Lebanon Travel Advice
Security travel advice for Lebanon
How safe is Lebanon?
Threat level: High
COVID-19 Situation Update in Lebanon
Due to the pandemic situation around the world, Lebanon has implemented a series of measures to control the spread of the virus and prevent contamination from overseas. A nationwide curfew has been imposed between 20:00 and 05:00, social gatherings are prohibited and people must apply online to carry out certain activities (food shopping, visit to the bank, etc). The use of fabric face masks is mandatory in public places and in vehicles and people must maintain social distancing.
When travelling to Lebanon, travellers must fill in a medical form before boarding their flights and have a valid travel insurance with cover for COVID-19 treatment. They must also present a negative PCR test result on arrival, taken no more than 96 hours prior to arrival. Further to this, they will have to undergo another PCR test at Beirut International Airport on arrival and quarantine for 72 hours. Travellers will be asked to download Covid Leb Track” mobile application on arrival and to show the application on their phones to local authorities at the airport.
To avoid contracting the disease, it is recommended to self-isolate, apply good hygiene practices, maintain social distancing, avoid unnecessary gatherings and travel.
Beirut explosion - August 2020
On the 4th of August 2020 a large explosion ripped through the port area of the city and beyond. The explosion caused by stored chemicals resulted in what could be hundreds of deaths and an estimated 5000 injured. If you have travel planned to Beirut it is advised to avoid the area as operations are still on-going. More to follow.
Security in Lebanon
The travel advice for Lebanon is for visitors to remain highly vigilant throughout their stay, due to the ongoing conflict and terrorism in the country. Many regions are unstable both politically and culturally, carrying a high risk to visitors.
Nationwide anti-government protests are taking place throughout the country since the 17th of October 2019 that started over the introduction of a new tax on VOIP calls and escalated against austerity, with many demonstrations turning violent. The best travel advice for visitors to Lebanon is to monitor local news and avoid demonstrations.
Intelligent Protection International Limited provides its private and corporate clients with Security and Bodyguard services in Lebanon and has a decade of experience in the country. If you are interested in these services, please see our web page: Bodyguard services in Lebanon.
There have been car explosions as recently as 2016 in Lebanon, with further attacks outside the refugee area, Saia, highly likely. The Palestine refugee camps have a long history of violent clashes with very little law and order, and all travel to this area is highly advised against.
A suicide bomb attack in the town of Al Qaa in July 2016, injured a number of citizens. You should avoid all travel to this area.
2015 saw explosions in the southern area of Beirut, Burj-al-Barajneh, with 43 people killed and 239 injured. Cross-border shelling and attacks on the military are frequent in the areas of Majidiyeh, Kfarshouba, Abbasiye and Wazzani.
Further incidents include a suicide bomb attack in the Jabel Mohsen area of Tripoli, which killed 9 people and left many more injured.
There is a high threat from terrorist activity throughout the country, and more so in the Bekaa Valley (west of the Baalbek El Hermel high way) in Saida and south of the Litani River. In 2014, there were 16 bombings alone across the country, with attacks taking place in Wadi Khaled, Al Qaa, Hermel, Baalbek and Aarsal in the Bekaa Valley. Travellers are advised to remain on high alert and be wary of any suspicious behaviour during their visit.
Lebanon is perhaps the most diverse country in the Middle East. There have been times of peace, but this can and has deteriorated quickly in the past, triggered by international, regional or local events.
The risks of being caught up in a terrorist incident are quite high, and there is a heightened threat of kidnapping; Lebanon and its associated terror groups have been well-known for carrying out some of the longest cases of kidnapping. There was a long spate of kidnapping, known as the “Lebanon hostage crisis”, which ran from 1982 to 1992 and involved 96 foreign hostages.
Civilians can sometimes get held up in attacks, and it is advised that you leave any area where you see a security operation being undertaken. Tourist destinations such as hotels, shopping centres and restaurants, can be the target for attacks aimed at westerners.
It is a concern in the intelligence community that the situation with ISIS/ISIL will spill into Lebanon. Maj-Gen Abbas Ibrahim, the head of Lebanon's General Security intelligence agency has stated that ISIL/ISIS have said that “Lebanon would be in the eye of the storm”.
The level of general crime is quite low in Lebanon, but there have been some robberies and bag-snatching. There have also been some incidents with (un-official) taxi drivers robbing their passengers. The best travel advice for Lebanon is to use an official taxi service, and be aware of your surroundings at all times.
Lebanon's International Relations
Lebanon has had ongoing conflicts and territorial and border disputes for many years with Syria and Israel. During its occupation, Syria had influenced Lebanon's foreign policy and internal policies. They signed a treaty in 2005 that agreed to mutual cooperation.
Lebanon enjoys friendly relations with fellow pro-Western Arab states, such as Turkey and has a particularly strong relationship with Saudi Arabia.
Travelling around Lebanon
There are road closures in place in Lebanon, including main roads such as the Beirut Airport road. The best travel advice for Lebanon is that it is best not to travel at night, due to the driving conditions and the hazardous driving standards. You must carry ID on you at all times in the case of check points, and remain vigilant at all times when at these hotspots.
An international driving license is required if you are planning on driving in Lebanon. Other drivers can be aggressive and pay little attention to regulations, so drive with caution.
If you hear gunfire, make your way inside to the nearest building if possible; this could be a celebratory act or forthcoming violence. Either way, it is best to go inside until this subsides.
Please note that Lebanon is in an active earthquake zone, however this is currently quiet geologically.
Commercial Travel Risk Services
Intelligent Protection International Limited provides companies and organisations with Commercial Travel Risk Services designed to mitigate risks of staff when they travel for business. If you are interested in these services, please see: Commercial Travel Risk Services.
Emergency services in Lebanon
Police emergency: 112
Police emergency: Beirut 01 300575
Police emergency: Tripoli 06 430950
Fire emergency: 175
Medical emergency (Red Cross): 140
Medical emergency (Doctors at Home): 01 444400
Religion: Islam & Christianity
Currency: Lebanese Pound
Time now in Beirut:
Consular information for Lebanon
U.S. Embassy Beirut
Awkar facing the Municipality,
P.O. Box 70-840,
Telephone: +961 454 2600
Telephone: +961 454 3600
British Embassy Beirut
Beirut Central District,
Telephone: +961 196 0800
Visa requirements for Lebanon
British and U.S visitors (and some other countries) can obtain a visa upon arrival in Lebanon, without prior application from an Embassy or Consulate. Further advice can be found here: Visa advice Lebanon
Cultural advice for visiting Islamic countries
If you have never visited an Islamic country before, you maybe have some unanswered questions the culture, what you can wear and general dos and don'ts. Intelligent Protection International Limited is highly experienced at working in Islamic countries and has done so for the past decade. We have written a guide that will help you understand what is culturally acceptable and hope you find it useful. See our page: Guide to Islamic culture for travellers.
Healthcare and Immunisations
It is advised that visitors to Lebanon are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. You should ensure that you have been further vaccinated against diseases such as Tetanus, which is usually administered when you are a young baby. You may also want to consider a Hepatitis A vaccination. Check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure.
Personal hygiene must be paramount and the local water supply avoided at all costs. Drink only bottled water and inspect prior to consumption. A number of cases of bottled water being refilled with tap water and re-sold have been reported.
Many hospitals in Lebanon are of high standard and well-equipped, with most staff able to speak English and French if necessary. Treatment can prove extremely costly, so it is recommended that you purchase adequate travel health insurance before you visit the country.
Air pollution is an issue in Beirut, it is advised you limit your exposure to areas where lime powder is used, and if necessary wear a facial mask.