So, there is something you really urgently need. It’s not availble in your area. You search all the logical shops in Tirana – and no luck. So the next logical thing is to order online, right? But sadly you have no idea how to do that so you resign to picking up items on your next trip home. Those times are officially over. In this article we will dive into receiving mail from abroad in Albania, so you can order online confidently.
1. Not every company ships to Albania
Actually, right now, the majority do not. So needless to say you may be limited as to which websites you can order from. If you want something from a company that doesn’t ship to Albania there are third party providers that will gather your packages for example in the UK and you can then request them to be sent here in a van.
2. You have the option to use the regular post or pay extra for courier
Depending on what you’re ordering you may be presented with the option to use the regular postal service or pay for a courier (eg. FedEx, DHL etc.).
The main difference beyond pricing and delivery times is that the regular postal service will send your package to your nearest post office according to the post code you put on the package.
DHL will call you when your package is ready and deliver it to your house, and according to Zedd one of our Facebook Group Members UPS will do the same, FedEx however will take your package to their facility. So if you’re far from the post office, or the item is bulky/heavy, courier is your better option.
3. Your package with international tracking will NOT be tracked beyond having arrived in the country
When you’re placing your order you will most likely end up paying for tracked shipping. And you may be used to being informed about what the shoe size of the driver is that has just this second been handed your package. Once your package arrives in Albania you’ll know that it’s at customs and then that’s kinda it.
I have never gotten another update beyond “package at customs” until I’ve heard either from the post office itself or the courier. Sometimes days will pass without a word, that seems still kinda normal.
4. You’re going to pay for postage PLUS import taxes
Albania is a separate country from all other countries in this world. So you will always pay shipping AND import taxes (yes even if you order from the EU which is just down the road, because Albania is NOT part of the EU despite being physically located in Europe).
The link here is for online shopping specifically.
There are OTHER categories as well depending on what you’re ordering.
Make sure you check this carefully, because sometimes you think “whoa this is so much cheaper abroad, I’m going to order this laptop” and then you get slammed with import taxes and the price is the same as if you’d bought it here.
5. The 2 most important things when you place your order: Post Code and Phone Number
When you’re ordering online the 2 most important things are the post code you put on the package, and having your phone number on there.
THE POST CODE
If you use the local post and not the courier, the post code will determine which post office your package will be sent to. If you put the wrong post code you’ll hike to the other end of town to try and locate your package.
How can you try and find your post code:
Ask someone that lives in the same area
Go on Google Maps and search for “zyra postare” or “posta” and see what is closest to your house. They often include the post code on google maps (eg. the one in Komuna Parisit says Posta Shqiptare Nr. 2 – 1060) – and 1060 is the post code.
You have to make sure your phone number is written on the outside of your package so it’s visible. Like put your address AND your phone number. You can even skip any and all exact road information your package will arrive. You can just write Jane Smith, Komuna Parisit, Tirane, 1060, Albania plus your phone number and you’ll get your package.
6. Receiving your package
If your package has been sent via local post you will receive a text message from the post office with the information as to WHICH post office your package is at (this is very useful and fairly recent, so you no longer have to travel around the city if your package got delivered to the wrong post office to find out which one it’s at
You simply go to the post office with your ID and then you queue up (may need to pull a number and wait an insane amount of time depending on the time and day). You will need to pay a small fee to pick up your package (I think it’s 30 Lek). IF you have import taxes to pay they will make you pay those as well.
Then you got your package.
If your package has customs fees to be paid, then at least DHL usually email you.
They will tell you what the customs fee is and you can pay it online.
Then once you’ve paid they go and fetch your package and call you to deliver it to your building.
And that’s it!
Ordering online is perfectly easy once you know how it works.
And, of course, sometimes things go wrong and packages go missing or are broken, so this stuff happens, it’s happened to me in every country I’ve lived in. Touch wood it hasn’t happened to me here yet, so just bear this in mind when you’re ordering stuff.
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Jess is an Expat and has been living in Albania, Tirana specifically, for the last 5 years.She lives with her partner and runs her own business. Her favourite part about life in Albania is the coffee culture and you can often find her working in various coffee places around town.