If you are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, once you have married your Albanian fiance or you have lived together for one year as common-law partners, you can sponsor him or her for permanent residence in Canada.
Steps To Get Married in Albania
Marriage in Albania can either be through civil ceremony, a religious ceremony, or both. The marriage must be registered with the Office of Civil Status (known as “Zyra e Gjendjes Civile” in Albanian) to be deemed legal in Albania.
Documents Required to Get Married in Albania:
- Birth Certificate
- Divorce Decree or Certificate (if applicable)
- Albanian national ID (if any party is Albanian)
- Affidavit of Eligibility to Marry
If you were born outside of Albania, you will need a certified copy of your birth certificate issued within the last three months and authenticated with a special seal called an “Apostille”.
An apostille is a legal certification that makes a document from one country to be valid in another country (on the condition that both countries are signatories to the 1961 Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement for Legalization for Foreign Documents);
Divorce Decree or Certificate (if applicable):
If you were previously married, Albanian local authorities might request a certified copy of your divorce decree or a certificate with an apostille attached to it or an apostilled death certificate for your previous spouse, with an official translation.
You will also need to provide copies of the biographic page of your passport or an acceptable Albanian document of identification;
If your intended spouse is an Albanian citizen, his or her personal certificate and Albanian passport or identification card/document will be required;
Affidavit of Eligibility to Marry:
Albanian authorities require proof of legal capacity of both spouses to enter into a marriage contract in the form of certification by a competent authority, to the effect that no impediment to the marriage exists.
Steps to Get Married in Albania
- As the intending spouses, you must visit the Office of Civil Status ( “Zyra e Gjendjes Civile”) that is in close proximity to your residence and where the intended marriage ceremony will be had, with all the required documents and applicable fees;
- Request for an application form for your petition and fill it correctly and attach all the required documents copies and pay the required fees;
- The local register will verify your documents, process them and make an announcement of your marriage by posting a notification sheet in places designated by the municipality or commune, showing the civil component of your intended spouse and place of marriage;
- The request for the announcement must be completed by you and your spouse or your authorized representative, as provided for in a limited power of attorney;
- The announcement is made in the municipality or the commune where each of you resides. If you have not lived in your current place of residence for more than six (6) months, the announcement must also be made in the municipality or commune where your spouse previously resided;
- This announcement will be public side for 11 consecutive days, if the is no objection from the public, the register will inform you on which date the actual marriage will take place;
- At least 11 days before the planned marriage, you and your spouse must appear at the Office of Civil Status in the municipality where the marriage registration will take place. If one of you is an Albanian citizen, this will be the district where he or she has legal residence. If neither of you hold Albanian citizenship, you may then marry at the Civil Status Office covering your usual place of residence;
- On the scheduled date of your official marriage registration, you will need to be present together with your intended spouse in order to sign the marriage agreement in front of the representative from that municipality unit;
- Two witnesses are required. The witnesses must not be related to either you or your spouse by blood or marriage, and must be present at City Hall at the time the marriage will be registered. The witnesses must present proper identification and will need to sign the newly-weds’ marriage agreement papers.
Albanian Marriage Customs
One significant Albanian marriage custom is the kenagjegj – a special reception hosted by the bride’s family. A select group of dasmore and dasmoresha (the groom’s closest family members) gathers in preparation to pick up the bride for the next portion of the wedding festivities. They bring the bride to the groom’s house, only after she would have gone through a series of rituals before being reunited with her groom.
At the front door of the groom’s house, a mixture of grains, candy, and coins are thrown over the bride so that she enters the household with abundance. At the doorstep, another close family member of the groom puts a loaf of bread under the bride’s one arm and a holy book under the other, the items being symbols of prosperity, happiness, and good faith. The bride then dips her fingertips in water mixed with sugar and taps the upper threshold of the door three times to foreshadow a sweet life in her new home. She must enter the house leading with her right foot first.
At the time that the groom’s family picks up the bride from the kenagjegj, some of the women will be wearing veshje e katunit, a traditional Albanian outfit from Kosovo. The striking handmade looks, made of natural materials, require multiple layers of garments and accessories. It is a ceremonial outfit commonly worn by women dating back as far as the 1800s. These days, it is worn during times of celebration, but can be quite expensive to make. The jelek is the vest, which is also handmade and unique to each person that buys one. They often use real 24-karat gold thread and beautiful crystals to adorn the fabric.
Sponsoring Your Spouse to Canada from Albania
Possible Challenges for Sponsorship from Albania
- IRCC has determined that Albania has historically had a high incidence of marriage fraud. For this reason, sponsorship applications for Albanian nationals previously contained a large number of supplemental forms and documents. These additional documents are no longer required, however sponsorship interviews are frequently convoked to ensure that Principal Applicants are in a genuine relationship with their sponsor.
- Arranged marriage/matchmaking is still practiced in some communities in Albania. While arranged marriages are valid for sponsorship to Canada as long as the marriage is legal in both Albania and Canada, arranged marriages are frequently closely examined by IRCC to ensure the relationship is genuine.
- In some arranged marriages there is no courtship period and couples do not meet until the wedding. In such circumstances, there may be valid reasons why a meeting never took place prior to the marriage.
- Some cultural and/ or religious practices frown upon any type of dating – platonic or romantic – before marriage. This issue will have to be examined in the sponsorship application. Insufficient resources to make visiting trips to each spouse’s physical location, whether inside or outside Albania.
According to a 2018 report funded by the Friedrich Elbert Stiftung titled “New Trends in Potential Migration from Albania written by Messrs. Ilir Gëdeshi and Russell King (http://library.fes.de/pdf-files/bueros/albanien/15272.pdf), the scale of post-1990 emigration, proportionate to the Albanian population, has been the highest in Europe and one of the highest in the world.
“According to World Bank figures, within just two decades, hence by 2010, the country had produced a ‘stock’ of 1,438,300 emigrants, equivalent to 45.4% of the population residing in Albania. Second, the flow of returning migrants has been limited, boosted only by the economic crisis in Greece and (less so) in Italy, the two main destination countries of Albanian migrants”. (Gedeshi & King, 2018).
“Potential migration, the specific focus of this report, remains high, meaning that a significant share of the Albanian population living inside the country would like to, or intends to, emigrate in the future”(Gedeshi & King, 2018).
Country-specific sponsorship forms and documents for Albania
There are no country-specific additional forms or special instructions for documents for spousal sponsorship in regards to Albania.
Are documents issued in Albania issued in any language other than English or French? If so, what language(s)?
Yes, the official language for business and documentation in Albania is the Albanian language. Any document not issued in French or English must have a translation which meets IRCC requirements.
Is a visa required for a person from Albania to enter Canada if they wanted to do In-Canada sponsorship?
A person from Albania who wishes to enter Canada in order to visit a fiance or spouse while applying for a spousal sponsorship must obtain a Temporary Resident Visa before being allowed into Canada.