An expatriate is considered as a foreign national working under an Albanian employment contract or under a secondment agreement.
Residence and work permits requirements for expatriates working in Albania
An expatriate can work in Albania after being issued with a work permit. An expatriate must also apply for a residence permit if his/her stay in Albania exceeds 90 days within a 180 day period.
A foreigner should apply for the issuance of a temporary residence permit not later than 30 days after his/her entry into the territory of Albania and, for the renewal of the same, no later than 60 days before its expiration. Such applications should be submitted to the Directory of Borders and Immigration at the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Citizens of the United States benefit from a favourable regime, which allows them to stay in the Republic of Albania for at least one year without a residence permit. Residence permits can be renewable or non-renewable and can be issued for a fixed term or permanent term, depending on the type of employment, period of employment and/or the qualifications of the employee.
When employing a foreign employee, the employer must notify the Labour Office and the Directory of Borders and Immigration within 8 days from the commencement of the employment relationship. There are several types of work permit that foreign employees can apply for, depending on the purpose of their work in Albania. The application for a work permit is filed at the Directory of Migration, Labour Office, at the Ministry of Social Wellness and Youth. The work permit is issued within 30 days from the submission of the required documentation by the applicant.
An initial work permit can be granted for a maximum period of 1-5 years, depending on the type of permit, subject to renewal(s) (except for seasonal work permits) for consecutive period(s) till, when applicable, the issuance of a permanent permit. The request for renewal is submitted at least 30 days before the expiration of the existing permit. The competent authority issues the renewed permit within 30 days from submission of the complete application and fulfilment of the conditions for renewal.
Citizens of the European Union and the Schengen Area are exempted from the obligation to obtain a work permit during their work in Albania. However, this category of expatriates is required to obtain the “Exemption from Work Permit”, which is a document released by the Labour Office after submission of the complete documentation. A procedure similar to the one for obtaining the work permit is applied. Citizens of the United States enjoy employment rights equal to those of Albanian citizens.