According to the Law No.108/2013, dated 28 March 2013 “On foreigners”, as amended, foreign workers and entrepreneurs who intend to work and thus reside in Albania should hold both work and residence permits. This Law provides that the citizens of the United States of America (USA), the EU and the Schengen area countries enjoy equal rights with Albanian citizens as regards employment and self-employment.
Non-Albanian citizens, excluding European Union countries, US citizens and Schengen Zone, who wish to work in Albania need a work permit issued by the Ministry of Social Welfare to work in Albania. The request is made before starting the work. The response to this request takes no longer than 10 days after submission of documents. There are different types of work permits which mainly differ from their validity period:
The duration of the work permit usually depends of the type of work.
The EU, Schengen Zone and US citizens are exempted from the obligation to obtain a work permit to work in Albania. However, they must obtain a written confirmation from the competent authority confirming this status.
Visa and residence permits for employees and foreign investors
Some countries whose citizens are holders of ordinary passports (EU, USA but also other countries) can enter Albania without a visa. The list of countries whose citizens can enter Albania is approved by the Council of Ministers of Albania. Presentation of valid passport or other valid travelling document at border checkpoint will suffice and the traveler will be granted with a stay permit of 90 days in Albania.
The type of visas granted are:
Type A: Airport transit visa with one entry which allows the holder to remain in the international zone of the airport until the departure of their flight to their final destination.
Type C: Short term residence visa which allows the holder to remain in the Albanian territory for up to 90 days of a 180 day period.
Type D: Long term residence visa, valid for one year, which allows the holder to stay in Albania for up to 90 days of a 180 day period and to apply for the issuance of a residence permit.
Foreign citizens that reside in Albania for more than 90 days (cumulative) during a period of 180 days should apply and obtain a residence permit from the competent authority. There are different types of residence permits, which differ depending on the type of activity that the foreigner will perform in Albania. The most common type of residence permit granted for employment purposes is residence permit for employment purposes which is granted in compliance with the conditions of the work permit and Residence permit for the self-employed which is granted to self-employed persons in compliance with the conditions of a work permit. Other types of residence permit granted are:
Citizens of the USA have a more favorable regime, according to which they can stay in Albania for at least one year without a residence permit. US citizens are entitled to obtain the first residence permit for a period of five years.
Visa and residence for contracts with the government
As a rule, there are no special visa, working and residence rules for foreigners that travel and stay in Albania and work under a contract with the Albanian Government. If the contract is approved by the Albanian parliament, certain facilities may be provided in the contract such as undertaking of the government to procure working and residence permits on behalf of the private party’s employees.