From Emigrant to European Citizen: The Growing Trend of Albanians Seeking New Opportunities Abroad

 An increasing number of Albanians are relinquishing their birth-country passports in favor of acquiring citizenship in European states that offer more promising economic prospects. According to data from the Ministry of Interior, there were 844 citizenship applications during the past year, reflecting a rise of 14 requests compared to 2022.

A hand handing over an Albanian passport on the verge of expiry (archive)
A hand handing over an Albanian passport on the verge of expiry (archive)
Changing Trends:

"This wave indicates that these individuals, whether young people, individuals, or families, are becoming less likely to return to Albania," notes Eldisa Cirogu, an immigration expert. The majority of those renouncing their citizenship fall within the age group of 30 to 39 years, closely followed by those aged 40 to 49. What motivates Albanians, especially the youth, to leave without intending to return?

Reasons for Emigration:

"It's normal. Everyone wants to leave for a better life. It's the salaries, but also the daily life that compels us to go," express some students. Economic factors, combined with the challenges of daily life, are significant drivers pushing Albanians to seek opportunities abroad.

Alarming Statistics:

Over the past decade, there have been a total of 5,811 requests for Albanian citizenship. More concerning than the overall number is the increasing trend in the abandonment of Albanian passports over the years. The data indicates a growing inclination among citizens to explore new horizons beyond the borders of their homeland.

Challenges Faced:

While the quest for economic improvement is a common theme, the departure of skilled and educated individuals raises concerns about brain drain and the long-term impact on Albania's development. The government and policymakers need to address the root causes and create an environment that encourages citizens to stay and contribute to the country's growth.


The shift from being an emigrant to a European citizen is a complex and multifaceted phenomenon for Albanians. Understanding the driving forces behind this trend is essential for policymakers to implement strategies that encourage both economic development and the retention of skilled individuals within the country. As the numbers continue to rise, finding a balance that benefits both individuals seeking better opportunities and the nation as a whole becomes imperative for Albania's future.
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