Lebanon - Consular Information Sheet
January 12, 2001
TRAVEL WARNING (Issued August 28, 2000): The Department
of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Lebanon
and recommends that Americans exercise caution while traveling
there. During Lebanon's civil conflict from 1975 to 1990, Americans
were the targets of numerous terrorist attacks in Lebanon. While
there have been very few such incidents in recent years, the perpetrators
of these attacks are still present in Lebanon and retain the ability
The local security environment in Lebanon can limit the movement
of U.S. officials in certain areas of the country. This factor,
plus limited staffing, may prevent the U.S. Embassy from performing
full consular functions and providing timely assistance to Americans
in Lebanon. Dual nationals and spouses of Lebanese citizens can
encounter particular difficulties and should see the Department
of State Consular Information Sheet on Lebanon. All Department
of State employees and their families, and all U.S. Government
employees and their families under the authority of a chief of
mission abroad, are restricted from unofficial travel in Lebanon
without prior approval by the Department of State. American air
carriers are prohibited from use of Beirut International Airport
(BIA) due to continuing concern about airport and aircraft security
arrangements. Official U.S. Government travelers take extraordinary
security measures when using the BIA airport.
The Department of State keeps the security situation in Lebanon
under close review and will address additional risks and take
any other appropriate steps as necessary. In particular, U.S.
citizens who travel to Lebanon should exercise caution when traveling
in parts of the southern suburbs of Beirut and portions of the
Biqaa' Valley. Palestinian camps are outside the control of the
Lebanese government, and all camps should be avoided. Dangers
posed by land mines and unexploded ordnance throughout south Lebanon
are significant. Travelers should be aware of posted mine warnings
and strictly avoid all areas where mines and unexploded ordnance
may be present. Conditions in areas along the Israel-Lebanon border
can be subject to change. There have been isolated incidents resulting
in civilian injuries, including those from accidental detonation
of mines and confrontations across the border with Israeli forces
in the immediate area of the border line, particularly at the
now closed Kfar Kila/Fatima Gate crossing. The security situation
may change rapidly, and visitors to Lebanon should monitor the
news for reports of incidents that might affect their personal
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: The Republic of Lebanon is a parliamentary
republic. The country is emerging from a long period of civil
war, which has damaged the economy and the social fabric. The
population is composed of both Christians and Muslims from a variety
of sects. Although the government of Lebanon has made efforts
to extend its control, limited areas of the country remain outside
of effective government control. The U.S. government considers
the potential threat to U.S. personnel sufficiently serious to
require that U.S. citizen employees of the American Embassy live
and work under a strict security regime. Hizballah has not been
disarmed, and it maintains a presence in several areas of the
country, including training camps in the Biqaa' Valley. There
are about 25,000 Syrian troops in the country. Palestinian groups
hostile to both the Lebanese government and the U.S. operate largely
autonomously inside refugee camps in different areas of the country.
ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: Passports and visas are required.
Travelers holding passports that contain visas or entry/exit stamps
for Israel may be refused entry into Lebanon. Travelers whose
passports contain Israeli stamps or visas and who also hold an
"Arab nationality" may be subject to arrest and imprisonment.
Travelers who have overstayed their entry visa validity in Lebanon
have to adjust their status with the Department of Surete General
(Department of Passport and Immigration) prior to their departure
time. Further information on entry requirements can be obtained
from the Embassy of Lebanon, 2560 28th Street N.W., Washington,
D.C., 20008, tel. (202) 939-6300.
Additional information can be found on the
Embassy of Lebanon's web site http:///www.lebanonembassy.org/.
Travelers may also contact one of the Consulates General of Lebanon:
7060 Hollywood Blvd., Suite 510
Los Angeles, CA 90028
1959 E. Jefferson, Suite 4A
Detroit, MI 48207
9 E.76th Street
New York, NY 10021
6600 S.W 57th Avenue, Suite 200
Miami, FL 33143
(Honorary Consul, for Florida residents only)
DUAL NATIONALITY: In addition to being subject to all
Lebanese laws affecting U.S. citizens, dual nationals may also
be subject to other laws that impose special obligations on Lebanese
citizens. For additional information, please see the Consular
Affairs home page on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov forour
Dual Nationality flyer . Also
see the information on Compulsory Military Service below.
SAFETY AND SECURITY: The government of Lebanon does not
have effective control in certain areas of the country. Syrian
military forces and Hizballah are present in various parts of
Lebanese territory, including parts of the southern suburbs of
Beirut, sections of the Beqaa' Valley, and Southern Lebanon. Security
incidents have occurred in Lebanon with little warning, including
random or planned criminal acts and other disturbances to public
order. There have been incidents of rocket and mortar fire from
southern Lebanon into Israel and the Golan Heights.
CRIME INFORMATION: While the crime rate in Lebanon is
moderate, both car thefts and house break-ins occur. The loss
or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately
to local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. U.S.
citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlets, A
Safe Trip Abroad and Tips
for Travelers to the Middle East and North Africa, for ways
to promote a more trouble-free journey. They are available by
mail from the
Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office,
Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs,
or via the
Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.
MEDICAL FACILITIES: In Beirut and the surrounding areas,
basic modern medical care and medicines are widely available.
Such facilities are not always available in outlying areas. Doctors
and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for services.
A list of doctors who speak English is available from the American
MEDICAL INSURANCE: U.S. medical insurance is not always
valid outside the United States. U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs
do not provide payment for medical services outside the United
States. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment
for health services. Uninsured travelers who require medical care
overseas may face extreme difficulties.
Please check with your own insurance company to confirm whether
your policy applies overseas, including provision for medical
evacuation, and for adequacy of coverage. Serious medical problems
requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United
States can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Please ascertain
whether payment will be made to the overseas hospital or doctor
or if you will be reimbursed later for expenses that you incur.
Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric
treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.
Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas
insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau
of Consular Affairs brochure, Medical
Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available via
the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page or autofax: (202) 647-3000.
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Information on vaccinations
and other health precautions may be obtained from the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international
travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); Fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX
(1-888-232-3299), or via the CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign
country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ
significantly from those in the United States. The information
below concerning Lebanon is provided for general reference only,
and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance:
Safety of Public Transportation: Good
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor
Drivers often maneuver aggressively, and pay little regard to
traffic lights and stops signs. Lanes are generally unmarked.
Pedestrians, especially, should exercise great caution because
parked cars often obstruct the sidewalks, forcing pedestrians
to walk in the streets.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial
air service at present, nor economic authority to operate such
service between the U.S. and Lebanon, the U.S. Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) has not assessed Lebanon's civil aviation
authority for compliance with international aviation safety standards
for oversight of Lebanon's air carrier operations. For future
information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation
within the United States at tel. 1-800-322-7873 or visit the
FAA'S Internet home page at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some
foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of
air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific
carriers, travelers may contact the DOD at tel.(618) 229-4801.
CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Lebanese Customs authorities may
enforce strict regulations concerning import and export of such
items as firearms or antiquities. It is advisable to contact the
Embassy of Lebanon in Washington, D.C. or one of Lebanon's consulates
in the United States for specific information regarding customs
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S.
citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which
sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States
and may not afford the protections available to the individual
under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe
than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating
Lebanon's laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or
imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal
drugs are severe in Lebanon, and convicted offenders can expect
jail sentences and fines. Individuals charged with drug offenses
are usually not released on bail and can expect to remain in jail
while judicial authorities prepare their cases for prosecution.
CONSULAR ACCESS: U.S. citizens are encouraged to carry
a copy of their U.S. passport and Lebanese visa with them at all
times, so that, if questioned by local officials, proof of identity
and U.S. citizenship are readily available.
COMPULSORY MILITARY SERVICE:
Lebanese males 18 to 30 years old are subject to mandatory
military service of one year. Dual nationals who visit Lebanon
are not exempt, except as allowed by Lebanese law. Dual nationals
should contact the Military Office of the Embassy of Lebanon,
2560 28th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, or call tel. (202)
265-2335 or fax (202) 667-0063 for details prior to traveling
Because of the prevalence of Syrian troops in Lebanon, Syrian-American
males of draft age who are planning to visit Lebanon are strongly
urged to check with the Syrian Embassy in Washington, D.C. concerning
compulsory military service. Even Americans who have never visited
or resided in Syria may be considered Syrian and required to complete
military service if their father were Syrian. Possession of a
U.S. passport does not absolve the bearer of this obligation.
BUSINESS DISPUTES OR EMPLOYMENT: Travelers who enter Lebanon
on work visas under the sponsorship of a Lebanese company or individual
may face problems and be unable to leave the country before the
completion of their contracts without the agreement of their employers.
In cases of a business dispute, if jurisdiction falls under local
law, the Lebanese party to a contract may obtain an injunction
to prevent the departure of a foreign party from the country until
the dispute is settled. In such cases, the U.S. Embassy can provide
a list of local lawyers to assist U.S. citizens, but ultimate
responsibility for the resolution of a dispute rests with the
CUSTODY AND FAMILY ISSUES: Lebanese fathers of minor children
(under 18 years of age) may legally prevent their children from
leaving or being taken from Lebanon. Likewise, a Lebanese husband
may take legal action to prevent his wife from leaving the country,
regardless of her nationality. Once such legal orders are in place,
the U.S. Embassy cannot assist American citizens to leave Lebanon.
For additional information on child custody issues, please refer
to our Internet site at: http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html
or contact the Office of Children's Issues, tel. (202) 736-7000.
CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For information
on international adoption of children and international parental
child abduction, please refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html,
or contact the Office of Children's Issues, tel. (202) 736-7000.
REGISTRATION/EMBASSY LOCATION: Effective March 23, 1998,
the U.S. Embassy resumed routine services to American citizens.
Services now include passport issuance for first-time applicants,
passport renewals, lost passport replacement, completion of Consular
Reports of Birth Abroad, notarials, and assistance to recipients
of federal benefits. Restrictions continue on the movement of
American Embassy employees for security reasons. Therefore, assistance
in emergency cases such as arrests or deaths may not always be
provided in a timely manner. Americans living in or visiting Lebanon
are advised to register with the Consular Section at the
U.S. Embassy in Beirut. Visitors should forward by fax or
by mail their travel itineraries, contact numbers, and copies
of the information pages of their passports.
The U.S. Embassy is located in Antelias, P.O. Box 70-840, Beirut,
Lebanon. The telephone numbers are  (4) 542-600, 543-600,
544-310, 544-130, and 544-140. The Consular fax is  (4) 544-209.
The American Citizen Services office is open to the public Monday
through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. until ll:00 a.m. and the Federal
Benefits Unit is open from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Monday through
Thursday. Public inquiries are answered from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00
p.m. Monday through Thursday. Please check the Embassy home page
at http://www.usembassy.com.lb/ for up-to-date
information on hours and services and to register by e-mail.
* * *
This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated September
14, 1999, to update the Travel Warning, the Embassy of Lebanon's
web site, Country Description, Traffic Safety and Road Conditions,
Compulsory Military Service, to add the U.S. Embassy home page
and to remove Y2K information.