Visas and work permits for foreigners intending to enter and stay in the Republic of Macedonia

Predrag Ivanovski Partner, Corporate & Business Law, Intellectual Property & Technology, Labor & Employment

Do foreigners need visas and if so, what type?

Foreign nationals who wish to stay in Macedonia must obtain a visa unless they are subject to visa-waiver agreements. A visa is a clearance for entry and/or stay on the territory of the Republic of Macedonia for a certain period of time. The Law on Foreigners provides for the following major visa categories: transit visa (visa B), short-term visa (visa C) and long-term visa (visa D). A transit visa is required for travel through Macedonia to another country. During the transit, foreign citizens may stay in Macedonia up to five days. A short-term visa allows a foreign citizen single or multiple entries into Macedonia for up to three months within a six-month period. Valid for six months, a long-term visa allows a foreign national a single entry into Macedonia and a stay of up to 30 days. Foreign citizens with a long-term visa are obliged to register at the Ministry of Internal Affairs within five days of their entering the Republic of Macedonia, whereas the Ministry is obliged to issue a temporary residence permit within 25 days of the registration date. In accordance with the Law on Foreigners, all visa applications must be submitted to the diplomatic and consular offices of the Republic of Macedonia or to the external service providers.

EU citizens do not need visas for a stay of up to 90 days. Citizens from Switzerland, USA, Canada, New Zealand and Japan are also allowed to stay in Macedonia without visas for up to three months.

How to obtain a work permit in Macedonia and what type?

Once employed, foreign nationals have equal labor rights and obligations as the Macedonian citizens. The basis for obtaining work permit is employment contract or a business trip to undertake certain activates. Foreigners may apply for 3 (three) types of work permits:

  • Personal work permit
  • Employment permit and
  • Work Permit

The personal work permits are issued for fixed period up to one or three years or for indefinite time period upon request of the foreigner who intends to establish and carry out their own business in Macedonia. While the work permit is valid, the holder may work on the Macedonian labor market under same terms and conditions as the Macedonian citizens. The permit can be extended if the holder proves that they have been working as planned during the previous valid work permit.

The employment permit in general is issued for a period up to one year, unless otherwise determined by the law.

The work permits are issued for different period of time depending on their purpose.  Characteristic for this permit is that they are issued on basis of company application i.e. it is the company responsibility to register the foreigner’s engagement in the Employment Agency, unless otherwise determined by the law. A number of legal terms and conditions must be met for the permit to be issued. Foreigners are allowed to hold only one valid work permit in the legal entity that originally requested their work permit.

Certain positions which require Macedonian citizenship are not available to foreign nationals.

Furthermore, there are categories of foreign nationals who may work on short-time assignments without a work permit, but only upon prior mandatory registration with the Employment Agency and subject to the following conditions:

  • Contractual services provided by foreign artists and professional authors
  • Services related to commercial fairs
  • Short-term services provided by foreigners
  • Services related to supply of goods and post-sale services
  • Worked performed by foreigners residing in Republic of Macedonia for the purposes of studying and
  • Services in cases of emergency.

The employers must register the commencement and discontinuation date of the work performed for foreigners in the Employment Agency.

Do not let these procedures intimidate you. As complex as they might seem, we assure you Kolemisevski & Partners Law Firm can handle them smoothly and efficiently.