Before the ball drops to signal the end of 2022, the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) will take effect and change how millions of tourists travel across the Schengen Zone.
ETIAS is a travel authorization system that offers a visa-exempt entry into the Schengen Area for all successful applicants. Citizens from over 60 countries are required to apply for an ETIAS visa waiver before they visit the 26 member states of the Schengen Area and that includes Albanians.
ETIAS Visa Waiver for Albanians
The ETIAS visa waiver was first proposed in 2016 but it wasn’t slated to appear until the end of 2022. After this point, visitors from over 60 countries will be required to apply for an ETIAS visa waiver before they can visit Schengen countries, including Greece, Spain, France, Germany, and Portugal.
Is Albania in the Schengen Zone?
The differences between Europe, the European Union, and the Schengen Zone can confuse some non-Europeans and have also confused plenty of Europeans.
Albania is a great example. It’s a European nation, but it is not part of the European Union, which is a political and economic union, and has also not signed the Schengen Agreement.
Most of the countries in the Schengen Area are also member states of the European Union, but 4 countries in this zone are not in the EU and 5 countries in the EU are not in the Schengen Area.
How to Apply for an ETIAS for Albanian Citizens
Albanian passport holders can apply for an ETIAS visa waiver through the official website. The ETIAS application is processed online and usually takes just a few minutes to complete.
What are the ETIAS Requirements for Albanian Citizens?
If you have a valid Albanian passport then you can apply for ETIAS travel authorization. The passport must be valid for at least 3 months and if it expires before the ETIAS then the ETIAS will also expire, at which point you will need to submit a new application.
The ETIAS remains valid for 3 years after the date of approval and it provides access to all member countries of the Schengen Area for up to 90 days in a 180 day period.
Where Can Albanians Travel Without a Visa?
Visas are required for Albanian citizens who wish to travel to many popular destinations outside of Europe, but there are currently over 100 countries that they can access without a visa, including Chile, Cyprus, Ecuador, Indonesia, Israel, and Turkey.
Wikipedia has a handy list that you can use to see which countries require a visa and which ones can be accessed visa-free or with an electronic visa.
What are the Most Popular European Travel Destinations for Albanians?
Albania and Greece have a close connection and modern-day Albania was very important to the ancient Greeks. In fact, this region was dubbed “Illyria” by the Greeks and it was home to Illyrians, as well as Thracians.
The ancient state of Epirus, home to the brilliant but unfortunate Pyrrhus of Epirus, also encompassed parts of what is now Albania. It’s no surprise then that Greece is one of the most popular travel destinations for Albanian citizens.
It’s also a country that can be accessed using the ETIAS visa waiver, although it doesn’t border any other countries that are part of the Schengen Zone.