Libya country information and facts for travelers.


Country Description: The Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya considers itself an Islamic Arab Socialist "Mass-State", (i.e., a state run by the masses). Libya has a developing economy. Islamic ideals and beliefs provide the conservative foundation of the country's customs, laws and practices. Tourist facilities are not widely available.

Passport and/or Visa Requirements: Passports and visas are required. On December 11, 1981, U.S. passports ceased to be valid for travel to, in or through Libya and may not be used for that purpose without a special validation.

Passport Restriction: Without the requisite validation, use of a U.S. passport for travel to, in or through Libya may constitute a violation of 18 U.S.C. 1544, and may be punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment.

The categories of individuals eligible for consideration for a special passport validation are set forth in 22 CFR. 51.74. Passport validation requests for Libya can be forwarded in writing to the following address:

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Passport Services U.S. Department of State 1111 19th St., NW, Suite 260 Washington, DC 20522-1705 Attn.: Office of Passport Policy and Advisory Services Telephone (202) 955-0231 or 955-0232 Fax (202) 955-0230

The request must be accompanied by supporting documentation according to the category under which validation is sought. Currently, the four categories of persons specified in 22 C.F.R. 51.74 as being eligible for consideration for passport validation are as follows:

[a] Professional Reporters: Includes full-time members of the reporting or writing staff of a newspaper, magazine or broadcasting network whose purpose for travel is to gather information about Libya for dissemination to the general public.

[b] American Red Cross: Applicant establishes that he or she is a representative of the American Red Cross or International Red Cross traveling pursuant to an officially-sponsored Red Cross mission.

[c] Humanitarian Considerations: Applicant must establish that his or her trip is justified by compelling humanitarian considerations or for family unification. At this time, "compelling humanitarian considerations" include situations where the applicant can document that an immediate family member is critically ill in Libya. Documentation concerning family illness must include the name and address of the relative, and be from that relative's physician attesting to the nature and gravity of the illness. "Family unification" situations may include cases in which spouses or minor children are residing in Libya, with and dependent on, a Libyan national spouse or parent for their support.

[d] National Interest: The applicant's request is otherwise found to be in the national interest.

In all requests for passport validation for travel to Libya, the name, date and place of birth for all concerned persons must be given, as well as the U.S. passport numbers. Documentation as outlined above should accompany all requests. Additional information may be obtained by writing to the above address or by calling the Office of Passport Policy and Advisory Services at [202] 955-0231 or 955-0232.

U.S. Treasury Sanctions: In addition to the restrictions on the use of a U.S. passport discussed above, all U.S. persons (defined as "U.S. citizens, permanent resident aliens of the United States, anyone physically located in the United States, and any entity organized under the laws of the United States") are subject to the Libyan Sanctions Regulations administered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (FAC). FAC maintains a 24-hour Fax-on-demand service (202) 622-0077, which offers up-to-date information about the embargo on Libya.

On January 7, 1986, the United States imposed economic sanctions against Libya which broadly prohibit U.S. persons from engaging in unauthorized financial transactions involving Libya, including, in part, the following: the exportation to Libya of all goods, services, or technology; the importation of goods or services of Libyan origin; engaging in the performance of a contract in support of an industrial, commercial, or governmental project in Libya; or dealing in any property in which the Government of Libya has any interest. The economic sanctions, in part, prohibit U.S. persons from working in Libya.

These restrictions also prohibit U.S. persons from engaging in unauthorized travel-related transactions to and within Libya. Please note, however, that transactions relating to travel for journalistic activity by persons regularly employed in such capacity by a news gathering organization is exempt from the prohibition. Please note as well that U.S. persons may engage in travel-related transactions for the sole purpose of visiting immediate family members in Libya, provided that the U.S. persons seeking to travel register with the Office of Foreign Assets Control or the Embassy of Belgium in Tripoli. To register, U.S. persons who are potential travelers should provide (for each potential traveler -- parents and children) the following information:

[1] Name, date and place of birth of the person registering [including the name under which a registrant's most recent U.S. passport was issued, if that is different];

[2] If applicable, place and date of the registrant's naturalization as a U.S. citizen, and the number of the registrant's naturalization certificate, or, for permanent resident aliens, the Alien Registration Number of the registrant's Alien Registration Receipt Card;

[3] The name, relationship, and address of the immediate family member in Libya whose relationship forms the basis for the registrant's eligibility; and

[4] The number and issue date of the registrant's current U.S. passport, and the most recent date on which the passport was validated by the U.S. Department of State for travel to Libya.

Potential travelers should contact the Treasury Department at the following address and phone number:

Chief of Licensing
Office of Foreign Assets Control
U.S. Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20220
Telephone: (202) 622-2480
Fax: (202) 622-1657

UN Sanctions: Increasingly restrictive UN Security Council sanctions against Libya, including an air and selective export embargo and an assets freeze, have been imposed progressively since March 31, 1992. UN Security Council Resolutions 731 (1992), 748 (1992), and 883 (1993) were adopted in response to Libya's responsibility for the bombings of Pan Am flight 103 and UTA flight 772. These sanctions, implemented globally, make it difficult to enter or leave Libya or to receive funds when in Libya. The sale in the United States of air transportation including any stop in Libya became illegal under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, 50 U.S.C. 1701 - 06. Questions concerning this should be addressed to the Department of Treasury, Foreign Assets Control.

Medical Facilities: Basic modern medical care and medicines may not be available in Libya. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for services. U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. Specific health questions may be addressed to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's international travelers hotline at telephone (404) 332-4559, and on the Internet at

Travel Warnings, Advisories and Areas of Instability: Crime is becoming an increasing problem for travelers in Libya. The loss or theft of a U.S. passport abroad should be reported immediately to local police, the U.S. Interests Section, and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Useful information on safeguarding valuables, protecting personal security, and other matters while traveling abroad is provided in the Department of State pamphlets "A Safe Trip Abroad" and "Tips for Travelers to the Middle East and North Africa." They are available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402.

Drug Penalties: U.S. citizens are subject to the laws and legal practices of the country in which they travel. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs are severe in Libya, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences, fines, and/or flogging or other physical punishment.

Registration/Embassy Location: There is no U.S. Embassy in Libya. The U.S. Government is not in a position to accord normal consular protective services to U.S. citizens in Libya. U.S. Government interests are represented by the government of Belgium, which, as a protecting power, can provide only limited services to U.S. citizens. Inquiries on the present local situation, like traffic safety and road conditions or currency regulations, should be made to the U.S. Interests Section of the Embassy of Belgium. The Belgium Embassy is located at Tower 4, That al Imad Complex, in the capital city of Tripoli. The Belgian Embassy's mailing address is P.O. 91650, Tripoli, Libya. The telephone number is (218) (21) 33771.

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