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Libya

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

Get travel and medical insurance

Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake. 

Overview

Security status

If you’re planning a trip to Libya, we advise you not to travel.

Travel alert

We advise you not to travel to Libya under any circumstances.

We advise any Irish citizen in Libya to leave immediately by commercial means, if safe to do so.

A limited number of flights are leaving Misrata and Maitega airports for Cairo, Malta, Tunis and Istanbul. 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 the border crossing. We recommend checking the situation at the border immediately before intended travel.

Register with us

If you’re visiting or planning to stay in Libya, we strongly advise you to register your details with us so we can find you quickly if there’s an escalation of violence, an unforeseen crisis like a natural disaster or if you have a family emergency while you’re abroad. And, if necessary, we can offer help to you and your family.

Our advice

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade advises against any travel to Libya at this time.   

Emergency assistance

The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.

Contact the Embassy

Because there is no Irish Embassy or Consulate in Libya, we’re limited in the help we can offer you in an emergency. However, if you need assistance, you can contact the Irish Embassy in Rome in Italy.

If you phone outside of working hours, leave us a message giving:

  • Your name
  • The nature of your problem
  • Where you are now
  • Your contact details (mobile phone number or phone number of where you’re staying)

We regularly monitor these messages and one of our staff members will be in contact with you.

Consular Assistance Unit in Dublin

If you’re concerned about the situation in Libya, you can contact our Consular Assistance Unit at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Dublin on +353 1 408 2000.

Other EU embassies

You can also contact the Embassies or Consulates of other EU countries for emergency consular assistance, advice and support.

How we can help you

We have a lot of experience helping Irish citizens who run into problems when they’re abroad. Learn more about the kind of emergency assistance we can offer you.

Safety and security

Practical advice

  • Read our Know Before You Go travel guide for useful security tips when travelling abroad
  • Get advice locally about areas of risk and security concerns
  • Take common-sense precautions about safety and security
  • Know who to contact in case of an emergency

Social unrest

We advise you not to travel to Libya under any circumstances.

We advise any Irish citizen in Libya to leave immediately by commercial means, if safe to do so.

A limited number of flights are leaving Misrata and Maitega airports for Cairo, Malta, Tunis and Istanbul. 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 the border crossing. We recommend checking the situation at the border immediately before intended travel.

Demonstrations

The situation in Libya remains very dangerous.   Violent clashes between armed groups are possible across the country, particularly at night, and even in those places that have previously avoided conflict.   Always keep yourself informed of what’s going on around you by monitoring local media and staying in contact with your hotel or tour organiser.

Terrorism

Libya shares a general threat from terrorism with the rest of the North Africa region. Attacks could be indiscriminate and against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners. 

Crime

There is a serious threat of crime targeted against foreigners in Libya including theft, kidnappings and carjackings. Irish citizens 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.

Reporting crime

If you’re a victim of a crime while in Libya, report it to the local police immediately. And you can contact us at the Irish Embassy in Rome if you need help.

Driving

Travel by road is extremely dangerous in Libya, due to serious fighting on most of the routes in and out of Tripoli, to the West and East and to the borders with neighbouring countries.

Due to the threat of violence, the Embassy advises against travel by car in Libya.  However you should 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
  • Be aware of Libya’s traffic laws, such as speed limits
  • Wear your seatbelts at all times

Keep your vehicle doors locked and your bags kept out of sight to prevent opportunistic bag-snatching if you’re stopped at traffic lights

Hiring a vehicle

If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.

Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).

Local laws and customs

Practical advice

  • Read our travel advice, inform yourself before travelling and get advice locally when you arrive
  • 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 even 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.

Natural disasters and climate

Practical advice

  • If you’re travelling to Libya, make sure you know what to expect – then plan and pack so that you’re prepared
  • Get local advice on how to manage in the case of a serious incident or dangerous conditions
  • Co-operate with local authorities and emergency services in the case of serious incidents

Travel Advice Hot Cold Climates

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 placed 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.