Official advice:
Reconsider your need to travel

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Warnings by area

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Advice levels

Lebanon overall, reconsider your need to travel ↓

Think seriously about whether you need to travel here due to the high level of risk. If you do travel, do your research and take a range of extra safety precautions, including having contingency plans. Check that your travel insurer will cover you.

Southern suburbs (Dahiyeh) of Beirut, including west of the airport road. Areas within five kms of the border with Syria, do not travel ↓

We advise against all travel here due to the very high risk. If you do travel, you should typically seek professional security advice. Be aware that regular travel insurance policies will be void and that the Australian Government is unlikely to be able to provide consular assistance.

South of the Litani River, with the exception of the city of Tyre. Palestinian refugee camps., do not travel ↓

We advise against all travel here due to the very high risk. If you do travel, you should typically seek professional security advice. Be aware that regular travel insurance policies will be void and that the Australian Government is unlikely to be able to provide consular assistance.

Tripoli and northern Lebanon north of a line from Tripoli to Sir Ed Dinniyeh and Arsal. Northern Beka’a Valley , do not travel ↓

We advise against all travel here due to the very high risk. If you do travel, you should typically seek professional security advice. Be aware that regular travel insurance policies will be void and that the Australian Government is unlikely to be able to provide consular assistance.

Conditions can change suddenly

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Latest advice, 26 Feb 2016

This advice has been reissued following review. The level of advice has not changed. We continue to advise Australians to reconsider their need to travel to Lebanon overall.

Summary

  • We strongly advise you to reconsider your need to travel to Lebanon at this time because of the unpredictable security situation as a result of the conflict in neighbouring Syria and ongoing political and sectarian tensions. The situation could deteriorate without warning. If you do decide to travel to Lebanon, you should exercise extreme caution. Pay close attention to your personal security and monitor the media and other local information sources for developments that could affect your safety.
  • Sporadic anti-government protests continue to occur throughout Lebanon, some of which have escalated into clashes between protesters and security forces. In some previous protests water cannons, tear gas and live ammunition has been used to disperse crowds resulting in injuries. You should avoid any large gatherings, protests and demonstrations as they could turn violent. In the event of protests or civil unrest you should pay close attention to your personal security and monitor the media for information affecting your safety and security.
  • Staff at the Australian Embassy in Beirut have been advised against travelling on flights that cross over Syrian airspace due to the conflict in Syria. If you have concerns you should check your airline’s flight path before booking.
  • There has been an increase in kidnappings since 2014. You should exercise a high degree of personal security awareness and be aware of your surroundings at all times.
  • Terrorist attacks could occur anywhere, at any time, in Lebanon. Security services are at a heightened state of alert and continue to carry out operations across Lebanon to prevent attacks. If you notice a security operation is underway, you should immediately leave the area.
  • In the event of a crisis, departure options may become severely limited. The primary road between Beirut and the international airport can be blocked without warning. If the security situation deteriorates, access to the airport may be cut off, potentially for extended periods. You are responsible for ensuring you are able to depart Lebanon and that your travel documentation remains up-to-date. You should not expect that the Australian government will facilitate your departure.
  • We strongly advise Australians not to travel to the southern suburbs of Beirut (including Dahiyeh) due to the possibility of rocket attacks and car bombs. The southern suburbs are defined as the area south of the Camille Chamoun Sports Stadium to the airport and east of the main airport road including the suburbs of Chiyah, Ghobeire, Haret Hreik, Bir el Abed, Borj el Barajne, Mraije, Roueiss, Lailake, Hay el Sellom and Tahouitit el Ghadir; also west of the airport road, defined as the area west of the airport highway to the coast, south from Adnon El Hakim Road to Abbas El Mousawi Road.
  • We strongly advise Australians not to travel to Tripoli and northern Lebanon north of a line from Tripoli to Sir Ed Dinniyeh and Arsal due to ongoing clashes between Lebanese security forces and militants in the region. We also strongly advise Australians not to travel to the northern regions of the Beka’a Valley extending east and north from Rayak. See Safety and security.
  • We strongly advise you not to travel south of the Litani River, with the exception of the city of Tyre, due to the danger posed by landmines, unexploded ordnance, cross-border artillery strikes and the uncertain security environment.
  • We strongly advise you not to travel to regions within five kilometres of the border with Syria, the Golan Heights, and Shebaa farms. Tensions in these areas are ongoing and further cross-border clashes are likely. See Safety and security.
  • We strongly advise you not to travel to Palestinian refugee camps. Extremist groups are known to operate inside the camps. The Lebanese state has no formal security presence in the camps.
  • You should ensure that you carry personal identity documentation at all times.
  • Crimes under Lebanese laws may not be considered offences in Australia. Religious law has the same standing in Lebanon as civil law. Under Lebanese law, Lebanese nationals and non-nationals may prevent family members from leaving Lebanon, even if they are Australian citizens. Australians, including mothers with children, have been prevented from leaving Lebanon when relatives have legally placed border alerts (known as 'stop orders') on them. The Australian Government cannot prevent or overturn the issue of a 'stop order' on an Australian citizen.
  • See Travel Smart for general advice for all travellers.
  • Given the volatile security situation, if you choose to travel to Lebanon, we strongly recommend that you:
    • organise comprehensive travel insurance and check what circumstances and activities are not covered by your policy
    • register your travel and contact details with us, so we can contact you in an emergency.
    • subscribe to this travel advice to receive email updates each time it's reissued.
    • follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Entry and exit

As 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 Lebanon for the most up-to-date visa information.

It is against Lebanese law to travel to Israel. If you have any evidence that you have travelled to Israel, or that you intend to travel to Israel, you will be refused entry to Lebanon, or deported. This includes Israeli exit or entry stamps in your passport, and Egyptian or Jordanian stamps from border crossings with Israel, and travel itineraries or tickets that include Israel as a destination. Citizens of Lebanon and other Arab nations, including dual nationals, may be arrested and imprisoned. Other citizens may be held for questioning for lengthy periods (up to several days) before being deported.

Make sure your passport has at least six months' validity from your planned date of return to Australia.

Safety and security

Civil unrest and politically motivated violence

We strongly advise you to reconsider your need to travel to Lebanon at this time because of the unpredictable security situation as a result of the conflict in neighbouring Syria and ongoing political and sectarian tensions. Australians could be caught up in violence directed at others. You should pay close attention to your personal security, monitor the media for developments which could affect your safety and follow the directions of local authorities. If you are in Lebanon, and have concerns for your safety, you should consider departing.

Terrorist attacks are highly likely and could occur anytime at any location in Lebanon. Security services are on a high state of alert and continue to carry out operations across Lebanon to prevent attacks. If you notice a security operation is underway, you should immediately leave the area.

Ongoing sporadic protests since August 2015: Anti-government protests, which began in August 2015,continue to occur throughout Lebanon. Some of these protests have escalated into clashes between protesters and security forces. In some previous protests water cannons, tear gas and live ammunition has been used to disperse crowds resulting in injuries. You should avoid any large gatherings and demonstrations as they may turn violent. You should stay indoors during celebratory gunfire, which often occurs during and after political speeches. Australians are advised to stay away from areas where violence is known to have occurred or is likely to occur. If you are in an area affected by clashes, you should stay indoors and monitor local information sources for updates on the security situation.

Political developments elsewhere in the region and international events may prompt large demonstrations or outbreaks of violence. Both planned and spontaneous demonstrations related to the domestic and regional situation do occur.

Be prepared to depart Lebanon quickly: You should be aware that in the event of a crisis you are responsible for ensuring you are able to depart Lebanon. You should ensure that your travel documentation remains up-to-date to allow a rapid departure. This includes obtaining passports for children born in Lebanon and ensuring that any family members that wish to travel with you have a current passport. If violence escalates, roads and highways could quickly become blocked, including access routes to airports and borders. Heavy demand for available flights could lead to a lack of availability of seats. As a result, your departure options may be severely limited. You should not expect the Australian Government will facilitate your departure.

The ongoing conflict in neighbouring Syria is having a destabilising effect on Lebanon. Violent incidents related to the situation in Syria – including car bombs, improvised explosive device (IED) attacks and rocket attacks – have occurred in various parts of Lebanon and are likely to occur in the future. Violence may spill over without warning.

Beirut: Between 2012-2014 several bombs were detonated in central Beirut, in areas popular with international tourists, resulting in the deaths of several people and injuring many others. Main highways, including between central Beirut and the international airport, have been subject to sporadic closure by groups seeking to protest against Government policies, the situation in Syria, or to destabilise the security environment.

Southern suburbs (Dahiyeh region) of Beirut: We strongly advise Australians against travelling to the southern suburbs of Beirut, as defined by the area south of the Camille Chamoun Sports Stadium to the airport and east of the main airport road including the suburbs of Chiyah, Ghobeire, Haret Hreik, Bir el Abed, Borj el Barajne, Mraije, Roueiss, Lailake, Hay el Sellom and Tahouitit el Ghadir; also west of the airport road, defined as the area west of the airport highway to the coast, south from Adnon El Hakim Road to Abbas El Mousawi Road.

On 12 November 2015, two suicide bomb attacks occurred outside a mosque and a bakery in Borj el Barajne, in the southern suburbs of Beirut, killing at least 43 people and wounding over 200.

Since 2014, multiple rocket attacks and car bombs have targeted the area. These attacks caused multiple deaths and injuries and were related to the involvement of Lebanese nationals in the conflict in Syria. Further attacks are likely.

Sidon: Violent clashes occur sporadically in Sidon, particularly around the eastern suburb of Abra and the Palestinian Refugee Camp of Ein El-Hilweh, between the Lebanese Armed Forces and local militias. The use of heavy weapons, as well as sniper activity, during these clashes has resulted in numerous deaths and injuries.

Tripoli and northern Lebanon north of a line from Tripoli to Sir Ed Dinniyeh and Arsal: We strongly advise Australians not to travel to Tripoli and northern Lebanon, north of a line from Tripoli to Sir Ed Dinniyeh and Arsal due to ongoing clashes between Lebanese security forces and militants in the region. Lebanese authorities assess that a number of the extremists have sought refuge in northern Lebanon including throughout the Akkar district. On 10 January 2015, a suicide bomb attack outside a caf in Jabal Mohsen, Tripoli, killed at least nine people.

Northern and north-eastern Beka’a Valley: We strongly advise Australians not to travel to all regions in the northern and north-eastern Beka’a Valley. As a result of the conflict in Syria, there have been regular violent incidents in the region, including suicide bombings, air raids, rocket attacks, improvised explosive device (IED) attacks and kidnappings with ongoing conflict in the border regions of the north eastern Beka’a Valley. Two separate suicide bombings in Hermel in early-2014 killed six people and injured dozens more. Arsal has also been targeted in cross border attacks, including air raids by the Syrian regime. In August 2014, there were several days of clashes between the LAF and armed militants in and around Arsal resulting in deaths, injuries and abductions. More violence is highly likely..

Regions within five kilometres of the border with Syria: We strongly advise Australians not to travel to regions within five kilometres of the border with Syria (especially the regions of Wadi Khaled, Hermel and Arsal), the Golan Heights, and Shebaa farms. Tensions between communities in these areas as a result of the conflict in Syria have led to repeated violent incidents. Cross-border clashes have been occurring since 2012. Further cross-border clashes and exchanges of fire are likely.

Southern Lebanon: We strongly advise you not to travel south of the Litani River, with the exception of the city of Tyre. There has been armed conflict in this area in the past. The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) maintains peacekeeping activities south of the Litani as a result ongoing tensions in the region. The city of Tyre has experienced few major security incidents in recent times. However, visitors should continue to pay close attention to personal security, monitor the media for developments and follow the advice of local authorities. When entering and exiting Tyre, you should not stray from the main highway from the north.

Israeli forces remain in the southern border town of Ghajar and there are ongoing tensions in the surrounding region, including the Shebaa Farms, with occasional shelling reported. While the presence of the LAF and UN forces in southern Lebanon has led to a general improvement in the security environment, further clashes could occur. As highlighted by the conflict between Israel and Hizballah in 2006, the security situation could change without notice and Australians could be caught up in violence directed at others. You should avoid any areas where military activity is ongoing and be ready to depart the area at short notice.

Palestinian refugee camps: We strongly advise you not to travel to Palestinian refugee camps in any part of Lebanon. Extremist groups are known to operate inside the camps. The security situation in the camps is unpredictable and could deteriorate without warning. The Lebanese state has no formal security presence in the camps and they experience high levels of crime. There are frequent armed clashes between rival factions within some of the camps.

Terrorism targets

In planning your activities, consider the kinds of places known to be terrorist targets and the level of security provided. Targets associated with the Lebanese Government, such as government institutions, senior politicians and officials, the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and infrastructure, including airports and public buildings, have been attacked in the past and will continue to be targets. The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) has also been targeted in the past.

Other targets could include commercial and public areas known to be frequented by foreigners such as buildings associated with foreign governments and companies and international organisations, embassies, hotels, clubs, restaurants, shopping centres, markets, grocery chains, promenades, bars, schools, places of worship, cinemas, outdoor recreation events, public transport and tourist areas.

Extremists have mounted attacks in the lead-up to and on days of national and religious significance, but attacks could occur at any time.

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. See our Terrorist Threat Overseas bulletin.

Kidnapping

There has been an increase in politically motivated kidnappings since 2014. You should exercise a high degree of personal security awareness and be aware of your surroundings at all times.

Since July 2012, there have been reports of kidnapping for ransom, including some foreign nationals, mainly in the Beka’a Valley. There have been several politically motivated kidnappings of foreign nationals in Beirut and the Beka’a Valley.

The Australian Government’s longstanding policy is that it does not make payments or concessions to kidnappers. The Australian Government considers paying ransoms increases the risk of further kidnappings. See our Kidnapping threat bulletin.

Crime

Although crime in Lebanon is moderate by international standards, crime rates have increased significantly recently, particularly the incidence of vehicle crime, petty theft such as bag snatching (including by youths riding motorbike), home break-ins and armed robberies.

We recommend against travelling in service (shared) taxis. There have been an increasing number of reports of armed robberies of foreign passengers travelling in service (shared) taxis in which victims were diverted to isolated locations where they were robbed at gunpoint. It is advisable to only use taxis from recognised companies and not to use service (shared) taxis or taxis hailed on the street, particularly late at night.

Money and valuables

Both US Dollars and Lebanese Lira (also known as Lebanese Pounds) are accepted throughout Lebanon.

Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.

Local travel

You should pay close attention to your personal security and monitor the media for updates.

Roads, including access routes to the airport and border crossings, may be blocked during demonstrations and civil unrest. The airport may also close at short notice. If this occurs, you should check with your airline for up-to-date information and departure options.

There is an armed security presence throughout Lebanon, including at road check points. You should ensure that you carry personal identity documentation at all times and obey the instructions of security personnel.

Driving in Lebanon can be dangerous due to inadequately maintained roads. Snow and ice compound the danger in winter. Traffic conditions and poor local driving habits pose a danger to drivers and pedestrians alike. For further advice, see our road travel page.

The safety standards you might expect of transport and tour operators, including adventure activities, may not be of the same level as in Australia. Sufficient safety equipment may not be provided and recommended maintenance standards and safety precautions may not be observed. Always use available safety equipment, such as lifejackets or seatbelts, even if others don't. If appropriate safety equipment is not available, you should use another provider.

Unexploded ordnance, including cluster munitions, and landmines are numerous throughout Lebanon with the highest concentration in the south of the country, especially south of the Litani River. Minefields are not always clearly marked and those that are can shift away from signage. You should seek advice from local residents, stay on paved roads and avoid walking or driving cross-country.

Airline safety

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

Staff at the Australian Embassy in Beirut have been advised against travelling on flights that cross over Syrian airspace due to the conflict in Syria. If you have concerns you should check your airline’s flight path before booking. Flights paths are subject to change.

Please also refer to our general air travel page for information on aviation safety and security.

Laws

Crimes under Lebanese laws may not be considered offences in Australia. You should be aware that religious law has the same standing in Lebanon as civil law. Under Lebanese law, Lebanese nationals and non-nationals may prevent family members from leaving Lebanon, even if they are Australian citizens. Australians, including mothers with children, have been prevented from leaving Lebanon when relatives have legally placed border alerts (known as ‘stop orders’) on them. The Australian Government cannot prevent or overturn the issue of a ‘stop order’ on an Australian citizen.

All family law matters, including child custody and divorce decisions are based on local religious laws. If you are involved in custody or other family disputes you should ensure you consult a lawyer before you leave Australia for advice on how religious law may impact upon your family circumstances. Lebanon is not a signatory to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

You are subject to the local laws of Lebanon, including ones that appear harsh by Australian standards. 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 trouble or out of jail. Research laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.

Penalties for drug offences are severe and include mandatory prison sentences. See our Drugs page.

Serious crimes, such as murder and treason, can carry the death penalty.

Under Lebanese law, homosexual acts are illegal and penalties include imprisonment. See our LGBTI travellers page.

Access to some areas of Lebanon is restricted. Photographing or filming military personnel or installations, government buildings and major civilian infrastructure (such as power stations) may result in detention and the confiscation of photographic equipment.

Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child pornography, and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.

Australians risk prosecution under Australian law if they fight in other countries.

Local customs

There are modest standards of dress and behaviour in parts of Lebanon, particularly at religious sites. You should take care not to offend. If in doubt, seek local advice.

The Islamic holy month of Ramadan is expected to begin in early-June 2016. During Ramadan, eating, drinking and smoking between sunrise and sunset is forbidden for Muslims. See our Ramadan bulletin.

Public displays of affection may cause offence in conservative and religious areas.

Some hotels may refuse accommodation to couples who are unable to provide proof of marriage.

Information for dual nationals

Lebanon recognises dual nationality, but Lebanese citizenship takes precedence over the second nationality. If you are an Australian/Lebanese dual national you will be treated as a Lebanese national by Lebanese authorities. This may limit the ability of the Australian Government to provide consular assistance to Australian/Lebanese dual nationals who are arrested or detained.

Dual citizens re-entering Lebanon on their Lebanese passport/identity document should ensure their Lebanese documentation is in order and that all entry requirements are met. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Lebanon for the most up-to-date information.

Our Dual nationals page provides further information.

Health

Garbage crisis: Travellers should be aware of possible health risks associated with the ongoing waste disposal crisis in Lebanon. Garbage has been accumulating on the streets following the closure of a number of landfills. Concerns include possible contamination of water supplies, water-borne illness and an increase in air pollution due to the burning of waste. You should take appropriate precautions to limit potential exposure from uncollected waste.

We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. 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 a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.

It is important to consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. We encourage you to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our health page also provides useful information for travellers on staying healthy.

The standard of medical facilities and care in many of Lebanon's large hospitals is of comparable standard to those in Australia. Doctors and hospitals usually expect immediate cash payment for services. Treatment can be very expensive.

Cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) have been reported in a number of countries in the Middle East, including Lebanon. Other countries outside the Middle East have also reported imported cases from returned travellers. See our MERS travel bulletin.

A decompression chamber is located at the American University Hospital in Beirut.

It is recommended that all drinking water be boiled or that you drink bottled water.

Where to get help

Depending on the nature of your enquiry, your best option may be to contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurer. Your travel insurer should have a 24 hour emergency number.

If the matter relates to criminal issues, contact the local police. The national emergency number is 112. You should also obtain a police report when reporting a crime.

The Consular Services Charter explains what the Australian Government can and can’t do to assist Australians overseas. For consular assistance, see contact details below:

The Australian Embassy in Downtown Beirut may be temporarily closed to the public at short notice due to demonstrations and concerns about security in the vicinity of the Embassy. If this occurs, you should call ahead for advice before going to the Embassy. Australians requiring emergency consular assistance can contact the Embassy or the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre in Canberra on +61 2 6261 3305.

Contact details for the Australian Embassy are:

Australian Embassy, Beirut

Embassy Complex
Serail Hill
Downtown Beirut
LEBANON
Telephone: (961 1) 960 600
Fax: (961 1) 960 601
Website: www.lebanon.embassy.gov.au

See the Embassy website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.

If you are travelling to Lebanon, whatever the reason and however long you'll be there, we encourage you to register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You can register online or in person at any Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. The information you provide will help us to contact you in an emergency - whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or a family issue.

In a consular emergency if you are unable to contact the Embassy, 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

Lebanon is in an active earthquake zone.

Bush and forest fires often occur during the summer months in Lebanon (usually June to September), particularly in heavily forested areas. You should avoid fire affected areas and monitor the media for the latest information.

Sand and dust storms are common and may pose health risks, especially to people with respiratory problems.

Information on natural disasters can be obtained from the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System. If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities.

Additional Resources

Warnings by area

Map of Lebanon