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Travel Security Advice for Macedonia

Macedonian_National_Flag

macedonia_mapMacedonia_Overview


COUNTRY DESCRIPTION:

Macedonia is a parliamentary democracy that is steadily transforming its economy.  Tourist facilities are available in the capital, Skopje, and other major towns.  In tourist centers, such as Skopje and Ohrid, European-standard hotels and other travel amenities are available, while the standard of facilities throughout the rest of the country varies considerably.  Read the Department of State Background Notes on Macedonia  for additional information.

REGISTRATION/ EMBASSY LOCATION:

U.S. citizens living or traveling in Macedonia are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate through the Department of State’s travel registration page in order to obtain updated information on local travel and security.  U.S. citizens without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Registration is important; it allows the State Department to assist U.S. citizens in an emergency. 

Local embassy information is available below and at the
 Department of State’s list of embassies and consulates.

American Embassy Skopje
Samoilova 21, 1000 Skopje, Macedonia
Telephone: (389) (2) 310-2000
Emergency after-hours telephone: (389) (2) 310-2000
Facsimile: (389) (2) 310-2299

ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS:

Short trips for business or tourism: A valid passport is required for travel to Macedonia.  A visa is not required for U.S. passport holders for tourist and business trips up to 90 days during a six-month period.  Macedonia requires that all foreign citizens entering the country provide proof of health insurance at the port of entry.  Entry stamps are issued at airports or land border crossing points, which grant permission to remain 90 days.  All foreign citizens must register with local police within 24 hours of arrival.  Those staying in private accommodations or renting an apartment should register in person at the police station nearest his/her place of residence, and should be accompanied to the station by the owner or landlord of the apartment.  Hotels are responsible for the registration of foreign guests.  Travelers who change addresses in Macedonia should notify the police station where they initially registered and re-register with the police station closest to the new place of residence.      
                                                            
Unaccompanied U.S. citizen minors who enter Macedonia should be in possession of a notarized statement of consent from a parent or guardian to enter and stay in the country.  The statement of consent must be certified by a competent authority of the country from which s/he arrives or by a diplomatic or consular mission of the Republic of Macedonia abroad

NOTE: A U.S. citizen who possesses more than one passport is required to leave the country with the travel document used for entry into the country.        
                                       
Temporary residence:  Individuals intending to work, study, or remain longer than 90 days in Macedonia must obtain an entry visa prior to their arrival in Macedonia.  The practice of adjusting from tourist status to long-term status when already in Macedonia is no longer allowed.  Those wanting to adjust must leave Macedonia and apply for a long-term visa at a Macedonian Embassy or Consulate.

American citizens resident in the United States may apply at the Macedonian Embassy in Washington D.C., located at 2129 Wyoming Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20008, tel.: (202) 667-0501; fax: (202) 667-2131; or visit the
 Embassy of Macedonia website  for more information.

The passport should be valid for at least three months longer than the validity of the visa.  For additional information about the conditions and procedures for visa issuance, the applicant may visit the
 Macedonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website  for a list of Macedonian Embassies and Consulates.  In addition to the Embassy of Macedonia in Washington, American citizens may also contact the Consulates General of Macedonia in New York, Detroit, or Chicago; contact information is located on the Consular offices page within Macedonia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.  Travelers should be aware that all border areas apart from designated border crossings are restricted zones. Presence in these zones is forbidden without prior official permission.

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Macedonia.

Information about
dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website.  For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.

THREATS TO SAFETY AND SECURITY:

The security situation in Macedonia is stable, although occasional criminal violence does occur. Americans should avoid areas with demonstrations, strikes, or roadblocks where large crowds are gathered, particularly those involving political causes or striking workers.  Information regarding demonstrations in Macedonia can be found on U.S. Embassy Skopje’s website.

For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains current the Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution.

Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free within the U.S. and Canada, or by calling a regular toll line, 1-202-501-4444, from other countries.  These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

The Department of State urges American citizens to take responsibility for their own personal security while traveling overseas.  For general information about appropriate measures travelers can take to protect themselves in an overseas environment, see the Department of State’s extensive tips and advice on traveling safely abroad.


CRIME:

Crime in Macedonia is low by U.S. standards, and violent crime against Americans is rare.  Pick-pocketing, theft, and other petty street crimes do occur, however, particularly in areas where tourists and foreigners congregate.  American travelers are advised to take the same precautions against becoming crime victims as they would in any U.S. city.  Valuables, including cell phones and electronic items, should not be left in plain view in unattended vehicles.  Windows and doors should be securely locked when residences are not occupied.  Organized crime is present in Macedonia; organized criminal activity occasionally results in violent confrontations between members of rival organizations.  ATM use is generally safe; however, travelers should take standard safety precautions.

Pickpockets remain a problem in the Skopje city center, including the Main Square (“Ploshtad”), the City Center Mall (“Trgovski Center”), and the Old Town areas.  Pedestrians should remain cognizant of their belongings and their surroundings at all times.  Pickpockets use various diversionary tactics to distract victims, including groups of children swarming around the potential victim; asking for money to see the location of the potential victim’s wallet, or handing a child to the potential victim.  Victims of pickpocketing should report the crime to the police as soon as possible.                                                                                                                          

In many countries around the world, counterfeit and pirated goods are widely available.  Transactions involving such products may be illegal under local law.  In addition, bringing them back to the United States may result in forfeitures and/or fines.

VICTIMS OF CRIME:

If you are the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate (see end of this sheet or see the Department of State’s list of embassies and consulates).  This includes the loss or theft of a U.S. passport.  The embassy/consulate staff can, for example, help you find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds may be transferred.  Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime are solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

The local equivalents to the “911” emergency line in Macedonia are 192 for police and 194 for ambulance.

Please see our information on victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.

CRIMINAL PENALTIES:

While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law.  Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses.  Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Persons violating Macedonian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned.  Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Macedonia are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.


SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES:

Macedonian customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation to or exportation from Macedonia of certain items, including items deemed to be of historical value or significance.  Taking photographs of anything that could be perceived as being of military or security interest may result in problems with authorities.  Visitors should always observe “no photographing” signs.  If in doubt, please ask permission from authorities before taking photographs.

The local currency is the denar.  While credit cards are accepted in larger stores and restaurants, cash in local currency is advised for purchases in small establishments.

Upon entry into Macedonia, every foreigner must declare all cash amounts of foreign currency greater than EUR (euro) 2,000 at the
 Macedonian Customs Control OfficeFailure to report funds in excess of this amount may result in the confiscation of the entire amount by the customs service.  After going through the court system, an individual is normally required to pay a fine and the National Bank will also keep a certain percentage of the undeclared amount before it is released.

MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION:

Although many Macedonian physicians are trained to a high standard, and a number of well-equipped private clinics are available especially in Skopje, most public hospitals and clinics are not equipped and maintained at U.S. or Western European standards.  Basic medical supplies are usually available, but specialized treatment may not be obtainable.  Travelers with previously diagnosed medical conditions may wish to consult their physician before travel.

For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the infectious diseases section of the
 World Health Organization (WHO) website The WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.

MEDICAL INSURANCE:

The Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to consult their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to determine whether the policy applies overseas and whether it covers emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.  For more information, please see our medical insurance overseas page.

TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS:

While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States.

Driving safely in Macedonia requires excellent defensive driving skills.  Many drivers routinely ignore speed limits and other traffic regulations, such as stopping for red lights and stop signs.  Drivers may make illegal left turns from the far right lane, or drive into oncoming lanes of traffic.  The combination of speeding, unsafe driving practices, poor vehicle maintenance, the mixture of new and old vehicles on the roads, and poor lighting contributes to unsafe driving conditions.  Pedestrians should exercise extreme caution when crossing the street, even when using crosswalks, as local drivers rarely slow down or stop for pedestrians.

A valid U.S. driver’s license in conjunction with an International Driving Permit is required for Americans driving in Macedonia.  Driving is on the right side of the road.  Speed limits are generally posted.  Most major highways are in good repair, but many secondary urban and rural roads are poorly maintained and lighted.  Horse-drawn carts, livestock, dead animals, rocks, or other objects are sometimes found in the roadway.  Some vehicles are old and lack standard front or rear lights. Secondary mountain roads can be narrow, poorly marked, lacking guardrails, and quickly become dangerous in inclement weather.  Overall, public transportation in Macedonia is dilapidated.  Roadside emergency services are limited.

In case of emergency, drivers may contact the police at telephone 192, the Ambulance Service at telephone 194, and Roadside Assistance at telephone 196.

Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information.

AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT:

As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Macedonia, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Macedonia’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards.  Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

CHILDREN'S ISSUES:

Please see our Office of Children’s Issues web pages on intercountry adoption and international parental child abduction.

This replaces the Country Specific Information for Macedonia dated April 16, 2009, to update sections on Registration/Embassy Location, Entry/Exit Requirements, Threats to Safety and Security, Crime, Victims of Crime, Criminal Penalties, Special Circumstances, Medical Facilities and Health Information, Medical Insurance, Traffic Safety and Road Conditions.

 


The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office also has information regarding Macedonia HERE.....

Looking for an Embassy ?, You can also check out our World Wide Embassies Listings Section HERE (For US Citizens) or HERE (For UK Citizens)..........

Regards

The SW Team.....

 

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