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Travel Advisories

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Alerts and Warnings

Lebanon Travel Warning

Travel Warning
February 15, 2017
Lebanon Travel Warning
O E N H U T C

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens to avoid travel to Lebanon because of the threats of terrorism, armed clashes, kidnapping, and outbreaks of violence, especially near Lebanon’s borders with Syria and Israel. U.S. citizens living and working in Lebanon should be aware of the risks of remaining in the country and should carefully consider those risks. This supersedes the Travel Warning issued on July 29, 2016.

In the event that the security climate in Lebanon worsens, U.S. citizens will be responsible for arranging their own travel out of Lebanon. The Embassy does not offer protection services to U.S. citizens who feel unsafe. 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.

There is potential for death or injury in Lebanon because of terrorist bombings and attacks. Violent extremist groups operate in Lebanon, including U.S. government-designated terrorist organizations Hizballah, ISIL (Da’esh), Al-Nusrah Front (ANF), Hamas, and the Abdullah Azzam Brigades (AAB). ISIL and ANF have claimed responsibility for suicide bombings in Lebanon. U.S. citizens have been the targets of terrorist attacks in Lebanon in the past. The threat of anti-Western terrorist activity persists, as does the risk of death or injury as a non-targeted bystander. 

The Lebanese government cannot guarantee the protection of U.S. citizens against sudden outbreaks of violence, which can occur at any time in Lebanon. Armed clashes have occurred along the Lebanese borders and in Beirut. On August 31, 2016, a bomb exploded on a main road near the eastern Lebanese city of Zahleh, killing at least one person and wounding 11 others. On June 27, 2016, a series of blasts caused by suicide bombers in Qa’a, a town along Lebanon’s northeastern border, killed five people and injured many others. On June 12, 2016, an explosion occurred outside a commercial bank in the central Beirut area of Verdun, causing major damage to the building and injuring two people. On November 12, 2015, twin suicide bombings in a commercial and residential area of the Burj al-Barajneh neighborhood in Beirut’s southern suburbs killed 43 people and wounded 239 others. On January 21, 2017, Lebanese security forces thwarted an attempted suicide attack at a busy café on Hamra Street in downtown Beirut. The Lebanese Armed Forces are routinely brought in to quell the violence in these situations.

Family, neighborhood, or sectarian disputes can escalate quickly and can lead to gunfire or other violence with no warning. Also, celebratory gunfire in Lebanon has resulted in accidental injuries and deaths. In Tripoli, the neighborhoods of Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen remain tense. Armed clashes have resulted in deaths and injuries in these neighborhoods in the past, and there are potentially large numbers of weapons in the hands of non-governmental elements.   

Public demonstrations can occur with little warning and could become violent. You should avoid areas of demonstrations, and exercise caution in the vicinity of any large gatherings. Protesters have blocked major roads to gain publicity for their causes, including the primary road between downtown Beirut and Rafiq Hariri International Airport. Access to the airport may be cut off if the security situation deteriorates. 

Kidnapping, whether for ransom, political motives, or family disputes, has occurred in Lebanon. Suspects in kidnappings may have ties to terrorist or criminal organizations. The U.S. government’s ability to help U.S. citizens kidnapped or taken hostage is limited. Although the U.S. government places the highest priority on the safe recovery of kidnapped U.S. citizens, it is U.S. policy not to make concessions to hostage takers. U.S. law makes it illegal to provide material support to terrorist organizations. 

AREAS OF SPECIAL CONCERN

Avoid the Lebanon-Syria border region: U.S. citizens in Lebanon should monitor political and security developments in both Lebanon and Syria. The U.S. Embassy strongly urges U.S. citizens to avoid the Lebanese-Syrian border region. There have been incidents of cross-border shelling and air strikes of Lebanese villages from Syria, resulting in deaths and injuries. There have been episodic clashes between the Lebanese Army and Syrian-based extremists along the border with Syria since August 2014. On March 24, 2016, a roadside bomb targeting a Lebanese Armed Forces patrol killed a Lebanese soldier and wounded several others in Lebanon’s restive northeast border town of Arsal. On November 5, 2015, a deadly blast ripped through Arsal, killing at least four people and wounding several others. The November attack, caused by a suicide bomber using a motorbike, targeted a meeting in the al-Sabil neighborhood of the Committee of Qalamoun Scholars. The next day, a Lebanese Armed Forces patrol in al-Sabil was targeted by a roadside explosive device. There have also been reports of armed groups from Syria kidnapping or attacking Lebanese citizens living in border areas.

Avoid the Lebanon-Israel border region: There are border tensions to the south with Israel, and the U.S. Embassy urges U.S. citizens to avoid this border. In January 2015, hostilities between Israel and Hizballah flared in the Golan Heights and Shebaa Farms area, and the potential for wider conflict remains. South of the Litani River, Hizballah has stockpiled large amounts of munitions in anticipation of a future conflict with Israel. There have been sporadic rocket attacks from southern Lebanon into Israel in connection with the violence between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. These attacks, normally consisting of rockets fired at northern Israel, often provoke a prompt Israeli military response. The rocket attacks and responses can occur without warning. Landmines and unexploded ordnance pose significant dangers throughout southern Lebanon, particularly south of the Litani River, as well as in areas of the country where fighting was intense during the civil war. More than 40 civilians have been killed and more than 300 injured by unexploded ordnance since the 2006 Israel-Hizballah war. Travelers should watch for posted landmine warnings and strictly avoid all areas where landmines and unexploded ordnance may be present.

Avoid the Bekaa Valley: Clashes between Lebanese authorities and criminal elements continue to occur in areas of the Bekaa Valley and border regions.  Hizballah maintains a strong presence in the Bekaa Valley, in addition to areas in southern Lebanon and south Beirut. Hizballah has been the target of attacks by other extremist groups for their support of the Asad regime in Syria. 

Avoid travel to refugee camps: Violence within refugee camps has resulted in shootings and explosions. U.S. citizens should avoid travel to refugee camps.  Palestinian groups hostile to both the Lebanese government and the United States operate autonomously in formal and informal refugee camps in different areas of the country. On April 12, 2016, a car bomb explosion killed a senior Palestinian official near the Ein al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp in the southern port city of Sidon. 

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risk of traveling on airlines that fly over Syria. Commercial aircraft are at risk when flying over regions in conflict. We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens considering air travel overseas evaluate the route that their proposed commercial flight may take and avoid any flights that pass through Syrian airspace. U.S. government personnel in Lebanon have been prohibited from taking flights that pass through Syrian airspace. 

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. These practices limit, and may prevent, access by U.S. Embassy officials to certain areas of the country, especially to parts of metropolitan Beirut, Tripoli, the Bekaa Valley, refugee camps, and southern Lebanon. 

U.S. government-facilitated evacuations, such as the evacuation that took place from Lebanon in 2006, occur only when no safe commercial alternatives exist, and they are not guaranteed even when commercial travel options are limited or non-existent. Evacuation assistance is provided on a cost-recovery basis, which means the traveler must reimburse the U.S. government for travel costs. U.S. citizens in Lebanon should ensure that they have valid U.S. passports, as lack of documentation could hinder U.S. citizens' ability to depart the country. Additional information on the Department’s role during emergencies is provided on the Bureau of Consular Affairs’ website.  

For more information:

Country Information

Lebanon
Lebanese Republic
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Embassy Messages

Beirut

 

 

 

Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

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:

Yes

VACCINATIONS:

None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

None

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Embassies and Consulates

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

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Destination Description

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

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Entry, Exit and 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.  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).

Information about  dual nationality, or prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website. For further information about customs regulations, please read our customs information page.

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Safety and Security

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:

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Local Laws & Special Circumstances

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 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

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Health

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:

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Travel and Transportation

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.

Hague Convention Participation
Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
No
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
No
What You Can Do
Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US
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Embassies and Consulates

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

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General Information

For information concerning travel to Lebanon, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for Lebanon. 

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA).  The report is located here.

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Hague Abduction Convention

Lebanon is not a signatory to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention).  Lebanon and the United States signed a Memorandum of Understanding in April 2004 that seeks to assist a parent residing in one country to obtain meaningful access to his or her child residing in the other country. 

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Return

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.  Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Lebanon and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances. 

The Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children's Issues provides assistance in cases of international parental child abduction.  For U.S. citizen parents whose children have been wrongfully removed to or retained in countries that are not U.S. partners under the Hague Abduction Convention, the Office of Children's Issues can provide information and resources about country-specific options for pursuing the return of or access to an abducted child.  The Office of Children's Issues may also coordinate with appropriate foreign and U.S. government authorities about the welfare of abducted U.S. citizen children.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance.

Contact information:

U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone: 1-888-407-4747
Outside the United States: 1-202-501-4444
Fax: 1-202-485-6221
Website: travel.state.gov
Email: AskCI@state.gov

Parental child abduction may be considered a crime in Lebanon depending on the circumstances.  Parents are encouraged to consult with a Lebanese attorney to determine if the circumstances surrounding their child's abduction constitute a crime under Lebanese law.

Parents may wish to consult with an attorney in the United States and in the country to which the child has been removed or retained to learn more about how filing criminal charges may impact a custody case in the foreign court.  Please see Possible Solutions - Pressing Criminal Charges for more information. 

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Visitation/Access

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.  Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Lebanon and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances.

The Office of Children's Issues may be able to assist parents seeking access to children who have been wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States.   Parents who are seeking access to children who were not wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States should contact the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Lebanon for information and possible assistance.

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Retaining an Attorney

Neither the Office of Children's Issues nor consular officials at the U.S. Embassy or Consulates in Lebanon are authorized to provide legal advice.

The U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, posts a list of attorneys, including those who specialize in family law.

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the persons or firms included in this list.  Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the following persons or firms. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

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Mediation

Mediation in Lebanon is voluntary.  There are no government agencies or non-governmental organizations that offer mediation services for custody disputes. 

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.  For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Hague Convention Participation
Hague Adoption Convention Country?
No
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
Is this country a U.S. Hague Partner?
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Hague Convention Information

Lebanon is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Therefore, when the Hague Adoption Convention entered into force for the United States on April 1, 2008, intercountry adoption processing for Lebanon did not change.

There is no civil procedure for adoption. The Government of Lebanon recognizes 19 religious confessions, each with its own court structure and laws. Because adoption is a religious procedure in Lebanon, it is supervised by authorized religious authorities and must be approved by the relevant religious court.

Islamic Shari'a law does not allow for full adoptions as generally understood in the United States. However, immigrant visas can be issued in cases where the Islamic court that grants the guardianship of an orphan and where that court understands that the parents intend to obtain a full and final adoption of the child once that child is in the United States and expressly signals that agreement. For more information on this issue Please refer to the Department of State's FAQ on "Adoption of Children from Countries in which Islamic Shari'a law is observed."

In Lebanon, only Christian institutions recognize adoptions as a legal convention and define the conditions, rights, and duties thereof. For the Catholic religious community, the relevant authorities are those of the rite of the minor child; while for the Orthodox religious communities, the forum is the court of the church of the prospective adoptive parent(s). If a child is a foundling, the child assumes the religious affiliation of the orphanage that takes accepts him/her.

Christian orphanages in Lebanon may have children available for adoption.

Note: The Lebanese Sûreté Général requires that both U.S. adoptive parents travel to Lebanon to complete the adoption procedures and accompany the child out of Lebanon. The U.S. Embassy in Beirut will be unable to obtain exceptions to this legal requirement. Parents adopting a child from Lebanon must apply for the child's U.S. immigrant visa from the U.S. Embassy in Beirut.

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Who Can Adopt

To bring an adopted child to United States from Lebanon, you must be found eligible to adopt by the U.S. Government. The U.S. Government agency responsible for making this determination is the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Read more on Who can Adopt.

In addition to these U.S. requirements for prospective adoptive parents, Lebanon also has the following requirements for prospective adoptive parents:

  • RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS: There are no residency requirements for prospective adoptive parents in Lebanon.
  • AGE REQUIREMENTS: Prospective adoptive parents must be at least 40 years of age. In addition, the age difference between the prospective adoptive parents and the child must be at least 18 years. In Armenian Orthodox adoptions, the minimum age difference is 15 years.
  • MARRIAGE REQUIREMENTS: Both married and single individuals may adopt from Lebanon. If married, the consent of both prospective adoptive parents is needed.
  • INCOME REQUIREMENTS: While there are no specific income requirements, prospective adoptive parents must provide their financial status as part of the home study.
  • OTHER REQUIREMENTS: Other requirements for adoption include:
    • In the case of a Catholic child, at least one of the prospective adoptive parents must be Catholic.
    • The adoptive parent(s) must not have any legal child and could not hope to have children of their own based on medical reports issued by specialists.
    • The adoptive parents and the child must belong to the same religious community, but not necessarily the same rite for the Catholic Church in general.
    • Prospective adoptive parents must have a clean criminal record and general good behavior.
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Who Can Be Adopted

Lebanon has specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for adoption. You cannot adopt a child in Lebanon unless he or she meets the requirements outlined below.

In addition to these requirements, a child must meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. law for you to bring him or her back to the United States. Find out more about Who can be adopted and these U.S. requirements.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS:

Relinquishment Requirements: If the child is old enough to consent, his/her consent is required. There is no specific age of consent but practice indicates that age 10 - 12 or older is customary. If the child is too young to give consent, then the minor's guardian, also known as the walee, must consent. Moreover, the religious authority must consent to the adoption. Consent cannot be obtained by coercion or fraud.

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How to Adopt

LEBANON'S ADOPTION AUTHORITY

There is no general civil adoption authority. Since adoption is overseen by religious institutions in Lebanon, they must be supervised by religious authorities and must be approved by these authorities and relevant religious courts. As a result, Lebanese governmental agencies do not get involved in registering the adoption, changing the child’s name, and issuing a Lebanese passport until after the religious body has approved the adoption.

THE PROCESS

The process for adopting a child from Lebanon generally includes the following steps:

  1. Choose an Adoption Service Provider
  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
  3. Be Matched with a Child
  4. Adopt the Child in Lebanon
  5. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption
  6. Bring Your Child Home
  1. Choose an Adoption Service Provider

    The first step in adopting a child from Lebanon is usually to select a licensed agency in the United States that can help with your adoption. Adoption service providers must be licensed by the U.S. state in which they operate. Learn more about choosing the right adoption service provider in the Working with an Adoption Service section of our website.

    There are no adoption agencies in Lebanon. The U.S. Embassy in Beirut maintains a list of lawyers. Churches and church officials care for abandoned children but may not always have the legal expertise to process an adoption. Attorneys who specialize in family law usually handle adoption cases.

  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt

    To bring an adopted child from Lebanon to the United States, you must apply to be found eligible to adopt (Form I-600A) by the U.S. Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Learn how.

    In addition to meeting the U.S. requirements for adoptive parents, you need to meet the requirements of Lebanon as described in the Who Can Adopt section. The adoption shall be for valid reasons and in the interest of the child.

  3. Be Matched with a Child 

    If you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, the central adoption authority in Lebanon will provide you with a referral to a child. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of a particular child and provide a permanent family placement for the referred child.

    The child must be eligible to be adopted according to Lebanon's requirements, as described in the Who Can be Adopted section. The child must also meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. law. Learn more.

  4. Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody) in Lebanon

    The process for finalizing the adoption (or gaining legal custody) in Lebanon generally includes the following:

    • ROLE OF THE ADOPTION AUTHORITY: The religious court will investigate the case, which entails proof of the good moral reputation of the prospective adoptive parent(s) and financial support for the child. If the court does not find any grounds for objection to adoption, the court will issue a decree confirming the adoption. The court's final decision on the adoption must be affirmed by the bishop of the same relevant jurisdiction.
    • ROLE OF THE COURT: To be valid, the adoption decree must be granted exequatur, or endorsed, by the Civil Courts Enforcement Bureau. The adoption decree must then be submitted to the Lebanese Bureau of Vital Statistics so that the civil status of the adopted child can be amended in the registry book.
    • ROLE OF ADOPTION AGENCIES: There are no adoption agencies in Lebanon. Attorneys who specialize in family law usually handle adoption cases.
    • ADOPTION APPLICATION: The adoption request must be submitted to the presiding judge of the religious court of the community to which the child belongs.
    • TIME FRAME: Intercountry adoption process in Lebanon ranges from four months to one year to complete.
    • ADOPTION FEES: The following is a list of adoption fees in Lebanon:

      Fees vary among confessions, and sometimes among sects within a particular confession, and are subject to change.

    • DOCUMENTS REQUIRED: The following documents must be attached to the request for adoption filed before the religious court:
      • Photocopy of the ID of the prospective parents(s) and the adopted child.
      • Certificate of good behavior. This certificate must be issued by the priest (or bishop) of the church where prospective adoptive parents belong.
      • A medical report stating the reasons of not having children. This is mandatory for the Orthodox Church and is based on the idea that the prospective adoptive parents are not be able to have their own biological children.
      • A home study report done by the reliable authority or agency (depending on the nationality of the parents) about the prospective parent(s)' social situation and financial status. The same study submitted with the I-600A may be used.

      NOTE: Additional documents may be requested. If you are asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic, we can help.

  5. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption

    After you finalize the adoption (or gain legal custody) in Lebanon, the U.S Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) MUST determine whether the child is eligible under U.S. law to be adopted (Form I-600). Learn how.

  6. Bring Your Child Home Now that your adoption is complete (or you have obtained legal custody of the child), there are a few more steps to take before you can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for several documents for your child before he or she can travel to the United States:
    • Birth Certificate 
      You will first need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child, so that you can later apply for a passport. The adoption decree must accompany the application for a Lebanese identity card and the birth certificate. The child will take the family name of the adoptive parents and your name will be added to the new birth certificate.

      The adoption decree must accompany the application for a Lebanese identity card and the birth certificate.

      Note: The modification of the surname is subject to the civil court's jurisdiction. If the child is less than five years old, the change of the surname is easily awarded. Approval of the institution or organization where the child was found may be sometimes required. If the child is more than six years old, reference to the former surname will always appear on official documents along with the new surname of the child.

    • Lebanon Passport
      Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or Passport from Lebanon. After the identity card is issued, an application for a Lebanese passport must be submitted at the Lebanese Passport Office in Beirut.

    • U.S. Immigrant Visa 
      After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need to apply for an U.S. visa from the United States Embassy for your child. After the adoption (or custody for purpose of adoption) is granted and a travel document has been obtained from the Lebanese government, visit the U.S. Embassy for final review and approval of the child’s I-600 petition and to obtain a visa for the child. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. As part of this process, the Consular Officer must be provided the “Panel Physician’s” medical report on the child if it was not provided during the provisional approval stage. The adoptive parents and the child must be present at the interview. If everything is in order, the visa will be issued within the next two working days Lean about the Medical Examination.

      The adoptive parents must present the following documents:

      • Proof of U.S. citizenship (passport valid for at least five years at the time of issuance or naturalization certificate, or birth certificate, if born in the U.S.),
      • Petitioner's and the child's passports, and
      • $404.00 USD (cash) or the equivalent in Lebanese pounds (cash).

      For further information, adoptive parents may send a fax to 04-543498 or send an email to BeirutIV@state.gov. Replies will be sent within three working days.

CHILD CITIZENSHIP ACT

For adoptions finalized abroad: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your new child to acquire American citizenship automatically when he or she enters the United States as lawful permanent residents.

For adoptions finalized in the United States: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your new child to acquire American citizenship automatically when the court in the United States issues the final adoption decree.

* Please be aware that if your child did not qualify to become a citizen upon entry to the United States, it is very important that you take the steps necessary so that your child does qualify as soon as possible. Failure to obtain citizenship for your child can impact many areas of his/her life including family travel, eligibility for education and education grants, and voting.

Read more about the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

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Traveling Abroad

APPLYING FOR YOUR U.S. PASSPORT

A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave Lebanon. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.

Getting or renewing a passport is easy. The Passport Application Wizard will help you determine which passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print-all in one place.

OBTAINING YOUR VISA

In addition to a U.S. passport, you also need to obtain a visa. A visa is an official document issued by a foreign country that formally allows you to visit. Where required, visas are attached to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation.

To find information about obtaining a visa for Lebanon, see the Department of State's Country Specific Information.

STAYING SAFE ON YOUR TRIP

Before you travel, it's always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country. The State Department is a good place to start.

The Department of State provides Country Specific Information for every country of the world about various issues, including the health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability.

STAYING IN TOUCH ON YOUR TRIP

When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to register your trip with the Department of State. Travel registration makes it possible to contact you if necessary. Whether there's a family emergency in the United States, or a crisis in Lebanon, registration assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.

Registration is free and can be done online.

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After Adoption

What does Lebanon require of the adoptive parents after the adoption?

There are no post-adoption requirements for Lebanese adoptions.

What resources are available to assist families after the adoption?

Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. Take advantage of all the resources available to your family -- whether it's another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services.

Here are some good places to start your support group search:

Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.

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Contact Information

Embassy of the United States, Beirut 
Antelias, P.O. Box 70-840
Beirut, Lebanon
Tel: [961](4) 542600, 543600, 544310, 544130, and 544140
Fax: [961] (4) 543498

Embassy of Lebanon 
2560 28th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20008
Tel: (202) 939-6300
Fax: (202) 939-6324
Email: info@lebanonembassyus.org
Internet: http://www.lebanonembassyus.org

*Lebanon also has consulates in Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami and New York City.

Office of Children's Issues
U.S. Department of State  
CA/OCS/CI  
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Tel: 1-888-407-4747
E-mail: AskCI@state.gov
Website: http://adoption.state.gov

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) 
For questions about immigration procedures, call the National Customer Service Center (NCSC)

1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833

Reciprocity Schedule

Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.

Explanation of Terms

Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.

Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).

Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.

Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.

Visa Classifications
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
Visa
Classification
Fee Number
of Entries
Validity
Period
A-1 None Multiple 60 Months
A-2 None Multiple 60 Months
A-3 1 None Multiple 24 Months
B-1 None Multiple 60 Months
B-2 None Multiple 60 Months
B-1/B-2 None Multiple 60 Months
C-1 None Multiple 60 Months
C-1/D None Multiple 60 Months
C-2 None Multiple 12 Months
C-3 None Multiple 60 Months
CW-1 11 None Multiple 12 Months
CW-2 11 None Multiple 12 Months
D None Multiple 60 Months
E-1 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2C 12 None Multiple 24 Months
F-1 None Multiple 60 Months
F-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-1 None Multiple 60 Months
G-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-3 None Multiple 60 Months
G-4 None Multiple 60 Months
G-5 1 None Multiple 24 Months
H-1B None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-1C None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2A None N/A N/A3
H-2B None N/A N/A3
H-2R None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
I None Multiple 60 Months
J-1 4 None Multiple 60 Months
J-2 4 None Multiple 60 Months
K-1 None One 6 Months
K-2 None One 6 Months
K-3 None Multiple 24 Months
K-4 None Multiple 24 Months
L-1 None Multiple 60 Months
L-2 None Multiple 60 Months
M-1 None Multiple 60 Months
M-2 None Multiple 60 Months
N-8 None Multiple 60 Months
N-9 None Multiple 60 Months
NATO 1-7 N/A N/A N/A
O-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
Q-1 6 None Multiple 15 Months 3
R-1 None Multiple 60 Months
R-2 None Multiple 60 Months
S-5 7 None One 1 Month
S-6 7 None One 1 Month
S-7 7 None One 1 Month
T-1 9 N/A N/A N/A
T-2 None One 6 Months
T-3 None One 6 Months
T-4 None One 6 Months
T-5 None One 6 Months
T-6 None One 6 Months
TD 5 N/A N/A N/A
V-1 None Multiple 120 Months
V-2 None Multiple 120 Months 8
V-3 None Multiple 120 Months 8
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Country Specific Footnotes

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

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Visa Category Footnotes
  1. The validity of A-3, G-5, and NATO 7 visas may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the person who is employing the applicant. The "employer" would have one of the following visa classifications:

    • A-1
    • A-2
    • G-1 through G-4
    • NATO 1 through NATO 6

  2. An E-1 and E-2 visa may be issued only to a principal alien who is a national of a country having a treaty, or its equivalent, with the United States. E-1 and E-2 visas may not be issued to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident. The spouse and children of an E-1 or E-2 principal alien are accorded derivative E-1 or E-2 status following the reciprocity schedule, including any reciprocity fees, of the principle alien’s country of nationality.  

    Example: John Doe is a national of the country of Z that has an E-1/E-2 treaty with the U.S. His wife and child are nationals of the country of Y which has no treaty with the U.S. The wife and child would, therefore, be entitled to derivative status and receive the same reciprocity as Mr. Doe, the principal visa holder.  

  3. The validity of H-1 through H-3, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.

    Under 8 CFR §214.2, H-2A and H-2B petitions may generally only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries. The current list of eligible countries is available on USCIS's website for both H-2A and H-2B visas. Nationals of countries not on this list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A or H2-B petition in limited circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security if specifically named on the petition.  

    Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.

  4. There is no reciprocity fee for the issuance of a J visa if the alien is a United States Government grantee or a participant in an exchange program sponsored by the United States Government.

    Also, there is no reciprocity fee for visa issuance to an accompanying or following-to-join spouse or child (J-2) of an exchange visitor grantee or participant.

    In addition, an applicant is eligible for an exemption from the MRV fee if he or she is participating in a State Department, USAID, or other federally funded educational and cultural exchange program (program serial numbers G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-7).

    However, all other applicants with U.S. Government sponsorships, including other J-visa applicants, are subject to the MRV processing fee.

  5. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian and Mexican nationals coming to engage in certain types of professional employment in the United States may be admitted in a special nonimmigrant category known as the "trade NAFTA" or "TN" category. Their dependents (spouse and children) accompanying or following to join them may be admitted in the "trade dependent" or "TD" category whether or not they possess Canadian or Mexican nationality. Except as noted below, the number of entries, fees and validity for non-Canadian or non-Mexican family members of a TN status holder seeking TD visas should be based on the reciprocity schedule of the TN principal alien.

    Canadian Nationals

    Since Canadian nationals generally are exempt from visa requirement, a Canadian "TN' or "TD" alien does not require a visa to enter the United States. However, the non-Canadian national dependent of a Canadian "TN", unless otherwise exempt from the visa requirement, must obtain a "TD" visa before attempting to enter the United States. The standard reciprocity fee and validity period for all non-Canadian "TD"s is no fee, issued for multiple entries for a period of 36 months, or for the duration of the principal alien's visa and/or authorized period of stay, whichever is less. See 'NOTE' under Canadian reciprocity schedule regarding applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality.

    Mexican Nationals

    Mexican nationals are not visa-exempt. Therefore, all Mexican "TN"s and both Mexican and non-Mexican national "TD"s accompanying or following to join them who are not otherwise exempt from the visa requirement (e.g., the Canadian spouse of a Mexican national "TN") must obtain nonimmigrant visas.

    Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality, who have a permanent resident or refugee status in Canada/Mexico, may not be accorded Canadian/Mexican reciprocity, even when applying in Canada/Mexico. The reciprocity fee and period for "TD" applicants from Libya is $10.00 for one entry over a period of 3 months. The Iranian and Iraqi "TD" is no fee with one entry over a period of 3 months.

  6. Q-2 (principal) and Q-3 (dependent) visa categories are in existence as a result of the 'Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998'. However, because the Department anticipates that virtually all applicants for this special program will be either Irish or U.K. nationals, the Q-2 and Q-3 categories have been placed only in the reciprocity schedules for those two countries. Q-2 and Q-3 visas are available only at the Embassy in Dublin and the Consulate General in Belfast.

  7. No S visa may be issued without first obtaining the Department's authorization.

  8. V-2 and V-3 status is limited to persons who have not yet attained their 21st birthday. Accordingly, the period of validity of a V-2 or V-3 visa must be limited to expire on or before the applicant's twenty-first birthday.

  9. Posts may not issue a T-1 visa. A T-1 applicant must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a U.S. port of entry, where he/she will apply for an adjustment of status to that of a T-1. The following dependents of a T-1 visa holder, however, may be issued a T visa at a U.S. consular office abroad:

    • T-2 (spouse)
    • T-3 (child)
    • T-4 (parent)
  10. The validity of NATO-5 visas may not exceed the period of validity of the employment contract or 12 months, whichever is less.

  11. The validity of CW-1 and CW-2 visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (12 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

  12. The validity of E-2C visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (24 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

 

 

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General Documents

Please check back for update.

Birth, Death, Burial Certificates

Birth Certificates

Available

Fees:

Document Name: “Wathikat Welada” translated to Birth Certificate or Certificate of Birth

Issuing Authority: Lebanese Republic, Ministry of interior & Municipalities, Directorate General of Civil Status

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format:

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Local Civil Registry Officer

Registration Criteria: To register a child’s birth with the Lebanese Civil Authorities, parents need to submit an executed marriage or divorce certificate to the local Civil Registry Office

Procedure for Obtaining: Lebanese and foreigners born in Lebanon (resident and non-resident) may obtain a government birth certificate from the district office of the Civil Registry Office in the district where the applicant is registered. Non-Residents may request a birth certificate from the Lebanese Embassy abroad, it’s done through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Lebanon and it is free of charge.

Certified Copies Available: Yes

Alternate Documents:          

Alternate civil documentation of birth (for Lebanese nationals whose place of birth is Lebanon) can be the individual or family civil registration sheet issued by the Civil Registry Office, which records all members of a family.  If a birth certificate is unavailable due to non-registration or the civil war, the statement of non-existence must be requested from the Ministry of Interior’s local Civil Registry Office.

A Lebanese identity card, which also contains biographic information, can be used as secondary evidence along with the certificate of non-existence of birth registry from the Civil Registry Office. Palestinian refugees born in Lebanon must apply for their birth registration sheets at the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities Directorate General for political Affairs and Refugees

Exceptions:

Comments:  Birth certificates, like all Lebanese civil documents, must be executed with the Ministry of Interior’s Civil Registry Office.
 

 

Death Certificates

Available Death certificates may be obtained from the district office of the Vital Statistics Bureau in the district where the event was registered. There is no fee for a death certificate. Certified copies of records can be obtained for a minimal fee (currently less than one dollar).

Notes:

  • There is no civil marriage or divorce in Lebanon, though civil marriages conducted outside Lebanon are accepted as valid. The Lebanese civil law requires that all marriages, divorces, and deaths must be registered with the Vital Statistics Bureau. Any marriage conducted outside Lebanon must be registered with the nearest Lebanese embassy or consulate.
  • Births and marriages before the last census date (1932) and early independence date (1943) are sometimes not registered. In this case, secondary evidence is acceptable along with the statement of non-existence from the Vital Statistics Bureau.
  • In rare cases, religious marriage certificates can be accepted as secondary evidence. The same is true in divorce cases. Since each divorce is granted under religious law, the basis for divorce depends on the religious affiliation of the parties to the marriage. Christian church certificates can be authenticated by the bishops of each community. Fees for religious documents vary among the communities.
  • In general, Lebanese Embassies can accept the request for the civil documents, and as in the case of police and prison records applicant may experience indeterminately long waiting periods before they receive the documents. However, it is possible that requests be submitted by applying in person or through a relative or friend living in Lebanon or Lebanese mayors.
Marriage, Divorce Certificates

Marriage and Divorce Certificates

Available. Marriage and divorce certificates may be obtained from the district office of the Vital Statistics Bureau in the district where the event was registered. There is no fee for a death certificate. Certified copies of records can be obtained for a minimal fee (currently less than one dollar).

Notes:

  • There is no civil marriage or divorce in Lebanon, though civil marriages conducted outside Lebanon are accepted as valid. The Lebanese civil law requires that all marriages, divorces, and deaths must be registered with the Vital Statistics Bureau. Any marriage conducted outside Lebanon must be registered with the nearest Lebanese embassy or consulate.
  • Births and marriages before the last census date (1932) and early independence date (1943) are sometimes not registered. In this case, secondary evidence is acceptable along with the statement of non-existence from the Vital Statistics Bureau.
  • In rare cases, religious marriage certificates can be accepted as secondary evidence. The same is true in divorce cases. Since each divorce is granted under religious law, the basis for divorce depends on the religious affiliation of the parties to the marriage. Christian church certificates can be authenticated by the bishops of each community. Fees for religious documents vary among the communities.
  • In general, Lebanese Embassies can accept the request for the civil documents, and as in the case of police and prison records applicant may experience indeterminately long waiting periods before they receive the documents. However, it is possible that requests be submitted by applying in person or through a relative or friend living in Lebanon or Lebanese mayors.
Adoption Certificates

Adoption decrees in Lebanon are issued by Christian religious courts. Such decrees are recognized as valid under civil law. Moslem religious law does not permit adoption.

Once the decree is issued, the adoptive parents must obtain a civil registration sheet and a Lebanese identity card for the child. After the identity card is issued, a Lebanese passport may be obtained.

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Identity Card
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Police, Court, Prison Records

Available. The "Judiciary Police Record" is issued by the Judiciary Police Department, Internal Security Forces, Minister of the Interior. It does not contain any information about any political activities or affiliation to any terrorist, military, or illegal organization. It only shows any final court decision, final conviction and/or court sentence.

After completing his/her sentence, an individual could request that the Ministry of Justice remove the sentence from his "Judiciary Police Record" after three to ten years, depending on the type of crime. In 1992, the Lebanese Government issued a "General Amnesty" for all crimes committed before 1991. Also, in 1996 the Lebanese Government issued a "General Amnesty" to all drug charges-related crimes committed before 1994.

The criminal records are indexed and in alphabetical order. They include, in addition to the individual's name, the number and place of each individual's place of civil registration. The "Judiciary Police Record" is issued in Arabic and signed by the Chief of the Judiciary Department.

To obtain the "Judiciary Police Record", the individual who is physically present in Lebanon, must personally apply, accompanied by his/her Lebanese identity card to the Police Record Department, Internal Security Forces, Ministry of Interior. The document will be issued within 48 hours.

For those residing outside Lebanon, the request must be processed through Lebanese embassies/consulates, but applicants may experience extremely long waiting periods before they receive the document, or may not receive them at all. The "Judiciary Police Record" may also be requested through a lawyer having a power of attorney from the individual authorizing the request. The "Judiciary Police Record" presented by an individual does not mean that the individual is clear. It just states that "this person does not have any court sentence against him".

Military Records

Unavailable.

Passports & Other Travel Documents

Please check back for update.

Other Records

Not applicable.

Visa Issuing Posts

Beirut, Lebanon (Embassy)

Street Address:
Awkar - near Antelias
P.O. Box 70-840
Beirut, Lebanon

Tel: (961) (4) 542-600, 543-600, 544-310, 544-130 and 544-140

Fax: (961) (4) 544-209

Visa Services

The US Embassy in Beirut currently processes both NIV and IV applications.

Foreign Consular Office Contact Information

Washington, DC (202) 939-6300

Detroit, MI (313) 758-0753/0754/0755 (313) 758-0756

Los Angeles, CA (213) 243-0999 (213) 612-5070

New York, NY (212) 744-7905 (212) 794-1510

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Beirut
Jmeil Street, Awkar (facing the Awkar Municipality Building)
Beirut, Lebanon
Telephone
+(961) 4-542600 - 543600
Emergency
+(961) 4-543600
Fax
+(961) 4-544209
Lebanon Country Map

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Additional Information for Reciprocity

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.