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Travel & living abroad

Europe

Macedonia

Flag of Macedonia
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)

Travel advice for this country

Travel Summary


  • You should exercise caution if you intend to travel to the northern and western border regions of Macedonia. See Local Travel .

  • There is an underlying threat from international terrorism . Attacks, although unlikely, could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.

  • Sporadic acts of violence do still occur in Macedonia, particularly in the north, but also including Skopje.  See Local Travel and Political Situation .

  • Most visits to Macedonia are trouble-free. See General - Consular Assistance Statistics.

  • You should take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling to Macedonia.  See General - Insurance .

Safety and security

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.  

Acts of intimidation and harassment against nationals of western countries have been reported. In the event of civil disorder, we advise British nationals to stay at home and restrict their movements as much as possible, especially after dark. Avoid crowds and demonstrations generally.  Keep a low profile, vary times and routes of travel and ensure that travel documents are current.  Remain aware of your surroundings at all times.  See our Victims of Crime Abroad page.

Safety and Security - Local Travel
Visitors to North West Macedonia should exercise particular caution as armed groups are known to operate there, and there are sometimes sporadic incidents of violence. While there is no evidence of foreigners being deliberately targeted, visitors to this region may find themselves the victims of local bandits or caught up in acts of violence.


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.


Safety and Security - Local Travel - Road Travel
Traffic in Macedonia is unpredictable, road conditions and driving standards vary widely.  Driving styles and practises differ significantly from those in UK. Traffic regulations are not well adhered to and accidents are frequent. You are advised to exercise caution at all times whilst driving or on foot.

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.

See our Driving Abroad page.

General - Political Situation

Macedonia Country Profile

The Presidential and Municipal elections in March and April 2009 passed off peacefully.

Local laws and customs

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

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.

Entry Requirements - Passport Validity
There is no minimum passport validity requirement but you should ensure that your passport is undamaged and valid for the proposed period of your stay, but preferably for six months beyond your length of stay.

Entry Requirements - Registering with the Police

It is essential that you register with the local police in the town/city where you are staying within 24 hours of your arrival in Macedonia, unless you are staying in a hotel where you will be registered automatically on checking-in. If you do not register you may be fined, detained or face a court appearance.  Failure to do so may result in a fine or possible removal from Macedonia (which may include a restriction on your ability to return to Macedonia for a certain period).

You are also advised to register with LOCATE online.

Entry Requirements - Dual nationality
There have been some incidents in which Macedonian nationals holding dual nationality in another country, have been detained on the grounds that they have avoided military service in either the Army of the Republic of Macedonia (ARM) or in the former Yugoslav National Army (JNA).  Dual British/Macedonian nationals visiting the country are advised to carry documents showing that they have completed their military service in either the ARM or JNA if applicable.  The final intake of conscripts into the Macedonian Army was in April 2006. Since then military service in Macedonia has been abolished. However dual nationals who have not completed military service in either the ARM or JNA are advised to check with their nearest Macedonian Embassy regarding their liability for this.  You are advised to check with the nearest Macedonian Embassy for up to date information on visa requirements before you travel.

Entry Requirements - Travelling with children
Single parent or other adults travelling alone with children should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. For further information on exactly what will be required at immigration please contact the London Embassy of the Republic of Macedonia.

Health

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.

In the 2008 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic the UNAIDS/WHO Working Group estimated that less than 1,000 adults aged 15 or over in Macedonia were living with HIV; the prevalence rate was estimated at less than 0.1% of the adult population. This compares to the prevalence rate in adults in the UK.

You should seek medical advice before travelling to Macedonia and ensure that all appropriate vaccinations are up-to-date.  For further information on vaccination requirements, health outbreaks and general disease protection and prevention you should visit the websites of the NaTHNaC and NHS Scotland's Fit For Travel or call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47.

See our Travel Health page.

Natural disasters

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

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.

If things do go wrong when you are overseas see our When Things Go Wrong page.

General - Registering with the British Embassy
Whether travelling to or resident in Macedonia you are advised to register with, with our on-line registration system called LOCATE to tell us when and where you are travelling abroad or where you live abroad so our consular and crisis staff can provide better assistance to you in a crisis.

General - Passports

Macedonians are required to carry identification documents with them at all times, and travellers are advised to do the same. As a precaution against thieves, we advise against carrying your passport if possible. We advise that you carry other valid photographic identification and/or a photocopy of your passport data page, keeping your passport in a secure, separate place. This will also help you to obtain a replacement, in case your passport is lost or stolen.

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.

If your passport is lost or stolen the British Embassy in Skopje can issue you an Emergency Travel Document (ETD) only. Applications for new standard passports are accepted at the British Passport Processing Centre in Northern Europe, at the British Consulate-General in Dusseldorf.  For full details on applying please visit our Germany country website

General - Money
The official currency of Macedonia is the Denar. Credit cards are accepted in many of the larger hotels and shops, and ATMs increasingly accept international bank cards. British banks do not exchange Denars; you are advised to exchange any unwanted Denars before you leave Macedonia. You should only change money through banks or official exchange offices and not through street dealers. The British Embassy in Skopje cannot exchange currency. You will be unable to exchange Scottish and Northern Irish bank notes in Macedonia.

You must declare the cash amount of foreign currency greater than EUR 10,000 at Customs upon entry into Macedonia. Failure to do so may result in detention and forfeiture of funds when attempting to leave Macedonia.

Credit card fraud is widespread and caution should be exercised when making a purchase using this method. ATMs are widely available in Skopje, less so in other main towns.

General - Consular Assistance Statistics
7 British nationals required consular assistance in Macedonia in the period 1 April 2009 until 31 March 2010 for the following types of incident: deaths (1 case); and arrests, for a variety of offences (4 cases). During this period assistance was also requested with regard to lost or stolen passports (3 cases).

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Contacts

Macedonia, Skopje, British Embassy

Address:

Salvador Aljende No. 73
1000
Skopje

Telephone:

(00) (389) (2) 3299 299

Fax:

(00) (389) (2) 3179 726
(00) (389) (2) 3179 729 Consular/Visa

Office hours:

GMT:
Mon-Thurs: 0700-1530; Fri: 0700-1200

Local Time:
Mon-Thurs: 0800-1630; Fri: 0800-1300

Website: http://ukinmacedonia.fco.gov.uk/en

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