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The number of Kosovo Albanians applying for Albanian citizenship has increased since the EU lifted visa requirements for Albanian citizens last week, Pristina-based media report.
In the wake of the reports, Albanian Ambassador to Kosovo Islam Lauka said that his country’s law allows foreigners to apply for Albanian citizenship but several criteria must be met before citizenship can be granted.
“There are at least eight documents, i.e. criteria that need to be met. It is very important to provide a document which proves that a person has been living in Albania for five consecutive years and for citizens of Kosovo that period is three years,” the ambassador explained in an interview for Albania's top-channel TV.
“There are mitigating circumstances in those three years, if a person from Kosovo has been married to an Albanian citizen for at least a year, for which they need to have a document from the Albanian Interior Ministry,” Lauka added.
After Albania and Bosnia achieved visa-free travel to most European Union member states on November 8, Kosovo is now the only country in the region that has not been granted visa liberalisation for travel to the EU, a situation that some observers say risks isolating the population there.
Kosovo’s government stresses that it has fulfilled the criteria set by the European Commission on visa liberalisation, as it gears up for an expected EC mission in December.