Macedonia > Asylum
last update: July 2016
After the EU-Turkey deal and the closure of the Бalkan route, the 72-hour asylum law in Macedonia was abolished. Macedonia currently has closed its borders, in other words, you can legally still seek asylum in the country but you do not have 72 hours to decide whether you want to go through with it, that is, whether that is your final decision. In practice, new arrivals are often directly pushed back to the country where they came from and not allowed to seek asylum. After the EU-Turkey deal, Macedonia introduced a new law, according to which it can legally return people to all neighbouring countries of Macedonia (EU, NATO and CEFTA countries), while sticking to the re-admission program, that is, the given neighbouring country should accept the returnee.
If someone is allowed to seek asylum in the Macedonia, they are normally transported to the open asylum centre in Skopje called Vizbegovo. Usually, only extremely vulnerable cases are allowed to seek asylum, such as very sick people. Also, as of recently, the vast majority of asylum seekers are waiting in the camp in Gevgelija to have their asylum claims processed and are not taken to Vizbegovo like before. In addition, the processing time has proven to be much slower now than before, as the authorities realized refugees use the asylum claim so that they can further continue their journey north with smugglers.