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Libya

If you’re travelling to Libya, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information.

Security Status

  • Normal precautions
  • High degree of caution
  • Avoid non-essential travel
  • Do not travel
  • Overview
  • Safety and Security
  • Local Laws and Customs
  • Additional Information
  • Embassy Contact

Overview

General COVID-19 Travel Advisory in Operation

For the latest update please read the General COVID-19 Travel Advisory >

Overview

Security Status

Do not travel

Latest Travel Alert

Citizens planning travel abroad should take into account the ongoing risk of testing positive for COVID-19 while abroad and are advised to take out comprehensive travel insurance that includes COVID-19 cover. Before departure and during travel, citizens are advised to monitor our Travel Advice, follow us on Twitter, and register with their nearest Irish Embassy or Consulate.

General Travel Advice

Due to the ongoing fighting and the risk of kidnapping or terrorist attacks throughout the country, the situation in Libya remains extremely dangerous. There are reports of increased military activity in the areas surrounding Tripoli and in the city itself and all Irish citizens are advised to avoid the region.

As Ireland has no resident Embassy in Libya, and in light of the deteriorating security situation, it is extremely unlikely that we will be able to provide any consular assistance to Irish citizens who travel to or decide to remain in Libya at this time.

Irish citizens who decide to travel to or remain in Libya are doing so at their own risk and against the advice of the Department of Foreign Affairs. If you remain in Libya, you should exercise caution, avoid large gatherings and ensure that you have appropriate personal security measures in place, including access to money and supplies of food, water, medicine, fuel and other essentials.

Should you chose to travel against the advice of the Department of Foreign Affairs, it is essential that you ensure that your passport and those of your immediate family are valid and up to date. You should also ensure that you have all relevant travel/exit documents that may be required for your departure from Libya.

The Embassy of Ireland in Rome, Italy, is accredited to Libya. If you phone outside of working hours, please leave a message giving your name, mobile number, current location and the nature of the emergency. These messages are regularly monitored and an Embassy staff member will contact you. Contact details are here

EU Directive on Consular Protection

Under the EU Consular Protection Directive, Irish nationals may seek assistance from the Embassy or Consulate of any other EU member state in a country where there is no Irish Embassy or permanent representation.. We advise contacting the Embassy that you intend seeking assistance from in advance of going there in case it is no longer open. Please exercise extreme caution in your movements around any areas where there is military activity.

Safety and Security

Safety and security

Security

Due to the ongoing fighting and the risk of kidnapping or terrorist attacks throughout the country, the situation in Libya remains very volatile. The situation throughout the country remains dangerous and unpredictable. Fighting continues in many parts of Libya. It can be unclear in some areas which faction has control. This fighting includes extremist groups such as Ansar Al Sharia and affiliates of Da’esh and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQ-M).

We advise Irish citizens in Libya to leave immediately by commercial means.

Military clashes and inter-militia fighting pose significant risks to air travel in Libya. It has periodically caused the temporary suspension or closure of airports. All airports are vulnerable to attack. Maitiga Airport, Tripoli’s only functioning civilian airport, has been regularly shelled by artillery.

A limited number of flights may be operating from Misrata and Maitega airports. As flight schedules may change without notice, you should contact your airline or travel company for the latest information before travelling. Land routes remain open but the security situation can change very quickly. There may be some delays and temporary closures at border crossings. We recommend checking the situation at the border immediately before intended travel.

Political Stability

The political situation in Libya remains fragile and the security situation remains dangerous and unpredictable. Uncertainty about when postponed Libyan elections will take place is likely to heighten tensions throughout the country, which may lead to security incidents such as inter-militia clashes and oil blockades.

Since April 2019 there has been a significant build-up of militarised forces across western and central Libya. Regular and heavy armed clashes also take place to the south and west of Tripoli.

Fighting can break out anywhere without warning, including between local militia groups, and many civilians have been killed in outbreaks of conflict in residential areas. There is a high risk of being caught in indiscriminate gunfire or shelling, including air strikes, in all areas where the fighting has spread.

Terrorism

There is a very high threat of terrorist attacks and of kidnap against foreigners in Libya.

Crime

There is a serious threat of crime targeted at foreigners in Libya including theft, kidnappings and carjacking. Irish citizens, who remain in Libya against our advice are advised to move around the country with extreme caution.

Some general precautions to protect yourself from crime while in Libya include:

  • Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place.
  • Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home.
  • Avoid showing large sums of money in public and don’t use ATMs after dark, especially if you’re alone. Check no one has followed you after conducting your business.
  • Avoid dark and unlit streets and stairways, and arrange to be picked up or dropped off as close to your hotel or apartment entrance as possible.
  • Keep a close eye on your personal belongings and hold on to them in public places such as internet cafés, train and bus stations.

Local Laws and Customs

Local laws and customs

Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or may even be illegal.

Muslim culture

Local laws reflect the fact that Libya is a Muslim country. You should respect local customs and sensitivities, especially during the holy month of Ramadan. You are advised to dress conservatively at all times, covering arms, shoulders and legs.

During Ramadan, Muslims are not permitted to eat, drink or smoke during daylight hours. To avoid offence, you should not eat, drink or smoke in public during this time.

The working week is from Sunday to Thursday.

Illegal drugs

Penalties for drug offences are severe and include the death penalty or life imprisonment.

Alcohol

The sale and consumption of alcohol is against the law and there are stern penalties imposed for the possession or use of alcohol. You should on no account attempt to bring alcohol into the country.

Personal identification

You must carry identification documents at all times.

Law enforcement

Severe penalties are imposed for criticising the country, its leadership or religion.

Sexual behaviour

Homosexuality is considered a criminal offence in Libya. Sexual relations outside marriage are also punishable by law. Caution and discretion are advised at all times.

Photography

Photography close to military or official personnel or sites is illegal and may result in arrest or detention.

Driving

Road travel within Libya remains highly dangerous. There continues to be a risk of being caught up in outbreaks of hostilities. There’s also a high risk of carjacking and robbery. The coastal road between Zawiyah and Tripoli presents an elevated risk. There’s a risk of striking unexploded ordnance off-road. Road traffic accidents are frequent and often result in fatalities. All land borders into Libya are subject to closure at short notice.

Areas of Libya that border with Algeria, Niger, Chad and Sudan are very dangerous. Avoid cross-border travel between Libya and these countries. Bandits and armed tribal groups operate in these areas. There's also a very high threat of kidnapping. Violence and armed robberies have been reported as vehicles leave Libya by road. This includes roads that cross into Tunisia.

Due to the threat of violence, the Embassy advises against travel by car in Libya.  However should you chose to drive in Libya, be extremely careful and follow these basic guidelines:

  • Bring your full Irish driver’s licence and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance.
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law and you risk being detained, fined or banned from driving if caught.
  • Keep your vehicle doors locked and your bags out of sight to prevent opportunistic bag-snatching if you’re stopped at traffic lights

 

Additional Information

Additional information

Entry requirements (visa/passport)

Irish citizens need a visa for travel to Libya. Contact the nearest Libyan Embassy for more information on visa requirements.

Passports

Passports must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of your intended departure and should not bear an Israeli visa or border stamp.

Libya has introduced a requirement for all passports to contain an Arabic translation of the personal details page. The Passport Office and some Irish missions can provide a template in Arabic to which your personal details can be added by a translator.

The translator should place his/her seal on the translation. Translations must be afixed in the passport; a separate document will not be accepted. Please make contact with the Passport Office or your nearest Irish Embassy for further information.

Registration

All tourists and short stay visitors must register their passports with the police within one week of arrival. If you’re travelling with a tour group or travel agent this is normally arranged for you. Failure to comply with this requirement may lead to you being fined when you come to leave the country.

Health

Check with your doctor well in advance of travelling to see if you need any vaccinations for Libya.

Money

Libya is a cash-based society. Credit cards are not widely used and there are few reliable ATMs. Travellers’ cheques are not accepted.

Foreign currency

All tourists (regardless of age) must have a minimum amount of foreign currency, equivalent to 1,000 US Dollars, when they enter the country. If you don’t have sufficient funds, you may be deported and the airline who carried you may be fined.

You may be required to prove that you meet this requirement to an Immigration Officer when you arrive in Libya. Some visitors who are travelling for purposes other than tourism are exempted from this requirement; contact the nearest Libyan Embassy for further details.

 

Embassy contact

Embassy Contact

If you are in need of emergency assistance, please ring the Embassy at (+39) 06 5852 381 and leave a message on the answering machine.

The answering machine is monitored regularly, and the Duty Officer will contact you as soon as possible

Embassy of Ireland
Villa Spada
Via Giacomo Medici
1-00153 Roma
Italy

Tel: +39 06 585 2381
Fax: +39 06 581 3336

Monday – Friday 9:15am to 1:00pm & 2:15pm to 5:30pm

Contact us