Starting in late 2022, the European Union will introduce a new visa waiver system for travellers wishing to go to the Schengen countries. This program, called ETIAS, or Electronic Travel Information and Authorisation System, is intended to provide a better, more secure travel experience to Albanian citizens, and other eligible nationals, when visiting the EU member states.
It is worth mentioning that ETIAS is not a visa. This electronic travel permit, also known as visa waiver, is an additional document that Albanians will need besides their passports, and by no means is the equivalent of a visa to Europe.
The ETIAS programme was brainstormed in 2016 and took four years to develop. By the end of 2022, all Albanian travellers will need to have an ETIAS if they wish to visit a Schengen country. The ETIAS is valid for land, air, and sea borders, as well as for visitors of Albania who will only be transiting through Schengen countries en route to their final destination.
Are Albanian citizens eligible to apply for ETIAS visa waiver?
Yes, Albanian citizens are eligible to apply for an ETIAS visa waiver.
As of late 2022, Albanians will need to obtain an ETIAS if they wish to travel to countries located in the Schengen zone, which includes neighbours such as Greece, Italy, and so on. A full list of the countries that travellers can enter on an ETIAS waiver can be found here.
The process for obtaining an ETIAS for Albanian citizens is very simple and quick. Applicants will only need about 15 minutes of their time to complete the application, which can be done from any smartphone, computer, or tablet that has internet access. The result is usually sent instantly to the applicant’s email address.
What documents do Albanian need to obtain ETIAS?
There are only a handful of ETIAS requirements for Albanian citizens. They include the following:
- A valid and up to date Albania-issued passport. This passport must be valid for at least three months from the date the traveller plans to enter the Schengen area. If passports have less than three months left, we recommend obtaining a new passport before applying for an ETIAS.
- A valid form of payment to pay the application fee, such as a credit or debit card.
- An email address to receive notifications about the status of the applicant’s ETIAS.
Once all of these requirements are met, travellers can proceed with their ETIAS permit application.
ETIAS application process for Albanian citizens
The ETIAS application for Albanian citizens is simple and takes less than 15 minutes. The application will ask visitors for a few personal details, including:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Passport information (number, date of issue, date of expiration)
- Contact information (home address, phone number)
- Email address
There will also be a section that asks applicants of Albania for their travel details, including the expected point of entry into the Schengen Zone, as well as a simple itinerary of their travel plans. Albanian visitors will also need to answer some questions regarding their health and security, including information about possible criminal records, if any.
We advise all applicants of Albania to answer these questions as truthfully as possible, since every piece of information on the application form will be checked against European security databases, such as Interpol and Europol. Likewise, we advise all Albanians to go through their completed application and double check to make sure that everything is correct.
If travellers from Albania are found to have written incorrect or misleading information, ETIAS authorities have the right to reject the application. In this case, Albanian applicants can re-apply using the correct information.
At the end of the process, Albanians will be required to pay an application fee in order to submit their form. Applicants can do so by paying with a valid debit or credit card.
Travellers are recommended to print a copy of their ETIAS authorisation so that they can present it to the immigration officers when entering the country.
Albanian travellers can use their ETIAS authorisation for the sole purposes of tourism, transit and business and up to 90 days. This means that it is not possible to use the ETIAS to obtain employment: in those cases, Albanian citizens are advised to apply for an actual visa that suits these needs.
How long does it take to get ETIAS from Albania?
Although the processing time to obtain an ETIAS permit for Albanian citizens is instantaneous, it can take up to 72 hours (three business days) in case of delays or public holidays.
The ETIAS is valid for 3 years from the date of issue, although if the linked Albanian passport expires before that period, then the ETIAS authorisation will no longer be valid. The ETIAS is a special authorisation, not a visa, that grants holders a 90-day stay in the Schengen zone within any 180-day period.