By the end of 2022, all Albanian passport holders wishing to travel to any of the countries that belong to the Schengen Zone will need to apply for and obtain an ETIAS.
ETIAS stands for European Travel Information and Authorization System and it is a new system implemented to register visa waiver travelers when they enter and exit Schengen countries.
Although it is part of Europe, Albania is not a Schengen Zone member country nor part of the European Union at the moment. It is for this reason that Albanian nationals, although they are European citizens, will require an ETIAS visa waiver when they plan to visit countries that belong to the Schengen Area.
The ETIAS visa waiver for Schengen countries is being implemented by immigration authorities in order to strengthen border and internal security as well as protect the region from terrorist attacks.
Albanian passport holders will be required to complete an online application with their personal information in order to acquire an electronic visa waiver for Schengen before traveling to member countries from Albania. The European Commission says this will have a "minimal effect" on people traveling to Europe. Eligible travelers will need to complete an online application before arrival, which costs 7 euros, or is free for ages under 18 and over 70.
It only takes a few minutes to complete the form, which will require biometric passport information and travel details, as well as some basic security questions. But travelers are advised to apply at least 72 hours before traveling. Once your application is approved, it lasts for three years and this is good news for frequent travelers, although it then needs to be renewed.
According to the so-called "90-day rule", citizens of these and many other countries are only allowed to spend up to 90 days, every 180 in the EU. If they want to stay longer, they have to apply for a visa.