|Still current at: 07 January 2011
Updated: 20 December 2010
This advice has been reviewed and reissued without amendment. The overall level of the advice has not changed; there are no travel restrictions in place in Macedonia.
(see travel advice legal disclaimer)
Safety and Security - Terrorism
There is an underlying threat from international terrorism. Attacks, although unlikely, could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. See our Terrorism Abroad page.
Safety and Security - Crime
Personal attacks against foreigners are extremely rare. Organised criminal groups are active. Shooting incidents, including in Skopje do occur sporadically, but are not targeted at foreigners. Serious crime is rare and people unconnected with these groups have not been specifically targeted, however, there is obviously a risk of accidental injury from such incidents as some people carry firearms. Gunfire can also be a part of celebration. There is always therefore the possibility of foreigners being in the wrong place at the wrong time. You should be vigilant at all times.
There have been several cases of foreigners being pick pocketed by gangs of children and bag snatchers in the main shopping and entertainment areas late at night. Foreign nationals appear to have been specifically targeted. You should ensure that your personal possessions are secure.Credit card fraud is widespread and caution should be exercised when making a purchase using this method. The number of ATMs in Macedonia is increasing, making the withdrawal of local currency much easier.
You should exercise caution when travelling in regions near the Kosovo borders. Travel should be restricted to primary roads and daylight hours only. A high level of vigilance should be maintained. Particular care should be taken due to the continuing threat from land mines and unexploded ordnance.
You should exercise caution when travelling to the area bordering Serbia. Apart from designated border crossings, the immediate border area is a military restricted zone. Permission must be obtained from the nearest Macedonian police station before travelling to this zone.
Load Carrying Vehicles transiting Macedonia borders may be subject to long delays before being permitted to cross. You should ensure that you have the proper customs documentation prior to arrival at any of the Macedonian border crossings.
You can drive in Macedonia with either a UK or International Driving Licence.
By law all vehicles must use side lights/ dipped headlights during the day.
It is illegal to use mobile phones whilst driving.
It is a legal requirement for drivers and passengers to always wear seatbelts in Macedonia.
The legal drink/drive limit in Macedonia is lower than in the UK.
If you are taking your car, you must have vehicle registration/ownership documents and a locally valid insurance policy. European green card vehicle insurance is now valid in Macedonia. If you do not have a green card valid for Macedonia you will be charged a cash border insurance fee, the price of which depends on your vehicle. You are advised to confirm that your insurance company recognises that your policy covers Macedonia.
In case of emergency, drivers may contact the police at telephone 192, the Ambulance Service at telephone 194, and Roadside Assistance at telephone 196.
In the event of an accident, you should not move a vehicle until the police have recorded the incident and allowed you to do so.
Taking photographs of any military installation, establishment or site of government or strategic importance is prohibited. Do not take photographs or make notes near military or official installations. You are likely to have your film confiscated, be detained for questioning and possibly arrested if you do not observe this rule.
See our Your trip page.
Entry Requirements - Visas
There is currently no requirement for holders of British passports to obtain visas for travel to Macedonia for up to 3 months. Holders of UK Refugee Travel Documents travelling to Macedonia or transiting the country en-route to Kosovo, must obtain visas for travel to, or transit through, Macedonia from the Macedonian Embassy in London.
Any longer duration than 3 months requires visitors to regulate their stay with the appropriate Macedonian authorities and the Macedonian Embassy in London.
Entry Requirements - Travel to Serbia from Kosovo
We are aware of incidents where foreign nationals, including those from the United Kingdom, are being denied entry into the Republic of Serbia from Macedonia if they hold entry/exit stamps from Kosovo. We have requested clarification from the Serbian authorities over their immigration requirements. In the meantime we advise that persons travelling to Serbia who have new Kosovan stamps in their passports revise their travel plans and consider alternative arrangements until further notice.
There is a reciprocal healthcare agreement for British nationals, which entitles you to free treatment in Macedonia for genuine emergencies. However, the health system in all parts of Macedonia is suffering from widespread shortage of medicines and other essentials. You would still need to pay some of the initial costs (usually between 50 and 100 euros). If the treatment is not deemed an emergency then you would be unable to claim anything back from the Macedonian authorities and you would be expected to pay the full cost of treatment. In order to receive treatment under the reciprocal arrangement you would need to show your British passport and your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to show you are entitled to receive NHS treatment in the UK.
Macedonia is in a seismically active zone. An earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale occurred near the town of Valandovo in southern Macedonia near the Greek border on 24th May 2009. Smaller tremors occur periodically. Serious earthquakes are extremely rare, the last such occurrence being in 1963.
General - Insurance
It is essential to have adequate travel insurance before travelling to Macedonia as there is only an entitlement to basic first aid in the event of illness or accident. As the country remains outside the EU, your EHIC Card is of limited use – however as this is the only way to prove you are entitled to NHS treatment you should make sure you carry your EHIC card. All medical treatment will involve some cost. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for all the activities you want to undertake.
Medical insurance is recommended as you may need to meet the full costs of treatment (see Health section) or if you are treated at a private hospital, as many public hospitals are poorly equipped. The health system in all parts of Macedonia is suffering from widespread shortage of medicines and other essentials.
There is a reciprocal healthcare agreement for British nationals, which entitles you to free treatment in Macedonia for genuine emergencies. You would still need to pay some of the initial costs (usually between 50 and 100 euros). If the treatment is not deemed an emergency then you would be unable to claim anything back from the Macedonian authorities and you would be expected to pay the full cost of treatment. In order to receive treatment under the reciprocal arrangement you would need to show your British passport and your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).See our Travel Insurance page.
The loss or theft of a British passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the British Embassy in Skopje, or Honorary Consul in Bitola, as appropriate. The Honorary Consul in Bitola cannot issue new passports but can assist with the arrangements to apply for a new passport via Skopje.For further information on passports, please visit the Identity and Passport Service website.