Can I open a business and work in Albania in 2022?
Can I open a business and work in Albania in 2022? The simple answer is yes. Foreign individuals can open companies and work in Albania easily! The possibilities range from sole proprietorships for individuals to large scale investment and development schemes by foreign companies. If you have a foreign business to register in Albania look here. If you want to open a business in Albania, read on!
Can I register a business in Albania?
To register a business in Albania, you can find all required procedures and documents online at the Albanian National Business Center website here. The website is in both Albanian and English. Unfortunately, the e-Albania portal, where you complete the required authentication process and electronic signature process, is only available in Albanian, so many foreign businesses choose to complete the registration process in person.
Can I open a bank account in Albania?
Yes, I can open a bank account in Albania as a foreigner without proof of residency. However, as a U.S. citizen I am required “to complete a form allowing for the disclosure of my banking data to the IRS as required under the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)”. Read the details at the IRS page here or a summary on Wikipedia here.
The Albania banking sector is “sound, profitable, and well capitalized” according to the U.S. State Department. As of 2020, there were 12 banks operating in Albania, with the three largest being Turkish owned National Commercial Bank (BKT), Albanian Credins Bank and Austrian Raiffeisen Bank. The Bank of Albania is the central bank and controls the licensing and supervision of the banking sector in Albania.
Albanians and foreigners alike must declare assets above 1,000,000 lek (USD 9000) in hard currency and/or precious items when entering or leaving Albania. But, there is no restriction on the transfer of capital into and within Albania. However, there are requirements for transferring capital out of Albania. Since 2017, the International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR) has included Albania in the Major Money Laundering Jurisdictions category, implying that Albanian financial institutions engage in currency transactions that involve proceeds from narcotic trafficking.
The ups and downs of Albania’s economy from 1945-2022
Albania suffered under the dictatorship of Enver Hoxha from the end of World War 2 until his death in 1985. HIs isolationist stance, like today’s North Korea, slowly destroyed the economy of Albania. His successor, Ramiz Alia, ruled over a crumbling economy until 1991, when Albania held free elections. At the end of the communist regime, Albania was the poorest country in Europe.
Leading up to 1997, Albanians invested extremely high percentages of their money into government sanctioned pyramid schemes. The schemes collapsed and everyone except a few high level people lost everything. The country fell into chaos. The social unrest and riots that followed are now known as the Albanian Civil War.
Albania recovered slowly during the first decade of the 2000’s. Then, the global economic collapse in 2008 halted all economic growth.
Then, a slow but steady recovery developed until the double whammy of a devastating earthquake in 2019 and the Covid pandemic in 2020.
Albania is poised for moderate growth in 2022 and 2023
The World Bank’s Global Economic Prospects report states that medium-term growth in Albania is expected due to structural reforms carried out in its EU membership process. In addition, the recent EU Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans “will mobilize funding to support competitiveness and inclusive growth, as well as the green and digital transition.” Their forecast for Real GDP growth in the Western Balkans is 4.1 for 2022 and 3.8 for 2023.