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Lebanon - AVOID NON-ESSENTIAL TRAVEL
Global Affairs Canada advises against non-essential travel to Lebanon, due to the unpredictable security situation. If you must travel to Lebanon, ensure that your travel documents are up to date and sign up with the Registration of Canadians Abroad service.
Southern suburbs of Beirut - Avoid all travel
Global Affairs Canada advises against all travel to the southern suburbs of Beirut, due to the threat of terrorist attacks. This includes the areas from south of the Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium to the airport perimeter, east and west of the main airport highway (that is, the neighbourhoods of Bir Hassan, Bourj al Barajneh, Chiyah, Dahieh, Ghobeiry, Haret Hraik, Laylaki, Mraije, Rouais and Tareq el Jdideh), but excludes the main highway to the airport and the airport itself.
See Safety and security for more information.
North Lebanon - Avoid all travel
Global Affairs Canada advises against all travel to the following parts of North Lebanon, due to the risk of sporadic violence and an unpredictable security situation:
- North Governorate (from the southern city limits of Tripoli, northward to the Syrian border, including Akkar District); and
- Miniyeh-Danniyeh District.
See Safety and security for more information.
Border region with Syria and the northern Bekaa Valley - Avoid all travel
Global Affairs Canada advises against all travel to the following areas, due to incidents linked to the conflict in Syria:
- within 10 km of the border with Syria; and
- the northern Bekaa Valley, from Rayak northward to the Syrian border (including Arsal, Baalbek, Britel, Hermel, Labweh, Qaa and Ras Baalbek).
See Safety and security for more information.
South of the Litani river - Avoid all travel
Global Affairs Canada advises against all travel to south of the Litani River, near the border with Israel, due to military activity. Historical and tourist sites in the city of Tyre and the main coastal highway from the Litani River to Tyre are excluded from this advisory.
See Safety and security for more information.
Safety and security
Safety and security
The security situation in Lebanon is unpredictable. There is a threat of terrorist attacks, which could occur at any time in the country. Pre-existing tensions, coupled with the spillover of the conflict in Syria, are playing a destabilizing role in Lebanon.
Most security incidents in Beirut take place in the city’s southern suburbs, but there have been exceptions. On December 27, 2013, a car bomb exploded in downtown Beirut, targeting Mohamad Chatah, Lebanon’s former finance minister. The blast killed five people, including Dr. Chatah, and injured more than 70 others.
Groups supporting either side in the Syrian conflict as well as senior political figures, key security officials and security checkpoints throughout Lebanon continue to be the main targets of attacks. Attackers have also targeted densely populated areas in their attacks on specific individuals or groups, indicating potential collateral risk to civilian areas. Bombings, grenade attacks, political assassinations, gun battles, targeted vehicle explosions and shelling in commercial and residential districts in Lebanon have caused numerous deaths and injuries, particularly during the violence spike of 2013-14 in Beirut. The potential for such attacks and a rapid deterioration of the security situation remain across the country, including in Beirut. On November 12, 2015, two suicide bombers detonated explosive devices targeting the Hezbollah stronghold of Bourj al Barajneh, killing 43 and injuring hundreds.
Forces other than the Lebanese authorities exert a large amount of control in some areas that may delay or prevent Canadian officials from providing assistance to Canadians in these areas. Most notably, Hezbollah is headquartered in the southern suburbs of Beirut and maintains a strong presence in southern Lebanon and several other areas, including the northern Bekaa Valley.
Southern suburbs of Beirut (see Advisory)
Large parts of Beirut’s southern suburbs are controlled by armed groups, including Hezbollah, in addition to the Lebanese government’s security forces. Since mid-2013, these neighbourhoods have been targeted by terrorist attacks causing deaths and injuries. Tactics used by terrorists include car bombing, suicide bombing and rocket fire.
Road blocks and demonstrations are also common; the latter may turn violent on little notice. When incidents occur, monitor local news reports, avoid all affected areas and follow the instructions of local authorities.
The Iranian embassy in Bir Hassan has been subject to sporadic attacks since November 2013.
North Lebanon (see Advisory)
The security situation in northern Lebanon is unstable. Tripoli, particularly the neighbourhoods of Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen, has experienced inter-communal violence, which can spread to outlying areas. Heavy weapons fire (machine guns, grenades and rocket-propelled grenades) and sniper activity have occurred, particularly during the spike in 2013-14 in Tripoli. Lebanese security forces are conducting operations in northern Lebanon to restore order. They are authorized to use lethal force and have clashed with militants in the area. Avoid affected areas. If you are already in these areas, monitor local news reports and follow the advice of local authorities.
Border region with Syria and the northern Bekaa Valley (see Advisory)
The security situation in regions bordering Syria has deteriorated as a result of the ongoing conflict in that country. Armed groups such as Hezbollah, the Al-Nusra Front and Daesh as well as the Lebanese and Syrian military often carry out operations in the Arsal region that include shelling and incursions, which have resulted in deaths and injuries. Similar attacks may occur in other areas near Lebanon’s eastern border with Syria. Tensions between armed groups have also increased in border areas, resulting in kidnappings (see Kidnapping, below) and frequent violent clashes.
Exercise extreme caution and remain aware of your whereabouts, as the border is not always clearly demarcated.
Areas south of the Litani River (see Advisory)
The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) maintains additional peacekeepers south of the Litani River near the border with Israel as a result of the unresolved border situation. This region remains highly militarized and volatile. Rocket launches and border incidents occasionally occur, provoking retaliatory attacks in this region and elsewhere in Lebanon, and causing injury and death.
Forces other than the Lebanese authorities exert significant control over parts of this region. Access restrictions may delay or prevent Canadian officials from providing assistance to citizens in these areas.
Lebanon and Israel have not agreed on an international border. The UN enforces the Blue Line, which separates the two countries but has not been fully demarcated. Areas adjacent to the Blue Line are often heavily mined. The areas of Ghajar, Kfar Shouba Hills and Shebaa Farms are still inaccessible from Lebanon. The border with Israel is closed.
If you are travelling to the city of Tyre, use only the main coastal highway.
Palestinian refugee camps (see Advisory)
The security situation in Palestinian refugee camps remains tense and unpredictable. Violence is common in some camps—particularly Ain el Helweh, near Saïda, and Beddawi, near Tripoli—and is often triggered as a result of regional events.
As the refugee camps are often located close to urban centres and are not always visibly demarcated, exercise caution and remain aware of your whereabouts at all times in order to avoid unknowingly entering a camp. Palestinians control security in most camps and may delay or prevent Canadian officials from providing assistance to Canadians in these areas.
Planned and spontaneous demonstrations related to the domestic and regional situation regularly occur in Lebanon, particularly in Beirut. Some demonstrations have led to roadblocks, the burning of tires and the firing of weapons. In some instances, security forces have erected checkpoints and barricades to manage protests and used water cannons, tear gas and live ammunition to disperse crowds. Some demonstrations have turned violent. Further similar demonstrations could occur.
The road to the Rafic Hariri International Airport is subject to sporadic closure, due to various factors including local sectarian clashes, civil unrest in Syria and protests against government policies. Access to the airport can be unavailable for extended periods when the security situation deteriorates.
Monitor current developments closely when travelling within Lebanon, as local conditions may change rapidly and without warning, compromising your mobility and safety. Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media. You should also observe all warnings issued by Lebanese authorities and take appropriate precautions.
Kidnappings have occurred in the border areas with Syria and in the Bekaa Valley. In the southern suburbs of Beirut, foreigners and residents have been held against their will. Maintain a high level of vigilance at all times. Although most incidents of kidnapping typically involve Lebanese residents, foreign residents have been held for ransom.
Landmines and unexploded ordnance continue to pose a threat in some parts of the country, particularly in the south, despite progress in demining activities. Watch for posted landmine warnings, stay on paved roads and avoid walking or driving cross-country.
Street crime, such as purse snatching and pick pocketing, car thefts and residential break-ins can occur. Exercise appropriate safety precautions.
Congestion and aggressive driving are serious problems throughout the country, where drivers have little regard for traffic laws. Road accidents causing injury or death are common in Lebanon. At night, road lighting is sporadic and unreliable in urban areas and virtually non-existent in rural areas. Many drivers use their high beams exclusively, often creating a serious hazard due to blinding glare. Mountain roads may be subject to fog, heavy snow, ice and other hazardous conditions during winter months.
Lebanese drivers are unaccustomed to sharing the road with bicycles, and it is rare to see cyclists around the country. Exercise a high degree of caution when cycling.
Pedestrians should be extremely careful at all times.
Avoid public transportation, which is crowded, unsafe and unreliable. Do not use shared or “service” taxis. Foreigners using shared transportation have been victims of armed robbery, either by the driver or other passengers.
Always pre-arrange transportation with a safe and reliable taxi company, do not hail taxis off the street and avoid using any unmarked taxi services. Most major hotel chains will have an agreement with a reputable taxi company and can arrange the taxi for you.
The Government of Canada does not assess foreign domestic airlines’ compliance with international aviation safety standards. See Foreign domestic airlines for more information.
General safety information
Ensure that your personal belongings and passports and other travel documents are secure. Keep photocopies of all your documents in safekeeping facilities.
There is a highly visible security presence throughout the country. Carry personal documentation with you and obey the instructions of Lebanese security authorities.
It is the sole prerogative of every country or territory to determine who is allowed to enter or exit. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry or exit requirements. The following information has been obtained from the Lebanese authorities and is subject to change at any time. The country- or territory-specific entry/exit requirements are provided on this page for information purposes only. While every effort is made to provide accurate information, information contained here is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada assumes no responsibility, and shall not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided. It is your responsibility to check with the Embassy of Lebanon or one of its consulates for up-to-date information.
Canadians must present a passport to visit Lebanon, 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.
Temporary passport holders may be subject to different entry requirements. Check with diplomatic representatives 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 be in possession of a visa to visit Lebanon. Visas are available at Lebanese diplomatic missions abroad or at any port of entry into Lebanon. You should obtain your Lebanese visa prior to arrival to avoid delays and other complications.
Make sure your visa is valid for the duration of your stay. An expired entry visa must be extended by Lebanese authorities or you will not be allowed to leave the country.
In order to exit the country, your passport must show a Lebanese entry stamp. Persons who acquire a new passport while in Lebanon must present their old passport containing proof of entry to authorities upon departure.
Travel to Israel is illegal in Lebanon. Canadians have been detained, questioned and denied entry into Lebanon because their passports bore an Israeli visa, an Israeli border stamp or an Egyptian or Jordanian border stamp issued by an office bordering Israel (such a stamp would indicate the traveller has been to Israel).
South of the Litani River
Travel permits from Lebanese authorities and/or UNIFIL may be required in order to enter areas south of the Litani River bordering Israel.
See Health to obtain information on this country’s vaccination requirements.
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. See Children for more information.
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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 - Country Entry Requirements
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.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
* 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.
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 Western Asia, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Western Asia. 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 for children, travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives or travelling for a long period of time. Travellers 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
In some areas in Western Asia, certain insects carry and spread diseases like chikungunya, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, malaria, Rift Valley fever, and West Nile virus.
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 Western Asia, like avian influenza and rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Medical services and facilities
Modern medical care facilities and supplies are widely available in Beirut and its surrounding areas. Such facilities are not always available in outlying areas. Medical services can be very expensive, and payment in advance is almost always required.
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 and culture
Laws & culture
You are subject to local laws. See Arrest and detention for more information.
An International Driving Permit is recommended.
Illegal or restricted activities
It is prohibited to photograph or videotape government buildings or military personnel, equipment and installations. Taking photographs in areas with a Hezbollah presence has led to detaining and questioning Canadians in the past. In such situations, Canadian officials may face delays and obstacles in providing assistance.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines. Individuals charged with drug offences can expect to remain in jail and to be denied bail while judicial authorities prepare their case for prosecution. This process may take months or years.
The laws of Lebanon prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. LGBTQ2 travellers should carefully consider the risks of travelling to Lebanon.
See Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirit Canadians abroad for more information.
Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in Lebanon. If local authorities consider you a Lebanese citizen, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services, thereby preventing Canadian consular officials from providing you with those services. You should always travel using your valid Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times to minimize this risk. You may also need to carry and present a Lebanese passport for legal reasons, for example to enter and exit the country (see Entry/exit requirements to determine passport requirements). Citizenship is determined solely by national laws, and the decision to recognize dual citizenship rests completely with the country in which you are located when seeking consular assistance. See Travelling as a dual citizen for more information.
Canadians of Lebanese descent carrying Lebanese identification documents will be treated as Lebanese nationals by security officials.
In cases where one or more family members hold Lebanese citizenship, parents should consider the risks before their children travel to Lebanon. Canadian custody documents, including Canadian court orders pertaining to custody, are not recognized in Lebanon.
Family law matters, including child custody and divorce-related decisions, are settled according to local religious laws. If you are involved in custody or other family disputes, consult a lawyer for advice on how religious law in Lebanon may affect your family situation.
Under Lebanese law, authorities may prevent family members from leaving Lebanon, even if they are Canadian citizens or dual nationals. Relatives (mainly parents and grandparents) have placed “stop orders” on Canadians, including married women, children and mothers with children, to prevent them from leaving Lebanon. The Government of Canada cannot prevent or overturn the issue of a stop order on a Canadian citizen.
Dress and behaviour
The dress code in Lebanon is more relaxed than in most countries in the Middle East. However, you should dress conservatively, behave discreetly and respect religious and social traditions to avoid offending local sensitivities.
During the lunar month of Ramadan (the ninth month of the Muslim calendar), use discretion when drinking, eating, and smoking in public between sunrise and sunset. In 2017, Ramadan is expected to begin on or around May 27.
The currency is the Lebanese pound (LBP). Most establishments will accept payment in U.S. dollars but may return change in LBP. Credit cards are widely accepted in hotels, restaurants and shops. Traveller’s cheques are not accepted and will not be changed by local financial institutions.
Automated banking machines (ABMs) are widely available in Lebanon. Use ABMs located inside, or adjacent to, bank branches for greater security and to be able to retrieve a lost card faster.
Natural disasters and climate
Natural disasters & climate
Lebanon is located in a seismic zone. There have been several minor earthquakes in recent years.
In the winter months, mountain roads, including the main Beirut-Damascus highway, may be temporarily blocked or become impassable due to heavy snowfall. Flash floods can occur, rendering roads temporarily dangerous or impracticable.
In case of emergency, dial:
- police: 112
- medical assistance: 140
- firefighters: 175
Beirut - Embassy of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada in Beirut and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are 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 to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad. In the event of a large-scale emergency, every effort will be made to provide assistance. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
See Large-scale emergencies abroad for more information.
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