Expat Albania

If you are looking for maximum adventure in Europe, Albania is a great option. Albania was a communist country for approximately the first 50 years of the 20th century. Since the end of communism in the region, Albania has had a tough time transitioning from communism to democracy. While the government is democratic, poverty and lawlessness are rampant.

Although travelers and expats are generally safe, Albania is far less safe than most other European countries. Albania is situated between Kosovo and Greece. It is primarily a Muslim country and the people are not of Turkish or Slavic decent. While Albania may not have the conveniences of most western countries, it does have a beautiful culture, warm people, and a very interesting history. If you are looking to make a difference, you should definitely look into the wonderful opportunity of becoming an expat in Albania.


Albania is a small country that is approximately the same size as Maryland. While most people live in the capital city of Tirana, a significant portion of the population is spread out in other main cities. Albania is located between Greece and parts of the former Yugoslavia on the Balkan Peninsula. The climate is usually mild, with cool temperatures and lots of rain in the winter. Summer months are very hot, humidity is low, and the air is dry.


Albania was under communist rule for at least 50 years. Today, Albania is considered an emerging democracy, with the president as the head of state. The government has a unicameral assembly and the seats are determined by popular, direct vote. Albania has a civil law system that is similar in structure to that of other European countries.

Unfortunately, Albania is a very poor country and lacks infrastructure such as proper roads and utilities. However, inroads are being made. Both tourists and residents of Albania believe that corruption is rampant and police are frequently responsible for tourist ill-treatment.

The main cities are generally safe. However, one should be cautious when traveling in remote regions. You can find more information about Albania from the United States Embassy in Tirana or Embassy of the Republic of Albania in the United Kingdom.

Tax System

Albania has some of the lowest tax rates in Europe. Albania uses its low tax rates to encourage investment. The top individual income and corporate tax rates are both 20%. Albania also has value added, vehicle, and property taxes.

Medical Care

During communist times, Albania had an adequate health care system. Unfortunately, much of the health care is dilapidated or in need of repair today. Even though there are a few hospitals and clinics in Albania, most expats prefer to leave the country for major or even moderate procedures.

Real Estate

Westerners are usually quite disappointed in Albania’s real estate as it does not meet their standards. Corruption can also be a huge obstacle for purchasing real estate in Albania. As a result, real estate transactions require the utmost prudence from the buyer. Anyone who decides to purchase real estate should have close ties to family or friends in the area. Unfortunately, the courts’ inefficiency causes contractual matters (such as the ones prevalent in real estate) to be significantly delayed, thereby discouraging real estate acquisitions.

Renting an apartment is a better option. A high-end apartment in Albania costs between $800 and $1200 per month, while a basic one ranges from $200 to $400 per month.


Persons looking for a shopper’s paradise in Albania will be disappointed. It is even difficult for Albanians to find basic necessities there. So finding luxury items or other types of consumer goods in Albania is unlikely. In the future, the availabilty of goods and services will increase due to an influx of investment and  the building/improvement of infrastructure there.

Although consumer goods are scarce, a variety of food and entertainment are available. A lover of ethnic foods from Italy and Greece will certainly enjoy the food choices in Albania. Only a few beverage-selling establishments exist as the majority of Albanians are Muslim. Extremely poor roads and infrastructure have placed a burden on importation. Therefore, imported items are generally unavailable.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Albania is extremely low. This may be primarily attributed  to the lack of goods and services there. Housing is usually the biggest expense, with other expenses such as utilities and owning a car following closely behind.

Individuals planning to live in Albania should do so for the right reason. If your goal is to find a cheap watering hole, there are plenty of other places on the planet that will give you more bang for your buck. Albania has had a difficult time transitioning from communist rule. Due to Albania’s poor infrastructure, poverty, and minimal production, it will take many years and a lot of help for this country to reach its full potential.

Blogs from Expats in Albania

Our Man in Tirana

A British expat in Tirana.

Extradition from Albania

The Treaty of Extradition Between the United States of America and the Kingdom of Albania went into effect in 1935.

In those days it was common for extradition treaties to list specific offenses for which extradition would be granted. As such, extradition from Albania to the United States can only be accomplished for serious and real offenses.

Map of Albania