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Albania - Exercise normal security precautions
There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Albania. Exercise normal security precautions.
Lazarat - Avoid non-essential travel
Global Affairs Canada advises against non-essential travel to the city of Lazarat, where Albanian state police and armed marijuana growers have in the past engaged in violent altercations and where police assistance and protection are limited.
See Safety and security for more information.
Safety and security
Safety and security
Lazarat (see Advisory)
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. Never leave personal belongings unattended in a vehicle, and use secure parking facilities, especially overnight.
Be vigilant in the northern districts of Has, Kukës and Tropojë. Criminal gangs operate along roads in remote areas, especially in areas bordering Kosovo, Macedonia and Montenegro. Use caution in areas bordering Macedonia, where security is very poor.
Economic hardship and easy availability of firearms increase the risk of violent incidents looting and carjacking, particularly in the Tropojë district and its largest town, Bajram Curri. However, these actions do not typically involve tourists. Violent confrontations between rival organized criminal gangs can also occur.
Small explosive devices have been used in targeted attacks, including in Tirana as recently as February 2015. These incidents are normally attributed to internal disputes of a personal, business or political nature.
Women should exercise caution when travelling alone. Avoid secluded areas, parks, bars and restaurants in remote areas, especially after dark. See Her Own Way: A Woman’s Safe-Travel Guide for travel safety information specifically aimed at Canadian women.
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.
Demonstrations occur in many Albanian centres, often with little or no advance warning, 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 throughout the country. Drivers are aggressive and reckless and pedestrians are often found walking along the sides of roads, including on major highways. 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. Power outages can also affect street lighting and traffic signals.
Wait for police to arrive if you are involved in a road accident, even a minor one.
Car rental companies are available in the main cities and offer a variety of services and vehicles.
If possible, hire local drivers or taxis. Approved, privately owned vehicles, with drivers, can be hired for travel throughout the country. Pre-negotiate fares and schedules.
Travel outside the capital should be carefully planned and undertaken with the assistance of a reputable guide/interpreter or driver.
Use only yellow taxis, which are normally parked at street corners in specific areas. Taxis only accept cash payment.
Buses, minibuses and trains operate between most major cities, but are unreliable, uncomfortable and safety standards are poor.
The Government of Canada does not assess foreign domestic airlines’ compliance with international aviation safety standards. See Foreign domestic airlines for more information.
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.
General safety information
Exercise normal safety precautions. Ensure that your personal belongings, including passports and travel documents, are secure at all times. Avoid showing signs of affluence and carrying large sums of cash on you.
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.
It is the sole prerogative of every country or territory to determine who is allowed to enter or exit. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry or exit requirements. The following information has been obtained from the Albanian authorities and is subject to change at any time. The country- or territory-specific entry/exit requirements are provided on this page for information purposes only. While every effort is made to provide accurate information, information contained here is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada assumes no responsibility, and shall not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided. It is your responsibility to check with the Embassy of the Republic of Albania or one of its consulates for up-to-date information.
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.
Temporary passport holders may be subject to different entry requirements. Check with diplomatic representatives 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.
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), as applicable.
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 their child meets the latest entry and exit requirements, which may change without notice.
See Children for more information on special documentation required to visit certain countries.
See Health to obtain information on this country’s vaccination requirements.
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 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 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 provider.
- 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.
* 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
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. Make sure you have travel insurance that covers all medical expenses in case of illness or injury (including hospitalization abroad and medical evacuation).
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
Laws & culture
You are subject to local laws. See Arrest and detention for more information.
Canada and Albania are signatories to the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons (Council of Europe). 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 always travel using your valid Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times to minimize this risk. You may also need to carry and present an Albanian passport for legal reasons, for example to enter and exit the country (see Entry/exit requirements to determine passport requirements). 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.
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 marrying an Albanian, Canadians must ensure their Canadian documents are legalized by Embassy of the Republic of Albania in Ottawa before travelling to Albania. Contact the Embassy of the Republic of Albania for further information.
Although the laws of Albania don’t prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex, homosexuality is not socially tolerated.
Same sex marriages are not recognized in Albania.
See Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirit Canadians abroad for more information.
An International Driving Permit is required 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.
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 to avoid heavy fines and confiscation of your driver’s 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, because 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 in Tirana.
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 and 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. Exercise caution, monitor media and follow the advice of local authorities.
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 Rome, Italy 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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