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Libya - AVOID ALL TRAVEL
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada advises against all travel to Libya due to the fragile and unpredictable political situation and the threat of terrorism in the region.
Given the volatile security situation, the Canadian embassy in Tripoli has suspended operations until further notice. Canadian officials have left the country. Canadians in Libya should contact the Embassy of Canada in Tunis, Tunisia (+216 70 010 200), or the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa +1 613 996 8885.
The Government of Canada’s ability to provide consular services to Canadian citizens in Libya is extremely limited, due to continuing political instability and violence. Canadians have been advised to consider leaving Libya since June 1, 2014. If you are presently in Libya, you should leave now while commercial means are still available.
Canadian citizens travelling to or remaining in Libya despite this advice should ensure that their travel documents are up to date, limit their movements and keep abreast of the latest developments. Canadians may have little notice of violent outbreaks and risk being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Canadians should use extreme caution, make their own contingency plans, and maintain security awareness at all times.
We strongly recommend that Canadians register with the Registration of Canadians Abroad (ROCA) service.
Consult Security for more information.
The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice. In the event of a crisis situation that requires evacuation, the Government of Canada’s policy is to provide safe transportation to the closest safe location. The Government of Canada will assist you in leaving a country or a region as a last resort, when all means of commercial or personal transportation have been exhausted. This service is provided on a cost-recovery basis. Onward travel is at your personal expense. Situations vary from one location to another, and there may be constraints on government resources that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide assistance, particularly in countries or regions where the potential for violent conflict or political instability is high.
There is a heightened risk of terrorism throughout Libya, including in Benghazi. Terrorist attacks could occur at any time and could target areas frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.
Benghazi saw an increase in attacks in July and August 2013. On August 6, 2013, a car explosion killed the vehicle’s owner. Five people were wounded in a bomb blast at a police station on August 2, 2013. On July 29, 2013, several explosions were reported in the downtown area, killing one person. The previous day, two explosions targeted court houses, resulting in significant damage and injuring more than 40 people.
Other major attacks in Benghazi include: A car bomb caused severe damage to the building housing the joint honorary consulates of Finland and Sweden, private commercial offices and a number of apartments on October 11, 2013. No casualties were reported. On September 11, 2013, a powerful car bomb exploded near the Foreign Ministry building, injuring several people. On May 13, 2013, a car bomb exploded at the Al Jallah hospital, killing several people and injuring many others. The U.S. Ambassador to Libya and three diplomats were killed following an attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. A British Embassy convoy was hit by a grenade on June 11, 2012, injuring one person. An IED exploded at the gate of the U.S. Consulate on June 6, 2012. On May 22, 2012 a grenade attack targeted the International Red Cross offices and an explosion hit a column of UN vehicles on 10 April, 2012. These events highlight that the situation continues to be unstable and problematic.
Clashes, which include indiscriminate shelling, between pro-government militia and Gaddafi loyalists were reported in Bani Walid in October 2012. Exercise extreme caution and avoid affected areas.
Regions of Sabha and Kufra
Ongoing clashes between various armed groups have been reported in the regions of Sabha and Kufra.
There is a heightened risk of terrorism throughout Libya. In 2013, the French military assisted the Malian government in efforts to repel armed rebels. Terrorist groups in the region declared their intention to increase attacks and kidnappings targeting Westerners. While the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali has been supporting the transitional authorities in stabilizing the region since July 2013, citizens of countries supporting the intervention are still at particular risk, but all travellers should exercise increased vigilance in the region.
Libyan security forces discovered a car laden with explosives near a hotel in Tripoli on July 29, 2013. The embassy compound of the United Arab Emirates was the target of an attack on July 25, 2013. An explosion occurred close to the Corinthia hotel and Tripoli Towers, near the British and Canadian embassies, on July 23, 2013. No injuries were reported following these attacks. On April 23, 2013, an explosion occurred in the Hay Al Andalus Area of Tripoli, in front of the French Embassy, injuring two people. Maintain a high level of vigilance and personal security awareness, exercise caution, monitor local developments and follow the advice of local authorities.
Civil unrest and demonstrations
The political situation remains fragile and could change rapidly. Violence broke out in Tripoli, as well as in eastern Libya, in mid-May 2014. Prime Minister Ali Zeidan was seized from his residence at the Corinthia Hotel in Tripoli on October 10, 2013 and released a few hours later. Intermittent clashes have been occurring between armed groups in and around Tripoli since June 25, 2013. In May 2013, armed groups seized control of several government buildings in the capital. These groups continue to pose a security risk.
Since the beginning of the Libyan revolution in February 2011, falling rounds from celebratory gunfire have caused fatalities and injuries. Despite a reduction in these types of incidents, you should remain indoors in the event of any celebratory gunfire.
There have been significant spontaneous demonstrations throughout Libya following the assassination of a political activist on July 26, 2013.Follow the security situation closely through local media reports, take appropriate steps to increase your personal security and limit your movements to daylight hours. Avoid public gatherings and all demonstrations, as they may become violent without warning.
There is a general threat of kidnapping in Libya. Foreigners have been targeted in recent months. Maintain a high level of vigilance at all times.
You may face heightened risks at the border areas with Niger, Chad, Sudan and Algeria due to the presence of armed groups and the threat of banditry. Borders may close on short notice.
With the exception of the official land border crossings to Tunisia and Egypt, visitors and residents are not permitted to travel in the interior or to border areas without an officially sanctioned guide or specific permission from the Libyan authorities.
Demining operations are ongoing in the south of the country; however, significant quantities of unmarked landmines remain. The risk of encountering unexploded ordnance and indiscriminately laid landmines is high in all areas where fighting occurred. Exercise caution in these areas.
On July 13, 2014, fighting broke out in the vicinity of Tripoli International Airport. The airport is closed until further notice.
Airports may close and flights may be cancelled on short notice. Check the status of your flight prior to travelling to the airport and avoid travelling after dark.
The road system is extensive, but many roads in the south are unpaved and there are only sand tracks in the desert. Avoid road travel in the southeast region due to the possibility of landmines. Traffic is heavy on the main east-west coastal highway, close to the principal cities of Tripoli and Benghazi.
The rate of vehicle accidents is high. Poor driving skills, excessive speeds, and traffic violations pose risks. Rental cars are available but expensive.
In the event of an accident, remain calm and contact the local police. Local authorities may detain motorists involved in an accident until the court case is settled, if the accident resulted in loss of life or heavy damage.
There have been recent incidents of vehicle ambush and carjacking resulting in injuries.
Use luxury, air-conditioned buses for intercity travel.
Taxis are available. Negotiate fares prior to departure.
See Transportation Safety in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.
It is the sole prerogative of each country or region to determine who is allowed to enter. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry requirements. The following information on entry and exit requirements has been obtained from the Libyan authorities. However, these requirements are subject to change at any time. It is your responsibility to check with the Libyan Embassy for up-to-date information.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
Canadians must present a passport to visit Libya, which must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of expected departure from that country. Prior to travelling, ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity, which may be more stringent than the country's entry rules.
You may have difficulties obtaining a visa without a six-month validity period remaining in your passport.
Your passport should not bear an Israeli visa or border stamp.
Canadians must be in possession of a visa to visit Libya.
Tourist visa: Required
Business visa: Required
Student visa: Required
Visitor visas are issued at any Libyan embassy, except in New York. Visas will only be issued to residents of the country in which the application is made. Expect a 20-working-day waiting period after submitting your passport and application in person at a Libyan embassy. Mailed applications are not accepted.
Tourist visas are not usually available to individual Canadians unless they are part of an organized tour group travelling under the auspices of an accredited travel agent in Libya.
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. See Children for more information.
See Health to obtain information on this country’s vaccination requirements.
- Measles: Global Update - February 24, 2015 11:36 EST
Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world. Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Rabies is a deadly illness spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).
Yellow Fever Vaccination
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
|* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.|
|Country Entry Requirement*|
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in North Africa, food and water can also carry diseases like hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in North Africa. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
- Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
- Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
- The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among pediatric travellers, travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives or travelling for a long period of time. Travellers at high risk visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care provider about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is no risk of malaria in this country.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in North Africa, like avian influenza and rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Medical services and facilities
Medical facilities are limited. Some medicines are in short supply.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws & culture
Laws & culture
You are subject to local laws. See Arrest and detention for more information.
Illegal or restricted activities
Do not criticize the country, its leadership or religion. Harsh penalties may be imposed.
Homosexual activity and sexual relations outside of marriage are illegal.
Do not photograph military sites or personnel.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can expect detention or other penalties.
Firearms, religious materials, antiquities, medications and currency are subject to strict customs regulations.
Dual citizenship is not legally recognized, which may limit the ability of Canadian officials to provide consular services. You should travel using your Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times. However, Canadians of Libyan origin are the exception, since they run the risk of seizure of their Canadian passport, long interrogations and problems leaving the country if they are deemed in violation of this law. See Travelling as a dual citizen for more information.
Child custody decisions are based on Islamic law. It is extremely difficult for a Canadian woman, even if she is a Muslim, to obtain custody of her children through a court decision, unless she decides to stay in Libya. Regardless of parental marital status, children of Libyan fathers acquire Libyan citizenship at birth, and must enter and leave Libya on Libyan passports. Canadian mothers require their husband’s permission to take their Libyan children outside the country.
Dress and behaviour
Islamic practices and beliefs are closely adhered to in the country’s customs, laws and regulations. Dress conservatively, behave discreetly, and respect religious and social traditions to avoid offending local sensitivities.
Your passport might be confiscated in a business dispute.
The economy is primarily cashed-based. The currency, the Libyan dinar (LYD), is non-convertible outside the country. Only U.S. dollars, euros, British pounds, Swiss francs and Tunisian dinars can be converted into dinars. U.S. dollars can be exchanged at official exchange counters or banks. Adhere to the rules regarding currency declarations and exchange rates. Automated banking machines are not readily available.
Natural disasters & climate
Natural disasters & climate
The rainy season extends from November to March.
Temperatures can reach 40°C between June and September. The desert area can be extremely hot during the day with cool nights. Follow regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly.
There is no resident Canadian government office in Libya. You can obtain consular assistance and further consular information from the Embassy of Canada in Tunis, Tunisia.
Tunis - Embassy of Canada
For emergency assistance after hours, call the Embassy of Canada in Tunis, Tunisia, and follow the instructions. You may also call the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at +1 613 996 8885.
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