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.
We advise Irish citizens against all travel to Libya. Irish citizens in Libya are advised to leave immediately by commercial means
Latest Travel Alert
Due to the ongoing fighting and the risk of kidnapping or terrorist attacks throughout the country, the situation in Libya remains very dangerous. On 23 December 2016 a domestic flight from Sabha to Tripoli was hijacked and diverted to Malta.
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 and Trade. 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.
As there is no resident Irish Embassy or Consulate in Libya and in light of the deteriorating security situation, we are extremely limited as to the level of consular assistance that can be provided to Irish citizens who decide to remain in Libya at this time.
The Embassy of Ireland in Rome, Italy, is accredited to Libya and if you phone outside of working hours, please leave a message giving name, mobile number, current location and the nature of the emergency. These messages are regularly monitored and an Embassy staff member will contact you.
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.
Our tips for safe travels
- Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities
- Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
- Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly in an emergency, such as a natural disaster or a family emergency
- Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates
- Read our Topical 'Know Before You Go' guide
Safety and security
Safety and security
Due to the ongoing fighting and the risk of kidnapping or terrorist attacks throughout the country, the situation in Libya remains very dangerous. 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.
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.
The Libya Political Agreement was signed by a majority of the Libyan negotiating parties at a ceremony in Skhirat, Morocco on 17 December 2015. It is hoped that this is an important step forward, paving the way for a new unified national government in Libya. But the political and security situation remains volatile and full scale military operations involving small arms, tanks, artillery and aircraft are ongoing in several 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.
There is a very high threat of terrorist attacks and of kidnap against foreigners in Libya.
There is a serious threat of crime targeted against foreigners in Libya including theft, kidnappings and carjacking. 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.
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.
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.
Penalties for drug offences are severe and include the death penalty or life imprisonment.
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.
You must carry identification documents at all times.
Severe penalties are imposed for criticising the country, its leadership or religion.
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 close to military or official personnel or sites is illegal and may result in arrest or detention.
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 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
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).
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 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.
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.
Check with your doctor well in advance of travelling to see if you need any vaccinations for Libya.
Libya is a cash-based society. Credit cards are not widely used and there are few reliable ATMs. Travellers’ cheques are not accepted.
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.