One of the key things that has been causing me to not feel particularly at peace on a day to day basis is this paperwork jungle that is still not solved, so I made the resolve to set out to get everything in place before my current 90 day session expires.
I’ve been finding the last 2 years a bit wishy washy because I’ve spent a lot of time floating from a to b because of the paperwork and because of some personal happenings, and I really have the need for a home. I am most certainly more in the minimalist department, I don’t buy shit and I don’t need a house just to fill it with junk, but I do like to have some things particularly for work and always having to move around and sell all your stuff makes it very hard for me to feel at peace, and the one thing that’s holding me back is that I don’t have the residency over here sorted.
This should have technically happened last year but COVID got in the way with the postal service stopped and then offices getting closed and the whole thing ended up getting shelved yet again. So this time round I hope I have everything they’re going to want and I am able to get this sorted.
I know there are always questions coming up about this, so I’ll write a little bit about it as I go.
Disclaimer: It goes without saying that I’m not an expert and this isn’t legal advice. It may even be completely useless to you and you may for one reason or another have a completely different experience (here things change on the day to day and with every person)
How to get started
The top thing you have to be aware of is that you have to initiate the application within 30 days of entering the country. So if you’ve been inside Albania for MORE than 30 days you need to take a drive to Kosovo and come back and then the 30 day countdown should reset for you.
Who can apply for a residence permit?
You can apply for a permit to stay here if you’re married to an Albanian, if you’re running a business here, if you’re doing charity work here or if you have a local job.
The criteria for each of these will vary. Apparently the marriage option is the easiest. I’m going down the business route so that is what I can tell you.
Registering the business
The first thing you’re going to want to do is to register the business. For that you need to go to QKB and register either as a ‘person fizik’ (self-employed) or register a business (sh.p.k. is similar to LLC/LTD company).
You should talk to someone that speaks Albanian and understands the law and tax implications. That person is a kontabilist/ekonomist and you should get A LOT of advice from different people before deciding who to go with. Some people will just show you how to betray the government which could be high risk if it goes wrong. Also ask the prices if they are going to help you get registered because people will NOT tell you how much it is and then just slap you with a bill.
You technically do not need any help to register but you do want help dealing with your taxes and making sure they get paid.
Running a business in Albania still has costs and taxes and they may seem low but there is hidden stuff that brings up what you pay, but this is worth a separate post and I haven’t been in it long enough to speak with confidence, so I’ll write about that later.
You then need things like the çertifikat, ekstrakt and the NIPT number to go ahead with anything. You can manage the paperwork side of the business from e-Albania website. At least we can, but one of us has a login for e-Albania which can be difficult to use for foreigners, so again – I’m not sure about this, speak to your kontabilist.
Starting the residency application
You’re supposed to be able to start the residency application from the e-Albania website. (See the pattern?) I tried, but it didn’t work and wouldn’t submit the form, so I gave up. There is a guy in the Eurosig insurance office opposite the immigration police in Laprake and he will fill out the application form for you for a small charge that is absolutely worth it. He has a license for the software and he will sort you out. He also speaks English well and is generally a joy, so go and see him (I know it shouldn’t work that way, I know the website SHOULD work but this is how it works here, don’t fight it, you’ll be endlessly frustrated).
Then he will give you a list of paperwork that you need and you now need to wait for an email from the police with an appointment to submit your documents. He will also make photocopies for you if you have the documents with you.
The paperwork you’re going to need is going to vary depending on where you’re from and how you’re applying. There are some consistencies between people, and I’ll write out what I’ve needed to provide so far.
– passport plus copy
– 3 passport photos
– application form
– police check from home country with apostille, translated into Albanian and notarised (I have the check but still need to get it translated)
– rental contract (notarised)
– work permit (or exemption from work permit) again the guy in the Eurosig office will help you to apply for that one
– some odd proof that I’m registered to pay taxes or sth. like that so that I still need to get from the accountant
So that is the list I have so far. Then a fee needs to be paid, I heard it’s 10.000 Lek but they are yet to verify this. Then also they may ask for additional documents and then it’s going to get fun…
I have my appointment on Tuesday, so I will take what I have and then see if I need anything else.