Libya - Consular Information Sheet
June 13, 2001
WARNING (Issued June 6, 2001): The United States Department
of State warns U.S. citizens against travel to or residence in
Libya. There has been evidence of hostility to the United States
in some segments of the population and some elements of the Libyan
There is no U.S. Embassy in Libya. Therefore, the U.S. Government
is unable to provide any assurances of the safety of travel to
Libya by U.S. citizens. U.S. Government interests are represented
by the Government of Belgium, which as a protecting power can
provide only limited emergency services to U.S. citizens.
United Nations sanctions against Libya were suspended following
the surrender of the two suspects in the Lockerbie bombing; U.S.
sanctions remain in place. All financial and commercial transactions
with Libya by U.S. citizens are prohibited unless licensed by
the U.S. Treasury Department. U.S. passports are not valid for
travel to, in, or through Libya unless a special validation is
obtained beforehand from the Department of State.
Those Americans who decide to travel to Libya despite the Travel
Warning should exercise a high level of caution.
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Officially known as the Socialist
People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Libya has a developing economy.
Islamic ideals and beliefs provide the conservative foundation
of the country's customs, laws, and practices. Tourist facilities
are not widely available.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: Passports and visas are required.
On December 11, 1981, U.S. passports ceased to be valid for travel
to, in, or through Libya and may not be used for that purpose
without a special validation. See paragraphs on Passport Validation
and U.S. Treasury Economic Sanctions. Visa application and inquiries
must be made through a Libyan Embassy in a third country. Under
certain circumstances such as a family visit or business meeting,
a person may apply for a visa at the Libyan Mission to the United
Nations in New York. The land border with Egypt is subject to
periodic closures even to travelers having valid Libyan visas.
Short-term closures of other land borders occur with little notice.
In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments
have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include
requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission
for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not
present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required,
may facilitate entry/departure.
DUAL NATIONALITY: In addition to being subject to all
Libyan laws affecting U.S. citizens, dual nationals may also be
subject to other laws that impose special obligations on Libyan
citizens. For additional information, see the
Consular Affairs home page on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov
for our Dual Nationality flyer.
SAFETY/SECURITY: Security personnel may at times place
foreign visitors under surveillance. Hotel rooms, telephones and
fax machines may be monitored, and personal possessions in hotel
rooms may be searched. Taking photographs of anything that could
be perceived as being of military or security interest may result
in problems with the authorities. Business travelers who are planning
to remain in Libya for longer than one month must register their
stay with local police authorities.
CRIME: Crime is a growing problem in Libya. The most common
types of crime are auto theft and theft of items left in vehicles.
Libya's beaches are the frequent site of muggings and purse-snatchings.
The loss or theft of a U.S. passport abroad should be reported
immediately to the local police, the U.S. Interests Section at
the Belgium Embassy in Tripoli, Libya, and the nearest U.S. embassy
or consulate outside of Libya. 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. The pamphlets are available
by mail from the
Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office,
Washington, DC 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: Basic modern medical care and medicines
may not be available in Libya. The hospital with the best reputation
in Libya is the "Oil Clinique-N.O.C." Most Libyan citizens
prefer to be treated outside of Libya for ailments such as heart
diseases and diabetes.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: The Department of State strongly urges
Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior
to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas
and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical
evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs
incurred outside the United States unless supplemental coverage
is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do
not provide payment for medical services outside the United States.
However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance
plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas including
emergency services such as medical evacuations.
When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans
should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require
payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical
evacuation to the U.S. may cost well in excess of $50,000. Uninsured
travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme
difficulties. When consulting with your insurer prior to your
trip, ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare
provider or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses
you incur. However, please note section on U.S. Treasury Sanctions,
which may impact on the ability of insurers to provide payment
and air ambulance services to provide assistance in Libya. 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 from the United States at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747);
fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via 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 Libya is provided for general reference only,
and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Safety of Public Transportation: poor
Public transportation, which is limited to occasional bus service,
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: fair
The major streets in most cities are maintained properly as a
matter of necessity since they are heavily trafficked. Many smaller
side streets in urban areas, however, are in poor conditions and
are seldom maintained.
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: poor
The paved roads in rural areas are satisfactory, however, many
rural roads are unpaved (i.e. dirt roads). Also, major highways
both along the seacoast and leading south merge into single-lane
highways once they are outside the cities. These roads are heavily
trafficked and precarious to navigate especially at night and
during the winter rainy season. The presence of sand deposits
and domestic and wild animals that frequently cross these highways
and rural roads make them even more hazardous.
Availability of Roadside Assistance: poor
Availability of roadside assistance is extremely limited. Inside
urban areas and near the outskirts of major cities there is a
greater possibility of assistance by police and emergency ambulance
services although they are usually ill equipped to deal with serious
injuries or accidents.
Driving in Libya may be hazardous and there is a high accident
rate. Police enforcement of traffic signs and laws is rare. As
a result, it is often difficult to anticipate the actions of other
drivers on Libyan streets and highways. Wind-blown sand can make
roads impassable to all but four-wheel drive vehicles. Road conditions
are poor, and public transportation, which is limited to occasional
bus service, is poor. Taxis, which are available, are usually
on a shared-basis. Rental cars are often old and poorly-maintained
and are not recommended for long-distance driving. The sidewalks
in urban areas are often in bad condition but pedestrians are
able to use them.
For additional information about
road safety, including links to foreign government sites,
see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page
at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html. See also
road safety information on Libya at http://www.arab.net/libya/libya_contents.html.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: Commercial air service between
the U.S. and Libya is prohibited by U.S. sanctions. As there is
no direct commercial air service by local carriers at present,
or economic authority to operate such service, between the U.S.
and Libya, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has
not assessed Libya's Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with
international aviation safety standards. For further information,
travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within
the U.S. at tel. 1-800-322-7873, or visit the
FAA's Internet website at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa.
PASSPORT VALIDATION: Without the requisite validation,
use of a U.S. passport for travel to, in, or through Libya may
constitute a violation of 18 U.S.C. 1544, and may be punishable
by a fine and/or imprisonment.
The categories of individuals eligible for consideration for
a special passport validation are set forth in 22 C.F.R. 51.74.
Passport validation requests for Libya can be forwarded in writing
to the following address:
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Passport Services
U.S. Department of State
2401 E Street, NW, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-0907
Attn: Office of Passport Policy and Advisory Services
The request must be accompanied by supporting documentation according
to the category under which validation is sought. Currently, the
four categories of persons specified in 22 C.F.R. 51.74 as being
eligible for consideration for passport validation are as follows:
(a) Professional Reporters: This category includes full-time
members of the reporting or writing staff of a newspaper, magazine
or broadcasting network whose purpose for travel is to gather
information about Libya for dissemination to the general public.
(b) American Red Cross: An applicant in this category must establish
that he or she is a representative of the American Red Cross or
International Red Cross traveling pursuant to an officially-sponsored
Red Cross mission.
(c) Humanitarian Considerations: An applicant in this category
must establish that his or her trip is justified by compelling
humanitarian considerations or for family unification. At this
time, "compelling humanitarian considerations" include
situations where the applicant can document that an immediate
family member is critically ill in Libya. Documentation concerning
family illness must include the name and address of the relative,
and be from that relative's physician attesting to the nature
and the gravity of the illness. "Family unification"
situations may include cases in which spouses or minor children
are residing in Libya with and dependent on a Libyan national
spouse or parent for their support.
(d) National Interest: For this category, the applicant's request
must be otherwise found to be in the national interest.
In all requests for passport validation for travel to Libya,
applicants must submit their name, date and place of birth, and
U.S. passport number for themselves and all individuals requesting
U.S. TREASURY SANCTIONS: In addition to the restrictions
on the use of a U.S. passport discussed above, all U.S. persons
(defined as all U.S. citizens, permanent alien residents, wherever
they are located, all people and organizations physically in the
United States and all branches of U.S. organizations throughout
the world) are subject to the Libyan sanctions regulations administered
by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets
Control (OFAC). For up-to-date information about the embargo on
Libya, consult OFAC's
home page on the Internet at http://www.treas.gov/ofac or
via OFAC's Info-by Fax service 202-622-0077.
On January 7, 1986, the United States imposed economic sanctions
against Libya, which broadly prohibit U.S. persons from engaging
in unauthorized financial transactions involving Libya, including,
in part, the following: the export to Libya of all goods, services,
or technology; the import of goods or services of Libyan origin;
engaging in the performance of a contract in support of an industrial,
commercial, or governmental project in Libya; or dealing in any
property in which the Government of Libya has any interest. The
economic sanctions also prohibit U.S. persons from working in
Libya. (Note that the U.S. Department of Commerce controls the
re-export of U.S.-origin goods, technology or software whether
such items are exported by a U.S. person or a non-U.S. person.)
For further information about exports, contact the Department
of Commerce as follows:
U.S. Department of Commerce
Bureau of Export Administration
Office of Strategic Trade and Foreign Policy
15th and Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC. 20230
In addition, these restrictions prohibit U.S. persons from engaging
in unauthorized travel-related transactions to and within Libya.
Please note, however, that transactions relating to travel for
journalistic activity by persons regularly employed in such capacity
by a news gathering organization are exempt from the prohibition.
Please note as well that U.S. persons may engage in travel-related
transactions for the sole purpose of visiting immediate family
members in Libya, provided that the U.S. persons seeking to travel
register with the Office of Foreign Assets Control or the U.S.
Interests Section at the Embassy of Belgium in Tripoli. To register,
U.S. persons who are potential travelers should provide (for each
potential traveler - parents and children) the following information:
(A) name, date and place of birth of the person registering (including
the name under which a registrant's most recent U.S. passport
was issued, if that is different);
(B) if applicable, place and date of birth of the registrant's
naturalization as a U.S. citizen, and the number of the registrant's
naturalization certificate, or, for permanent resident aliens,
the alien registration number of the registrant's alien registration
(C) the name, relationship, and address of the immediate family
member in Libya whose relationship forms the basis for the registrant's
(D) the number and issue date of the registrant's current U.S.
passport, and the most recent date on which the passport was validated
by the U.S. Department of State for travel to Libya; or if the
registrant does not hold a U. S. passport, the country issue date
and number of the registrant's current passport.
Potential travelers should contact the Treasury Department at
the following address and phone number:
Office of Foreign Assets Control
U.S. Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20220
UN SANCTIONS: The UN Security Council sanctions against
Libya were suspended in April 1999 following Libya's surrender
of the two suspects in the Lockerbie bombing. Sanctions imposed
by the U.S. Government remain in place.
CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Libyan customs authorities enforce
strict regulations concerning the introduction into Libya or removal
from Libya of firearms, religious materials, antiquities, medications,
and currency. Importation of alcohol is forbidden. Any passenger
arriving in Tripoli is required to bring into Libya a minimum
of $500. This requirement is subject to a border check, and the
passenger faces possible deportation if this requirement is not
met. It is advisable to contact any Embassy of Libya abroad for
specific information regarding customs requirements.
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Libya's economy operates on a "cash-only"
basis for most transactions. ATM machines are rare. Although there
is a wide discrepancy between the official exchange rate and the
"black market" value of Libyan currency, foreign visitors
should be aware that the penalties for use of unauthorized currency
dealers are severe. Foreign visitors should also be aware that
their passports might be confiscated in business disputes. There
is a Sunday-Thursday workweek.
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
Libya's laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or
imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal
drugs are severe in Libya, and convicted offenders can expect
jail sentences, heavy fines, and/or flogging or other physical
FAMILY ISSUES: Children under 18 whose fathers are Libyan
must have the father's permission to depart Libya, even if the
mother has been granted full custody by a Libyan court. Women
in Libya are often subjected to strict family controls; on occasion
families of Libyan-American women visiting Libya have attempted
to prevent them from leaving the country. Young single women are
most likely to be vulnerable in these circumstances. Finally,
a Libyan husband is permitted to take legal action to prevent
his wife from leaving the country, regardless of her nationality.
information on international parental child abduction, please
refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html
or telephone 202-736-7000.
REGISTRATION/U.S INTERESTS SECTION LOCATION: There is
no U.S. Embassy in Libya. The U.S. Government is not in a position
to accord normal consular protective services to U.S. citizens
in Libya. U.S. Government interests are represented by the Government
of Belgium, which, as a protecting power, can provide only limited
services to U.S. citizens. Inquiries on the present local situation,
like currency regulations, should be made to the U.S. Interests
Section of the Embassy of Belgium. The Belgian Embassy is located
at Dhat El-Emad Towers Complex, Tower Number Four, Fifth Floor,
in the capital city of Tripoli; mailing address: P.O. Box 91650,
Tripoli, Libya. The telephone number is (218-21) 33771; fax number
is (218-21) 335-0937