Macedonian citizens can only travel to Serbia, Albania, and Kosovo without being obligated to provide a valid PCR coronavirus test, and without having to be quarantined.
After a decision made by its government, Albania opened its borders for nationals and foreigners on June 1. No special protocols have been set apart from the usual measures which stipulate wearing a mask and maintaining physical distance.
As of May 22, to enter Serbia, locals and foreigners don’t need to provide a negative coronavirus test or any kind of special permissions.
Kosovo authorities have opened their land borders to all neighboring countries, requiring no test, quarantine, and self-isolation upon entering the country. Persons are randomly selected for a temperature check at border crossings.
Even though the government in Macedonia decided to open all border crossings June 17, active coronavirus protection measures are still in place. The obligation to provide a valid PCR test and to quarantine upon entering the country discourages citizens to travel outside the borders. Travelers must also sign a 14-day self-isolation statement, based on which the State Sanitary and Health Inspectorate writes up a Health Supervision and Home Self-isolation Order, monitored by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Previously, the government added to the protocol for uninterrupted transit of foreign citizens through the territory of the Republic of North Macedonia that citizens of other countries can transit through North Macedonia at all border crossings. This transit entails entering through one border crossing and exiting through another, provided that the travelers don’t exit the appropriate highway or local road, and that the transit is completed within five hours, which must be confirmed by a statement that foreigners must fill out upon entrance, handed over to the border police upon exiting to monitor the duration of transit.
Entering the neighboring country and the region
In order to travel to Bulgaria and Greece as EU members, directions given by the European Commission are in place to open the borders starting from July 1. Entrance to Bulgaria is not permitted for Macedonian citizens unless it is to transit to Macedonia, or to an EU member state under certain conditions. The ban relates to all border crossings between June 18 and 30. A PCR test, quarantine, or self-isolation is not required during transit.
Greek authorities opened their borders for most of the EU, but not for Macedonian citizens, who will be allowed to enter Greece starting from July 1, with the exception of truck drivers. The ban for entering Greece through Macedonia extends to foreign citizens in transit through our country, which includes EU citizens.
Montenegro opened its borders to 130 countries whose active case numbers are below 25 per 100,000 citizens on June 1, removing most anti-coronavirus measures. The condition for number of active cases makes it impossible for citizens of Macedonia to travel to Montenegro.
Slovenia requires a PCR test if a traveler is coming from a country with an unfavorable epidemiological condition. This country has a list of countries they update according to the development of events. Macedonia is on the same list as Serbia, Kosovo and BiH whose citizens must provide a test no older than three days. Afterwards, they go into self-isolation for 14 days. They do not have a state quarantine. Ljubljana’s MIA correspondent says that, if a citizen does not have a permanent or temporary living address, they are in self-isolation at their lodging address. Transporters, i.e. truck drivers, are exempt from this rule. The PCR test in Slovenia costs EUR 96, and results are available in 24 hours at most. Travelers coming from EU countries do not require a test, and they can enter from so-called entry points where medical personnel takes their temperature.
In Croatia, if one has a hotel reservation, they do not require a PCR test. This relates to countries outside of the EU.
Austria shares borders with EU countries, and the flow of people is regulated in coordination with the EU. For Western Balkan citizens, rules from Brussels are in place.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs published information regarding the movement regimes and rules for transit of citizens of North Macedonia to other countries in Europe and farther in relation to the COVID19 pandemic.
Borders will be fully open soon
On Monday, Health Minister Venko Filipche said the prospect of reopening the borders without the requirements in place at the moment – mandatory PCR tests and self-isolation – will be discussed by the Commission for Infectious Diseases at a meeting Monday and Tuesday before a decision is made.
“Our analysis and analyzes of the number of cases in the countries in the region and information we’ve received from our communication with the health ministers shows that the whole region is considered to be under the same epidemiological risk. Today, I will have talks with my counterparts from the region to share new findings, the number of cases, the overall situation, involving transmission. I believe this issue requires regional approach,” Filipce stated.
Air traffic remains closed
Air traffic is still shut down in Macedonia. Transport Minister Goran Sugareski said the reopening of airports was being considered. The low-cost carrier Wizz Air expanded its flight suspension to and from Macedonia until July 13 due to the travel restrictions meant for all foreign flights.