Questions specific to North Macedonia
Who are persons of concern for UNHCR in North Macedonia?
Our primary purpose at UNHCR is to safeguard the rights and well-being of people who have been forced to flee. UNHCR’s persons of concern include (potential) asylum-seekers, refugees, persons granted subsidiary protection, and stateless persons.
How, where, and when can I apply for asylum?
You can find the answer to this question under Asylum Procedure, Rights, and Obligations.
Who will decide on my application for asylum?
In North Macedonia, Sector for Asylum is the responsible institution on deciding on asylum applications. You can find more details under Asylum Procedure, Rights, and Obligations.
Where will I stay during the asylum procedure?
You may be accommodated in the Reception Centre, or you may stay in private accommodation at your own expense. You can find more details under Asylum Procedure, Rights, and Obligations and Reception Centre for Asylum-Seekers.
What are my rights? How can I receive information on access to welfare, healthcare, education, and employment, registration of birth or death?
You can find contact information to UNHCR’s helpline and UNHCR partners, including free legal aid, under Where to Seek Help.
Can UNHCR give me legal advice?
You can find contact information to UNHCR’s free legal aid partner under Where to Seek Help. You can also contact UNHCR directly.
How can I bring my family to North Macedonia?
According to the Law on International and Temporary Protection, family is defined as one’s spouse, unmarried partner, minor children that are not married, and parents if you are a minor.
If you are an asylum-seeker, your family members may join your application if they are already in North Macedonia or arrive in North Macedonia on their own.
If you have been granted refugee status, you have the right to family reunification immediately. If you have been granted subsidiary protection, you have the right to family reunification after two years. In those cases, your family members may apply for residence permit at a North Macedonian diplomatic mission abroad. Please contact UNHCR or MYLA for more information depending on your personal situation.
How can I apply for resettlement from North Macedonia to another country? Can UNHCR send me to another country?
UNHCR does not do resettlement from North Macedonia. For more information about resettlement in general please visit the following link: UNHCR – Resettlement.
How can I return to my country of origin?
If you are willing to return to your country, you may be assisted by IOM. You can find more details under Voluntary Return.
What is international protection?
International protection is a commonly used phrase in refugee law that refers to both refugee and subsidiary protection statuses. A person who claims asylum in North Macedonia is seeking international protection from persecution or serious harm in their home country.
Who is a refugee?
A refugee is someone who is outside of their country of origin and cannot return because they have a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.
Refugee status is a form of international protection that is granted to people who fall in one of the above-mentioned situations.
What is subsidiary protection?
Subsidiary protection is another form of international protection, complementary to refugee status. It means that someone does not meet the refugee definition criteria but cannot return to their country of origin or habitual residence because they face a real risk of serious harm.
Serious harm means (i) the death penalty or execution; (ii) torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; (iii) serious and individual threat to life by reason of indiscriminate violence in a situation of international or internal armed conﬂict.
What is Statelessness?
The international legal definition of a stateless person is “a person who is not considered as a national by any State under the operation of its law”. In simple terms, this means that a stateless person does not have the nationality of any country. Some people are born stateless, but others become stateless.
Statelessness can occur for several reasons, including discrimination against particular ethnic or religious groups, or on the basis of gender; the emergence of new States and transfers of territory between existing States; and gaps in nationality laws.
What does non-refoulement mean?
This principle means that the authorities of a country cannot return any person, in any manner whatsoever to a territory where (a) the life or freedom of that person would be threatened for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion or (b) there is a serious risk that the person would be subjected to the death penalty, torture or other inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.