US

Apr 25 2019

Streamlined D Visa Process, Among Other Changes

Albania

At a Glance

The Albanian government streamlined the D Visa process by adding visa-exempt nationalities and enabling online visa applications; broadened the scope of eligible dependents to spouses and partners cohabiting for one year, down from three; and allowed authorized representatives with a Power of Attorney to file residence permit renewal applications.


The situation

The Albanian government has streamlined the D Visa process, broadened the scope of eligible dependents and clarified certain administrative policies.

A closer look

  • Streamlined D Visa process. The following changes should streamline the D Visa process, which is required for foreign nationals staying for over 90 days in Albania:
    • New temporary visa exemptions. Nationals from Belarus, China, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Thailand are now visa exempt for both short-term and long-term travel to Albania until October 31, 2019, with the possibility of extension of the policy at that time.
    • Online visa applications. D visa applicants can now file their applications online, where this was not previously possible. Note that supporting documents must be Apostilled / legalized, notarized and translated by a sworn translator as before.
    • Impact. Applicants should benefit from streamlined D visa applications. Employers should benefit from faster work start dates due to quicker D visa obtainment.
  • Broader eligibility for dependents. Spouses and partners cohabiting for one year now qualify for dependent status under a main applicant’s residence permit, where previously three years of cohabitation was required. Partners must submit a notarized declaration of cohabitation and proof of at least one year of cohabitation, as before.
    • Impact. Residence permit holders should benefit from being able to sponsor their spouse or partner after a shorter period of cohabitation.
  • Other policy clarifications.
    • Proof of funds. The amount of funds considered sufficient for foreign nationals to enter Albania for short- and long-term stays has been raised to ALL 5,000 for adults or ALL 2,500 for minors. For residence permit applications, applicants should submit bank statements or bank deposits demonstrating ALL 300,000 per person per year, or ALL 24,000 monthly income where previously no format or amount were specified.
    • Document requirements for renewal. Residence permit renewal applicants should submit proof of social security and health insurance coverage (either in Albania or in the home country) with visa renewal applications, where this was not previously required. Additionally, authorized representatives with a Power of Attorney can now file residence permit renewal applications, where this was not previously possible.
    • Impact. Applicants should benefit from greater transparency and a more predictable application process through these administrative clarifications.

 

Background

Since the Albanian migration law was introduced in 2013, authorities have been constantly reviewing and revising relevant legislation and policies, with minor changes occurring approximately every six months and bigger changes approximately every two years. Authorities often pilot changes by adjusting internal administrative practices before amendments are formalized through legislation.

Looking ahead

Fragomen expects the authorities to continue this policy to ensure further improvement of immigration processes and to manage the immigration authorities’ workloads. Fragomen will report on relevant updates.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to emea@fragomen.com.