The current U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory at the date of this report’s publication assesses Albania at Level 1, indicating travelers should exercise normal precautions.
Overall Crime and Safety Situation
The U.S. Embassy in Tirana does not assume responsibility for the professional ability or integrity of the persons or firms appearing in this report. The American Citizens’ Services unit (ACS) cannot recommend a particular individual or location, and assumes no responsibility for the quality of service provided.
Please review OSAC’s Albania-specific page for original OSAC reporting, consular messages, and contact information, some of which may be available only to private-sector representatives with an OSAC password.
There is considerable risk from crime in Tirana. The Albanian government is making a concerted effort to improve the country’s law enforcement capabilities and reduce corruption. Organized crime has a noted impact on Albania, with a network of criminal organizations involved in drug trafficking, extortion, bribery, money laundering, prostitution, and human trafficking.
Recent crime statistics indicate a decrease in numerous violent crime categories; this includes murder/attempted murder, robberies by force, and armed robberies. Street crime is fairly common in urban areas, predominantly at night. The most notable crimes are burglaries, theft, and domestic violence claims. If confronted by armed assailants, comply with demands.
Sexual assault and harassment is an issue mostly in the smaller towns. The victims tend to be females walking alone.
The expatriate community is not specifically targeted, although members could become victims due to circumstance or proximity. Anti-U.S. sentiment is rare in Albania, and the international community is generally well-regarded.
Other Areas of Concern
The security situation in the southern town of Lazarat, which was one of the largest marijuana producing regions in Europe, has improved. However, the Embassy prohibits its personnel from personal travel to the area, and strongly discourages visitors from traveling there as well.
For more information, please review OSAC’s Report, Security in Transit: Airplanes, Public Transport, and Overnights.
Road Safety and Road Conditions
Driving can be challenging. Unsafe driving is regularly encountered on roads nationwide, and disregard for traffic laws is widespread. Traffic accidents are frequent and often result in serious injury or death. If you choose to self-drive, please exercise strong caution and drive as defensively as possible. For more information on self-driving, please review OSAC’s Report Driving Overseas: Best Practices.
Roads are in poor condition, but the government is responding to the influx of tourists increasing each year, and road conditions are improving. In the winter, the roads through the mountains in northern Albania can be snowy and icy. Flash floods can occur at any time, opening up deep and wide car-crushing potholes, especially in outlying areas.
Nighttime driving is hazardous, with roads lacking proper lighting. Avoid traveling at night between cities because of the risk of automobile accidents. Plan to arrive at destinations before nightfall.
Public Transportation Conditions
Public transportation options are limited and not generally recommended for visitors. However, marked taxis are considered safe and recommended for use.
Tirana International Airport (TIA) is a newer and modern airport. Well-known regional airlines fly to Albania on a regular basis.
Local, Regional, and International Terrorism Threats/Concerns
There is moderate risk from terrorism in Tirana. Albania has laws against terrorist acts; financing of terrorism; collection, transfer and concealment of funds that finance terrorism; conducting transactions with persons on the UN sanctions lists; recruiting and training people to commit terrorist acts; incitement of terrorist acts; and establishing, leading and participating in terrorist organizations.
Returned Albanian fighters from Syria and Iraq continue to pose a problem for the country. The Albanian government has policies and procedures to document the travel of Albanians to and from Iraq and Syria. In 2018, there were 25 new terrorism-related cases in the judicial system, although no prosecutions were conducted.
Political, Economic, Religious, and Ethnic Violence
There is minimal risk from civil unrest in Tirana. Demonstrations and political protests are common in Albania. The protests are generally peaceful, but have resulted in violence in the past; in November 2018, more than 300 people were involved in a protest outside of Parliament that resulted in serious injuries to 13 police officers.
Demonstrations vary in size from several hundred to several thousand participants, and frequently disrupt traffic. Protest organizers are required to apply for a permit from the police prior to any demonstration activity, but this does not always take place. The police closely monitor demonstrations and take appropriate measures. Avoid demonstrations and protests.
The Albanian Government appears to be making a concerted effort to improve the country’s law enforcement capabilities. Corruption and lack of resources within the police present ongoing challenges.
Albanian law enforcement capabilities continue to improve, especially in the areas of counter-terrorism and organized crime. Police now have a visible presence throughout Tirana and other larger Albanian cities; however, their response is often delayed due to limited resources and manpower. Police tend to respond more rapidly to reports from members of the international community. One concern regarding police performance is their low salaries and the resulting potential for corruption.
The police emergency number in Albania is 129.
Crime Victim Assistance
For local first responders, please refer to the Embassy’s Emergency Assistance page.
Healthcare is a serious problem in Albania. Medical care is inadequate in some areas, and emergency medical services are very limited. There are no trauma hospitals outside of Tirana. Individuals under continuing medical supervision should consult their physician prior to travel.
Bring a sufficient supply of any required medications. Drink only bottled water, as local tap water is not purified to U.S. standards. Obtain medical evacuation (medevac) insurance prior to travel.
Contact Information for Available Medical Services
For medical assistance, refer to the Embassy’s Medical Assistance page.
Country-specific Vaccination and Health Guidance
Visitors are recommended to be inoculated against Hepatitis A and B, and to receive other vaccinations as a precaution prior to traveling to Albania. If travelers are involved in outdoor activities, it is advised to be inoculated against rabies because of the large number of stray dogs.
The CDC offers additional information on vaccines and health guidance for Albania.
OSAC Country Council Information
There is no OSAC Country Council in Albania. Interested private-sector security managers should contact OSAC’s Europe Team with any questions.
U.S. Embassy Location and Contact Information
Embassy Address and Hours of Operation
U.S. Embassy Tirana is located at Rruga Elbasanit 103 in Tirana.
Normal operation hours are Monday-Friday, 0800-1630. Some sections and agencies may differ. U.S. Embassy Tirana is closed on Saturday and Sunday, and on American and Albanian holidays.
Embassy Contact Numbers
Main phone: +355 (0)4 2247 285
After hours emergency: +355 (0)4 224 7285 thru 89
U.S. citizens traveling to Albania should register with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to ensure they receive pertinent security updates and notices.
Albania Country Information Sheet