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State Department: Albania - Consular Information Sheet, June 12, 1997

Albania - Consular Information Sheet
June 12, 1997

Warning: The Department of State recommends that American citizens continue to avoid unnecessary travel to Albania. While the Government of Albania has some control over the situation in Tirana, there continues to be random sporadic shooting especially at night, there have been several bombings, tensions are heightened in the run-up to the elections scheduled for June 29, and the potential for renewed disorder remains. The security situation in other areas is much more unstable.

The Government of Albania has declared a state of emergency and continues to impose a curfew from 10:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m. The U.S. Embassy strongly recommends that American citizens in Albania abide by the government-imposed curfew, avoid crowds, and exercise caution at all times. Depending on the conditions prevailing in a particular locality, American citizens should remain in their homes and avoid travel.

Country Description: Albania continues to undergo profound social, political, and economic change. Facilities for tourism are not well developed and many of the goods and services taken for granted in other European countries are not yet available. Hotel accommodations are limited outside of Tirana.

Entry Requirements: A passport is required but a visa is not necessary for a tourist stay of up to 30 days. An extension up to 180 days may be granted by applying at the local police station. After 180 days, the Ministry of Interior accepts extension requests. Please contact the Embassy of the Republic of Albania at 1150 18th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20005, Tel: (202) 223-4942, for additional visa information.

Medical Facilities: Medical facilities are limited and medicine is in short supply. Within recent years there have been outbreaks of polio, cholera, and dysentery. Doctors and hospitals generally expect immediate cash payment for health services. U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. The Medicare/Medicaid program does not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. Travelers have found that supplemental medical insurance with specific overseas coverage is useful. Further information on health matters can be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control's international traveler's hotline at (404) 332-4559 or Internet: http://www.cdc.gov.

Crime Information: Albania has a high rate of violent crime. Street crime is fairly common and occurs particularly at night. Crime is generally directed at targets of opportunity, not at Americans in particular. The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. The Department of State's pamphlet "A Safe Trip Abroad" is available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402. It provides useful information on guarding valuables and protecting personal security while traveling abroad.

Currency Regulations: Credit cards and traveler's checks are not accepted in Albania except at the major new hotels in Tirana. Personal checks are not accepted anywhere.

Road Safety/Travel Conditions: Major roads are passable, but often in poor repair. Buses travel regularly between most major destinations, but may be unreliable and uncomfortable. Travelers have reported attacks by bands of thieves in all parts of the country. There are no commercial domestic flights and few rail connections.

Drug Penalties: U.S. citizens are subject to the laws of the country in which they are traveling. Penalties for possession, use and dealing of illegal drugs are severe, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and fines.

Registration and Embassy Location: U.S. citizens visiting or remaining in Albania are strongly recommended to register at the U.S. Embassy and obtain updated information on travel and security within Albania. The U.S. Embassy in Tirana is located at Rruga E Elbasanit 103, Tel: (355)(42) 32875, Fax: (355)(42) 32222.

No. 97-101

This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated March 21, 1996, to update the Travel Warning, entry requirements, medical, road safety, crime and the Internet.

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