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Albania

If you’re travelling to Albania, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information. 

Security Status

  • Normal precautions
  • High degree of caution
  • Avoid non-essential travel
  • Do not travel
  • Overview
  • Safety and Security
  • Local Laws and Customs
  • Health
  • Additional Information
  • Embassy Contact

Overview

General COVID-19 Travel Advisory in Operation

General advice to avoid non-essential travel and ‘Normal Precautions’ list of exemptions:

In accordance with Government policy, which is based on official public health advice, the Department of Foreign Affairs continues to advise against non-essential travel overseas. This includes Great Britain but does not apply to Northern Ireland. It also includes all travel by cruise ship.

Travel to a very limited set of locations is exempted from this advice. Individuals arriving into Ireland from these locations will not be required to restrict their movements upon entry. These locations currently have a ‘normal precautions’ (“green”) security status rating. As of 4 August 2020, these locations are:

  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • Greece
  • Greenland
  • Hungary
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Norway
  • Slovakia

Inclusion on the list is based on the current epidemiological situation and related public health information in each location. The list and related travel advice will be reviewed on a fortnightly basis, based on advice from officials, including public health experts. Any updates or changes will be based on Government decisions. The latest updates will always be uploaded first to this General COVID-19 Travel Advisory. Country-specific tabs will be updated subsequently, and as quickly as possible, but this advisory is the primary source of information for the latest version of the list. The above list was updated on 4 August following the latest review.

If you are considering travelling outside of Ireland:

Irish citizens travelling to locations with a ‘normal precautions’ (“green”) rating are advised to follow the public health guidelines of the local health authorities and to continue to practice physical distancing measures, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette etc. The security rating for all other locations remains unchanged at either to ‘avoid non-essential travel’ (“orange”) or to ‘do not travel’ (“red”).

The purpose of the Department’s Travel Advice is to provide information to the general public so that individuals can make informed decisions for themselves.  The COVID19 pandemic continues to accelerate internationally, and there are significant risks associated with international travel. Citizens should be aware of the possible limitations to any consular assistance that could be provided. Any citizens who are considering travel abroad are advised to monitor closely our travel advice and we recommend that citizens download our TravelWise App and follow us on Twitter. Citizens travelling abroad should also register with their local Irish Embassy or Consulate and regularly check their website and Twitter accounts for details of any local public health measures and travel restrictions.

Should you need to travel for essential reasons, you should inform yourself about any requirements in place in the destination to which you are travelling.  Flight restrictions and route cancellations are happening on a daily basis worldwide and there is no guarantee that air routes will continue to operate as scheduled. Testing and restrictions may be imposed or may already be in place in other countries. It is important to check with your insurance provider on coverage at this time.

What to do on entering Ireland from abroad:

The Irish Authorities advise anyone coming into Ireland, apart from Northern Ireland and individuals arriving in Ireland from locations with a security rating of ‘normal precautions’ (“green”), to restrict their movements for 14 days, and this includes citizens and residents returning to Ireland. Restricting your movements means staying indoors in one location and avoiding contact with other people and social situations as much as possible. To ensure that this is being observed all passengers arriving to Ireland from overseas are obliged to complete a mandatory Public Health Passenger Locator Form and to submit it to the relevant authority at their port of entry. For further details please see the Irish Government Advice Page. Exemptions are also in place for providers of essential supply chain services such as hauliers, pilots and maritime staff. Check the Irish Government Advice Page for full information on these requirements and further advice on returning from abroad.

Where to go for more information:

We continue to make updates to our online travel advice for over 200 countries and recommend that you download our TravelWise App and follow us on Twitter. If abroad you should register with your local Irish Embassy or Consulate and regularly check their website and Twitter accounts for details of any local public health measures and travel restrictions.

Overview

Security Status

Avoid non-essential travel.

Security Status Last Updated: 17 March 2020

Latest Travel Alert

Novel Coronavirus

Cases of novel coronavirus (COVID 19) have been reported in Albania. See the World Health Organisation (WHO) website for Albania and WHO Situation Dashboard for Europe for further details.

If you are in Albania, you should monitor developments regularly and follow the advice of local authorities. Links to the relevant websites are:

• Ministry of Health and Social Protection - https://shendetesia.gov.al/

• Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs - https://punetejashtme.gov.al/ 

Some measures to contain COVID 19 remain in effect in Albania, including curfews and restrictions on the number of people who can gather in public. It is recommended that you follow the advice of local authorities at all times to avoid paying fines. It is no longer necessary to undergo quarantine on arrival in Albania from abroad, and restrictions on travel within the country no longer apply. Albania has opened land borders with neighbouring countries, but restrictions on travelling to/from the EU remain in place. A limited number of commercial flights are in operation to Tirana Airport, and it is expected that the number of connections will increase if EU travel restrictions are lifted on 15 June. You can read more about the EU Travel Restrictions here.

Be alert to common signs of infection: respiratory problems, fever, coughing, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Seek medical advice if you experience these symptoms. The emergency line for suspected cases in Albania is 127. HSE medical advice to protect yourself from getting COVID-19 is below.

Do:

•  Wash your hands properly and regularly with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.
•  Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough and sneeze.
•  Put used tissues into a bin and wash your hands after.

Don’t:

•  Touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.

Follow social distancing measures at all times, by keeping your distance from other people, not touching others and avoiding crowded places.

Additional information on COVID-19 can be found at the following links:

•  Health Service Executive (Ireland) 

•  Health Protection Surveillance Centre (Ireland)

•  European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control

 

Natural Disasters and Climate

Albania lies in a seismically active zone, particularly in the southern half of the country. Tremors are common, and more serious earthquakes may occur. This information from the Greek Ministry of Tourism advises what to do in case of an earthquake.

The rainy season, usually between December and February, can cause severe flooding, particularly in the north of Albania. Northern Albania also experiences heavy snow during winter months, especially in upland areas.

If there is a serious incident, you should co-operate with local authorities and emergency services.

Security

There have been a number of protests since February 2019 organised by the main opposition party and, separately, by the President of Albania in Tirana and in other large cities/towns, some of which have become violent.

There have been a number of protests since February 2019 organised by the main opposition party in Tirana and in other large cities/towns, some of which have become violent. Travellers are strongly advised to check local media, where advance notification of protests is given, to ensure that they avoid protests. Follow the advice of local authorities if you end up in the vicinity of one of the demonstrations. Otherwise, normal travel precautions apply.

We advise against all travel to the northeast border areas (i.e. the districts of Kukes, Has and Tropoje) between Albania and Kosovo because of the very poor condition of the roads and the risk of landmines and other unexploded ordnance placed during the 1999 Kosovo crisis.

Emergency Assistance

Because there is no Irish Embassy or Consulate in Albania, we’re limited in the help we can offer you in an emergency. However, if you need assistance, you can contact the Irish Embassy in Athens.

We suggest you learn as much as you can about Albania before your trip from travel agents, tour operators and guide books. The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems when you’re in Albania, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.

Albanian local emergency service telephone numbers are:

  • 129 for police.
  • 126 for road police.
  • 127 for ambulance.
  • 128 for fire department.

EU Directive on Consular Protection

Under the EU Consular Protection Directive, Irish nationals may seek assistance from the Embassy or Consulate of any other EU member state in a country where there is no Irish Embassy or permanent representation.

Our tips for Safe Travels:

  • Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities.
  • Add an alert for your destination within the TravelWise App.
  • Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly if there’s an unforeseen crisis like a natural disaster or a family emergency.
  • Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates.
  • Read our ‘Know Before You Go’ guide.

Safety and Security

Safety and security

Terrorism

Although the threat from terrorism in Albania is low, there is still a global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by tourists and expatriates.

Crime

Crime remains relatively low in Albania but you should take sensible precautions:

  • Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place.
  • Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home.
  • Avoid dark and unlit streets and stairways, and arrange to be picked up or dropped off as close to your hotel or apartment entrance as possible.
  • Be aware that ownership of firearms is widespread in Albania.

Reporting crime

If you’re a victim of a crime while in Albania, report it to the local police immediately. You can contact us at the Irish Embassy in Athens if you need help.

Driving

If you’re planning to drive in Albania, you should be extremely careful. Albanian driving can often be aggressive and erratic. Roads are poor except for those linking the main cities and there’s no street lighting outside of the cities so night travel is best avoided. There is no national car recovery system, so cars should be self-sufficient, carrying minor repair equipment, local phrase book, first aid kit, water and overnight food when in remote areas.

If you want to drive:

  • Bring your international driving licence and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance.
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law and you risk being detained, fined or banned from driving if caught.
  • Keep your vehicle doors locked and your bags kept out of sight to prevent opportunistic bag-snatching if you’re stopped at traffic lights.
  • If you’re involved in a traffic accident, even a minor one, you must wait until the police arrive.
  • Be aware that drivers with foreign licensed vehicles draw particular scrutiny from the Road Traffic Police.
  • Be aware that many parts of Albania are very mountainous, and there can be heavy snowfall in winter. Cars should have adequate winter tyres, and drivers should be aware that some roads may be impassable during winter months. Public transport may also be disrupted.

Hiring a vehicle

If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.

Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).

Local Laws and Customs

Local laws and customs

Remember, the local laws apply to your as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or even illegal

Illegal drugs

Illegal drug use (no matter what the drug) carries stiff penalties, including fines and long prison terms.

Law enforcement

The Albanian authorities don't always inform the Irish Embassy when Irish nationals have been arrested. If you're detained, you should insist on your right to contact an Irish Embassy Consular Officer.

Health

Health

Travel Insurance

We can’t pay for emergency medical repatriation, repatriation of remains, or for expenses as a result of a personal emergency while you are abroad. If you buy an appropriate travel insurance policy, these costs will be covered, provided you haven’t broken the terms and conditions.

Buying comprehensive travel insurance can save you and your family a lot of money if something goes wrong. It will also ensure that you get the medical attention you need, when you need it. Hospital bills can quickly run into thousands of euro, and a medical evacuation back to Ireland can cost thousands more.

Not all policies are the same, and the cheapest one might be cheap for a reason. Make sure your policy covers all the activities you plan to do on your trip. Insurance Ireland recommend that you purchase a policy that provides a minimum medical cover of €1 million.

Emergency expenses

Your policy should cover:

  • All medical care abroad, including evacuation by air ambulance, or other emergency procedures, and any other costs associated with an unexpected longer stay.
  • Your entire trip, from departure to return. Consider an annual multi-trip policy if you’re making more than one trip in the year.   
  • 24-hour emergency service and assistance.
  • Personal liability cover (in case you’re sued for causing injury or damaging property).
  • Lost and stolen possessions.
  • Cancellation and curtailment.
  • Any extra activities you intend to do that are excluded from standard policies (e.g. water sport activities such as jet skiing or other extreme sports).

Exclusions: You should know most insurance policies will not cover drink or drug-related incidents.

Vaccinations

Check with your doctor a minimum of eight weeks in advance of travelling to see if you need any vaccinations for Albania.

Medical facilities

The level of medical care is not comparable to that in Western Europe, and medical and dental facilities (including those for accident and emergency use) are very poor, particularly outside Tirana. It is recommended that you take out comprehensive insurance before travelling to Albania, to ensure access to private health care, air ambulance evacuation and repatriation if necessary. 

Hepatitis

There are high levels of Hepatitis in Albania. Learn more about Hepatitis on the HSE’s website.

Tick-borne encephalitis

Cases of tick-borne encephalitis have been reported in North Albania. A vaccination against tick-borne encephalitis is available if you are planning to travel to this area. As an additional precaution, keep all areas of your body covered when close to shrubs or bushes, and inspect yourself regularly for ticks.

Rabies

Rabies is also a matter of concern as there are large numbers of stray dogs, although there have been no reports of the disease in Tirana at present. Learn more about Rabies on the HSE’s website.

Water

The tap water in Albania may cause illness and you should drink only bottled water.

Additional Information

Additional information

Entry requirements

Irish citizens do not need a visa for short visits to Albania (up to 90 days). However, you must make sure your passport is valid for a minimum period of six months from your date of entry into Albania. Although Albania is not in the EU, the Albanian authorities do accept Irish Passport Cards for entry into Albania via Tirana International Airport. However, it is preferable to travel on a full Irish passport.

Credit cards

Major credit/debit cards are accepted in most banks and international hotels. You may prefer to use cash, as in the past foreigners have been victims of credit card fraud.

Natural disasters and climate

If you’re travelling to Albania, make sure you know what to expect – then plan and pack so that you’re prepared. If there is a serious incident, co-operate with local authorities and emergency services.

  • The rainy season, usually between December and February, can cause severe flooding, particularly in the north of Albania.
  • Albania lies in a seismically active zone. While there has been no serious earthquake in recent years, quakes do happen and earth tremors are common.

Embassy contact

Embassy Contact

We do not have an Embassy in Albania, please contact Embassy of Ireland Greece.

Where emergency consular assistance is required for Irish citizens outside of opening hours, please leave a message at: +30 210 7232771. This mailbox is monitored regularly. Alternatively, you can contact the Duty Officer at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Dublin at: +353 1 478 0822.

Embassy of Ireland
7 Leoforas Vasileos
Konstantinou
106 74 Athens
Greece

Tel: +30 210 723 2771
Tel: +30 210 723 2772
Fax: +30 210 729 3383

Monday to Friday: 09:00 - 13:00

Contact us