LebanonOfficial Name: Lebanese Republic
Must be valid at time of entry
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 Lebanon in part to monitor the ceasefire that went into effect with the passage 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 purchase a short-term one-month visa at the port of Beirut or Beirut International airport. However, official U.S. government travelers 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 holding passports that contain visas or entry/exit stamps for Israel will likely be refused entry into Lebanon and may be subject to arrest and imprisonment. Persons seeking entry into Lebanon who have previously traveled to Israel may face arrest and/or detention even if the travel documents they are currently using do not have Israeli stamps or visas. Note that 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 overstayed their entry visa validity in Lebanon must adjust their status with the Central Department of Sûreté Générale (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.
Because of security concerns, unofficial travel to Lebanon by U.S. government employees and their family members is strictly limited and requires prior approval by the Department of State. This requirement applies for U.S. government employees planning to transit through Beirut, whether for official or unofficial travel.
Further information on entry/exit requirements can be obtained from the Embassy of Lebanon, 2560 28th Street NW, Washington, DC, 20008, tel. (202) 939-6300. Travelers may also contact one of the following Consulates General:
Consulate General of Lebanon in Detroit
New Center One Building
3031 West Grand Blvd.
Detroit, MI 48202
(313) 758-0753 to 55
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 E. 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.
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.
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 the General Security of Lebanon (in Arabic).
Safety and Security
The current Department of State Travel Warning urges U.S. citizens to avoid all travel to Lebanon because of current 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. U.S. citizens in Lebanon should consult the Travel Warning for up-to-date information.
U.S. citizens traveling to Lebanon should also be aware that personnel from the U.S. Embassy are not able to travel to assist them. Security restrictions may prevent access by U.S. Embassy officials to certain areas of the country, especially to parts of metropolitan Beirut, the city of Tripoli, 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 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 and visit the Embassy’s website.
- In the event of an emergency, contact us at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free within the U.S. 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. The Embassy receives regular reports, however, of domestic abuse. Petty theft -- such as pick pocketing 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 on victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.
Local Laws & Special Circumstances
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: 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. If you break local laws in Lebanon, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution.
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. Counterfeit and pirated goods are illegal in the United States and if you purchase them in a foreign country, you may be breaking local law as well.
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 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 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. In most cases, travelers are returned to their point of origin on the first available flight. If a U.S. citizen is detained for questioning and then subject to deportation, they are expected to pay the cost of their own airline ticket and will remain under detention until they have gathered the necessary funds.
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 to obtain a Syrian visa before leaving the United States, as they may have difficulty securing one while in Lebanon. U.S. citizen travelers 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.
If you are a woman traveling abroad, please review our travel tips for Women Travelers.
LGBT RIGHTS: Lebanese law does not protect consensual same-sex relations in Lebanon. Current Lebanese law prohibits “unnatural sexual intercourse,” an offense punishable by up to one year in prison. While prosecutions are rare, the U.S. Embassy is aware that prosecutions have occurred for consensual same-sex relations between adults. For more detailed information about LGBT rights in Lebanon, you may review the State Department’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. For further information on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) travel, please read our LGBT Travel Information page.
As of June 1, 2013, the Lebanese government is requiring registration of all devices (i.e.: cellphones) using Lebanese SIM cards. Temporary visitors to Lebanon using Lebanese SIM cards on their personal roaming devices will need to register their devices. Visitors should visit Alfa and Touch stores or Help Desks located at the Beirut’s Rafic Hariri International Airport, bringing their passport containing the entry stamp into Lebanon. Registration should be done within one month of the entry date stamped on the passport.
A separate registration with customs is required for all brand new cellphones brought into Lebanon; used devises do not require customs registration. Only one brand new phone per-person is allowed to enter the country via the airport. Individuals may register this one new phone with customs at the airport, and customs will give the individual a receipt for the phone which will allow them to register the phone with Alfa or Touch.
Only three brand new or used devices for personal use can be registered within a period of six months with Alfa or Touch.
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.
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.
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.
ACCESSIBILITY: While in Lebanon, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from what is found 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 medicines are widely available. Modern facilities are not always available in outlying areas, however, without road traffic, 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, 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 Lebanon the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the Government of Lebanon’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.