State Department: Albania - Consular Information Sheet, July 24, 1998
Albania - Consular Information Sheet
July 24, 1998
Warning: The Department of State recommends that
American citizens continue to avoid unnecessary travel to Albania. Because
of the influx of refugees from Kosovo into the northeastern part of the
country and the resulting potential for increased security problems,
Americans are particularly cautioned against travel to that area.
The security situation in Albania generally remains a cause for concern,
due to the continuation of bombings and sporadic gunfire, mainly during the
evening hours, as well as an increase in criminal activity. There has been
an increase in the theft of vehicles at gunpoint, particularly four-wheel
The security situation outside Tirana remains even less stable than in
the capital, and American citizens should avoid travel outside the capital
unless absolutely necessary. The U.S. Embassy strongly recommends that
American citizens avoid crowds and exercise caution at all times.
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. For stays exceeding
30 days, a free extension obtainable from the local Police Commissariat is
required. This extension is subject to renewal after 30 days. To extend a
stay beyond three months, a permit is required from the Ministry of
Interior. The second extension and three-month permit are both subject to
minimal fees. For additional information, please contact the Embassy of
the Republic of Albania at 2100 S Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008,
tel.: (202) 223-4942.
Medical Facilities: Medical facilities are limited, and
medicine is in short supply. There are periodic 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.
Check with your own insurance company to confirm whether your policy
applies overseas, including provision for medical evacuation. Ascertain
whether payment will be made to the overseas hospital or doctor or whether
you will be reimbursed later for expenses you incur. Some insurance
policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for
disposition of remains in the event of death. Useful information on
medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is
provided in the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure
"Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad," available via its
home page and autofax service.
The international travelers hotline of the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention may be reached from the United States at 1-888-232-3228, via
their autofax service at 1-888-232-3229, or their Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov.
Crime Information: Albania has a high rate of violent
crime. The influx of refugees from Kosovo has increased the potential for
criminal activity, especially in the northeastern part of the country.
Criminal activity outside Tirana is especially prevalent. Crime is
generally directed at targets of opportunity, not at Americans in
particular. The theft of vehicles, especially four-wheel drive vehicles,
from foreigners at gunpoint has become increasingly common. The loss or
theft of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police
and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Useful information on
safeguarding valuables and protecting personal safety while traveling
abroad is provided in the Department of State's pamphlet "A Safe Trip
Abroad." It is available from the Superintendent of Documents,
U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet
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.
Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct
commercial air service at present, or economic authority to operate such
service between the United States and Albania, the U.S. Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) has not assessed Albania's Civil Aviation Authority
for compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight
of Albania's air carrier operations. For further information, travelers
may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at
1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA Internet Home Page at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa.htm.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air
carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For
information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may
contact the Pentagon at (703) 697-7288.
Criminal 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 in Albania are severe, and convicted
offenders can expect jail sentences and fines.
Currency Regulations: Credit cards and travelers checks
are not accepted in Albania except at the major new hotels in Tirana.
Personal checks are not accepted anywhere.
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.
This replaces the Consular Information
Sheet dated August 15, 1997, to update the Warning, Entry Requirements,
Medical Facilities, Crime Information, Road Safety, and Aviation Safety
Oversight, and Internet addresses.