The way Albanian citizens travel to Europe is about to change. Citizens of Albania, and several other visa-exempt countries, can currently enter Europe and stay for up to 90 days without additional background checks.
Whilst this has provided easy access to top European destinations, recent calls for increased security have led to the development of the new ETIAS travel authorisation.
Albanian citizens can find out everything they need to know about the upcoming changes to Europe’s entry requirements.
Will Albanian citizens need a visa for Europe?
No, Albanian citizens will not need a visa to travel to Europe for up to 90 days. At the end of 2022, the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) will be launched for visitors from visa-exempt nations, including Albania.
ETIAS is not a visa, it is a travel permit that allows visa-free entry to the Schengen Area from eligible countries. Visa requirements for Albanians are not being introduced but the ETIAS authorisation will be mandatory.
Before heading to Europe, Albanian passport holders will be required to register with ETIAS online. The system runs automatic security checks on the applicant by comparing the passport information provided against several international databases.
In the rare case that there is a hit in the system, the application will be reviewed by European officials before a decision is reached. Individuals considered a danger to the public will be blocked from gaining entry to Europe legally.
With the new visa waiver, Albanian nationals will maintain their visa-free privileges whilst benefiting from the additional safety and security offered by ETIAS.
Are Albanian citizens eligible to apply for ETIAS visa waiver?
Yes, Albanian citizens are eligible to apply for an ETIAS visa waiver.
As of late 2022, Albanians will need to obtain an ETIAS if they wish to travel to countries located in the Schengen zone, which includes neighbours such as Greece, Italy, and so on.
The process for obtaining an ETIAS for Albanian citizens is very simple and quick. Applicants will only need about 15 minutes to complete the application, which can be done from any smartphone, computer, or tablet that has internet access. The result is usually sent instantly to the applicant’s email address.
What documents do Albanian need to obtain ETIAS?
There are only a handful of ETIAS requirements for Albanian citizens. They include the following:
- A valid and up to date Albania-issued passport.
- A valid form of payment to pay the application fee, such as a credit or debit card.
- An email address to receive notifications about the status of the applicant’s ETIAS.
Once all of these requirements are met, travellers can proceed with their ETIAS permit application.
ETIAS application process for Albanian citizens
The ETIAS application for Albanian citizens is simple and takes less than 15 minutes. The application will ask visitors for a few personal details, including:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Passport information (number, date of issue, date of expiration)
- Contact information (home address, phone number)
- Email address
There will also be a section that asks applicants of Albania for their travel details, including the expected point of entry into the Schengen Zone. Albanian visitors will also need to answer some questions regarding their health and security.
Applicants are advised to answer all questions as truthfully as possible, since every piece of information on the application form will be checked against the Schengen security system. Applicants should go through the completed application and double check to make sure that everything is correct.
If travellers from Albania are found to have written incorrect or misleading information, ETIAS authorities have the right to reject the application. In this case, Albanian applicants can re-apply using the correct information.
At the end of the process, Albanians will be required to pay an application fee, using a credit or debit card, in order to submit their form.
Albanian travellers can use their ETIAS authorisation for the sole purposes of tourism, transit and business and up to 90 days. This means that it is not possible to use the ETIAS to obtain employment: in those cases, Albanian citizens are advised to apply for an actual visa that suits these needs.
How long does it take to get ETIAS from Albania?
Although the processing time to obtain an ETIAS permit for Albanian citizens is usually instantaneous, it can take up to 72 hours (three business days) in case of delays or public holidays.
The ETIAS is valid for 3 years from the date of issue, although if the linked Albanian passport expires before that period, then the ETIAS authorisation will no longer be valid. The ETIAS is a special authorisation for entry to Europe, not a visa, that grants holders a 90-day stay in the Schengen zone within any 180-day period.