OLD / NEW LAW for US Foreigners in Albania
As all of you very well remember, we went through some stressful weeks starting early November 2021 when the “New Law for Foreigners” was introduced. The word introduction is a very big word to describe what actually went on. While the “NEW” law stated nothing on the change for American citizens in Albania or others planning to come, it very unclearly or indirectly was hinting to some major changes for US citizens allowance to stay in Albania.
The rumors went wild and spread fast while nothing was found on the local “Fletorja Zyrtare” about this specific detail that would concern several thousand American citizens living in Albania. So many reached out to us worried about fines, worried that they would break the law. We, the admins of this online community felt helpless too. Besides rumors there was nothing we could clarify at all. The Christmas holidays came upon us and we all watched the dust settle over a glass of mulled wine.
Come January, I had my first immigration meeting with one of our clients we were assisting through the RESIDENCY PERMIT. Hands on, I was confronted with the change and right there and then I saw the details of the new law being implemented, unannounced and very unfair. One of them being the 90 day limited stay for US citizens and the other the immigration cost increase of the residency permit application to 20,000 lek (from 7200 lek). I walked away with a confirmation of the “unannounced” changes.
How on earth to communicate these changes to our community of Expats following our online platforms? I took a leap of faith and announced something slightly vague and slightly direct that some took as a good message and some other kept ripping it apart as if I was the “NEW” Law maker myself.
This write up may be well beside the point, but I would like to make a valuable point to whoever is reading and wants to read between the lines or right on them. Mistakes are constantly being made in this developing country, for UNKOWN REASONS but mostly for lack of professionalism, lack of organizational skills and knowledge as well as lack of communication.
And sure enough, another vague announcement, yet to be backed up officially, comes out – annulling the first unannounced announcement! The important thing is that now American Citizens are allowed to stay in Albania for 12 months without a visa. So, you are back to where you were!! YES, COME ON OVER… ALBANIA IS WIDE OPEN TO AMERICANS for ONE WHOLE YEAR!!
Well, my friends, this is Albania! Never a dull moment rest assured and never two rainy days in a row! From my heart to yours, as you know, I love my country in all its glory and shame! I’ve been back here for 9 years and have still hope that things will improve, just the ones that absolutely ought to, if you know what I mean. – Sincerely, Denisa Kaca Bradley