LibyaOfficial Name: Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
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
Sidi Slim Area/ Walie Al-Ahed Road
Telephone: +(218) 91-379-4560
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(218) 91-220-5203
The workweek in Libya is Sunday through Thursday.
The State of Libya is navigating a prolonged democratic transition. This follows a popular uprising against the regime of Colonel Muammar Qadhafi that lasted from February to October 2011 and included fighting throughout the country. The democratically elected interim government, headed by a Prime Minister, lacks the capacity to perform many traditional governmental responsibilities, including law enforcement. Armed militias, some with quasi-official status, exert significant influence. Arabic is the official language. Islamic ideals and beliefs provide the conservative foundation of the country's customs, laws, and practices.
Due to the current unsettled security and political situation, the ability of the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli to provide consular services to U.S. citizens in Tripoli is extremely limited and available only by telephone outside of Tripoli.
Read the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Libya for more information.
Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements
The U.S. Embassy in Tripoli cannot provide assistance to U.S. citizens seeking Libyan visas. The Government of Libya does not allow persons with passports bearing an Israeli visa or entry/exit stamps from Israel to enter Libya.
Passports and visas are required for all U.S. citizens traveling to Libya. Consular services at Libyan embassies abroad operate under varying rules and procedures; travelers are encouraged to contact the Libyan embassy in the country in which they reside to obtain the latest information on visa procedures.
U.S. citizens with dual nationality are advised that U.S. citizens must enter and exit the United States using their U.S. passport, and Libya requires Libyan citizens to use their Libyan passports when entering or exiting Libya. Dual national travelers should ensure they have a valid passport from both countries in their possession during each entry and exit in case immigration inspectors ask to see both. Significant delays may be experienced by travelers who don’t have a valid passport of both nationalities.
Tourist visas: Travelers should contact the Libyan Embassy in the country in which they reside to obtain the latest information on visa application procedures. Visas for U.S. passport holders are not available at the port of entry.
Under no circumstance should a traveler use a tourist visa for business travel to Libya. Using a tourist visa to travel to Libya for business purposes contravenes Libyan law, and places the traveler at risk of arrest.
Business Visas: U.S. citizens traveling to Libya on business visas require an invitation from/sponsorship by a company operating in Libya. U.S. citizens who apply for Libyan business visas often experience significant delays, regularly waiting several weeks or months for their visas. All visas applications are vetted by Libyan authorities in Tripoli and are only issued by the appropriate Libyan Embassy upon receipt of approval by the Libyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. There may be an additional wait for actual visa issuance once approval has been received by the Embassy.
Inquiries about obtaining a Libyan visa should be made through the Libyan Embassy in Washington, D.C. The Embassy is located at 2600 Virginia Avenue NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20037; tel. 202-944-9601, fax 202-944-9606.
Libya’s land borders with Egypt and Tunisia are subject to periodic closures even to travelers with valid Libyan visas. Short-term closures of other land borders may occur with little notice. Within three days of arrival in Libya, visitors must register at the police station closest to where they are residing or they may encounter problems during their stay or upon departure.
Some HIV/AIDS entry restrictions exist for visitors and foreign residents of Libya. Please verify this information with the Libyan Embassy in Washington, D.C. before you travel.
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 security situation in Libya can change quickly and with little warning. U.S. citizens should defer any nonessential travel to Tripoli. The Department of State advises against all travel to areas outside of Tripoli, particularly to eastern Libya. While in Libya, make contingency emergency plans and maintain security awareness at all times.
Recent worldwide terrorism alerts, including the Department of State’s Worldwide Caution, have stated that extremist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks against U.S. interests in the Middle East region, including Libya. Any U.S. citizen who travels to Libya should maintain a strong security posture by being aware of surroundings, avoiding crowds and demonstrations, keeping a low profile, and varying times and routes for all required travel.
The Libyan government is still working to rebuild its military and police forces and improve security following the 2011 revolution. Many military-grade weapons remain in the hands of private individuals, including antiaircraft weapons that may be used against civilian aviation. Crime levels remain high in many parts of the country. In addition to the threat of crime, kidnapping is a serious threat and various groups have called for attacks against U.S. citizens and U.S. interests in Libya.
In October and December 2013, extremist groups in Libya made specific threats against U.S. government officials and U.S. non-governmental organizations (NGOs) operating in Libya. Because of the presumption that foreigners, especially U.S. citizens, in Libya may be associated with the U.S. government or U.S. NGOs, travelers should be aware that they may be targeted by extremist groups seeking to injure, kidnap or kill U.S. citizens, and should act accordingly with extreme caution. On December 5, 2013, a U.S. citizen teacher resident in Benghazi was killed in a drive-by shooting near his home. Sporadic episodes of civil unrest have occurred throughout the country and attacks by armed militants can occur in many different areas; hotels frequented by westerners have been caught in the crossfire. On November 15, 2013, fighting between militias and protesters in Tripoli resulted in the deaths of approximately 50 people with hundreds more injured. Checkpoints controlled by militias are common throughout the country and other urban areas have witnessed fighting between armed groups and government forces. Closures or threats of closures of the international airports occur regularly, for maintenance-, labor-, or security-related reasons.
Various militias have supplanted the police in maintaining internal security. Militia members operate checkpoints within and between major cities. Libyan militia members are poorly trained and may be unaffiliated with the interim government, which has not yet fully reconstituted the national army and police. The Embassy receives frequent reports of clashes between rival militias and occasional reports of killings and vigilante revenge killings. Militia groups sometimes detain travelers for arbitrary or unclear reasons, without access to a lawyer or legal process. Carry proof of citizenship and valid immigration status at all times. The Embassy has extremely limited capacity to assist U.S. citizens who are detained by militia groups.
U.S. citizens should avoid areas of demonstrations and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations, as even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. U.S. citizens traveling to or remaining in Libya should use caution and limit nonessential travel within the country, make their own contingency emergency plans, and maintain security awareness at all times.
If travel in desert and border regions of Libya is critically necessary, exercise caution and comply with local regulations. Terrorist organizations, including Al-Qa’ida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb, continue to threaten the region. Recent terrorist attacks have occurred in the border region, where extremists have kidnapped Westerners.
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.
- 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 check for useful tips for traveling safely abroad.
CRIME: Crime levels in Libya are rising. There have been increased reports of armed robbery, carjacking, burglary, kidnapping, murder, and other crimes. Crimes of opportunity are commonplace, particularly against people who appear to be wealthy or of foreign nationality. The Libyan police and internal security institutions have not fully reconstituted themselves since the revolution. Thousands of criminals who were released from prisons by the former regime or who escaped following the revolution remain at large. Hundreds of thousands of small arms looted from government storage facilities are now in the hands of the local population, contributing to the rise in violent crime.
Do not buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, if you purchase them you may 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.
There is no functioning local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Libya. Individuals experiencing medical emergencies generally need to obtain transport from a taxi or associate to a medical facility.
Please see our information for victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.
Local Laws & Special Circumstances
Proseletyzing is illegal in Libya. Penalties are severe. In addition to possibly facing the death penalty, proseltyzers may be the target of extra-judicial killings.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While you are traveling in Libya, you are subject to Libyan laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be very different from our own. You may be detained for questioning if you don’t have your passport with you. It is illegal to take pictures of certain buildings, especially military and government facilities. Driving under the influence can result in immediate detention. There are also some things that might be legal in Libya, but still illegal in the United States. You can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws in Libya, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not before you go.
Persons violating Libyan laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Since most law enforcement is currently performed by militias, there is no clear legal process to be navigated. You may be detained indefinitely with no rights to a trial or access to an attorney. The Embassy may not be notified of your detention, or may experience significant delays in visiting those detained in Tripoli. The Embassy cannot visit detainees outside of Tripoli due to security reasons. During your detention, you may not be provided with basic toiletries or appropriate nutrition. If detained, you should repeatedly request that you be permitted to contact the U.S. Embassy.
Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Libya are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Alcohol is also prohibited in Libya, and possessing, using, or trafficking in alcohol can carry severe penalties. Libyan customs authorities enforce strict regulations concerning the introduction into Libya or removal from Libya of firearms, religious materials, antiquities, medications, and currency. The importation and consumption of alcohol, pornography, and pork products are illegal in Libya. Please see our Customs information.
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Libya's economy operates on a “cash-only" basis for almost all transactions. Some hotels, restaurants, and major airlines are the only businesses known to accept credit cards (Visa is accepted more often than MasterCard). Travelers should consult their banking institution prior to travel to ensure that transactions from Libya can be accepted. A small number of ATMs are in service in the country, but their availability and functionality are sporadic. Foreign visitors should be aware that the penalties for use of unauthorized currency dealers are severe. Banking institutions often operate at sporadic hours.
A number of Libyan entities have assets frozen by economic sanctions. For further information, please contact the Office of Foreign Assets Control at the Treasury Department.
Dual Nationality: In addition to being subject to all Libyan laws, U.S. citizens of Libyan origin may also be subject to laws that impose special obligations on Libyan citizens. The Government of Libya considers all children born to Libyan fathers to be Libyan citizens, even if they were not issued a Libyan birth certificate or a Libyan passport. Dual Libyan-American nationals may not enter or leave Libya on their U.S. passports and must obtain a Libyan travel document before traveling to Libya. Persons with dual nationality who travel to Libya on their Libyan passports are normally treated as Libyan citizens by the local government. The U.S. Embassy’s ability to provide U.S. consular assistance to those traveling on Libyan passports is extremely limited. For additional information, please see our information on dual nationality.
If you are a woman traveling abroad, please review our travel tips for Women Travelers.
LGBT RIGHTS: Consensual same-sex sexual relations are criminalized in Libya. Penalties include fines or jail time. For more detailed information about LGBT rights in Libya, you may review the State Department’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2013. For further information on LGBT travel, please review the LGBT Travel Information page.
ACCESSIBILITY: While in Libya, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from what they find in the United States.
Libyan law provides for the rights of persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, and mental disabilities, and provides for monetary and other types of social care. Additionally, a number of government-approved organizations care for persons with disabilities and protect access to employment, education, health care, and other state services. However, few public facilities have adequate access for persons with physical disabilities.
While some health care providers have been trained in the United States or Europe, basic modern medical care and/or medicines may not be available in Libya. Many Libyan citizens prefer to be treated outside Libya for serious medical conditions.
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. The WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.
Travel & Transportation
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Libya is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Driving in Libya can be hazardous, and there is a high accident rate. Enforcement of traffic laws is rare. As a result, it is often difficult to anticipate the actions of other drivers on Libyan streets and highways. Wind-blown sand can reduce visibility without warning. During the periodic rainstorms, roads will flood. Road conditions are poor, and limited public transportation is poor. Taxis are available, but many taxi drivers are reckless and untrained. English-speaking drivers are extremely rare. The sidewalks in urban areas are often in bad condition and cluttered.
Paved roads in rural areas are satisfactory; however, many rural roads are unpaved. Major highways along the seacoast and leading south merge into single-lane highways once they are outside major cities. These roads are heavily trafficked and can be precarious to navigate, especially at night and during the winter rainy season. The presence of sand deposits, as well as domestic and wild animals that frequently cross these highways and rural roads, makes them even more hazardous.
The availability of roadside assistance is extremely limited and offered only in Arabic. In urban areas and near the outskirts of major cities there is a greater possibility of assistance by police and emergency ambulance services, although emergency care providers are usually ill-equipped to deal with serious injuries or accidents. Very few streets are marked or have signage, and highway signs are normally available only in Arabic.
Please refer to our Road Safety Overseas for more information.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Libya, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Libya’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. In addition, the FAA maintains prohibitions on flight operations over or within Libya by U.S. air carriers, commercial operators and airmen under a Special Federal Aviation Regulation. More information is available on the FAA website.