Over the past few years, traveling to Libya has not been the easiest thing, especially trying to obtain the appropriate visa. In addition, from November 2007 to November 2010, all travelers to Libya were required to have an Arabic translation of personal biographic data along with their passports. This is not currently a requirement, but could become one again, and is an important addition to include along with a traveler’s passport and Libya visa.
There are really only two types of visas into Libya; tourist and business. We want to make all the information as clear as possible to help you in your process of obtaining the correct visa to be able to travel to and enjoy all that Libya has to offer. Please contact us if you have additional questions about the visa process or if you need more specific information pertaining to your country and the visa process.
Tourist Libya Visa
When looking to travel to Libya on a tourist visa, the easiest way is to work through a local travel agent or tour operator. European and United States tourists alike apply to obtain a Libya visa through tour operators licensed in Libya, and the tour operators, in turn, file the paperwork with the Libyan government. Normally, you are required to give the tour operator a scanned copy of your passport and the dates of travel; they in turn submit your application for a visa. From our experience, the local agent can only apply for the visa 2 weeks before travel and the visa approval letter is send only 3-7 days before arrival in country. By presenting this letter upon arrival in country, the visa is stamped into your passport. For those wishing to try to obtain the visa through the Libya Embassy (People’s Bureau), you will need a letter of invitation by your sponsoring travel agent.
It is important to not use a tourist Libya visa to conduct business in Libya because this violates Libyan law. Rather, you’ll need to use a business Libya visa. Please see below for more information on how to obtain a Business Libya visa.
Business Libya Visa
The business visa seems to be a little vague. What is very clear, though, is that you will need a sponsoring business to apply for your business Libya visa. What is unclear is the cost! From our experience, we have been quoted business visas ranging in price from 150 euros to 1500 euros. The process for the business visa is similar to the tourist visa, but be sure to not use a business visa and a tourist visa interchangeably. You will need to provide your host business with a copy of your passport and dates of travel and they in turn need to make the application for you to the government. Approval is sent to the traveler a few days before departure.
General Entry and Exit Information
Travelers to Libya will need both a visa and a passport. The Libyan government requires all visa applicants appear in person at a Libyan embassy when applying for a visa. Currently this requirement is only enforced in Paris and London, but it will change and is an important requirement to be aware of.
It is important to be aware an Arabic translation of the traveler’s passport may be required and has been in the past. It is also necessary to register with the local police station in Libya, or the traveler could have problems during the time in country or when trying to exit.
Additionally, it is important to note that Libya operates as a cash society, with a limited number of businesses accepting Visa and Mastercard credit cards. There are also some ATMs in Tripoli and money transfer services at both Tripoli International Airport and in the city itself. Lastly, travelers can transfer money through some banks.
It is recommended a traveler’s passport is valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of the trip and there are blank pages for the Libya visa. There also cannot be an Israeli stamp in the traveler’s passport.
Embassy Information for United States Citizens
United States citizens can find out more information from the Libyan Embassy in Washington, D.C. at address 2600 Virginia Avenue NW, Suite 705, Washington, DC 20037. The Libyan Embassy can be reached by phone at 202-944-9601 or fax at 202-944-9606. United States citizens can also visit the Department of State website with information on Libya at http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_951.html.