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Lebanon
Official Name:

Lebanese Republic

Last Updated: November 21, 2016

Embassy Messages

Beirut

 

 

 

Further Safety and Security Information

Travel Warnings: Issued when Protracted situations make a country dangerous or unstable. Defer or reconsider travel.

Travel Alerts: Issued when short-term conditions pose imminent threats. Defer or reconsider travel.

Embassy Messages: Issued when local security issues arise.

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Beirut

Jmeil Street, Awkar (facing the Awkar Municipality Building)
Beirut, Lebanon

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Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

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Must be valid for ninety days following entry, with no Israeli stamps or visas

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

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One page required for entry stamp

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

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Yes

VACCINATIONS:

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None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

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None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

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None

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U.S. Embassy Beirut

Jmeil Street, Awkar (facing the Awkar Municipality Building)
Beirut, Lebanon

Telephone: +(961) 4-542600 - 543600

Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(961) 4-543600

Fax: +(961) 4-544209

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Lebanon for information on U.S.-Lebanese relations.

  • 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.  This visa can be extended for a second month by applying at the local office of Sûreté Générale (General Security). 
  • Official U.S. government travelers need to obtain a visa in advance of their travel.
  • U.S. citizens who also hold Lebanese citizenship are subject to the requirements and responsibilities of Lebanese citizenship under Lebanese law. 
  • More information on Lebanon’s entry and exit requirements can be found on General Security’s website
  • 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’s Department of Passport and Immigration and receive an exit visa prior to their departure.
  • 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 travel to Lebanon. All official travel is approved via the normal country clearance process.

For Additional Information: 

  • Additional information on 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 not aware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors or residents of Lebanon, 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).

You can find information on dual nationality, the prevention of international child abduction, and customs regulations on  Travel.State.gov.

 

The current Department of State Travel Warning urges U.S. citizens to avoid travel to Lebanon because of the threats of terrorism, armed clashes, kidnapping, and outbreaks of violence near Lebanon’s borders with Syria and Israel.  U.S. citizens living and working in Lebanon should understand that they accept the risks of remaining in the country and should carefully consider those risks.  There is potential for death or injury in Lebanon because of terrorist bombings.  Kidnapping, whether for ransom, political motives, or family disputes, is a problem in Lebanon. Suspects in kidnappings sometimes have ties to terrorist or criminal organizations.   Public demonstrations occur with little warning and may become violent.  You should avoid areas of demonstrations, and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings or protests.

U.S. citizens who choose to travel to Lebanon in spite of the Travel Warning should be aware that consular officers from the U.S. Embassy are not always able to travel to assist them.  Also, the Lebanese government cannot guarantee the protection of U.S. citizens in the country against sudden outbreaks of violence. 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 are 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.

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.  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, but you may also be breaking local law. 

See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.

Victims of Crime

Report crimes to the local police at 112.  U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault should also contact the U.S. Embassy at +(961) 4-543600.

The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Lebanon is 112.

Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

U.S. Embassy Beirut can:

  • replace a stolen or lost passport
  • help you find appropriate medical care
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • provide a list of local attorneys
  • provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.

For further information:

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, 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.

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas. 

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas.  Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. Many hospitals will not release you until final payment arrangements have been made. The U.S. Embassy does not assume responsibility for unpaid medical bills.   See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

Prescription Medication: If traveling with prescription medication, check with the Government of Lebanon to ensure that the medication is legal in Lebanon.  Carry your prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription.

Vaccinations:  Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For further health information, go to:

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws while in Lebanon. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. 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. In certain areas, taking photos of buildings or other infrastructure has drawn negative attention, occasionally resulting in detention and questioning. 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 punishment, such as arrest or prosecution, regardless of citizenship. 

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the U.S., regardless of local law.  For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information. 

Dual Citizenship:  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.

Travel Holds: 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. 

Syria and the Syria Travel Warning: 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. 

Faith-Based Travelers:  See the following webpages for details:

LGBTI Travelers: Article 534 of the Lebanese Penal Code prohibits “unnatural sexual intercourse,” an offense punishable by up to one year in prison, although this provision has been 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 for other minor offenses, and then charge the defendants with violation of Article 534 when other evidence is found of their LGBTI identity.  While it is uncommon for people to be prosecuted after arrests, short-term detentions do occur, which can expose individuals to discrimination, and in some cases, abuse.  See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of the Department of State's Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance:  While in Lebanon, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from the United StatesLebanon 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.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: Please see information above under “Local Laws & Special Circumstances” heading about travel holds. 

If you are a woman traveling abroad, please review our travel tips for Women Travelers.

Working in Lebanon: U.S. citizens who come to work in Lebanon should ensure that their Lebanese employer arranges for proper documentation for them 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 Obligation: 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 of Lebanon's consulates in the United States, for specific information regarding customs requirements. Please see our information on customs regulations

Road Conditions and Safety: While in Lebanon, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States.  In certain areas of the country, pedestrians have minimal access to sidewalks and are often forced to walk along the sides of the road, which can be dangerous. There are few to no lanes on the roads for cyclists.  Beirut and highway lanes are known for their heavy traffic congestion.

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. 

Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information.  Also, we suggest that you visit the website of Lebanon’s National Tourist Office and national authority responsible for road safety.

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.

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