A refugee is someone who has been forced to flee their own country due to persecution, conflict or violence. They are unable to return home due to well-founded fears of persecution (due to race, religion, nationality, political opinion, membership of a particular social group) and/or violation of their human rights.
In order to receive refugee or other forms of protection status in Albania, you need to request asylum. While a decision is being made on your case, you will have the status of asylum-seeker.
If you are:
- a child under the age of 18 travelling without your parents
- a single parent travelling with children
- a single woman travelling alone
- a person with a disability or chronic illness
- an elderly person
- a victim of trafficking, or in fear you will be forced to work or perform sexual acts in Albania against your will
- a person not in a mentally fit stage
- or if you consider that you, or someone you are traveling with, have other individual circumstances causing a need of special care, support or protection
➡️ Please alert a Border and Migration Police official upon arrival in the country in order to ensure you receive specialised services.
Your asylum request should be presented to the Albanian Border and Migration Police. Upon entry in the country, you will be interviewed by one of these officials and you will be asked whether you would like to seek asylum in Albania. Interviews should be conducted in a language you understand, and you have the right to be interviewed individually. You can also declare your intention to seek asylum at any time, to any border official before or during the interview.
Asylum-seekers who enter Albania illegally will not be prosecuted for this offence, on condition they present themselves in front of the Border and Migration Police within 10 days of their arrival in the country.
After you request asylum, you may be accommodated at the National Reception Centre for Asylum-Seekers, another designated place, or at a place of your choice.
If you do not ask for asylum in Albania, and are not in possession of valid travel documents, you will be considered an irregular migrant. It is likely that you will be asked to return to the country you just travelled from within 7 to 30 days, depending on the removal order issued by the Border and Migration Police. If you refuse this, you will be transferred to a closed center. You have a right to sign documents in relation to your return in a language you understand.
The asylum procedure starts by submitting a written asylum application form at the Directorate for Asylum and Citizenship in Tirana. At this point, you will be asked to provide personal details such as your name, address and nationality. You will also be expected to explain the reasons for which you have left your country and wish to seek asylum in Albania.
The asylum interview is the second phase, during which you explain your reasons for seeking asylum in more detail to a representative of the Directorate for Asylum and Citizenship. It is important to give a full account of what has happened to you and what you fear if you are returned to your country of origin. This interview should take place as soon as possible following the submission of your asylum application.
The Directorate for Asylum and Citizenship should issue a decision on your case within 6 months of the submission of the application. Under certain circumstances, this time limit may be extended, first, for another three-month period, and finally, up to a maximum of 21 months. This decision should be delivered in writing within 5 days of the decision being made.
If you are granted refugee status
If you are granted refugee status, or another form of protection status, including subsidiary protection, you will enjoy several rights foreseen in the Law on Asylum.
If you are denied refugee status, you have the right to submit an appeal within 15 days from the notification of the decision. This appeal will be considered firstly by the National Commission on Asylum and Refugees. If the decision is again negative, you have the right to take your case to Court.
Until there is a final decision made by a competent court, following the administrative decisions taken by the responsible authorities for asylum, you are entitled to stay in Albania with the status of asylum-seeker.
If your appeal is unsuccessful at all stages, you will be subject to a removal order and required to leave Albania.