LIBYA - AVOID NON-ESSENTIAL TRAVEL
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada advises against non-essential travel to Libya due to the fragile political situation and the threat of terrorism in the region.
Regional Advisory for Benghazi, Bani Walid and the regions of Sabha and Kufra
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada advises against all travel to Benghazi, Bani Walid and the regions of Sabha and Kufra due to the unpredictable security situation and the risk of terrorism.
The Embassy of Canada in Libya’s ability to provide consular services to Canadian citizens in Benghazi, Bani Walid, and the Kufra district is extremely limited, due to continuing political instability and violence.
Consult the Security tab 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.
Benghazi (see Advisory)
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.
Several attacks have been reported in Benghazi recently. 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.
Bani Walid (see Advisory)
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 (see Advisory)
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. The French military has been assisting the Malian government in efforts to repel armed rebels. Terrorist groups in the region declared their intention to increase attacks and kidnappings targeting Westerners. Citizens of countries supporting the military intervention are at particular risk, but all travellers should exercise increased vigilance in the region.
An explosion occurred in the Hay Al Andalus Area of Tripoli, in front of the French Embassy, on April 23, 2013, 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. In May 2013, armed groups seized control of several government buildings in Tripoli and 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.
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. 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.
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.
Use luxury, air-conditioned buses for intercity travel.
Taxis are available. Negotiate fares prior to departure.
Consult our Transportation Safety page 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.
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. Please consult our Children page for more information.
Some countries require proof of yellow fever vaccination before allowing entry. Consult the World Health Organization’s country list to obtain information on this country’s requirements.
The Agency strongly recommends that you consult with a travel medicine clinic or health care provider preferably six weeks before departure.
The Agency publishes travel health advice for Libya.
Medical facilities are limited. Some medicines are in short supply.
Laws & Culture
You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention FAQ 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. Consult our publication entitled Dual Citizenship: What You Need to Know 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.
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.
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