Visa Liberalisation Process with Albania

In this section you will find:

  • Chronology of the Visa Liberalisation process with Albania
  • Key documents of the Visa Liberalisation process
  • EMA’s analysis on Visa Liberalisation process
  • Readiness reports submitted by the Albanian government
  • The EC Assessment Reports on Albanian progress towards fulfillment of benchmarks embedded in the Roadmap towards visa free regime with Albania
  • Other actors monitoring, analysing, reporting on Visa Liberalisation process with Albania
  • Useful links

*******************************************************************************************************************************************
Chronology of the Visa Liberalisation Process with Albania
30 May 2011 – EC presents its “post-visa liberalisation monitoring report“, assessing the progress made by the five Western Balkan countries in continuing the visa Roadmap reforms.

April 2011 – The Commission and Member State expert visit Albania to verify on continued implementation of the Roadmap benchmarks.

24 – 25 February 2011 – The EC presents its monitoring mechanism to the JHA Council assessing the implementation of measures taken by the Western Balkan countries during the visa liberalisation process.

15 December 2010 – Entry into force of the visa – free travel for Albanian citizens.

8 November 2010 – The JHA Council of EU votes pro lifting the visa regime for Albanian citizens. Meanwhile, Commission initiates a new follow-up monitoring mechanism to observe continued implementation of the Roadmap conditions as well as inflows of asylum seekers or illegal migrants.

6 – 7 October 2010 – The European Parliament vote in favor of lifting the visa requirements for Albania with 538 votes in favor and 47 against.

14 September 2010 – The EC presents the fourth Assessment Report which concludes that Albania has met the remaining open benchmarks and as the result the EC proposes the lifting of visa regime.

July 2010 – The EC introduces the legislative proposal to lift the visa regime with Albania based on the conclusions of the assessment report of the last experts’ missions.

27 May 2010 – The EC issues a legislative proposal suggesting visa – free travel to Albania on condition that the country would meet the outstanding benchmarks until the September Assessment Report.

19 April 2010 – The EC issues an updated assessment (fourth Assessment Report) for Albania, indicating substantial progress. Remains a limited number of benchmarks to be addressed.

January – February 2010 – EU experts carry out another a second field assessment in Albania for Block two and three of the Roadmap towards visa free regime with Albania.

27 November 2009 – The EC presents the third Assessment Report to the Albanian government.

16 July 2009 – The EC proposes to the EU Council of Ministers the lifting of the visa regime with Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.

18 May 2009 – The EC presents the second Assessment Report to the Albanian government.

January – April 2009 – The EC and Member States carry out a field assessment in the Western Balkans on the progress in meeting the benchmarks.

24 November 2008 – The EC presents the first Assessment Report on Albanian progress towards meeting the benchmarks of the Visa Roadmap.

1 September 2008 – The Albanian Government submits the first Readiness Report, which measured the progress achieved towards meeting the Roadmap’s benchmarks.

3 June 2008 – The European Commission (EC) submits the Roadmap towards visa free regime to Albania, which presents officially a concrete step towards visa – free regime for the Albanian citizens. The Roadmap embedded 42 benchmarks divided in 4 blocks: Document security; Illegal migration including readmission; Public order and security; External relations and fundamental rights.

7 March 2008 – The EU Commissioner from Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council, Mr. Franco Frattini launches the dialogue towards visa liberalisation between Albania and the European Community.

1 January 2008 – Entry into force of the Visa Facilitation Agreement (VFA) which marks the first concrete step towards a visa – free regime for citizens of the Western Balkan countries.

1 May 2006 –
Entry into force of the Readmission Agreement between Albania and the European Community.

20 November 2006 – Opening of negotiations for the Visa Facilitation Agreement (VFA) and Readmission Agreement with the Western Balkan countries.

14 April 2005 – Signature of the Readmission Agreement between Albania and the European Community.

21 June 2003 – Thessaloniki Summit designs the perspective of Visa Liberalisation for the Western Balkan countries, including Albania.

Key documents of the Visa Liberalisation process with Albania

Readmission Agreement was part of the European policy for combating illegal immigration, adopted by the European Council. Such agreement involved reciprocal undertakings between the EU and Albania in the framework of co-operation over the return of illegal residents to their country of origin or transit.

Visa Facilitation Agreement (VFA) aimed at facilitating the movement of Albanian citizens towards countries of the EU. Main target of this agreement was the group of “agents of exchange”, which included members of official delegations, representatives of the business community, journalists, representatives of the civil society, pupils, students and university lecturers who travel for purposes of study and training, persons who participate in scientific, cultural and artistic activities, participants in international exhibitions, conferences, seminars, close relatives of migrants , spouses, children, parents, grandparents, grandchildren, siblings and their children, persons involved in sports and tourists. The agreement intended to provide for:

  • shortening the procedures for issuing a Schengen visa;
  • keeping the visa processing fee at the amount of Euro 35 for all Albanian citizens and waiving this fee for specific categories;
  • removing visa requirements for holders of diplomatic passports;
  • the possibility of issuing long-term and multiple entry visas for categories of persons have frequent exchanges with the Schengen countries.

Roadmap towards visa free regime with Albania was the main strategic document between EU and Albania in the context of Visa Liberalisation. In this document were embedded 42 benchmarks, the fulfillment of which would have lead towards the lifting of visa regime. The 42 benchmarks were organised in 4 blocks:
1. Document security
2. Illegal migration including readmission
3. Public Order and Security
4. External Relations and fundamental rights

EMA’s analysis on Visa Liberalisation process:

  • Monitoring Report on the Visa Liberalisation Process with Albania – The End and the Beginning (October 2010)
  • Monitoring the Visa Liberalisation Process with Albania: What to expect when you are expecting? (May 2010)
  • Visa Liberalisation, Implications of a proposal (September 2009)
  • One year from the Visa Facilitation Agreement: What has really changed? (January 2009)
  • Scorecard on Visa Roadmap Implementation (16 November 2009)

Readiness reports submitted by the Albanian government:

First readiness report (September 2008)
Update report (12 January 2009)
Second readiness report (1 October 2009)
Updated second readiness reports (2 November 2009) and (16 November 2009)
Further measures, blocks 1 and 2 (29 January 2010)
Summary of achievements (February 2010)
Report on remaining benchmarks (25 June 2010)
The EC Assessment Reports on Albanian progress towards fulfilment of benchmarks embedded in the Roadmap towards visa free regime with Albania:

Assessment report – 24 November 2008
Assessment report – 18 May 2009
Assessments report – 27 November 2009
Assessments report – 19 April 2010
Assessment report on the fulfillment of the open benchmarks – 14 September 2010

Other actors monitoring, analysing, reporting on Visa Liberalisation Process with Albania


Balkan Trust for Democracy, German Marshal Fund
Citizens Pact – Serbia
European Citizens Action Service
European Stability Initiative
Europe Without Barriers

Group 484 -Serbia
International Organization of Migration (IOM)

Center for Research and Policy Making (CRPM)
Delegation of the European Union in Albania
European Parliament
EU Justice ad Home Affairs Council
Ministry of European Integration
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Ministry of Interior
State Policy
Populari