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Driving in Albania

While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Albania is provided for general reference only, and it may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Major roads in Albania are often in poor repair, but they are improving every day. Travel at night outside the main urban areas is particularly dangerous and should be avoided due to deplorable road conditions. During the winter months, travelers may encounter dangerous snow and ice conditions on the roads through the mountains in Northern Albania. Buses travel between most major cities almost exclusively during the day, but they may be unreliable and uncomfortable. Many travelers looking for public transport prefer to use privately owned vans, which function as an alternate system of bus routes and operate almost wholly without schedules or set fares. Please note that some of these privately owned vans may not have official permission to operate a bus service and may not adhere to accepted safety and maintenance standards. Persons wishing to use privately owned vans should exercise caution. There are no commercial domestic flights and few rail connections in very poor conditions.

We would like to take this opportunity to remind all citizens to use particular caution when you travel to the administrative districts of Malesi e Madhe, Shkoder, and Tropoje, due to the recent spate of criminal activities in these regions and the possible danger to American citizens traveling there.  Currently, U.S. government employees are subject to travel restrictions concerning these districts.  The full text of this updated Consular Information Sheet is found at the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs webpage “Albania: Country Specific Information.”

Traffic Accidents

According to the Albanian Ministry of Health, traffic accidents are one of the leading causes of death, and accident victims are the main users of hospital emergency services. Road traffic injuries are a national public health and development problem in Albania and their magnitude is rising at alarming levels. Traffic related accidents in Albania are 3.5 percent higher than in other Eastern and Central European countries.

For additional general information about road safety, including links to foreign government sites, please visit the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs webpage “Road Safety Overseas.”

International Driving Permit (IDP)

When driving in Albania a U.S. citizen can use a valid international driver’s permit issued in the United States. The U.S. Embassy in Tirana cannot issue, renew or extend the validity of an IDP. The American Automobile Association (AAA) issues International driver’s permits in the United States. For more information, please visit the AAA website.

Note: An International driver’s license/permit can only be used for one year. If you wish to drive in Albania for more than one year you must apply for an Albanian driver’s license.

Renew Your U.S. Driver's License

To learn about getting or renewing your driver's license, registering your car, or accessing other motor vehicle services, please visit the U.S. Government webpage “Renew Your Driver's License.” As of January 2005, states may no longer display social security numbers on drivers' licenses, motor vehicle registrations, or other identification documents. If your current card displays your SSN, protect yourself against identity theft by contacting your state for a replacement.