomatic mission for your destination.
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 qëndrimi) or a work permit (leje pune).
Children and travel
The Albanian government may consider children born to an Albanian parent to be Albanian citizens even if they were born in Canada and have a Canadian passport.
Children under the age of 18 are only allowed to leave Albania with both parents, or with the consent of both parents. The absent parent(s) must provide a statement of parental consent to travel, notarized by Albanian authorities, to be presented upon exiting Albania.
Parents of children travelling alone or with one parent are strongly encouraged to
Contact the Embassy of the Republic of Albania in Canada before departure to ensure that the entry and exit requirements are met if your child plan travelling alone or with one parent only.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
- Measles in Europe - April 25, 2019
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health professional 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.
Outbreaks of measles are ongoing.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that can cause serious complications for some people.
You are at increased risk of measles infection if you have not had the illness or if you are not up to date on your vaccinations.
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 (e.g., are children, have an occupational risk, or in close contact with animals, including free roaming dogs in communities).
- Tick-borne encephalitis is present in some areas of this country.
- It is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord).
- It is spread to humans by the bite of infected ticks or when you consume unpasteurized milk products.
- Vaccination should be considered for those who may be exposed to ticks during outdoor activities.
- A vaccine against TBE does exist but is only available in countries where the disease is present.
- Learn more on what you can do to prevent tick-borne encephalitis (TBE)?
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
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.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is required if you are coming from a country where yellow fever occurs.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
- Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
- There is currently a shortage of the yellow fever vaccine in Canada. It is important for travellers to contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of their trip to ensure that the vaccine is available.
About Yellow Fever
Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre
* 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.
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
In some areas in Southern Europe, certain insects carry and spread diseases like Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, leishmaniasis, Lyme disease, tick-borne encephalitis and West Nile virus.
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, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Some infections found in Southern Europe, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.
Medical services and facilities
Good health care is limited in availability. Quality of care varies greatly throughout the country.
Access to medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, and specialists is limited. It is best to avoid government hospitals, which often lack basic drugs and equipment and have poor hygiene standards.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
Travel health and safety
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 and culture
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons
Canada and Albania are signatories to the 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.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
You must carry photo identification, such a passport, as local authorities can ask you to prove your identity). Keep a photocopy of your passport in a safe place, in case it’s lost or confiscated.
Passports are required to check into a hotel and to rent a vehicle.
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Albania.
If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of Albania, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements.
General information for travellers with dual citizenship
Do not photograph military installations or personnel without proper permission as it is illegal; charges may be laid or cameras may be confiscated.
If marrying an Albanian, Canadians must ensure their Canadian documents are legalized by Embassy of the Republic of Albania in Ottawa before travelling to Albania.
Foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada
Albanian law does not prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. However, homosexuality is not widely accepted in Albanian society.
Same sex marriages are not recognized in Albania.
General safety information and advice for LGBTQ2 travellers abroad
You must carry an international driving permit as a supplement to a valid Canadian driver’s licence.
Laws against drinking and driving are strictly enforced. The legal alcohol limit is 0.05 percent.
Police have taken drastic measures to decrease the number of accidents. Respect speed limits and the rules of the road to avoid heavy fines and confiscation of your driver’s licence.
Wait for police to arrive if you are involved in a road accident, even a minor one.
More about the International Driving Permit
The currency of Albania is the lek (ALL). The euro is used as a benchmark for the currency.
The economy is primarily cash-based. Credit cards are not widely accepted.
Natural disasters and climate
Floods may occur during winter, particularly in northern Albania.
- Exercise caution
- Monitor media
- Follow the advice of local authorities
Albania is located in an active seismic zone.
Earthquakes occur frequently and may disrupt communications, particularly the mobile telephone network.
In case of emergency, dial:
- police: 129
- medical assistance: 127
- firefighters: 128
Tirana - Consulate of Canada
Rome - Embassy of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the embassy of Canada in Italy, in Rome and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are 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 to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad. In the event of a large-scale emergency, every effort will be made to provide assistance. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
See Large-scale emergencies abroad for more information.
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