The Albanian legislation related to foreign citizens is in compliance with the EU directives as related to immigration policy.The Law on Foreigners provides that foreigners may work in Albania only after obtaining a work permit. Nevertheless, the Law stipulates a list of countries citizens of which enjoy equal rights with Albanian citizens as regards employment and self-employment, such as:
- citizens of the USA, the EU and the Schengen area countries;
- citizens of one of the countries of the Western Balkans, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, Serbia and Northern Macedonia;
- foreigner citizens employed in various sectors, with the aim of regulating the consequences and recovery from natural disasters.
Foreigners are divided into two categories – those who must secure a visa when crossing the borders of the Republic of Albania and those who are exempt from that requirement.Foreigners who wish to reside in Albania on a long-term basis (in any case more than three months within each six-month period) shall be issued a residence permit.
Albania is relatively easy to access. Foreign citizens can enter Albania after presenting valid passports or any other valid traveling document.They have to present their valid passports or other valid traveling documents at a border checkpoint and are granted a stay permit of 90 days.
All foreigners who are not exempt from obtaining a visa must be issued a visa before they enter Albania. The request, the evaluation and the issue of the visa, under the latest amendments of the Law, can be provided online through the e-albania.al website.
Residence and work permits are regulated in accordance with the Law on Foreigners No. 108/2013 dated 28 March 2013 and the respective sub legal acts.
A residence permit can be issued for a period of:
- A three-month, six-month, one-year term and can be renewed not more than five consecutive times;
- A two-year term which can be renewed not more than once;
- A five-year term;
- Permanently, if the foreign citizen has legally resided in Albania for five consecutive years and has stable activities or relationships in the country.
THE LAW ON FOREIGNERS PROVIDES DIFFERENT TYPES OF RESIDENCE PERMITS:
- Residence permit type “A” not renewable;
- Residence permit type “B” renewable;
- Residence permit type “C” issued for an indefinite;
- Residence permit “Blue Card AL-C” issued for an indefinite period only for highly qualified employees;
- Residence permit for employment purposes which is granted in compliance with the conditions of the work permit;
- Residence permit “Blue Card AL” renewable and issued for a defined period for highly qualified employees;
- Residence permit type “S” renewable after a six month interruption period;
- Residence permit for the self-employed which is granted to self-employed persons in compliance with the conditions of the work permit;
- Residence permit for vessels crews which is granted to the vessels crews employed on vessels registered in the Republic of Albania and performing activity as employees for more than 90 days in a period of 180 days as well as to the crews who perform activity as employees on foreign vessels but according to the specifics of the activity stays in the harbors of the Republic of Albania for more than 90 days in a period of 180 days.
- For seasonal work
- For vocational training
- For youth exchange
- For voluntary services
- For scientific research
- For students
- For humanitarian occasions
- For victims of human trafficking
- For family reunion.
The authority empowered to issue work permits is the General Directorate of National Labor Service or the Labor Office of the relevant territory where the employer offices are located. Foreigners working in the Republic of Albania, depending to the specific case, must obtain a work permit or a work registration certificate. The following categories of foreign workers are exempted from either obligation:
- Citizens of those countries which are part of the EU and Schengen zone;
- Citizens of United States of America
- Citizens of one of the countries of the Western Balkans, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, Serbia and Northern Macedonia;
- foreigner citizens employed in various sectors, with the aim of regulating the consequences and recovery from natural disasters
- The working foreigner is only staying for one month in any one year in case of:
- foreigners who are negotiating an agreement or supervising a trade event stall;
- business visitors;
- crew members of aircraft;
- lecturers, researchers or foreign specialists who come into Albania pursuant to agreements between governments, governments and educational institutions or private sector parties and educational institutions;
- educators who come into Albania pursuant to bilateral governmental agreements or agreements concerning educational institutions;
- employees of humanitarian organizations active in Albania pursuant to international programs of cooperation.
- The ship crew members who is only staying up to 2 months within one year period
- The foreigner workers employed in different sectors, with the aim of regulating the consequences and recovery from natural disasters.
The Work Permit is issued within a 10 days period starting from the moment that the request for this document is presented online and the documents in original provided to the approving authority.
To obtain a work permit, generally the following document must be filed:
- Standard application form;
- A National Registration Center extract confirming the employer’s registration;
- The applicant’s employment contract;
- A copy of the passport of the foreign citizen;
- Five photos.
The above documents might vary slightly depending on the type of work permit requested. The official fee to be paid for the work permit range from ALL 6,000 to ALL 10’000 (approx. EUR 45,00 till 85,00).