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Albania: Whether the proposed national identity card has been issued; whether the "leternjoftim" is the main identity document used in the country (2005-2006)

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa
Publication Date 20 October 2006
Citation / Document Symbol ALB101932.E
Reference 7
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Albania: Whether the proposed national identity card has been issued; whether the "leternjoftim" is the main identity document used in the country (2005-2006), 20 October 2006, ALB101932.E, available at: [accessed 25 May 2016]
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Recent media sources indicated that Albania had yet to produce the proposed national identity (ID) cards (Gazeta Shqiptare 13 Apr. 2006; ATA 22 June 2006; TOL 15 June 2006; US 8 Mar. 2006, Sec. 2.d). The Tirana-based newspaper Gazeta Shqiptare noted that Albanian governments have had a history of problems creating identity cards, although communist era ID cards were reportedly still valid (13 Apr. 2006). According to Transitions Online (TOL), the lack of identity cards prevented many Albanians from travelling abroad (15 June 2006). The absence of these cards also reportedly complicated the election process, because a variety of certificates issued by registry offices were used in their place (Gazeta Shqiptare 13 Apr. 2006).

The Albanian Telegraphic Agency (ATA) reported that the Albanian government considers the production of national identity cards a priority (31 Jan. 2006). However, on 22 June 2006, Sokol Olldashi, the Minister of Interior, acknowledged that the proposed cards would not be used in the upcoming elections, despite the fact that the project was "almost complete" (ATA 22 June 2006). Reuters reported that Albania would receive assistance in the production of new identity cards from the Belgian (Reuters 19 July 2006) and European Union (EU) governments (ibid. 25 Aug. 2006).

In a 13 April 2006 article, the Tirana-based Gazeta Shqiptare reported that the government of Albania asked an American company to prepare the technical specifications for the new Albanian ID card for a fee of approximately 4 million Albanian leke (ALL) [approximately CAD 46,000 ( 13 Oct. 2006)]. The new cards will reportedly contain information on the cardholder, including his or her blood type (Gazeta Shqiptare 13 Apr. 2006). The security features of the new cards are expected to bring them in line with international standards (ibid.).

Recent information on the leternjoftim could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate. However, in a 3 October 2002 telephone interview, a counsellor at the Embassy of the Republic of Albania in Ottawa provided the following information, which details some historical background on the leternjoftim. The leternjoftim continued to be the main identity document in Albania as there were no other documents issued strictly for identification purposes. The leternjoftim was still deemed to be a legal identification document in Albania; therefore, those who had it could use it for identification purposes. However, only approximately 20 to 30 percent of the population still had it because the government stopped issuing the leternjoftim some 15 to 18 years prior. In the event that the leternjoftim was lost, a person was expected to use his or her passport or, if the person did not have a passport, his or her birth certificate. The passport was commonly used by approximately 70 percent of the Albanian population for identification purposes, while the birth certificate was only sometimes used.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Albania. 3 October 2002. Embassy of the Republic of Albania in Ottawa. Telephone interview with a counsellor.

Albanian Telegraphic Agency (ATA) [Tirana]. 22 June 2006. A. Struga. "Olldashi: Local Elections to Draw on 2005 Lists." (Factiva)
_____. 31 January 2006. A. Struga. "Berisha: This Is What We Will Do in 6 Months' Time (1)." (Factiva)

Gazeta Shqiptare [Tirana, in Albanian]. 13 April 2006. "Albania Contracts US Firm to Make New ID Cards." (Factiva/BBC Monitoring European)

Reuters. 25 August 2006. "Press Digest: Albania – Aug. 25." (Factiva)
_____. 19 July 2006. "Press Diges: Albania – July 19." (Factiva)

Transitions Online (TOL) [Prague]. 15 June 2006. Artan Puto. "One Step Closer." (Factiva)

United States (US). 8 March 2006. Department of State. "Albania." Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2005. [Accessed 29 Sept. 2006] 13 October 2006. "Universal Currency Converter Results." [Accessed 13 Oct. 2006]

Additional Sources Consulted

Oral sources, including: The Embassy of Albania in Ottawa and the Embassy of Canada in Rome.

Internet sites, including: Albanian Department of Public Administration; Albanian Ministry of Defense; Albanian Ministry of Education and Science; Albanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Albanian Ministry of Local Government and Decentralisation; Albanian Ministry of Public Order; Embassy of Albania in London; Embassy of Albania in Washington, DC; European Country of Origin Information Network (ECOI); Keesing's Reference Systems.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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