Update from October 2022:
The next national census will be held in 2023, although the exact time is not determined yet. In 2021, according to the National Institute of Statistics in Albanian (INSTAT), there were 2,533 asylum seekers in Albania, marking an increase by 13.5 % compared to 2020. Asylum seekers originating from Afghanistan (2,498) represented 98.6 % of the total number of asylum seekers. In 2021, 711 people acquired Albanian nationality, marking an increase by 68.1 % compared to 2020.
The new Law on Foreigners entered into force in November 2021 and introduced a statelessness determination procedure for the first time. The procedure is yet to be regulated through an instruction by the Minister for Public Order and Safety. Therefore, the new SDP is not yet operational, and details are not yet clarified. The law does not require lawful stay to access the SDP, but asylum seekers, refugees, and beneficiaries of another form of protection under the Law on Asylum are not eligible to apply to the SDP. The new law also limits detention to people subject to a deportation order and alternatives to detention have priority. There is no obligation on the authorities to release a person when there is no reasonable prospect of removal, but they must examine whether the purpose of detention still exists. While the new law provides for a definition of vulnerability, this does not include statelessness.
Same-sex partnerships and same-sex parenthood are not legally recognised in Albania, so it is unclear what rights same-sex parents would have to confer nationality to a child. In a case currently pending appeal, the civil registry refused the registration of children recognising same sex mothers with equal rights.
New resources on Albania now available include:
- 2021 Statelessness Index Survey
- Submission to inform the European Commission 2022 Enlargement Package, including Albania (April 2022)
- Submission to inform the European Commission 2022 Enlargement Package, including Albania (April 2021)
- Decision no. 1017 of the Administrative Court of First Instance of Tirana (1 April 2022), refusing registration of children born from same sex mothers and their equal parental rights
The legal and policy framework in Albania has some positive aspects and some important gaps. Positively, Albania is State Party to three of the four core statelessness conventions with no reservations, as well as all other relevant international instruments. Some data is available on the stateless and at-risk population from the census and a more recent mapping study, but there is no ‘stateless’ category in asylum and immigration data, including in relation to detention.
There is a definition of a stateless person in Albanian law, but it is narrower than the 1954 Convention definition. The new Law “On Foreigners”, which entered into force in November 2021 established a statelessness determination procedure and provides for the issuance of a dedicated instruction to regulate the procedure, but this has not yet been approved and therefore details are not yet clarified. Some rights were already granted to stateless people by law, including the right to apply for residence on humanitarian grounds, legal aid, and a travel document. However, these are difficult to access as a formal procedure and identification documents are required.
There is a facilitated route to naturalisation with a reduced residence period (although this was increased from five to seven years in 2020) and exemptions from some of the standard requirements. Some limited safeguards protect against the arbitrary detention of stateless people but there are barriers to effective remedies and legal aid, and people released from detention are not protected from re-detention.
Since 2020, the law ensures that children born stateless on the territory, foundlings, adopted children and most children born to nationals abroad acquire Albanian nationality. There have been measures to reduce the risk of statelessness and improve access to birth registration, but children still face difficulties if parents are undocumented or have irregularities in their documentation and Romani and Egyptian communities are disproportionately impacted.
New powers were introduced in 2020 to deprive naturalised Albanians of their nationality on national security grounds, but there are sufficient safeguards to prevent this resulting in statelessness.
Information below by theme was last updated in March 2021.