MACEDONIA

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COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYR of Macedonia) is a developing nation undergoing economic change. Conditions in tourist facilities vary considerably, and many are not up to Western standards.

Passport and/or Visa Requirements: U.S. citizens need a passport and visa. Although travelers may be able to obtain visas at the border, it is recommended that they obtain their visas in their country of residence prior to travel. Additional information may be obtained from the Embassy of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, 3050 K Street N.W., Suite 210, Washington, D.C., 20007, telephone (202) 337-3063. Travelers will be required to complete an entry/exit document when they enter the FYR of Macedonia. The exit portion of this document must be retained for presentation to Immigration officials upon departure. Loss of this form may result in departure delays.

U.S. citizens who plan to travel to Serbia-Montenegro should obtain visas before arriving in Skopje. It is not possible to get a visa for Serbia-Montenegro at the border. In recent months, U.S. citizens have found it increasingly difficult to obtain visas at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia-Montenegro) in Skopje, and many visitors have faced long waits.

Travel Warnings, Advisories and Areas of Instability: To date, while the conflicts in the Balkan Region have had no significant direct impact on the FYR of Macedonia, visitors to border areas near Albania and Serbia-Montenegro, or visitors planning to travel to those countries from FYR of Macedonia, should consult the Travel Warnings for those countries. Because of continuing tensions along the borders with Albania and Serbia-Montenegro, visitors should cross only at recognized border crossings.

There have been a number of minor explosions, always detonated at night, and usually near police stations or other government facilities. But to date there have been no casualties. Additionally, there have been a few street demonstrations in support of freedom in Kosovo by ethnic-Albanian citizens of FYR of Macedonia. These demonstrations have been generally peaceful, with only individual acts of minor vandalism associated with them. To minimize risk, visitors should not approach demonstrations.

MEDICAL FACILITIES: Health facilities are limited. Medicines are in short supply. Doctors and hospitals expect immediate cash payment for health services. U.S. medical coverage is not always valid outside the United States. The Medicare/Medicaid program does not provide payment for medical services outside the United States.

Check with your own insurance company to confirm whether your policy applies overseas, including provision for medical evacuation. Ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas hospital or doctor or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment or disposition of remains in the event of death. Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure "Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad," available via its home page and autofax service.

The international travelers hotline of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be reached from the United States at 1-877-394-8747, via their autofax service at 1-888-232-3229, or their Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov.

Travel Warnings, Advisories and Areas of Instability: Theft and other petty crimes occur in the FYR of Macedonia. The loss or theft of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Useful information on safeguarding valuables and protecting personal safety while traveling abroad is provided in the Department of State's pamphlet "A Safe Trip Abroad." It is available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.access.gop.gov/su_docs, or http://travel.state.gov.

DRUG PENALTIES: U.S. citizens are subject to the laws of the country in which they are traveling. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and fines.

ROAD SAFETY/CONDITIONS: Most major highways are in good repair, but secondary roads are poorly maintained and lighted, and frequently they are used by horse-drawn carts and livestock. Many vehicles are old and lack standard front or rear lights. Mountain roads can lack guard rails, be narrow, or be poorly marked, and they quickly become dangerous in inclement weather.

AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service by local carriers at present, nor economic authority to operate such service between the United States and the FYR of Macedonia, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the FYR of Macedonia's civil aviation authority for compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of the FYR of Macedonia's air carrier operations. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA Internet home page at http://www.faa.gov.avr.iasa.htm. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact the Pentagon at 1-703-697-7288.

EMBASSY LOCATION/REGISTRATION: U.S. citizens are encouraged to register at the U.S. Embassy in Skopje and obtain updated information on travel and security in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The U.S. Embassy is located at Ilindenska BB, 91000 Skopje, telephone (389) 91 116-180, fax (389) (91) 117-103.

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