Albania: Birth certificates, including appearance, details of information included; whether the certificate is a standard form used nationally or whether it varies depending on region or city; whether the certificate is used for other official documents; authorities responsible for issuing birth certificates, including any identifying codes that would appear on the certificate [ALB104753.E]

Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa

1. Appearance and Information Included on Birth Certificates

In 29 January 2014 correspondence with the Research Directorate, an official at the Canadian Embassy in Rome provided information about birth certificates in Albania. She indicated that there are two standard formats that are used for Albanian birth certificates, which are also referred to as "personal certificates" (Canada 29 Jan. 2014). One of the formats is in Albanian while the other is multilingual and tends to be used when dealing with international bodies (ibid.). The multilingual form is entitled "Çertifikatë Lindjeje" and includes information in six languages, while the other form is entitled "Çertifikatë Lindjeje" (ibid.). Sample copies of the two formats of personal certificates, which were provided by the Canadian official, are attached to this Response.

The multilingual Çertifikatë Lindjeje contains the following fields: Name; Surname; Name of father; Name of mother; Surname before marriage; Date of birth; Place of birth; Sex; Nationality; Citizenship; Civil status (Single, Married, Divorced or Widower/Widow); Place of registration; Date of issue; and the Name, surname, signature and "seal of keeper" (Albania 17 May 2012).

The Çertifikatë Personale contains the following fields: First Name; Last Name; ID Number; Father's Name; Mother's Name; Date of birth; Place of birth; Residence; Sex; Civil Status; and Citizenship, as well as the first name, last name, signature, and stamp of the employee of the Office of Civil Status (ibid. 9 Nov. 2011).

According to the Canadian official, both formats are acceptable standard formats and are issued in the same manner (Canada 29 Jan. 2014). The official noted that all Albanian civil documents contain a silver seal in the top right corner of the form, which is a hologram of the Albanian coat of arms (ibid.).

The Canadian official indicated that the form is occasionally handwritten, but that this is "very rare" (ibid.). However, according to the US Department of State's Reciprocity Schedule for Albania, Albanian authorities are no longer allowed to issue handwritten civil documents (US n.d.).

According to the Canadian official, each birth certificate issued has a registration number and there is a specific code for each vital statistics office (Canada 29 Jan. 2014). Therefore, it is possible to determine where the birth certificate was issued, as well as its registration number (ibid.).

The Canadian official said that it is mandatory to submit a birth certificate when applying for a biometric photo ID or a biometric passport, and that the birth certificate used to apply for these documents is in a special format, with a photo attached (ibid.). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

2. Authority Responsible for Issuing Birth Certificates and Procedures

According to the US Reciprocity Schedule, the Office of Civil Status is the issuing authority of the birth certificate, and the person can obtain the certificate by going in person to the Office of Civil Status, presenting an ID and paying the fee (US n.d.). Both sample formats of the birth certificate that are attached to this Response have a place to show the name of the Civil Registry Office [also translated as Office of Civil Status] (Albania 9 Nov. 2011; ibid. 17 May 2012).

In a report on the modernization of Albania's Civil Registration, Statistics Norway reports that, with their assistance, Albania has developed a National Civil Register Database, where the civil status components of Albania's residents are collected and maintained digitally (Norway Apr. 2012, 18). Prior to the establishment of the database, Albania's records were kept in hand-written books at over 400 registration offices (ibid.). By the end of 2010, Statistics Norway, with support from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the General Directorate of Civil Status, completed an historical digital archive of the registration books, which is accessible by the Civil Status Offices (ibid., 8). The Canadian official noted that:

[a]ll documents can be verified with the central registry in Tirana for authenticity. Birth certificates are issued by Vital Statistics Offices throughout Albania. The network of these offices is connected to the main center server in Tirana, called the National Registrar office which is managed by the General Directorate of Civil Office and falls under Ministry of Interior. (Canada 29 Jan. 2014)

According to the Canadian official, when a person applies for a birth certificate, he or she is issued a new birth certificate based on the original information in the database, instead of a copy of the first birth certificate issued (ibid.). The official noted that an Albanian can "theoretically hold 10 birth certificates if he has applied to 10 different registry offices or ten different times" (ibid.). However, the official explained that in all cases "the information presented on the birth certificates will be identical given that all information comes from the main central registry" (ibid.).

According to the official, a birth certificate costs 100 Lek [approximately C $1.07 (XE 7 Feb. 2014)] and is "very easy" to obtain (ibid.). This information could not be corroborated among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

Albania. 17 May 2012. Civil Registry Office. Çertifikatë Lindjeje. Sent by an official at the Embassy of Canada in Rome to the Research Directorate, 29 January 2014.

_____. 9 November 2011. Office of Civil Status. Çertifikatë Personale. Sent by an official at the Embassy of Canada in Rome to the Research Directorate, 29 January 2014.

Canada. 29 January 2014. Embassy of Canada in Rome. Correspondence from an official to the Research Directorate.

Norway. April 2012. Statistics Norway. How to Modernise a Civil Registration System: the Case of Albania. [Accessed 20 Jan. 2014]

United States (US). N.d. Department of State. "Albania Reciprocity Schedule." [Accessed 23 Jan. 2014]

XE. 7 February 2014. "Currency Converter." [Accessed 7 Feb. 2014]

Additional Sources Consulted

Oral sources: Attempts to contact an official at the Embassy of Albania in Ottawa was unsuccessful within the time constraints of this Response.

Internet sites, including: Albania – Embassy of Albania in Washington, Consulate of Albania in New York, Ministry of Interior, People's Advocate; Amnesty International; Balkan Insight; ecoi.net; Factiva; Human Rights Watch; Keesing's Document Checker; Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe; Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty; Transitions Online; United Nations – Refworld.

Attachments

Albania. 17 May 2012. Civil Registry Office. Çertifikatë Lindjeje. Sent by an official at the Embassy of Canada in Rome to the Research Directorate, 29 January 2014.

_____. 9 November 2011. Office of Civil Status. Çertifikatë Personale. Sent by an official at the Embassy of Canada in Rome to the Research Directorate, 29 January 2014.