Lebanon

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Latest updates: Laws and culture - Ramadan 2019.


Risk level(s)

Risk level(s)

Lebanon - Exercise a high degree of caution

Exercise a high degree of caution in Lebanon due to an unpredictable security situation and the risk of terrorist attack.

Southern suburbs of Beirut - Avoid all travel

Avoid all travel to the southern suburbs of Beirut, due to the threat of terrorist attacks. This includes the following areas:

  • from south of the Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium to the airport perimeter
  • east and west of the main airport highway (neighbourhoods of Bir Hasan, Bourj el Barajneh, Chiyah, Dahieh, Ghobeiry, Haret Hraik, Laylaki, Mraije, Rouais and Tariq el Jdideh) but excluding the main highway to the airport and the airport itself

Safety and security situation

North Lebanon - Avoid all travel

Avoid 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)
  • Miniyeh-Danniyeh District

Safety and security situation

Border region with Syria - Avoid all travel

Avoid all travel to within 10 km of the border with Syria, due to landmines, unexploded ordnance and ongoing armed conflict.

Safety and security situation

Northern Bekaa Valley - Avoid all travel

Avoid all travel to the northern Bekaa Valley, from Rayak northward to the Syrian border (including Aarsal, Baalbek, Brital, Hermel, Labweh, Qaa and Ras Baalbek), due the risk of sporadic violence and an unpredictable security situation.

Safety and security situation

Palestinian refugee camps - Avoid all travel

Avoid all travel to Palestinian refugee camps and surrounding areas, due to an unpredictable security situation.

Safety and security situation

South of the Litani river - Avoid all travel

Avoid 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.

Safety and security situation

Safety and security

Safety and security

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. These neighbourhoods are targets for terrorist attacks causing deaths and injuries. Tactics used by terrorists include car bombing, suicide bombing and rocket fire.

Roadblocks and demonstrations are also common; the latter may turn violent with little notice. When incidents occur, monitor local news reports, avoid affected areas and follow the instructions of local authorities.

North Lebanon (see Advisory)

While Lebanese security forces have conducted operations in northern Lebanon to improve the security situation, the region remains unstable. Tripoli, particularly the neighbourhoods of Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen, has experienced inter-communal violence that can spread to outlying areas. Heavy weapons fire (machine guns, grenades and rocket-propelled grenades) and sniper activity have occurred, particularly during the 2013–14 spike in Tripoli.

Extremists have sought refuge in northern Lebanon, including throughout Akkar District.

Border region with Syria (see Advisory)

The security situation in regions bordering Syria has deteriorated as a result of the ongoing conflict. Armed groups such as Hezbollah, Al-Nusra Front and Daesh, as well as the Lebanese and Syrian military have carried out operations resulting in deaths and injuries. Tensions between armed groups have also increased in border areas, resulting in kidnappings (see Kidnapping, below) and violent clashes.

The border is not always clearly marked.

Northern Bekaa Valley (see Advisory)

The security situation in the northern Bekaa Valley is volatile and there is an ongoing risk of sporadic violence, organized crime, and kidnapping.

Palestinian refugee camps (see Advisory)

The security situation in Palestinian refugee camps and surrounding areas remains tense and unpredictable. Violence is common in some camps—particularly Ain el Helweh, near Saida, and Beddawi, near Tripoli.

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 assisting Canadians in these areas.

Areas south of 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. UNIFIL 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 inaccessible from Lebanon. The border with Israel is closed.

If you are travelling to the city of Tyre, use only the main coastal highway. Please note that travel permits from Lebanese authorities and/or UNIFIL may be required in order to enter areas south of the Litani River that border Israel.

Security situation

The security situation in Lebanon is unpredictable. Pre-existing sectarian tensions, coupled with the spillover of the conflict in Syria, are playing a destabilizing role in Lebanon.

Terrorism

There is a threat of terrorist attacks, which could occur at any time and any place in Lebanon, including in areas frequented by foreigners, such as hotels, cafes, restaurants and bars, markets, tourist and religious sites, large outdoor events, shopping centres and supermarkets.

Security officials are on a high state of alert and carry out anti-terrorism operations across the country to prevent attacks.

Terrorist attacks on specific individuals or groups as well as targeting densely populated areas increase potential collateral risk to civilian areas. Bombings, grenade attacks, political assassinations, gun battles and vehicle explosions 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 in Beirut’s southern suburbs, killing 43 people and injuring hundreds.

Forces other than Lebanese authorities exert a large amount of control in some areas and they may delay or prevent Canadian officials from providing assistance to Canadians. Most notably, Hezbollah is headquartered in the southern suburbs of Beirut and maintains a strong presence in southern Lebanon, the northern Bekaa Valley and several other areas.

Demonstrations

Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, follow the instructions of local authorities and monitor local media.

Planned and spontaneous demonstrations related to the domestic and regional situations regularly occur in Lebanon, particularly in Beirut. Some demonstrations have led to roadblocks, burning tires and firing weapons. Security forces have erected checkpoints and barricades to manage protests and used water cannons, tear gas and live ammunition to disperse crowds. Further demonstrations could occur.

The road to Beirut–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. You should also observe all warnings issued by Lebanese authorities and take appropriate precautions.

Kidnapping

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, foreigners have also been kidnapped.

Landmines

Landmines and unexploded ordnance continue to pose a threat in some parts of the country, including south of the Litani River and near the northeastern border region, despite progress in demining activities. Watch for posted landmine warnings, stay on paved roads and avoid walking or hiking in these areas.

Crime

Street crime, such as purse snatching and pick pocketing, car thefts and residential break-ins, can occur. Violent crime and sexual assault are rare but can occur. Exercise vigilance and appropriate safety precautions.

Road safety

Congestion and aggressive driving are serious problems throughout the country, where drivers have little regard for traffic laws.

Road accidents and serious road rage incidents causing injury or death are common in Lebanon.

Road lighting is sporadic and unreliable in urban areas and virtually non-existent in rural areas. At night, many drivers use their high beams exclusively, often creating a serious hazard due to blinding glare.

Mountain roads may be affected by 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 if cycling.

Pedestrians should be extremely careful at all times.

Public transportation

Avoid public transportation, which is crowded, unsafe and unreliable. Do not use shared or “service” taxis. Uber is illegal in Lebanon, and Lebanese authorities advise that it is not safe to use the service. 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.

Air travel

We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

General information about foreign domestic airlines

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.

Entry/exit requirements

Entry/exit requirements

Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.

We have obtained the information on this page from the Lebanese authorities. It can, however, change at any time.

Verify this information with foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada.

Passport

Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.

Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.

Regular Canadian passport

Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date you expect to leave Lebanon.

Passport for official travel

Different entry rules may apply.

Official travel

Other travel documents

Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest diplomatic mission for your destination.

Useful links

Visas

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.

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.

Entry stamp

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 bans

When local courts issue travel bans, the authorities at points of exit are instantly informed and will not allow a person to exit Lebanon, regardless of their nationality.

Find out more about travel bans.

Regional travel

Travel to or from Israel is illegal in Lebanon. Canadians may be arrested, detained, questioned and refused entry into Lebanon if their passport bears an Israeli visa, an Israeli border stamp or an Egyptian or Jordanian border stamp issued by an office bordering Israel, as such a stamp could indicate the traveler has been to Israel).

South of the Litani River

Travel permits from Lebanese authorities and/or UNIFIL may be required to enter areas south of the Litani River bordering Israel.

Children and travel

Children travelling with only one parent may be required to provide an authorization letter from the other parent to exit Lebanon.

More about travelling with children

Yellow fever

Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).

Health

Health

Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.
Vaccines

Routine Vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.

Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.

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

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

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.

Influenza

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

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.

Polio

There is a risk of polio in this country. 

Recommendations:

  • Be sure that your vaccination against polio is up to date. Polio is part of the routine vaccine schedule for children in Canada.
  • One booster dose of the polio vaccine is recommended as an adult. 
Rabies

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.

Risk

  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.

Country Entry Requirement*

  • Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.

Recommendation

  • 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.

About Yellow Fever

Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada

Food/Water

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
  • 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

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 visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care provider about vaccination.


Insects

Insects and Illness

In some areas in Western Asia, certain insects carry and spread diseases like chikungunya, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, dengue fever, leishmaniasismalaria, Rift Valley fever, and West Nile virus.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.


Malaria

Malaria

There is no risk of malaria in this country.


Animals

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.


Person-to-Person

Person-to-Person Infections

Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.


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.

Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.

Travel health and safety

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 must abide by local laws.

Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.

Child custody and travel bans

Canadian custody documents, including Canadian court orders pertaining to custody, are not recognized in Lebanon. Family law matters in Lebanon, 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.

Authorities may prevent family members from leaving Lebanon, even if they are Canadian citizens or dual nationals. Relatives (mainly spouses and grandparents) frequently place travel bans on Canadians, including married women, children and mothers with children, to prevent them from leaving Lebanon. The legal process of removing a travel ban is complicated, requires rigorous legal representation and can take months or years. Lebanese courts rarely rule to remove or overturn a travel ban, even if the subject has been a victim of abuse or if their life is in danger. The Government of Canada cannot prevent or overturn the issue of a travel ban (or stop order) on a Canadian citizen.

Illegal or restricted activities

It is prohibited to photograph or videotape government buildings or military personnel, equipment and installations. Canadians have been detained for questioning after taking photographs in areas with a Hezbollah presence. 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 often takes years.

Driving

An International Driving Permit is required.

Ensure your travel insurance is valid for driving in Lebanon.

LGBTQ2 travellers

Lebanon’s law prohibits sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. Some areas and neighborhoods may appear more tolerant; however, any behavior or perceived behavior between persons of the same sex may result in arrest or detention. LGBTQ2 travellers should carefully consider the risks of travelling to Lebanon.

General safety information and advice for LGBTQ2 travellers abroad

Dual citizenship

Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in Lebanon.

If local authorities consider you a citizen of Lebanon, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services. This will prevent us from providing you with those services.

General information for travellers with dual citizenship

Canadians of Lebanese descent carrying Lebanese identification documents will be treated as Lebanese nationals by security officials. Dual Canadian-Iraqis, -Palestinians and -Syrians may face additional questioning.

Dress and behaviour

The dress code in Lebanon is more relaxed than in most Middle Eastern countries. Nonetheless, 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 2019, Ramadan is expected to begin on or around May 5.

Money

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.

ATMs are widely available in Lebanon. Use ATMs 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.

Assistance

Assistance

Local services

Emergency services

In case of emergency, dial:

  • police: 112
  • medical assistance: 140
  • firefighters: 175

Consular assistance

Beirut - Embassy of Canada
Street AddressFirst Floor, Coolrite Building, 43 Jal El Dib Highway (seaside), Beirut, LebanonPostal AddressP.O. Box 60163, Jal El Dib, Beirut, LebanonTelephone961 (4) 726-700Fax961 (4) 726-702Emailberut-cs@international.gc.caInternetwww.lebanon.gc.caServicesPassport Services AvailableFacebookEmbassy of Canada to LebanonTwitter@CanadaLebanonOffice HoursMonday to Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.Consular Section public hoursMonday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

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. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.

The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.

If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.

Learn more about consular services.

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