Albania

Latest update

This Advice was last issued on Thursday, 03 April 2014.   It has been reviewed and reissued with editorial amendments. We continue to advise Australians to exercise normal safety precautions in Albania.

Albania overall

Summary

  • We advise you to exercise normal safety precautions in Albania.
  • Exercise common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour, as you would in Australia.
  • There is an ongoing risk of terrorism in Europe. In the past, terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities.
  • You should avoid all demonstrations and large public gatherings in Albania as even peaceful protests have the potential to become violent.
  • Australia does not 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 also provide limited consular assistance to Australians.
  • Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:
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Entry and exit

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) change regularly. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Albania for the most up-to-date information.

Make sure your passport has at least six months validity from your planned date of return to Australia. You should carry copies of a recent passport photo with you in case you need a replacement passport while overseas.

Safety and security

Terrorism

There is an ongoing risk of terrorism in Europe. In the past, terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities.

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. You can find more information about this threat in our General advice to Australian travellers.

Civil unrest/political tension

Demonstrations can turn violent with little or no warning. In 2011, a demonstration in Tirana resulted in the death of three protestors and many injuries.

You should avoid all protests and demonstrations, including those that appear peaceful, and monitor the media for potential safety or security risks.

Crime

We advise you to exercise normal safety precautions in Albania. Exercise common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour, as you would in Australia.

Carjackings have been reported. Petty crime such as mugging, pickpocketing and bag snatching also occurs. Be vigilant when travelling on public transport.

Landmines

You should take care when visiting or hiking throughout the north-east border areas of Albania, and avoid entering locations that display landmine or unexploded ordnance warning signs. Landmine clearing activities continue across the border in Kosovo. Seek information from local authorities if you are unsure.

Money and valuables

Before you go, organise a variety of ways to access your money overseas, such as credit cards, travellers' cheques, cash, debit cards or cash cards. Australian currency and travellers' cheques are not accepted in many countries. Consult with your bank to find out the most appropriate currency to carry and whether your ATM card will work in Albania.

Most banks and international hotels accept major credit cards. Travellers' cheques are not widely accepted in Albania and cash payment is often expected.

Make two photocopies of valuable documents such as your passport, tickets, visas and travellers' cheques. Keep one copy with you in a separate place to the original and leave another copy with someone at home.

While travelling, don't carry too much cash and remember that expensive watches, jewellery and cameras may be tempting targets for thieves.

As a sensible precaution against luggage tampering and theft, lock your luggage. Information on luggage safety is available from Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport. If your passport is lost or stolen overseas, report it online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.

You are required to pay an additional fee to have a lost or stolen passport replaced. In some cases, the Government may also restrict the length of validity or type of replacement passports.

Local travel

Albania regularly experiences power shortages, and blackouts can occur without notice particularly outside the capital Tirana.

Driving in Albania can be hazardous due to an often aggressive local driving style, poorly maintained secondary roads, and inadequate road lighting often affected by power outages. During winter months, mountain roads are icy and slippery and snow chains should be used as appropriate. For further advice, see our road travel page.

Reliable travel options within Albania are limited. Safety standards on public transport can be poor.

There are no commercial domestic flights within Albania. Bus and rail travel is unreliable.

Airline safety

Please refer to our page about air travel for information about aviation safety and security.

Laws

When you are in Albania, be aware that local laws and penalties, including ones that appear harsh by Australian standards, do apply to you. If you are arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you but we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.

Information on what Australian consular officers can and cannot do to help Australians in trouble overseas is available from the Consular Services Charter.

Penalties for drug-related crime are severe.

Under Albanian law you are required to carry identification at all times.

A valid Australian driver’s licence and an international driver’s licence are both required in order to drive in Albania.

Homosexual activity is not illegal in Albania however you should be aware that it is not widely accepted. See our LGBTI travellers page.

It is illegal to photograph military installations and military personnel in Albania.

Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child pornography, and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.

Australian authorities are committed to combating sexual exploitation of children by Australians overseas. Australians may be prosecuted at home under Australian child sex tourism and child pornography laws. These laws provide severe penalties of up to 25 years imprisonment for Australians who engage in child sexual exploitation while outside of Australia.

Information for dual nationals

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

Australian/Albanian dual national males may be subject to compulsory military service and should seek advice from the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Albania well in advance of travel.

Our page about dual nationals provides further information.

Health

We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. 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 will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.

It is important to consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. We encourage you to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our health page also provides useful information for travellers on staying healthy.

Medical standards, including access to medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, and specialist doctors are not equivalent to Australia. Hygiene can also be an issue. In the event of a serious illness or accident, medical evacuation to a destination with the appropriate facilities would be necessary. Costs for a medical evacuation are considerable.

Travel in forested areas in Albania brings the risk of exposure to tick-borne encephalitis. Ticks are very common in country areas and are active from spring to autumn. Diseases transmitted by sandflies (including sandfly fever and leishmaniasis) are prevalent in coastal regions.

Water-borne, food-born and other infectious diseases (including tuberculosis, typhoid, hepatitis, brucellosis and rabies) are prevalent with more serious outbreaks occurring from time to time. We recommend that you avoid raw and undercooked food and avoid unpasteurised dairy products. It is recommended that all drinking water be boiled or that you drink bottled water and that you avoid ice cubes. Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering diarrhoea.

Where to get help

Australia does not have an Embassy or Consulate in Albania. You can obtain consular assistance from the Australian Embassy in Rome, Italy:

Australian Embassy, Rome

Via Antonio Bosio 5
00161 Rome, ITALY
Telephone: (39) 06 85 2721
Facsimile: (39) 06 85 272 300
Email: consular-rome@dfat.gov.au
Website: http://www.italy.embassy.gov.au/

Limited consular assistance, which does not include the issue of Australian passports, may be obtained from:

British Embassy
Rruga Skenderbej 12
Tirana, ALBANIA
Telephone +355 (42) 34 973
Facsimile +355 (42) 47 697

If you are travelling to Albania, whatever the reason and however long you'll be there, we encourage you to register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You can register online or in person at any Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. The information you provide will help us to contact you in an emergency-whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or a family issue.

In a consular emergency, if you are unable to contact the above mission you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

In Australia, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra may be contacted on (02) 6261 3305.

Additional information

Natural disasters, severe weather and climate

Albania is subject to earthquakes and flooding. Information on natural disasters, including earthquakes, can be obtained from the Humanitarian Early Warning Service.

If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice and obey instructions of local authorities.

For parents

For general information and tips on travelling with children see our page about travelling with children.



While every care has been taken in preparing this information, neither the Australian Government nor its agents or employees, including any member of Australia's diplomatic and consular staff abroad, can accept liability for any injury, loss or damage arising in respect of any statement contained herein.

Maps are presented for information only. The department accepts no responsibility for errors or omission of any geographic feature. Nomenclature and territorial boundaries may not necessarily reflect Australian Government policy.