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15 Sep 10

Albania Extends Passport Services to Greece and Italy

Albania’s Parliamentary Law Commission has approved a bill to extend the application process for new biometric passports in Italy and Greece, in order to serve the country's large emigrant communities.

The new bill will allow Aleat, a company making new biometric passports, to open offices in the Albanian consulates in Rome, Thessaloniki and Milan.

“Opening these offices will make it easier for Albanian immigrants to apply for identity documents,” the Deputy Minister of the Interior, Ferdinand Poni, told the commission on Tuesday.

The offices will be staffed by Albanian diplomats who will be trained by Aleat, a local joint-venture between the French company Sagem and the American Enterprise Fund.

The new bill is one of the principal conditions necessary for the EU to include Albania in its list of countries whose citizens can travel without a visa to the Schengen bloc of states.

More than one million biometric passports, costing €50, have been distributed since they were launched in January 2009.

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