Libya travel advice

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Risk level

Libya - AVOID ALL TRAVEL

Avoid all travel to Libya due to persistent insecurity throughout the country, including sustained armed conflict, a high risk of terrorist attacks, an unpredictable political situation and a high crime rate. Given the recent deterioration in the security situation near Tripoli, you should leave by commercial means as soon as it’s safe to do so.

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Safety and security

Terrorism

There is a risk of terrorism. Attacks can occur at any time throughout the country. Extremist groups have specifically threatened and carried out attacks against Westerners and Western interests in Libya. Further attacks are likely.

Targets could include:

  • government buildings, including schools and embassies
  • places of worship
  • airports and other transportation hubs and networks
  • checkpoints
  • public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners
  • foreign officials, diplomats and aid workers
  • teachers and other private-sector workers

The situation in Benghazi is particularly unstable and volatile. Attacks against foreign interests and foreigners occur regularly.

Be extremely vigilant and aware of your surroundings at all times in public places.

Political situation

The political situation is extremely fragile. Formal state security structures have largely collapsed.

Sporadic clashes between armed groups continue to occur in all regions of Libya and with no warning.

If you are in a conflict area:

  • Keep emergency provisions such as water and food
  • Keep up to date on the security situation
  • Make sure that your travel documents are in order
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities
  • Shelter in place until it is safe to leave the area

Demonstrations

Demonstrations occur. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.

  • Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities
  • Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations

Mass gatherings (large-scale events)

Kidnapping

There is a high threat of kidnapping in Libya. Foreigners are common targets. Maintain a high level of vigilance at all times.

Border areas

You may face heightened risks at the border areas with Algeria, Chad, Niger, Sudan and Tunisia due to the presence of armed groups, the threat of banditry and an extreme kidnapping risk. Borders may close on short notice, including, in particular, the borders with Egypt and Tunisia.

Travel to the interior and to border areas without an officially sanctioned guide or specific permission from the Libyan authorities is forbidden, with the exception of official land border crossings to Egypt and Tunisia.

Crime

The crime rate is very high in Libya, where weapons are easily available and government forces do not have control of the country.

Carjackings and armed robberies are common occurrences.

Landmines

The risk of encountering unexploded ordnance and indiscriminately laid landmines is high wherever fighting has occurred. Exercise caution in these areas.

Road safety

The road system is extensive but many roads in the south are unpaved. There are only sand tracks in the desert.

Avoid all road travel in the southeast, due to the possibility of landmines, kidnapping, banditry and terrorism.

Travel on the coastal highway in the east of the country is dangerous, due to ongoing inter-factional fighting and the risk of kidnapping by extremist groups.

The rate of vehicle accidents is high. Poor driving skills, excessive speeds and traffic violations pose risks.

In the event of an accident, remain calm and contact the local police. If the accident resulted in loss of life or heavy damage, local authorities may detain motorists involved in an accident until the court case is settled.

There have been recent incidents of vehicle ambush and carjacking resulting in injuries.

Public transportation

Be cautious when using taxis. Negotiate fares prior to departure. Taxi drivers have been complicit in robberies targeting their passengers.

Air travel

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

Information about foreign domestic airlines

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Entry and 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 Libyan authorities. It can, however, change at any time.

Verify this information with the Foreign Representatives 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 Libya.

Passport for official travel

Different entry rules may apply.

Official travel

Passport with “X” gender identifier

While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

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 foreign representative for your destination.

Useful links

Visas

Tourist visa: required
Business visa: required
Student visa: required

You may have difficulties obtaining a visa if your passport expires before the visa’s 6-month validity period expires.

Libyan visas are 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.

Regional travel

You may be denied entry into Libya if your passport bears an Israeli visa or border stamp.

Children and travel

Learn more about travelling with children.

Yellow fever

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

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Health

Relevant Travel Health Notices

This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.

Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.

Routine vaccines

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

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

Pre-travel vaccines and medications

You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines may be right for you, based on your destination and itinerary. 

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

Hepatitis A

There is a risk of hepatitis A in this destination. It is a disease of the liver. People can get hepatitis A if they ingest contaminated food or water, eat foods prepared by an infectious person, or if they have close physical contact (such as oral-anal sex) with an infectious person, although casual contact among people does not spread the virus.

 

Practise safe food and water precautions and wash your hands often. Vaccination is recommended for all travellers to areas where hepatitis A is present.

Influenza

 The best way to protect yourself from seasonal influenza (flu) is to get vaccinated every year. Get the flu shot at least 2 weeks before travelling.  

 The flu occurs worldwide. 

  •  In the Northern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs from November to   April.
  •  In the Southern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs between April and   October.
  •  In the tropics, there is flu activity year round. 

The flu vaccine available in one hemisphere may only offer partial protection against the flu in the other hemisphere.

The flu virus spreads from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Clean your hands often and wear a mask if you have a fever or respiratory symptoms.

Rabies

In this destination, rabies is commonly carried by dogs and some wildlife, including bats. Rabies is a deadly disease that spreads to humans primarily through bites or scratches from an infected animal. While travelling, take precautions, including keeping your distance from animals (including free-roaming dogs), and closely supervising children.

If you are bitten or scratched by a dog or other animal while travelling, immediately wash the wound with soap and clean water and see a health care professional. In this destination, rabies treatment may be limited or may not be available, therefore you may need to return to Canada for treatment. 

Before travel, discuss rabies vaccination with a health care professional. It may be recommended for travellers who are at high risk of exposure (e.g., occupational risk such as veterinarians and wildlife workers, children, adventure travellers and spelunkers, and others in close contact with animals). 

Measles

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.

Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.

Hepatitis B

 Hepatitis B is a risk in every destination. It is a viral liver disease that is easily transmitted from one person to another through exposure to blood and body fluids containing the hepatitis B virus.  Travellers who may be exposed to blood or other bodily fluids (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) are at higher risk of getting hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for all travellers. Prevent hepatitis B infection by practicing safe sex, only using new and sterile drug equipment, and only getting tattoos and piercings in settings that follow public health regulations and standards.

COVID-19

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.

Before travelling, verify your destination’s COVID-19 vaccination entry/exit requirements. Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.

Safe food and water precautions

Many illnesses can be caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, toxins, or viruses, or by swimming or bathing in contaminated water.

  • Learn more about food and water precautions to take to avoid getting sick by visiting our eat and drink safely abroad page. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
  • Avoid getting water into your eyes, mouth or nose when swimming or participating in activities in freshwater (streams, canals, lakes), particularly after flooding or heavy rain. Water may look clean but could still be polluted or contaminated.
  • Avoid inhaling or swallowing water while bathing, showering, or swimming in pools or hot tubs. 

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 children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.

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

Insect bite prevention

Many diseases are spread by the bites of infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. When travelling to areas where infected insects may be present:

  • Use insect repellent (bug spray) on exposed skin
  • Cover up with light-coloured, loose clothes made of tightly woven materials such as nylon or polyester
  • Minimize exposure to insects
  • Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in buildings that are not fully enclosed

To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of infection and disease caused by bites, both at home and abroad, visit our insect bite prevention page.

Find out what types of insects are present where you’re travelling, when they’re most active, and the symptoms of the diseases they spread.

Animal precautions

Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may increase your chance of contact with animals, such as travelling in rural or forested areas, camping, hiking, and visiting wet markets (places where live animals are slaughtered and sold) or caves.

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, livestock (pigs, cows), monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats, and to avoid eating undercooked wild game.

Closely supervise children, as they are more likely to come in contact with animals.

Person-to-person infections

Stay home if you’re sick and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette, which includes coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Reduce your risk of colds, the flu and other illnesses by:

  •  washing your hands often
  • avoiding or limiting the amount of time spent in closed spaces, crowded places, or at large-scale events (concerts, sporting events, rallies)
  • avoiding close physical contact with people who may be showing symptoms of illness 

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV, and mpox are spread through blood and bodily fluids; use condoms, practise safe sex, and limit your number of sexual partners. Check with your local public health authority pre-travel to determine your eligibility for mpox vaccine.  

Medical services and facilities

Medical facilities are limited. Some medicines are in short supply.

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

Travel health and safety

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Laws and 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.

Lèse-majesté

Don’t criticize the country, its leadership or religion.

Harsh penalties may be imposed.

Photography

Don’t photograph military sites or personnel.

Drugs

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can expect detention or other penalties.

Drugs, alcohol and travel

2SLGBTQI+ travellers

The laws of Libya prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. Other related offences include being in a same-sex marriage and promoting homosexuality. Convicted offenders can face life in prison or the death penalty.

2SLGBTQI+ travellers should carefully consider the risks of travelling to Libya.

Travel and your sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics

Customs

Firearms, religious materials, antiquities, medications and currencies are subject to strict customs regulations.

Business disputes

Officials may confiscate your passport if you are involved in a business dispute.

Dual citizenship

Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in Libya.

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

Travellers with dual citizenship

Authorities may seize the passports of Canadians of Libyan origin, question them and prevent them from leaving the country unless they present themselves as Libyans.

Family law

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.

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.

International Child Abduction

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. It does not apply between Canada and Libya.

If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Libya by an abducting parent:

  • act as quickly as you can
  • consult a lawyer in Canada and in Libya to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
  • report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre.

If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.

Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.

Useful links

Dress and behaviour

Islamic practices and beliefs are closely adhered to in the country’s customs, laws and regulations.

  • Dress conservatively
  • Behave discreetly
  • Respect religious and social traditions to avoid offending local sensitivities.

Ramadan

In 2024, the lunar month of Ramadan is expected to begin on or around March 10.

In public, between sunrise and sunset, be discreet when:

  • drinking
  • eating
  • smoking

Religious proselytism

Religious proselytism is illegal in Libya. This includes preaching, possessing, or distributing religious literature or material.

If you engage in religious activities that contradict or challenge Islamic teachings and values, you could face jail sentences.

Money

The economy is primarily cash-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 Libyan dinars. U.S. dollars can be exchanged at official exchange counters or banks.

Adhere to the rules regarding currency declaration and exchange rates. Automated banking machines are not readily available.

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Natural disasters and climate

Severe flooding in northeastern Libya

Heavy rainfall from storm Daniel has caused severe flooding in several coastal towns in northeastern Libya, including:

  • Derna
  • Benghazi
  • Shahhat
  • Al Bayda
  • Soussa
  • Al-Marj

The storm ruptured dams near the city of Derna, causing significant damage to infrastructure and resulting in thousands of casualties. A curfew is in effect from 7pm to 8am.

There are reports of disruptions to the following essential services:

  • transportation
  • power distribution
  • water and food supply
  • telecommunications networks
  • emergency services
  • medical care

If you are in northeastern Libya:

  • stay away from affected areas
  • exercise caution
  • monitor local media and weather reports
  • follow the instructions of local authorities, including evacuation orders
  • register or update your personal information through the Registration of Canadians Abroad service and encourage other Canadian citizens in Libya to do so

If you require emergency consular assistance, contact the Canadian Embassy to Libya in Tunisia by:

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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Need help?

Local services

Emergency services

There is no centralized number to reach emergency services. Research and carry contact information for local police and medical facilities.

Consular assistance

There is no resident Canadian government office in Libya. You can obtain consular assistance and further consular information from the Embassy of Canada to Libya in Tunis.

Tunis - Embassy of Canada
Street AddressLot 24, rue de la Feuille d’Érable, Cité des Pins, Tunis, TunisiaPostal AddressP.O. Box 48, 1053 Les Berges du Lac II, Tunis, TunisiaTelephone+216 70 010 200Fax+216 70 010 393Emailtunis.consular@international.gc.caInternethttps://www.Canada.ca/Canada-And-TunisiaFacebookEmbassy of Canada to TunisiaTwitterCanada in LibyaAppointment Book your appointment online

For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada to Libya in Tunis and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.

Disclaimer

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, expressed 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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