Everything you need to know about marriage in Albania

10 Jun 2023·22 min to read
Articles
Everything you need to know about marriage in Albania 01

Albania, officially known as the Republic of Albania, is a Southeastern European country known for its cultures and ethnic heritage. Every year, over 22,000 marriages are performed in the country by both Albanian nationals and foreigners from other European countries as well as other foreign countries in the world. Albania is known to be one of the top spots for destination weddings in the world, as the country is filled with various beautiful locations and natural attractions. Couples have various options when it comes to the venue for their wedding ceremony. Wedding ceremonies can be performed at the beach, in a park, on a cay, in a boat, or at sunset. 

There are no limitations to how big weddings can be in the country, and most ceremonies are known to be extravagant. Albania is regarded as a parliamentary secular state, implying that there is no official state religion in the country; however, there is still a diversity of various religious associations, with Muslims having the largest population. Generally, the two major types of marriages performed in Albania are civil and religious marriages. Couples have the choice of performing either one of them or both together. These two types of marriages are legally binding in Albania and other parts of the world. 

For a marriage to have legal grounds in a country, it must be legally registered. This implies that both civil and religious marriages are to be registered before they are recognized and protected under the laws of the country. The legal marriage age in the country is 18 years for both male and female spouses. The civil code also declares that if a female spouse marries before reaching the age of 18, she is automatically eligible for juridical capacity. Continue reading to find out more about the marriage traditions and the laws and rights guiding their practices in Albania.

Civil marriages 

Civil marriages performed in Albania are recognized and protected by the laws of the country. Such marriages are also recognized in other foreign countries. A civil marriage is performed by a state-authorized registrar and is held in the registrar’s office. All marriages in Albania must be registered with the office of civil status (Zyra e Gjendjes Civile) for them to have legal grounds. The process of getting married usually takes a couple of days, depending on the registry where the marriage is being performed. The actual civil ceremony itself usually takes less than 30 minutes. Couples are required to perform their marriage in the registry located in the municipality where one or both of the spouses resides. 

To begin the marriage procedure, both parties must request a marriage application form for their petition. They must also provide all the required documents and make payment of the fees, which are stated further below in this article. The local registrar is charged with the responsibility of verifying the information in all the submitted documents and is required to make an announcement by posting a notification sheet in areas that have been designated by the commune (municipality). The notification must include all the necessary civil components and information about both partners, as well as their place of marriage. There is often a waiting period of 11 days, which is the required number of days the public announcement must be out for. 

Upon the completion of the timeframe, the registrar may then go ahead and issue a suitable date to the spouses for their marriage ceremony. Both spouses are required to be physically present together on the scheduled date of their marriage ceremony. Generally, powers of attorney are not commonly granted except in special cases where there are no other options. Also, marriages cannot be concluded online. The presence of both spouses will allow them to sign the marriage agreement in the presence of the representative from the Mor municipality. 

During all the civil marriage registration processes, both spouses are required to provide two witnesses. The two witnesses must not be related to either of the spouses by blood or marriage, and these witnesses must also be physically present during the ceremony. They must come along with a valid means of identification, and their signature will also be included in the marriage agreement papers. The documents to be submitted by the partners are stated below.

Documents Required 

  • A national identity card or valid passport
  • A certified birth certificate must be provided by both spouses. This certificate must include all necessary information about the partners.
  • Certificate of single status. This document is often requested by foreign spouses. It serves as evidence that the person is single and not in any other relationship or marriage with another person in Albania or any other foreign country. This certificate is also referred to as an "affidavit of eligibility to marry."
  • Divorce or death certificate. Spouses who were previously married are required to provide whichever of these documents applies to them to show they legally terminated their marriage.
  • Both spouses are required to provide two witnesses who are 18 years of age or older and not related to them either by blood or marriage.

The birth certificate obtained abroad must have been issued within the last three months before the scheduled marriage date. Also, all documents must include an apostille, an official seal, to prove their legitimacy. The official language in the country is Albanian, and foreign documents must be translated by an accredited translator. Also, there may be cases where the marriage ceremony will not be performed in English but in the country’s official language, and foreign spouses who do not speak this language may have to provide me with an official interpreter for the ceremony.

Religious marriages 

Religious marriages are legally binding and quite popular in Albania. The predominant religion in the country is Islam, while the second-most common religion is Christianity. Most of the other citizens of the country practice folk religion or are completely irreligious. Atheism in Albania has been on the rise, and a sizable number of people now have no religious affiliation. The way Muslim and Christian marriages are performed is quite different. 

These two types of marriages held legal grounds as long as they were performed in a registered place of worship and a marriage certificate was obtained. Spouses, on the other hand, have the option of performing both civil and religious marriages. Muslim marriages often begin with a Nikah ceremony, which includes every major detail about the wedding. The nikah is a fundamental part of every Muslim marriage, and it is often attended by close friends and family. During this ceremony, both spouses get to sign the marriage contract with their witnesses. Muslim marriages often involve a lot of pre-wedding rituals that are performed by both families. Families play an important role and are involved in every major step regarding a Muslim wedding ceremony.

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Marriage traditions in Albania

Bridal Tears 

This is a common occurrence in Albanian wedding ceremonies. The bride has to leave her home and her family to go and live with her husband, and this causes a lot of rushing emotions and feelings. The fact that she will not continue to live with her mom and other members of her family often causes the bride to shed tears of sadness.

Krushqit 

This refers to the groomsmen in an Albanian wedding. Groomsmen play an active role in the ceremonial rites, unlike in most western traditions where most responsibilities fall on the shoulders of bridesmaids. Here, the groomsmen often accompany the groom on the day of his wedding to pick up the bride from her family's house. There is often a long procession of about ten cars or more with colorful decorations and the Albanian flag.

Honeymoon

It is customary for newlyweds in Albania to go on honeymoon after the conclusion of their marriage ceremony. Unlike most other countries where the couple can go on their honeymoon days after the ceremony, this is different in Albania. Most couples begin their honeymoon departure as soon as the wedding reception ends. The honeymoon may be in Albania or any other foreign country.

Same-sex marriages 

In Albania, two people of the same sex are not allowed to marry each other. There is no recognition for same-sex couples in terms of marriage, union, or registered partnerships. Same-sex couples are not allowed to head households, and they generally do not enjoy the rights and benefits enjoyed by opposite-sex couples. There are some discrimination protections; however, same-sex couples still face several legal challenges in the country.

Polygamous marriages 

Polygamy is prohibited in Albania. The civil code only allows marriage to be between a single man and a single woman. Men are not allowed to marry multiple wives. However, in some rural communities, there are cases where men marry two or three wives. Even though there are cases of polygamy in Albania, the rate of this type of marriage is quite low.

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Marriage Laws and Rights, Costs and Duties

Laws

Albania is a secular country that recognizes both civil and religious marriages. The laws guiding the act and process of contracting marriage are established in the civil code and in the laws of various religious institutions. According to the law, monogamy is the only recognized form of marriage in the country, which makes polygamy illegal, but it is still practiced by the Muslim population of the country, which is about 60%. Couples are allowed to enter into civil or religious marriages, and they would be legally recognized. Any marriage certificate obtained in Albania, either by citizens or foreigners, is globally recognized. The legal age for marriage in Albania is 18 years for both males and females. 

Only under extenuating circumstances are minors allowed to enter into marriage; they must be able to provide parental consent. Any marriage contracted with the use of force or violence is considered void, and the punishment of
Offenders can face up to three months in prison and/or a fine. Foreigners are allowed to enter into marriage in the country, provided they can prove that there is no legal impediment to marriage. They must also be eligible for marriage in their home country before they are allowed to enter into marriage in Albania; foreigners who are not allowed to contract marriage are not permitted to find asylum in Albania. Couples who wish to enter into marriage must be mentally and emotionally capable of contracting marriage. 

The husband and wife must be in a sound and stable state of mind to be able to contract marriage. Consent must be given by both parties before marriage can take place; the husband and wife must be able to give consent to marriage on their own volition and without any interference from third parties. In cases of Muslim religious marriages, only the legal guardian of the bride is permitted to give consent to marriage on her behalf. The bride herself is not allowed to consent to marriage by herself; she is, however, allowed to choose who gives consent on her behalf. All marriages must be registered at the office of civil status before they are officially recognized as legally binding. 

Same-sex activities are legal in Albania, but a lot of discrimination is experienced by same-sex couples because homosexual unions, whether marriages or civil partnerships, are not recognized by the law in Albania. At the time of marriage, the husband and wife have to be single; they cannot be in any other existing marriage at the time. If any of the spouses have been married in the past, they are both required to submit proof of the dissolution of marriage in the form of a certificate of death or divorce. Informal and de facto unions, where a man and woman decide to live together as husband and wife without contracting a formal marriage contract, are recognized in the country. There must be at least two witnesses present at the time and place of the marriage.

Rights

Married men and women are believed to have equal access to exercising various rights in marriage in Albania. Once the legal age of marriage is reached, all citizens have the right to enter into marriage with whomever they wish. Special protection is provided by the state for family and marriage. The wife has the same right as the husband to be referred to as the "head of the home." This right is not only available to the husband; both the wife and husband have the right to make important decisions and carry out duties and responsibilities peculiar to the head of the household. 

They both have the right to change, retain, revoke, and confer their nationality on their foreign spouses and children who are born outside the country. The husband and wife have the right to inherit land and non-land assets. The right to inherit is available to both the husband and the wife at the time of the demise of either of the couple, and the property goes to the surviving spouse and the children in the home. They both have the right to work at jobs that fit their various career paths without facing any form of discrimination at the workplace. Married women are entitled to a paid maternity leave of 52 weeks, and men are also entitled to a paid paternity leave of 12 days.

They have the right to decide the number of children they wish to have and to raise them according to their personal religious and moral beliefs. Married couples and persons in informal unions have the right to be recognized as the legal guardians of the children as well as exercise parental control and authority when necessary. Couples have the right to initiate and finalize divorce, and if the marriage contract is no longer beneficial to either party, they both have the right to file for divorce in court. After divorce is finalized, visitation rights and custody rights are decided by the court, and the parent believed to have the best interest of the children is granted custody. 

The husband and wife have the right to be involved in politics and government; they have the right to vote and be voted for; they both have the right to run for and be elected into government offices. The parties have the right to decide under what marital regime the property marriage is contracted; it could be joint or separately. A prenuptial agreement can be signed at the time of contracting marriage, and in the event of divorce, property would not be divided equally between couples.

Costs

Weddings are a very vital part of the customs and traditions of Albania. Weddings are filled with lots of joy and happiness on the part of the couple and everyone invited to the ceremony. The bride's family is often responsible for shouldering the cost of the event, and the ceremony often takes place at the house of the bride. Marriage in Albania is often expensive, and the family of the bride has to save for many years or borrow money before they can host weddings. This, however, is not the case for wealthy families. The average cost for a mid-sized wedding in

Albania is estimated to be around 2,156,964 ALL, which is approximately $20,000; this cost covers the rental of the venue, the food and drinks for guests, music and entertainment, decorations and flowers at the venue, etc. Sometimes, the groom's family supports the bride's family by splitting the cost or contributing a certain amount to the family of the bride to help with the cost of marriage. Albania is a beautiful location for a destination wedding, and couples all over the world come to get married in the country. Couples should expect to spend around €300 per person, which is approximately $34,349 ALL.

Duties

In Albania, husband and wife have a duty to respect one another, to be loyal to one another, to provide mutual assistance, and to help one another in need. Married couples have a duty to love together as husband and wife, but they can mutually decide to have separate homes provided they meet frequently at the family's chosen residence. Spouses have a responsibility to ensure the moral, religious, and political inclinations of the family. They are obligated to provide for the upbringing of children and ensure that they grow up to be honest and upstanding citizens of the country. 

Couples have a duty to provide a conducive environment for the growth and development of their children and to ensure that they have a proper moral and educational background that prepares them for the future. The wife is often expected to take on the role of primary caregiver in the home; she has a duty to take care of herself, her husband, and the children. She has a duty to manage the financial and non-financial resources of the family. The husband has the duty to be the provider for the home; he is obligated to provide for the material and physical needs of the family.

Conclusion 

In Albania, marriage is seen as a union between a man and a woman. Same-sex couples are not allowed to perform marriages in the country. Also, a marriage must be registered and the spouses must obtain a marriage certificate before such a union can have legal grounds.

Marriages in Albania often last for more than one day. They are extravagant ceremonies that can last up to three days or even a week. During the course of the ceremony, different marriage rituals are performed by the respective families of both partners. We hope this article has helped you understand everything you need to know about marriage in Albania.

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