Albania has different visas for different occasions. So, how do you know when you need an Albanian short-stay visa? What sort of visas belong to this visa category, and how can you get one? These are often questions that come to mind when you have to make a trip to Albania.
Albania is a country in southeastern Europe that is one of the somewhat untapped treasures of the beautiful continent. They even consider themselves the “last unturned stone of Europe.” Considering there are so many reasons to visit Albania, it’s not surprising that people troop in and out of this country, hence the need for a short-stay visa.
This article explains an Albanian short-stay visa and helps you understand whether or not you need one. Then, if you need one, we will tell you precisely what to do to get it and what you stand to gain from it.
About Albania Short-Stay Visa
An Albanian visa permits you, as a foreign national, to enter the Republic of Albania legally and stay there for some time. How long you stay there depends on whether you have a long-stay or short-stay visa.
The Albanian short-stay visa allows holders to visit Albania for up to 90 days of a given 180-day period. However, people who visit Albania don’t always need to stay for too long; hence, getting a visa that grants them an extended stay is unnecessary.
Most people who make use of the short-stay visa are tourists, business travelers, trainees, government officials, etc. Therefore, if you must travel to Albania for a short while, the first question is whether or not you need this visa.
Who Needs an Albania Short-Stay Visa?
Unlike most European countries, Albania doesn’t belong to the European Union. It doesn’t fall within the Schengen free-travel area either. However, the country still has various visa-free travel agreements with these international bodies. Such agreements state that you will be allowed to enter Albania using only your national passport (without the Albania short-stay visa) if you satisfy any of the following conditions;
- You are a citizen of one of the Schengen, EU, EEA, or EFTA countries.
- Your country has a visa-free travel agreement with the Schengen area.
- You have a residence permit in one of the Schengen member-states.
- You have a multiple-entry Schengen visa that has been used at least once in one of the Schengen member-states.
- Your multiple-entry visa or residence permit was given to you by the United States, United Kingdom, or Northern Ireland. It would help if you also had used the visa in the country that issued it at least once.
Those whose countries fall into this category and all others listed here can enter Albania visa-free for up to 90 out of 180 days. However, if you do not fall into these categories, you must apply for an Albania short-stay visa. So, this begs the next question; which short-stay visa do you use?
Types of Albania Short-Stay Visas
As we’ve previously pointed out, there are a lot of Albanian short-stay visas, depending on your reason for wanting to visit. Some of the most popular ones are;
- Tourist visa
- Group tourists visa
- Medical visa
- Business visa
- Sports, Cultural, and Research visa
Are you wondering what documents you will need to apply for these different kinds of visas? Let’s talk about that next.
Requirements for Applying for an Albania Short-Stay Visa
When applying for an Albania visa, there are certain documents you need to present. These Albania visa requirements help determine whether or not you qualify for the visa you’re applying for. While some of these required documents are general, the others are specific to the kind of visa you need.
The general requirements for an Albanian short-stay visa include;
- Application Form: This form, unlike most countries, is completed online. You will need to register and create an account. After filling out the form correctly, you can then print it out and sign it.
- Passport-sized Photographs: You must also provide two identical passport-sized photos for processing. These photos must be recent (six months or less), colored, and show your face very clearly.
- National Passport: Your national passport must be valid in that it should have at least two blank pages, one of which will contain your visa stamp. It must also be helpful for up to three months beyond your proposed visa expiry.
- Legal Consent: This document applies only to minors (children under the age of 18) who wish to visit Albania. They must provide a letter of consent, signed by a parent/guardian, stating that they are permitted to take the trip.
- Proof of Accommodation: You will need to show evidence that you have a place to stay. This could be a hotel booking receipt or a statement from a willing host. Such a statement comes in the form of an invitation from the said host, including a photocopy of their passport and residency permit (if the host is a foreign national). Meanwhile, they must also submit these documents to the Regional Department for Border and Migration in their city.
- Health Insurance: Before coming to Albania, you must purchase a health insurance plan that will cover the period of your stay there. This will make sure you’re not left stranded in case of medical emergencies.
Other specific requirements for the Albania short-stay visa include;
#1. Tourist Visa/Tourist Group Visa
- Flight itinerary and intended return date.
- Proof of funds, enough to get you through your stay in Albania. You can provide your bank statement or that of the person sponsoring the trip.
- Photocopy of license by the Albanian Tourism agency (for tourist group visa).
#2. Medical Visa
- Proof of medical condition; the diagnosis for which you intend to go to Albania.
- Invitation from the hospital or medical institution.
- Proof of funds; showing your bank statement or that of someone else that is going to cover the medical cost.
- Additional travel health insurance if someone else will be accompanying the patient.
#3. Business Visa
- Identity document as staff (or owner) of the company you are representing.
- A document that proves you’re traveling for business reasons. This could be an invitation, an appointment, or whatsoever.
- Registration documents for said business, i.e., proof that you are representing a legal enterprise.
#4. Sports, Cultural, and Research Visa
- Proof of funds, enough to cover your stay during the event or research.
- An invitation to the event (if you intend to participate actively) and not just observe.
Application Procedure for Albania Short-Stay Visa
To apply for the Albanian short-stay visa, you need to fill out, create an account and fill out the form online, as we have pointed out before. [see application form under general requirements]
The initial parts of the application happen online, so you will need to scan all required documents and upload them to the website. When you’ve done that, you wait for the embassy to give you a reply. Unfortunately, Albania has only a limited number of embassies in the world, so you can only apply to the one in or closest to your country.
Suppose the embassy screens your requirements and wishes to proceed with the application. In that case, they will send you a notification and ask you to pay the visa fee. If they think anything is missing, they ask you to upload any specified missing documents. Otherwise, they will send you a “notification of refusal” and explain why it was refused.
In the event that you are accepted, the embassy will invite you to come and collect your visa. Ensure you carry all your uploaded documents when going to collect the visa. In addition, carry proof that you’ve also paid the visa fee.
The entire application process takes about 15 to 30 days to complete. However, you can begin applying up to 2 months earlier to cover for any possible delays.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens if I overstay my visa in Albania?
If you overstay your visa in Albania, the consequences could be dire. They range from fines to detention (until you pay for your return ticket), deportation, or even a five-year ban from entering Albania.
Can I extend my Albania short-stay visa?
No, you can’t. If you apply for a short-stay visa, you cannot stay in Albania beyond 90 days. However, if you are unsure how long you will need to stay there, it would serve you better to apply for a long-stay visa.
How do I get a residency permit in Albania?
To get a temporary residency permit in Albania, you need to apply for a long-stay visa. Albania short-stay visas don’t require you to apply for any residency. However, if you want that, it means you plan to stay beyond three months, and you need an Albania long-stay visa. Once you get there, you’ll have to apply online for the permit.
How much is the Albania visa fee?
The Albania visa fees differ by country. The policy states that foreign nationals must pay the same amount their country charges Albanians to get a visa. So, for example, if Albanians pay 60 EUR to get a South African visa, the Albanian visa will also cost 60 EUR for South Africans.
What is the Albanian long-stay visa?
The Albania long-stay visa is a visa that allows foreign nationals to stay in Albania longer than 90 days (three months). They will, however, need to obtain a temporary residency permit to wait that long.
Albania is a gem in Europe that is still ripe and yet to be fully explored. To join this exploration, you only need an Albania short-stay visa.