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Republic of Macedonia

If you’re travelling to the Republic of Macedonia, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information.

Get travel and medical insurance

Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.

You may be asked to present proof of travel insurance at the Macedonian border and you could be refused entry if you can’t prove that you’re insured. Remember to read the small print in your policy and make sure it covers everything you’re planning to do.

If you’re travelling to the Republic of Macedonia for dental or medical treatment, you need to make sure your travel insurance will cover you in case of any complications that might occur.

Overview

Security status

If you’re planning a trip to the Republic of Macedonia, we advise you to take normal precautions.

Register with us

If you’re visiting or planning to stay in the Republic of Macedonia, you should register your details with us so we can find you quickly if there’s an unforeseen crisis like a natural disaster or if you have a family emergency while you’re abroad. And, if necessary, we can offer help to you and your family.

Our advice

We suggest you learn as much as you can about the Republic of Macedonia before your trip.

We also recommend reading our Know Before You Go travel guide for practical tips on travelling abroad.

Emergency assistance

The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.

Contact the Embassy

Because there is no Irish Embassy or Consulate in the Republic of Macedonia, we’re limited in the help we can offer you in an emergency. However, if you need assistance, you can contact the Irish Embassy in Bucharest in Romania.

If you phone outside of working hours, leave us a message giving:

  • Your name
  • The nature of your problem
  • Where you are now
  • Your contact details (mobile phone number or phone number of where you’re staying)

We regularly monitor these messages and one of our staff members will be in contact with you.

Other EU embassies

You can also contact the Embassies or Consulates of other EU countries for emergency consular assistance, advice and support.

How we can help you

We have a lot of experience helping Irish citizens who run into problems when they’re abroad. Learn more about the kind of emergency assistance we can offer you.

Safety and security

Practical advice

  • Read our Know Before You Go travel guide for useful security tips when travelling abroad
  • Get advice locally about areas of risk and security concerns
  • Take common-sense precautions about safety and security
  • Know who to contact in case of an emergency

Unrest

The situation in the Republic of Macedonia is relatively stable, following serious inter-ethnic fighting in 2001. However, five people were killed near Skopje in April 2012 and this has triggered fresh tensions due to fears that there were religious or ethnic motives for the murders. 

Shootings and other acts of violence have taken place in Skopje, Tetovo, Kumanovo and Gostivar recently. While none of these incidents or attacks have been aimed at members of the international community, we advise you to be particularly vigilant if you’re living in or visiting the Republic of Macedonia given the often indiscriminate nature of these incidents.

Avoid large crowds, political rallies or demonstrations. Always keep yourself informed of what’s going on around you by monitoring local media and staying in contact with your hotel or tour organiser.

Border regions

Be careful when travelling to the area bordering Serbia. Apart from designated border crossings, the immediate border area is a military restricted zone and you must get permission from the nearest Macedonian police station before travelling here.

The border between the Republic of Macedonia and Kosovo can be subject to closure at short notice to all traffic.

Terrorism

Although the threat from terrorism in the Republic of Macedonia is low, there is still a global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by tourists and expatriates. 

Landmines

Unexploded mines and ordnances may still be a hazard in the northern and western regions of the Republic of Macedonia. You should restrict your travel to primary roads and daylight hours only. 

Crime

Crime remains relatively low in the Republic of Macedonia and personal attacks against foreigners are extremely rare but you should always take sensible precautions: 

  • Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place. 
  • Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home.
  • Avoid carrying large sums of money or valuables and don’t use ATMs after dark, especially if you’re alone. Check no one has followed you after conducting your business.
  • Take extra care at night. Avoid dark and unlit streets and stairways, and arrange to be picked up or dropped off as close to your hotel or apartment entrance as possible.
  • Keep a close eye on your personal belongings and hold on to them in public places such as internet cafés, train and bus stations.

Petty theft

There have been several reported cases of foreigners being pick-pocketed by gangs of children and bag snatchers in the main shopping and entertainment areas.

Serious crime

Organised criminal groups are active in the Republic of Macedonia and shooting incidents, including in Skopje, do occur periodically. While these have usually been against targeted people, there is always the possibility of foreigners being in the wrong place at the wrong time. You should keep to the main areas and streets and be vigilant at all times.  

Credit card fraud

Credit card fraud is widespread and you should be careful when using your card.

Reporting crime

If you’re a victim of a crime while in the Republic of Macedonia, report it to the local police immediately. And you can contact us at the Irish Embassy in Bucharest if you need help.

Driving

If you’re planning to drive in the Republic of Macedonia, you should exercise caution and follow these basic guidelines:

  • Bring your full Irish driver’s licence and your international driving permit and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law and you risk being detained, fined or banned from driving if caught
  • Be aware of Macedonia’s traffic laws, such as speed limits
  • Wear your seatbelts at all times
  • Keep your vehicle doors locked and your bags kept out of sight to prevent opportunistic bag-snatching if you’re stopped at traffic lights
  • Always use side lights/dipped headlights during the day
  • Never use a mobile phone while driving

Hiring a vehicle

If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.

Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).

Local laws and customs

Practical advice

  • Read our travel advice, inform yourself before travelling and get advice locally when you arrive
  • Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them
  • Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or even illegal

Personal identification

Always carry a copy of your passport as identification at all times.

Illegal drugs

Illegal drug use (no matter what the drug) carries stiff penalties, including fines and long prison terms.

Natural disasters and climate

Practical advice

  • If you’re travelling to the Republic of Macedonia, make sure you know what to expect – then plan and pack so that you’re prepared
  • Get local advice on how to manage in the case of a serious incident or dangerous conditions
  • Co-operate with local authorities and emergency services in the case of serious incidents

Travel Advice Hot Cold Climates

Earthquake

Earthquakes are not uncommon in the Republic of Macedonia and small tremors are recorded throughout the year without consequences. The last significant earthquake occurred in 2011, with magnitude of 2.0, but there were no casualties or significant damage. If you’re travelling to or living in the Republic of Macedonia, make sure you know what to do in the event of an earthquake.

Additional information

Entry requirements (visa/passport)

Visa

Irish citizens don’t need a visa to enter the Republic of Macedonia. However, if you intend to stay for longer than 90 days you must register with the appropriate Macedonian authorities.

Travelling with children

Single parents or other adults travelling alone with children should be aware that some countries such as the Republic of Macedonia, require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country or, in some cases, permitting the children to leave the country. You can get further information on exactly what will be required at immigration from the nearest Macedonian Embassy or Consulate.

Registration

It’s essential that you register with the local police in the town/city where you are staying within 24 hours of arrival. This registration is completed automatically on checking in at hotels. If you’re not using a hotel and you fail to register, you may be fined, detained or face court appearance. 

Passports

It’s advisable to take a number of photocopies of your passport with you.

Health

Check with your doctor well in advance of travelling to see if you need any vaccinations for Macedonia.

Money

The official currency of the Republic of Macedonia is the Denar. You should only change money through banks or official exchange offices and not through street dealers.

ATMs

The number of ATMs in the Republic of Macedonia is increasing, making the withdrawal of local currency much easier.

Foreign currency

You must declare all foreign currency on arrival where the total amount exceeds the equivalent of €2,000. Failure to do so may result in detention and forfeiture of funds when attempting to leave the Republic of Macedonia.