39 people were stopped last month at the Tirana International Airport (TIA) while attempting to fly to the Schengen states with falsified travel documents.
The airport border police officers stopped 39 people with fake Italian, Greek, Romanian and Bulgarian counterfeit passports. They were all trying to travel to one of the Schengen zone countries, while their final destination was the United Kingdom. It is believed that these people picked the holiday season to travel, in the hope that they would avoid controls due to increased flow in the airports.
According to police sources, the sequestered documents were high in quality and almost identical to the originals. In Albania, such a document can be purchased for around 300 to 500 euros.
Albania reached an agreement on visa liberalization with the Schengen member states in November 2010. Since then, its citizens possessing biometric passports could travel to Schengen with only their passports.
However, the UK is not part of the Schengen Zone, therefore Albanians need a visa to enter this country. Whereas, since Italy, Romania, Bulgaria and Greece are members of the European Union, their passport holders can travel to the United Kingdom without the need of a visa.
As a result, citizens of the European country of Albania, which has a poorer economy, continuously attempt to fly to EU countries with falsified documents. In particular to the United Kingdom, where is a growing Albanian community.