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Officially known as the Great 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. Read the Department of State Background Notes on Libya for more information.



Image of Libya
Country Name: Libya
Continent: Africa
Capital City: Tripoli
Boundary Countries: Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Niger, Sudan, Tunisia
Recommended Hospitals in Capital:
Main Cities: Tripoli, Sabha, Al Jawf, Tobruk, Banghazi, Al Bayda, Ra's Lanuf, Surt, Misratah, Ghadamis, Al Khums, Zuwarah, Al Buraygah
Country Size: 1,759,540 sq km
Population: 6,036,914, note: includes 166,510 non-nationals



Arabic, Italian, English are all widely understood in the major cities

Currency: Libyan Dinar (LYD)
Predominant Religions:

Sunni Muslim 97%, other 3%

National Holidays: Revolution Day, 1 September (1969)
Economic Status:

The Libyan economy depends primarily upon revenues from the oil sector. Substantial revenues from the energy sector coupled with a small population give Libya one of the highest per capita GDPs in Africa, but little of this income flows down to the lower orders of society.


Armed Peoples on Duty (APOD, Army), Libyan Arab Navy, Libyan Arab Air Force (Al-Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Jamahiriya al-Arabia al-Libya, LAAF)

US Presence:

Although diplomatic relations were upgraded to embassy status on May 31, 2006, the US Embassy in Tripoli is operating with limited staff and in interim facilities. A consular officer is available to provide assistance to US citizens. Appointments for routine services can be made by telephone from 9a– 4p Sundays through Thursdays (except US & Libyan holidays) at (218) 21-335-1235 or via e-mail at TripoliConsular@state.gov. In the event of an emergency involving an American citizen, the after-hours telephone number is (218) 91-220-0125. General information, including forms, is available on the US Embassy’s web site at http://libya.usembassy.gov.

Document Requirements:

Passports and visas are required. The restrictions on the use of US passports for travel to, in, or through Libya were lifted in February 2004. Please see the section below on Special Circumstances.

The Libyan government announced a new biometric requirement for visa applicants that became effective on December 1, 2008. This requirement necessitates personal appearance at a Libyan Embassy by all visa applicants. At present, this change affects only applicants for Libyan visas in London and Paris, but will likely expand to other Libyan embassies in the near future. In addition, the Libyan government recently released a list of documents required for visa processing. These documents are similar to those required from Libyan citizens for travel to many European countries, and include proof of insurance, a round-trip air ticket, and hotel reservations. American citizens seeking to travel to Libya should contact the Libyan embassy where they plan to apply to determine exact requirements.

The Libyan government, on November 11, 2007, “reinstated” a requirement that all foreign travelers must have an Arabic translation of their personal biographic data added to their passport in order to apply for a Libyan visa and to enter Libya. This requirement includes foreigners who already received visas before the requirement was put into place, including those foreigners currently resident in Libya. Since that date, foreign travelers whose passports do not have Arabic translations have been denied entry into Libya or refused boarding by airlines on flights into Libya.

The US passport is a US travel document that meets all generally recognized international standards. While the Libyan government has the right to impose its own requirements for travelers in connection with obtaining a Libyan visa, it also has the responsibility to give travelers information on where and how to meet these requirements. Travelers should be aware that in some cases, Libyan officials may ask that US citizens obtain translations from US Government-approved translation services; however, US consular officers have no authority to designate or certify private translations, nor do they have authority to place a consular authentication stamp over a privately-obtained translation.

American citizens who hold Libyan visas or who intend to apply for a visa are advised to contact the nearest Libyan embassy or consulate for information on how to obtain an acceptable translation. Information from Libyan embassies and consulates may vary from country to country. American citizens may also contact the Consular Section at the US embassy or consulate for additional information.

The Government of Libya does not allow persons with passports bearing an Israeli visa or entry/exit stamps from Israel to enter the Libya. As of April 1, 2009, the United States provides visa services to the general public in Libya. The Libyan government does not yet provide this service to the public in the United States; therefore, US visitors to Libya should plan to obtain a visa via a third country. Libyan visas require an invitation or sponsor, can take up to several months to process, and must be obtained prior to travel. Americans who apply for Libyan visas are experiencing significant delays, often waiting several weeks or months if their applications are approved at all. All visas are vetted and approved by immigration departments in Tripoli and only issued by the appropriate Libyan Embassy upon receipt of that approval. There may be another wait for actual visa issuance once approval has been received. For tourists, the visa application procedure in most cases requires a letter of invitation from an accredited tour company in Libya; for business travelers, a letter of invitation is needed from the Libyan business entity. With few exceptions, Libya has stopped issuing tourist visas to Americans. It is recommended that Americans always obtain individual Libyan visas prior to travel, rather than group visas. Americans who expected to enter on group tour visas or individual airport visas arranged by Libyan sponsors have routinely been denied entry at air and sea ports and have been forced to turn back at the airport or remain onboard ship at the port while other nationals disembark. The U.S. Embassy in Tripoli cannot provide assistance to American citizens seeking Libyan visas.

Inquiries about obtaining a Libyan visa may be made through the Libyan Embassy in Washington, DC. The Embassy is located at 2600 Virginia Avenue NW, Suite 705, Washington, DC 20037, phone number 202-944-9601, fax number 202-944-9606. Neither the Libyan Mission to the UN in New York nor the Libyan Embassy in Washington, DC accepts visa applications from the general public. The closest Libyan visa-issuing office to the continental United States is the Libyan People’s Bureau in Ottawa, Canada; however, that office frequently declines to accept visa applications from American citizens.

The land borders with Egypt and Tunisia are subject to periodic closures even to travelers with valid Libyan visas. Short-term closures of other land borders may occur with little notice. Within three days of arrival in Libya, visitors must register at the police station closest to where they are residing or they may encounter problems during their stay or upon departure.

Women and children in Libya are often subject to strict family controls.  This can be a particular problem for young single women of marriageable age. Although a woman does not need her father’s or husband's explicit consent every time she wishes to leave Libya, a Libyan husband may take legal action to prevent his wife from leaving the country, regardless of her nationality. While not illegal, it is unusual for women and children to travel alone. 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.

The Libyan Government requires all its citizens, including dual nationals of Libyan descent, to enter and depart Libya on Libyan documents. In some cases American citizens of Libyan descent have entered Libya on an old or expired Libyan identity document and then discovered that they cannot depart Libya without obtaining a valid Libyan passport, which can be a cumbersome process.

HIV/AIDS restrictions. Some HIV/AIDS entry restrictions exist for visitors to and foreign residents of Libya. Please verify this information with the Libyan Embassy in Washington, DC before traveling.

Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.

Major Airports:

Airports:  141, Airports w/paved runways:  60

Tripoli International Airport (TIP/HLLT)
Tripoli Airport, Libya, Tripoli, LIBYAN SOC PEOPLES’ ARAB JAMAHIRIYA
Tel: +218 (0)22 605026 x 261
Fax: +218 (0)22 34840

Servicing Airlines:
Risks and Precautions:

As Libya has taken steps to cooperate in the global war on terrorism, the Libyan Government’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism was rescinded on June 30, 2006. Recent worldwide terrorist alerts have stated that extremist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks against U.S. interests in the region. Therefore, any American citizen who decides to travel to Libya should maintain a strong security posture by being aware of surroundings, avoiding crowds and demonstrations, keeping a low profile, and varying times and routes for all required travel.

Crime against foreigners is a growing problem in Libya. The most common types of crime are auto theft and theft of items left in vehicles, as well as burglary. Pick-pocketing and home invasion are also on the increase. The availability of drugs has contributed to the increase in crime in the past few years. Women routinely face verbal harassment. While physical violence is not common, there have been instances of assault against women. These assaults can range from sexual groping or assault/battery, to attempted rape.

Mortality Statistics:

Infant MR total:  22.82 deaths/ 1,000 live births

Life expectancy at birth:  TOTAL  76.88 years (male 74.64/ female 79.23)

Immunization Indicators:

Required:  None

Recommended:  Hep A & B, Typhoid
Boosters:  DPT, MMR, poliovirus

Infectious Disease Concerns:

degree of risk: intermediate
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: may be a significant risk in some locations during the transmission season (typically April through October)

Dengue, filariasis, and leishmaniasis are other diseases carried by insects that also occur in parts of this region. Schistosomiasis is found in fresh water in the region,especially in the Nile Delta and Valley; it is found focally in other countries. Other infections that tend to occur more often in longer-term travelers (or immigrants from the region) include tuberculosis, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C (prevalence > 15% in Egypt).

The World Health Organization declared Egypt a polio free country in March 2006. Imported cases in neighboring countries have occasionally occurred.

Overall Quality of Medical Services:

While some health care providers have been trained in the United States or Europe, basic modern medical care and/or medicines may not be available in Libya. Most Libyan citizens prefer to be treated outside of Libya for ailments such as heart disease and diabetes.

Providers in Network:
Direct Payment: 2
Referrals: 13
View Network Providers
Recent Medical Threats/ Concerns/Warnings:

Avian influenza (H5N1) was found in poultry in Egypt in 2006; human cases and deaths were also reported. Avoid all direct contact with birds, including domestic poultry (such as chickens and ducks) and wild birds and avoid places such as poultry farms and bird markets where live birds are raised or kept.

Communications Info:

Country Calling Code:  +218

Internet Country Code:  .ly


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