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Summary

  • Do not travel to Libya due to the ongoing fighting and deteriorating security situation throughout the country.
  • Australians in Libya should depart immediately if it is safe to do so. Tripoli International Airport reopened in July 2017 but only limited commercial departure options are available. See Entry and exit.
  • Should you choose to remain in Libya, despite our long-standing advice to depart, be aware Australia can't provide consular assistance in Libya except in very limited circumstances. Almost all diplomatic missions and international organisations have withdrawn staff from Libya due to security concerns.
  • Australians in Libya who require assistance to depart should contact the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's 24-hour Consular Operations Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or the Australian Embassy in Rome on +39 06 85 2721. See Where to get help.
  • If you are in Libya, seek professional security advice and have effective personal security measures.
  • Do not to travel to the border areas with southern Algeria, Niger, Chad, or Sudan. Do not undertake cross-border travel between these countries. Armed tribal groups and bandits operate in these areas. There is a very high threat of kidnapping.
  • Acts of terrorism are frequent in Libya. Foreign interests, including hotels and other locations frequented by Westerners, diplomatic interests and international non-government organisations may be targeted. Well-armed militias remain unchecked in many parts of Libya, and serious security incidents are frequent.
  • See Travel Smart for general advice for all travellers.

Entry and exit

Visas

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Libya for the most up to date information.

Departure options

Australians in Libya should depart immediately if it is safe to do so. Commercial departure options are still available.

Air

Tripoli International Airport was reopened in July 2017 but only limited commercial departure options are available. Commercial airlines such as Libyan Arab Airlines, Afriqiyah Airways and Tunisair currently operate flights to and from Libya departing from Maitega and Misrata airports for Cairo, Malta, Tunis, Istanbul and Rome. Benghazi airport was closed between May 2014 and July 2017. It is now slowly reopening to commercial flights. Flight schedules may change at short notice. Contact your airline or travel agent for information regarding your travel arrangements.

Road

Do not attempt to depart Libya via southern Algeria, Chad, Sudan, or Niger due to the very high threat of kidnapping.

All border crossing points are subject to closure without warning. Anticipate delays and temporary road closures.

The road between Tripoli and Zawiya is vulnerable to attack. Convoys, including diplomatic convoys, have been attacked. If you plan to cross the border to Tunisia at the Ras Jedir checkpoint, carefully plan your journey. Confirm the border crossing point is open before you depart. Be prepared for clashes at, or on the way to, the border.

Other formalities

Only enter Libya at official border crossing sites. Travellers unable to provide evidence they entered at an official border crossing may be detained.

Register your passport with the police station closest to your accommodation. Failure to do so may result in fines and problems during your stay or on departure.

Under Libyan law, children born to Libyan fathers are considered Libyan citizens and therefore need their father's permission to depart Libya.

A valid yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for entry into Libya if you are arriving from a country endemic for yellow fever. Some airlines may require passengers to present a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate before being allowed to board flights out of Libya. If in doubt, check with your airline.

More information: WHO list of countries and regions that are endemic for yellow fever

Passport

Travellers whose passport contains evidence of entry to Israel will be refused entry.

Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months from the date you intend to return to Australia.

Your passport is a valuable document and attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. Always keep it in a safe place.

By law, you must as soon as possible report a lost or stolen passport:

Money

Libya is a cash society. Credit card use is extremely limited. Accessing money from banks may be difficult. Some banking services may be disrupted due to the security situation.

Travellers cheques are not accepted. There are few ATMs.

Safety and security

Do not to travel to Libya due to ongoing fighting and the volatile security situation. There is a high threat of terrorist attack and a high threat of kidnapping.

Widespread fighting continues. Violent clashes between armed groups are possible across the entire country, including in Tripoli, particularly at night. Fighting can break out anywhere without warning. If you are in Libya your life and safety could be put at risk. A number of foreign nationals have been killed.

Ports, airports and oil and gas installations have been targeted. Since September 2014, there has been intense fighting and shelling between militias in the Warshafarna and surrounding areas, south west of Tripoli, as well as in the eastern cities of Benghazi and Sirte.

Recent security incidents include:

  • In September and October 2017, heavy fighting broke out in Sabratha and is ongoing.
  • On 21 January 2017, a car bomb exploded near the recently opened Italian Embassy in central Tripoli. It is not known whether the Embassy was the target of the attack
  • On 23 December 2016, an Afriqiyah Airways plane departing from Sebha in southwest Libya for Tripoli was hijacked and diverted to Malta.
  • On 2 October 2016, a Dutch journalist was killed in Sirte.
  • In September 2016, two Italians and a Canadian national were kidnapped from the southern city of Ghat.
  • On 18 September 2016, there were clashes between the Petroleum Facilities Guards and the Libyan National Army at the Es Sidra and Ras Lanuf oil facilities in the eastern oil crescent.

There is no Australian diplomatic mission in Libya. Almost all diplomatic missions and international organisations have withdrawn staff from Libya due to security concerns. The ongoing volatile security environment severely restricts the capacity of the Australian Government to deliver consular services in Libya.

If you choose to remain in Libya, despite our long-standing strong advice to depart, seek professional security advice. Ensure you have effective personal security measures. Monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.

Terrorism

Terrorism remains a serious threat in Libya, despite advances by Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA)-aligned forces, supported by US airstrikes, in Sirte. In Dernah, there is an ongoing conflict between the Libyan National Army and local armed groups. Fighting is ongoing in Benghazi. During 2016 and 2017, there have been a number of clashes in Tripoli.

Terrorists often use small arms, rocket-propelled grenades or improvised explosive devices. Attacks target both Libyan Government or security interests and, increasingly, foreign interests such as hotels and other locations frequented by Westerners, diplomatic interests and international non-government organisations.

More information: Terrorist Threat Worldwide

Kidnapping

There is an ongoing threat of kidnapping in Libya, particularly in border areas with Algeria, Niger, Chad and Sudan. Foreigners, including Australians, have been victims.

The Australian Government does not make payments or concessions to kidnappers. The Australian Government considers that paying a ransom increases the risk of further kidnappings, including of other Australians.

More information: Kidnapping

Civil unrest/Political tension

The political situation in Libya remains volatile as work towards the establishment of a Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) continues. The arrival of the Presidency Council of the GNA in Tripoli on 30 March 2016 was an important step towards political stability, but intense fighting is still continuing in a number of areas, including Tripoli.

  • Avoid protests and demonstrations.
  • Monitor the news and other sources for information on planned and possible unrest or strikes.

Crime

Crime levels in Libya are high as law and order has broken down in most of the country. Violent crime is widespread, including car-jackings targeting foreign-owned vehicles and robbery by armed groups. The threat of violent crime is high.

Do not to travel to the border areas with southern Algeria, Niger, Chad, and Sudan, or undertake cross-border travel between these countries, because of banditry, the presence of armed tribal groups and the very high threat of kidnapping by terrorists.

Local travel

Visitors are required to carry identification documents at all times.

Unexploded ordnances, including landmines, are a hazard throughout Libya. 

Road travel

There have been reports of violence and armed robberies targeting vehicles seeking to depart Libya by road, including to Tunisia. Do not attempt to depart Libya via southern Algeria, Chad, Sudan, or Niger due to the very high threat of kidnapping in those areas. Borders may also be closed at short notice.

Although road conditions are reasonable throughout Libya, driving standards are poor and the volume of traffic is heavy. Wind-blown sand can reduce visibility quickly.

More information: Road safety and driving

Air travel

Tripoli International Airport was closed in 2014. It reopened in July 2017 but there are only limited commercial options available. Benghazi airport was closed between May 2014 and July 2017. It is now slowly reopening to commercial flights. Other airports may close at short notice. Airlines have ceased flying over Western Libya following clashes between armed groups in the region. Contact your airline for information on flight disruptions.

The Australian Government does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Libya.

More information: Air travel

Laws

Local laws

You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.

If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter, but we can't get you out of jail. The ongoing volatile security environment severely restricts the capacity of the Australian Government to deliver consular services in Libya.

The rule of law has not been re-established in Libya. Police services may not be fully operational in all parts of the country.  

More information: Arrested or in prison

Drug laws 

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

More information:

Other Laws

Child custody decisions are based on Islamic law. Children born to Libyan fathers are considered Libyan citizens and therefore need their father's permission to depart Libya.

Foreigners involved in business disputes may have their passports confiscated and/or may not be permitted to depart Libya until the dispute has been settled.  

Serious crimes, such as murder, may attract the death penalty. Other penalties may appear harsh by Australian standards and include imprisonment (with some minimum terms), detention, fines and compensation.

While legal in some countries, the following activities are illegal in Libya:

  • sexual relations outside of marriage - punishments include imprisonment.
  • homosexual acts - minimum three years imprisonment. More information: LGBTI travellers.
  • importing alcohol
  • consuming alcohol
  • photography around military zones, assets and personnel and police assets and personnel
  • unauthorised exporting of antiquities.

Australian laws 

Some Australian criminal offences apply to overseas. You can be prosecuted for them in Australia. These offences include, but are not limited to:

  • child sex offences and child pornography
  • female genital mutilation
  • forced marriage
  • drug trafficking
  • people smuggling and human trafficking
  • bribery of foreign public officials
  • money laundering
  • terrorism and foreign incursions.

More information: Staying within the law

Dual nationals

Under Libyan law, children born to Libyan fathers are considered Libyan citizens and therefore need their father's permission to depart Libya.

More information: Dual nationals

Local Customs

Ramadan

The Islamic holy month of Ramadan is expected to occur between mid-May and mid-June 2018. During Ramadan, take care to respect religious and cultural sensitivities, rules and customs. Avoid eating, drinking and smoking in public and in the presence of people who are fasting.

More information: Ramadan

Health

Travel insurance 

Take out comprehensive travel insurance before you depart to cover overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation.

Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for your medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs. This can be very expensive and cost you many thousands of dollars upfront.

Confirm:

  • what circumstances and activities are, and are not, covered under your policy
  • that you are covered for the whole time you will be away.

More information: Travel insurance

Physical and mental health 

Consider your physical and mental health before travelling, especially if you have an existing medical condition.

  • At least eight weeks before you depart, see your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up and discuss your travel plans and implications for your health.
  • Get vaccinated before you travel.

If you need counselling services, contact the Australian Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 and ask to speak to a Lifeline telephone counsellor.

Medication

Not all medications available over the counter or by prescription in Australia are available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.

Take prescription medicine with you so you remain in good health. Always carry a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating what the medicine is, how much you'll take and that it's for personal use only.

Before you leave Australia:

  • check if your medication is legal in each country you're travelling to and what is required to take that medication into the country
  • get medical documents authenticated by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade before you depart (if required).

More information: Prescription medicines

Health risks

Being in a conflict zone poses obvious risks to your health and safety. See Safety and security.

Water-borne, food-borne, parasitic and other infectious diseases (including typhoid, hepatitis, tuberculosis, plague and measles) are prevalent with serious outbreaks occurring from time to time.

  • Boil all drinking water or drink bottled water.
  • Avoid ice cubes.
  • Avoid uncooked and undercooked food.
  • Do not swim in fresh water to avoid exposure to parasitic diseases such as schistosomiasis (bilharzia).
  • Seek urgent medical attention if you suspect poisoning, if you have a fever or suffer from diarrhoea.

More information: Infectious diseases

Medical facilities

Medical facilities in Libya are limited and some medicines are in short supply. Medical facilities in remote areas can be very limited or non-existent. Consider carrying limited medical supplies for personal use.

Foreigners are required to pay an up-front deposit for medical services. In the event of a serious illness or accident, medical evacuation to a destination with appropriate facilities would be necessary. Medical evacuation could be very expensive.

Where to get help

Depending on what you need, your best option may be to first contact your family, friends, travel agent, travel insurance provider, employer, or airline.

Emergencies

Emergency services exist, but you should not expect them to assist you in an emergency.

Australian Government

There is no Australian diplomatic mission in Libya. Because of the ongoing volatile security environment Australia can no longer provide consular assistance in Libya except in very limited circumstances.

Read the Consular services charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.

For consular advice please contact the Australian Embassy in Rome, Italy:

Australian Embassy, Rome

Via Antonio Bosio 5
00161 Rome, ITALY
Telephone: (39) 06 85 2721
Facsimile: (39) 06 85 272 300
Email: consular-rome@dfat.gov.au
Website: Australia in Italy
Twitter: @AusAmbRome

In a consular emergency if you are unable to contact the Australian Embassy in Rome you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

Additional information

Natural disasters, severe weather and climate

The rainy season extends from November to March. Temperatures can reach 40 degrees Celsius between June and September. Follow regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly.

Additional Resources

For other useful information to assist travelling in this country, see: