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North Macedonia, Republic of

If you’re travelling to the Republic of North 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 border of North Macedonia 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 North 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.

Security Status

  • Normal precautions
  • High degree of caution
  • Avoid non-essential travel
  • Do not travel
  • Overview
  • Safety and Security
  • Local Laws and Customs
  • Health
  • Embassy Contact

Overview

Overview

General COVID-19 Travel Advisory in Operation:

Avoid non-essential travel until further notice:

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade advises against all non-essential travel overseas until further notice. This includes Great Britain but does not apply to Northern Ireland. It also includes all travel by cruise ship.

If you are currently travelling outside of Ireland:

Flight restrictions and route cancellations are happening on a daily basis worldwide and there is no guarantee that air routes will continue to operate. For this reason, where commercial flights are still an option, we recommend that people who wish to do so make arrangements to return to Ireland as soon as possible.

We are working with airlines to show maximum flexibility to those passengers who need to change their existing flight arrangements. Where commercial flights are no longer available, we are working side-by-side with our international partners to identify alternative options where possible.

It may not be feasible or possible for everyone who wants to travel back to Ireland to do so in the short term. We ask Irish citizens remaining abroad to make decisions that safeguard their health and well-being and that they follow local public health and safety requirements.  We ask that they remain in close contact with family, friends and their local Irish Embassy or Consulate. 

We know that this is a stressful situation for citizens and our embassy network is working around the clock to provide people with all the information and assistance that we can, bearing in mind the situation is unfolding across multiple countries and is not one under our control. 

What to do on entering Ireland from abroad:

The Irish Health Authorities require anyone coming into Ireland, apart from Northern Ireland, to restrict their movements on arrival for 14 days. Check the Irish Health Service COVID-19 Advice Page for full information on these requirements. This includes Irish residents. Exemptions are in place for providers of essential supply chain services such as hauliers, pilots and maritime staff.

Where to go for more information:

We continue to make updates to our online travel advice for over 200 countries and recommend that you download our TravelWise App and follow us on Twitter. If abroad you should register with your local Irish Embassy or Consulate and regularly check their website and especially their Twitter accounts for details of any local public health measures and travel restrictions.

Security status

Avoid non-essential travel.

Latest Travel Alert

North Macedonia is currently very politically unstable and street protests regularly take place, although they are usually quite peaceful. Visitors to the country should exercise caution and should especially avoid any street protests.

Novel Coronavirus

A number of cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) have been confirmed in North Macedonia. A State of Emergency was declared on 18 March for a period of 30 days. At this time all border crossings are closed for foreign citizens except for freight vehicles, foreigners with long-term stay permit and their family members, and others with special permission from the Ministry of Interior. Skopje and Ohrid International Airports are closed for commercial air traffic until further notice. Travelers returning from COVID-19 affected areas, regardless of their residence status, are subject to mandatory 14-day self-isolation and should follow the standard procedure if symptoms occur. Travelers on official travel transiting the country should leave the territory within three hours. A curfew operates between the hours of 21:00 and 05:00 daily until the ending of the State of Emergency. It is now prohibited for 5 people or more to gather in public parks or in other public places. People over 67 can only leave their homes between 05:00 and 11:00 and those aged under 18 can only leave their homes between 12:00 and 21:00.

See the WHO webpage Republic of North Macedonia and Situation Dashboard for details.

If you are in North Macedonia, you should monitor developments regularly and follow the advice of local authorities. See links to relevant websites below.

Ministry of Health of North Macedonia - http://zdravstvo.gov.mk/

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia - https://www.mfa.gov.mk/

Be alert to common signs of infection: respiratory problems, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Seek medical advice if you experience these symptoms.
HSE medical advice to protect yourself from getting COVID-19 is below.
Do:
• wash your hands properly and regularly with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub
• cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough and sneeze
• put used tissues into a bin and wash your hands
Don’t:
• touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
Additional information on COVID-19 can be found via the following links:

HSE

HPSC

ECDC

World Health Organisation

Summary

The Republic of North Macedonia is a welcoming, visitor-friendly and relatively inexpensive country. The capital city is Skopje where many people will be happy to try to converse in English.      

Irish citizens do not require visas to enter the Republic of North Macedonia. Visitors to the Republic of North Macedonia should register with the local police within 24 hours of arrival as failure to do so risks a fine. Registration happens automatically when checking in at hotels etc.

The official currency of the Republic of North Macedonia is the Denar. Credit and debit cards are accepted in larger outlets.  Visitors should exchange currency only at banks or official exchange offices. Alternatively, use ATMs in bank, hotel or airport lobbies to withdraw funds in the local currency.

The Republic of North Macedonia has four distinct seasons. Summer temperatures can rise above 40 degrees whereas winters can be very cold, with temperatures often as low as minus 20, sometimes with heavy and prolonged snowfalls. 

Visitors to the Republic of North Macedonia are encouraged to register with the Irish Embassy in Bucharest, Romania, which is accredited to the Republic of North Macedonia.

Emergency Assistance

Because there is no resident Irish Embassy in the Republic of North Macedonia, we are limited in the help as can offer you in an emergency situation. However, if you need assistance, please contact the Irish Embassy in Bucharest.

EU Directive on Consular Protection

Under the EU Consular Protection Directive, Irish nationals may seek assistance from the Embassy or Consulate of any other EU member state in a country where there is no Irish Embassy or permanent representation.

Emergency contact details

You can contact the emergency services in the Republic of North Macedonia by dialling:

  • 192 for police.
  • 193 for fire brigade.
  • 194 for ambulance.

Our tips for Safe Travels:

  • Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities.
  • Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
  • Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly if there’s an unforeseen crisis like a natural disaster or a family emergency.
  • Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates.
  • Read our ‘Know Before You Go’ guide.

Safety and Security

Safety and security

Most visits to the Republic of North Macedonia are trouble-free and attacks on foreigners are extremely rare.

Nevertheless, visitors to the Republic of North Macedonia are advised to take normal personal and security precautions, particularly at night.

  • Valuables and other items such as spare jewellery, passports, driving licences, credit/debit cards and excess cash should be secured in a hotel safe.
  • For identification purposes, visitors should carry a copy of their passport at all times (bring a few spare photocopies of the personal details page).
  • Pickpockets and bag snatchers often operate in crowded areas.

Borders

Exercise particular caution if travelling to areas bordering Kosovo or Serbia. Apart from designated border crossings, these areas are restricted and travel permission must be obtained from the police. In some remote areas there may be a continuing threat from land mines or unexploded ordnance.

The border between the Republic of North Macedonia and Kosovo can be subject to closure to traffic at short notice. Kosovo entry/exit stamps in passports can lead to additional scrutiny checks at Macedonian or other local borders.

Border areas should generally be avoided while the migrant crisis is ongoing (spring 2016).

Local Laws and Customs

Local laws and customs

Entry

It is obligatory upon arrival to declare large amounts of foreign currency (in excess of €2,000 equivalent).  Failure to do so could result in detention and/or forfeiture of funds.

While Irish citizens do not require visas to enter the Republic of North Macedonia, un-accompanied minors not in possession of letters of consent from parents or guardians risk refusal of entry.

Driving and transport

Public transport in Skopje and throughout the Republic of North Macedonia is not as well as developed as elsewhere and motorways are few and far between. Rail, bus and taxis are, however, relatively inexpensive.

Some North Macedonians drive erratically and at excessive speeds and vehicles are not always fully roadworthy.  Serious road traffic accidents regularly occur. Visitors entering the Republic of North Macedonia by road should ensure that they have adequate insurance cover. Insurance companies or brokers should be consulted in advance about this, if necessary. 

Key points for driving in the Republic of North Macedonia:

  • Irish and international driving licences are valid.
  • The quality of road surfaces in the Republic of Macedonia can be uneven. Travel by road in remoter areas should be restricted to primary routes, and daylight hours.
  • In the event of an accident involving another vehicle, await police permission before moving your own vehicle.
  • It is obligatory when driving to use side lights/dipped headlights.
  • In winter, drivers should ensure that vehicles are prepared for extreme weather conditions, including fitting mandatory winter tyres.

Health

Health

While the water supply in the Republic of North Macedonia is not known to be contaminated, use of bottled or filtered water is recommended as a safer option. 

Inoculations are generally not needed but visitors with existing medical conditions or illnesses should seek specific advice in advance from their GPs.

Travel Insurance

We can’t pay for emergency medical repatriation, repatriation of remains, or for expenses as a result of a personal emergency while you are abroad. If you buy an appropriate travel insurance policy, these costs will be covered, provided you haven’t broken the terms and conditions.

Buying comprehensive travel insurance can save you and your family a lot of money if something goes wrong. It will also ensure that you get the medical attention you need, when you need it. Hospital bills can quickly run into thousands of euro, and a medical evacuation back to Ireland can cost thousands more.

Not all policies are the same, and the cheapest one might be cheap for a reason. Make sure your policy covers all the activities you plan to do on your trip. Insurance Ireland recommend that you purchase a policy that provides a minimum medical cover of €1 million.

Emergency expenses

Your policy should cover:

  • All medical care abroad, including evacuation by air ambulance, or other emergency procedures, and any other costs associated with an unexpected longer stay.
  • Your entire trip, from departure to return. Consider an annual multi-trip policy if you’re making more than one trip in the year.   
  • 24-hour emergency service and assistance.
  • Personal liability cover (in case you’re sued for causing injury or damaging property).
  • Lost and stolen possessions.
  • Cancellation and curtailment.
  • Any extra activities you intend to do that are excluded from standard policies (e.g. water sport activities such as jet skiing or other extreme sports).

Exclusions: You should know most insurance policies will not cover drink or drug-related incidents.

Embassy contact

Embassy Contact

In case of a genuine consular emergency while the Embassy is closed, please leave a message with name, location and telephone number at +4021 310 2131 and the Duty Officer will call you back.

Alternatively, the Duty Officer at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Dublin can be contacted at +353-1-408-2000.

Embassy of Ireland
50-52 Buzesti St
3rd Floor, Sector 1
Bucharest
Romania

Tel: +40 21 3102131
Fax: +40 21 3102181

Monday to Friday 09:30-12:30; 14:00-17:00

Contact us