Albania - Country Commercial Guide
Business Travel and Etiquette

Includes information on business customs, travel advisory, visa requirements, and other aspects of international travel.

Last published date: 2021-10-09

Business Customs

Albania is a relationship-oriented society that places a premium on friendship, hospitality, and trust. Business discussions are usually preceded by a series of questions concerning health, family, and the general well-being of the parties. Business meetings often take place over coffee, and the time spent partaking in such is considered important to the business relationship and should not be discounted. Albanians frequently exchange gifts

Appointments should be made in advance of a business visit and exchange of business cards is common. Most Albanian businesspeople speak at least one foreign language, the most common being English and Italian. Computer usage is extensive, and most businesspeople use e-mail, the internet, and messaging apps to communicate. Summer holidays typically take place in late July and August, and it can be difficult to reach company personnel during this period.

Business dress is recommended when meeting with government officials. Smart business casual is appropriate for meetings with businesspersons and visits to local companies.

Travel Advisory

Business travelers to Albania should remember that the country’s transportation network is limited. Despite recent infrastructure improvements in major traffic corridors, roads in rural areas are often in poor condition. Drivers are aggressive and frequently disregard traffic laws.

Traveling at night outside urban areas is not recommended due to poor road conditions and a lack of adequate street lighting. Tirana’s international airport serves the entire country.

As in any country, travelers should take precautions to ensure their personal safety while travelling. Please refer to the Albania International Travel Information (state.gov)

Visa requirements

U.S. citizens do not require a visa for stays of less than one year in Albania.

Stays of more than one year require a residence permit. Please visit the website of the U.S. Embassy in Tirana for instructions on how to apply for a residence permit.

Visa applicants should visit the following link State Department Visa Website

U.S. Companies that require travel of foreign businesspersons to the United States are advised that security evaluations are handled via an interagency process. Visa applicants should go to the following link:  State Department Visa Website

Currency:  The national currency is the Albanian lek (ALL). Albania has adopted a free-floating exchange rate regime since 1992. The Bank of Albania publishes the value of the Albanian currency against foreign currencies. For daily official exchange rates, please visit the website of the Bank of Albania. The Euro is also used in the market and more expensive items are often quoted in euro. Albania is a cash based economy and most of payments are done in cash. However, debit and credit cards are widely accepted in hotels, restaurants, and major grocery stores. The country has a good network of ATMs while the use of traveler’s checks is limited. 

Telecommunications/Electronics 

Cellular phones are widely used in Albania. Three companies currently offer mobile services: One Communication, Vodafone, and ALBtelecom. All three companies offer 4G.

Albania’s voltage is 220V and plugs and sockets are those of European types C and F.

Albania’s country code is +355, followed by the local land line or cellular phone number.

Transportation

Tirana International Airport Mother Theresa (TIA) is Albania’s only airport and provides flights to major European destinations and some in the Middle East. Air carriers that operate at TIA can be found at TIA’s website.

There are no direct flights from the United States to Albaniawith most connections going through major European transfer points including Istanbul, Vienna, Frankfurt, Munich, Rome, and London. Public transportation is limited in Albania and most business travelers will want to travel by taxi or hire a car and driver for the duration of their visit. Avis, Hertz and other rental car companies offer services in Albania. A taxi from TIA to the center of Tirana costs approximately USD 20. For longer periods of travel or standby use, a car and driver can be rented for approximately USD 5-8 per hour.

Major taxi companies in the capital include:

Green Taxi

Merr Taxi

Speed Taxi

City Taxi

LUX Taxi

Language

The national language of Albania is Albanian. A large portion of Albanians speak at least one foreign language, most commonly, English and Italian. Albania has a large pool of well-trained and talented linguists who can serve as translators and interpreters. Translators generally charge approximately USD 100-200 per day.

Health

The quality of medical care at private hospitals and clinics in Tirana has improved in recent years, but does not yet meet western standards. Medical care outside the capital is limited because of a lack of medical specialists, diagnostic aids, medical supplies, and prescription pharmaceuticals. Tirana has four main private hospitals that offer modern facilities and a full range of services, including the American Hospital, Hygeia Hospital, German Hospital, and Albanian-Italian Salus Hospital.

Travelers with previously diagnosed medical conditions should consult their physician before traveling to Albania. As prescription pharmaceuticals may be unavailable locally, travelers may also wish to bring extra supplies of required medications.

U.S. medical insurance plans rarely covers health costs incurred outside the United States unless supplemental coverage is purchased.

The local emergency phone number is 112 and medical emergency number is 127. Ambulance service is available, but response times are often long, even in urban areas. In rural areas, response times are even longer. The number to dial fire department is 128, police is 129, while the number for traffic police is 126.

For more information, please visit the following web sites:

U.S. Passports & International Travel

U.S. Embassy in Albania – Medical Assistance

Spitali Amerikan  

Hygeia Group

German Hospital

Salus

Local time, business hours, and holidays:

EST +6

GMT +1

Most Albanian businesses are open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and occasionally open on Saturday. There is no legislation regulating shop hours and many shops are open seven days a week into late evening.

Government offices generally operate Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and during the summer from Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For a list of local official holidays visit E-Albania Official Holidays

The U.S. Embassy will observe the following Albanian and U.S. holidays in 2021:

January 1

New Year’s Day (Albania/U.S. Holiday)

January 2                  

New Year’s Day

January 18

Martin Luther King Day (U.S. Holiday)

February 15

President’s Day (U.S. Holiday)

March 14                  

Summer Day

March 22

Nevruz Day

April 4

Catholic Easter

May 2

Orthodox Easter

May 1                       

May Day

May 2

Orthodox Easter

May 13*

Big Bajram

May 31

Memorial Day (U.S. Holiday)

July 4              

Independence Day (U.S. Holiday)

July 20

Small Bajram

September 5               

Mother Teresa Day

September 6    

Labor Day (U.S. Holiday)

October 11

Columbus Day (U.S. Holiday)

November 11

Veteran’s Day (U.S. Holiday)

November 25

Thanksgiving (U.S. Holiday)

November 28            

Albanian Independence Day

November 29             

Albanian National Liberation Day

December 8

Albanian National Youth Day

December 25           

Christmas Day (Albania/U.S. Holiday)

When an authorized American holiday falls on a Sunday, the U.S. Embassy is closed the following Monday. When such a holiday falls on a Saturday, the U.S. Embassy is closed the preceding Friday.

When an authorized Albanian holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the U.S. Embassy is closed the following workday in accordance with local custom.

*The dates of the Muslim holidays of Big Bajram (Eid al-Fitr) and Small Bajram (Eid al-Adha) are subject to the lunar calendar and may change.

Temporary Entry of Materials and Personal Belongings: According to Albanian customs regulations, temporary entry of materials and personal belongings is allowed only after submission of the following documents, in addition to an employment contract of more than one year. Only one shipment is allowed under this category:

•               Request signed by the applicant (in Albanian) and submitted to the Tirana Directory of Customs requesting duty free import of belongings;

•               Photocopy of applicant’s passport (notarized);

•               Employment confirmation letter from the applicant’s employer;

•               Photocopy of the employment contract (from which the applicant may delete any confidential information);

•               Photocopy of a residential lease contract in Albania (notarized);

•               Photocopy of a residence permit in Albania (notarized), and;

•               The packing list.