LebanonOfficial Name: Lebanese Republic
Must be valid for ninety days following entry, with no Israeli stamps or visas
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:
One page required for entry stamp
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:
Embassies and Consulates
Jmeil Street, Awkar (facing the Awkar Municipality Building)
Telephone: +(961) 4-542600 - 543600
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(961) 4-543600
Fax: +(961) 4-544209
The Lebanese Republic is a parliamentary republic. Political power is concentrated in the offices of the President, Speaker of Parliament, and Prime Minister, each representing one of Lebanon's three largest religious sects (Maronite Christians, Shia and Sunni Muslims, respectively). Lebanon has been in a state of war with Israel since the 1970s; UN peacekeeping forces are present in southern Lebanon under the mandate of UN Security Council Resolution 1701. Read the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Lebanon for additional political and historical information.
Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements
Passports and visas are required. U.S. citizens coming to Lebanon for tourism can obtain a one-month visa on arrival at Beirut International Airport or other port of entry. It can be extended up for up to three months by applying at the local office of Sûreté Générale (General Security). Official U.S. government travelers, however, need to obtain a visa in advance of their travel. U.S. citizens also holding Lebanese citizenship are subject to the requirements and responsibilities of that citizenship under Lebanese law.
Travelers who hold passports that contain visas or entry/exit stamps for Israel will likely be denied entry into Lebanon and may be subject to arrest or detention. Even if their travel documents currently do not have Israeli stamps or visas, persons seeking entry into Lebanon who have previously traveled to Israel may still face arrest and/or detention if this travel is disclosed. The Government of Lebanon has the authority to refuse admission to U.S. citizens and to detain U.S. citizen travelers for further inspection.
Travelers who have previously worked in Lebanon without the appropriate work visa may be denied entry, or subject to detention, or deportation.
Travelers who have overstayed their entry visa validity in Lebanon must adjust their status with General Security (Department of Passport and Immigration), and receive an exit visa, prior to their departure. Note that individuals who are detained pending deportation are expected to pay the cost of their own airline ticket and will remain under detention until they have gathered the necessary funds.
Citizens applying for work or residency permits will have to submit their passports to General Security, which may retain their documents for an extended period.
All U.S. government employees, and their immediate family members, must follow appropriate procedures for official and personal travel to Lebanon because of security concerns. Permission is strictly limited and requires prior approval by the Department of State. This requirement also applies for all U.S. government employees planning to transit through Beirut, whether for official or unofficial travel. U.S. government employees may apply for permission to visit or transit Lebanon for unofficial travel through this form. All official travel is approved via the normal country clearance process for official travel.
Additional information on entry/exit requirements can be obtained from the Embassy of Lebanon, 2560 28th Street NW, Washington, DC, 20008, tel. (202) 939-6300; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Travelers may also contact one of the following Consulates General:
Consulate General of Lebanon in Los Angeles
660 South Figueroa St., Ste 1050
Los Angeles, CA 90017
(213) 243-0990 and (213) 243-0999
Consulate General of Lebanon in New York
Nine East 76th Street
New York, NY 10021
Additional information on Lebanese Consulates General and Honorary Consulates in the United States can be found within the Consular Affairs section of the Embassy of Lebanon website.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors, although individuals applying for a work permit to Lebanon must submit to a laboratory exam in order to prove that s/he is free of HIV/AIDS. For further information, please see the website of General Security (in Arabic).
Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.
Safety and Security
The current Department of State Travel Warning urges U.S. citizens to avoid all travel to Lebanon because of ongoing safety and security concerns. U.S. citizens living and working in Lebanon should understand that they accept risks in remaining and should carefully consider those risks. The potential for death or injury in Lebanon exists in particular due to the increasing frequency of terrorist bombing attacks throughout the country. Kidnapping, whether for ransom or political motives, remains a problem in Lebanon. Suspects in kidnappings sometimes have ties to terrorist or criminal organizations. U.S. citizens in Lebanon should consult the Travel Warning for up-to-date information.
U.S. citizens traveling to Lebanon should be aware that personnel from the U.S. Embassy are not always able to travel to assist them. The Department of State considers the threat to U.S. Government personnel in Beirut sufficiently serious to require them to live and work under strict security restrictions. The internal security policies of the U.S. Embassy may be adjusted at any time and without advance notice. Security restrictions may prevent access by U.S. Embassy officials to certain areas of the country, especially in parts of metropolitan Beirut, the city of Tripoli, northern Lebanon, the Bekaa Valley, and southern Lebanon.
In the event that the security climate in the country worsens further, U.S. citizens will be responsible for arranging their own travel out of Lebanon. U.S. citizens with special medical or other needs should be aware of the risks of remaining given their condition, and they should be prepared to seek treatment in Lebanon if they cannot arrange for travel out of the country.
To stay connected:
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program so we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements.
- Follow the Bureau of Consular Affairs on Twitter and Facebook.
- Bookmark the Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution.
- Follow the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon on Twitter, Facebook and visit the Embassy’s website.
- In the event of an emergency, contact us at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free within the United States and Canada, or via a regular toll line, 1-202-501-4444, from other countries.
- Take some time before traveling to consider your personal security and checking for useful tips for traveling safely abroad.
CRIME: The crime rate in Lebanon is moderate, and both car theft and burglaries occur. Violent crime and sexual assault are rare, but do happen. Criminal groups have abducted U.S. citizens for ransom and other motives, on at least one occasion using the lure of a business meeting. The Embassy receives regular reports of domestic abuse. Petty theft -- such as pickpocketing and purse snatching -- is common in crowded public areas. Police are responsive but often unable to affect a positive outcome. There are no special concerns with regard to targeted victimization of U.S. citizens in scams or confidence schemes.
There have been incidents involving a theft ring that appear to target foreigners using service cars. Service cars are privately owned vehicles bearing red license plates that act as public transportation for multiple passengers at once. Typically, a service car that already contained two people (the driver and one passenger), picked up the potential passenger. The driver then took the victim to a more isolated area or the freeway where the first “passenger” robbed the second passenger by threatening him/her with a gun. Because of the risks inherent in using any unknown transportation, U.S. citizens should be wary of these service cars and carry the number of a reputable taxi company in case of emergencies.
Do not buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, you may also be breaking local law.
VICTIMS OF CRIME: If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. We can:
- Replace a stolen passport.
- Help you find appropriate medical care if you are the victim of violent crimes such as assault or rape.
- Put you in contact with the appropriate police authorities, and if you want us to, contact family members or friends.
- Help you understand the local criminal justice process and direct you to local attorneys, although it is important to remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Lebanon is 112.
Please see our information for victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.
Local Laws & Special Circumstances
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While you are traveling in Lebanon, you are subject to its laws. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different from our own. Persons violating Lebanese laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested without bail for extended periods, or imprisoned. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Lebanon can be significant, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. In Lebanon, the authorities may take you in for questioning if you don’t have your passport or other identification documents with you at government checkpoints. People taking pictures of certain buildings have been detained for questioning for hours by Hizballah. In Lebanon, driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail. A U.S. passport does not exempt U.S. citizens from local laws; all law-breakers are subject to relevant punishment, such as arrest or prosecution, regardless of citizenship.
There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States. You can be prosecuted in the United States for engaging in sexual conduct with children or for using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country, regardless of the legality of these activities under that country’s laws.
While some countries will automatically notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate if a U.S. citizen is detained or arrested in that country, others may not. To ensure that the United States is aware of your circumstances, request that the police and prison officials notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate as soon as you are arrested or detained overseas.
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: In addition to being subject to all Lebanese laws, U.S. citizens who also possess Lebanese nationality may also be subject to other laws that impose special obligations on them as Lebanese citizens. Lebanese citizens who are discovered to have associated with Israeli citizens or officials, or to have traveled through Israel, are subject to arrest, detention, and prosecution. Any citizen arriving at a Lebanese point of entry with an Israeli stamp in their passport may be detained, arrested, or denied entry. Penalties are often especially harsh if the traveler is of Arab origin or a dual national. Travelers have also been detained if they have a family name that may be considered of Israeli or Jewish origin.
Travelers who have previously entered Lebanon illegally, whether as refugees or for transit to a third country, may be denied entry into the country, even if they are or have since become U.S. citizens.
The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens against travel to Syria and strongly recommends that U.S. citizens remaining in Syria depart immediately. You can review the Department of State’s Travel Warning for Syria for additional information. U.S. citizens planning to travel to Syria from Lebanon despite the travel warning should travel only via legal border crossings and obtain a Syrian visa outside the United States in a third country, as they may have difficulty securing one in Lebanon. U.S. citizens who also hold Syrian nationality and enter Lebanon by land border on a Syrian identification card should be aware that they need to obtain an exit visa in their passport from the Lebanese authorities before they can depart Lebanon through the airport. To ensure the ability to transit Lebanon and depart via the airport, U.S. citizens holding Syrian dual nationality should apply for a Lebanese entry visa in their U.S. passport at the Lebanese border.
U.S. citizens living in or traveling to Lebanon have occasionally been denied permission to leave the country because a criminal, civil, or family court has imposed a travel hold. For example, a head of household can place a travel hold against a spouse and children in family court even before the family arrives in Lebanon. Travel holds can be easily initiated and may remain in place for a substantial period of time. While the U.S. Embassy can direct U.S. citizens to options for legal representation, it cannot have travel holds removed, even in times of crisis.
Cell Phones: There is no need to register mobile devices brought into Lebanon. The requirement to do so, implemented in June 2013, was subsequently abolished in May 2014.
Working In Lebanon: U.S. citizens who come to work in Lebanon should ensure that their Lebanese employer arranges for proper documentation to remain in the country. This includes professional athletes, who should make certain that their sponsoring club/team arranges for them to receive the correct visas valid for the duration of their stay. Travelers coming to Lebanon as professional athletes should ensure that a written contract is in place before traveling, as many athletes have experienced problems with scams and false offers of employment.
Military Service Obligations: Mandatory military service in Lebanon was abolished on February 4, 2007. However, travelers with questions about prior military service, desertion, or failure to register in the past should contact the Military Office of the Embassy of Lebanon, 2560 28th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, or call (202) 265-2335 or fax (202) 667-0063 for details prior to traveling to Lebanon. Information about military service can also be found at the Lebanese government website.
Customs: Lebanese customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning import and export of items, such as firearms, military paraphernalia, professional camera equipment, other communications equipment, or antiquities. You should contact the Embassy of Lebanon in Washington, D.C., or one or one of Lebanon's consulates in the United States, for specific information regarding customs requirements. Please see our information on customs regulations.
If you are a woman traveling abroad, please review our travel tips for Women Travelers.
LGBT RIGHTS: Current Lebanese law prohibits “unnatural sexual intercourse,” an offense punishable by up to one year in prison, although this provision has been recently interpreted in different ways by some Lebanese courts. While prosecutions are rare, the U.S. Embassy is aware that prosecutions have occurred for consensual same-sex relations between adults. Because homosexuality is taboo in Lebanon, very few people come forward about being arrested on these grounds. The authorities normally arrest people when caught in same-sex sexual conduct, or when they raid a gay club and men are found together dancing, kissing, or otherwise expressing affection. For more detailed information about LGBT rights in Lebanon, you may review the State Department’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2013. For further information on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) travel, please read our LGBT Travel Information page.
ACCESSIBILITY: While in Lebanon, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from in the United States. Lebanon has passed laws that make it illegal to discriminate against those with disabilities but the laws are not uniformly enforced. These laws include sections on building accessibility, but building codes have yet to be updated accordingly. Most public transportation, including taxis, is not accessible. Roads are often in disrepair, and there are few sidewalks or road crossings. Buildings and tourist sites are also often difficult to access for those with physical disabilities because of uneven ground and the lack of elevators and ramps.
In Beirut and the surrounding areas, modern medical care and medication are widely available. Modern facilities are not always available in outlying areas. Without road congestion, however, no location in the country is more than three hours from the capital. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for services, and without such payment, they may deny service, even in emergency cases. A list of doctors who speak English and a list of hospitals are available from the U.S. Embassy's website.
You can find detailed information on vaccinations and other health precautions on the CDC website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) website, which contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.
Travel & Transportation
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in Lebanon, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Lebanon is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
An international driver’s license is required for visitors to Lebanon. Drivers in Lebanon often maneuver aggressively and pay little regard to traffic lights and stop signs. Lanes are generally unmarked, and roads outside the capital may be poorly lighted. Pedestrians should exercise particular caution. Inter-city directional signs and street markers are slowly improving throughout the country, but side roads are often not signposted at all.
While there is limited enforcement, the laws of Lebanon prohibit both drunk driving as well as cell phone usage when driving.
Emergency services in Lebanon are adequate. In case of a road accident, emergency numbers are “140” for the Red Cross and “125” for the emergency civil police.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in [country name], the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of [country name]’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.