The constitution and other laws and policies protect religious freedom.
By law the country is secular. According to the constitution, there is no official religion and all religions are equal; however, the Sunni Muslim, Bektashi, Orthodox, and Catholic communities enjoy a greater degree of recognition (e.g., national holidays) and social status based on their historic presence in the country.
The 2010 anti-discrimination law created the Office of the Commissioner for Protection from Discrimination, which receives and processes discrimination complaints, including those concerning religious practice. However, the institution lacks adequate funding and staffing.
The State Committee on Cults, under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture, Youth, and Sports, is charged with regulating relations between the government and religious communities as well as protecting freedom of religion and promoting interreligious cooperation and understanding. The committee states its records on religious organizations facilitate the granting of residence permits by police to foreign employees of various religious organizations. No organization reported any difficulty obtaining residency permits.
The government does not require registration or licensing of religious groups; however, the State Committee on Cults maintains records and statistics on foreign religious organizations that solicit its assistance. Religious movements may acquire the official status of a juridical person by registering with the Tirana District Court under the Law on Nonprofit Organizations, which recognizes the status of a nonprofit association regardless of whether the organization has a cultural, recreational, religious, or humanitarian character. Registration grants religious groups the right to hold bank accounts and own property as well as some level of tax-exempt status. The four traditional religious communities signed agreements with the government in 2008 granting them wider tax exemptions and other privileges.
Article 10 of the constitution calls for separate bilateral agreements to regulate relations between the government and religious communities. The Roman Catholic Church has had such an agreement with the government since 2002. In 2008, the government signed agreements with the Muslim, Orthodox, and Bektashi communities. The government signed a bilateral agreement with the Evangelical Brotherhood of Albania (VUSH), a Protestant umbrella organization, in 2010. Among the advantages of the agreement are an official recognition of the community, prioritized property restitution, and tax exemptions. However, administrative and legal challenges related to ownership claims in general made property restitution difficult for individuals and organizations, including religious groups.
According to the Ministry of Education, public schools are secular and the law prohibits ideological and religious indoctrination. Religion is not taught in public schools. According to official figures, religious communities, organizations, and foundations had 135 affiliated associations and foundations managing 102 educational institutions. By law, the Ministry of Education must license these schools, and curricula must comply with national education standards. Catholic and Muslim groups operate numerous state-licensed schools and reported no problems obtaining licenses for new schools. The Orthodox Church operates religious schools, a university, and educational centers for the training of clerics. The Bektashis also operate religious clerical training centers.
The government observes the following religious holidays as national holidays: Easter (Catholic and Orthodox), Christmas, Major Bajram, Minor Bajram, and Nevruz.