Libya Travel Advice
Security travel advice for Libya
How safe is Libya?
Threat level: High
Libya is a very unstable and unpredictable country at present. Daily fighting and frequent disruption and unease in the country means that all travel to the country is highly advised against and anyone remaining in the country is advised to leave immediately. The British and U.S Embassies have been closed since 2014.
There is a very high risk of kidnapping throughout Libya, particularly foreign visitors. There have been a number of kidnappings, including of British, U.S. and Ethiopian nationals in recent years, with reports of some being killed by Daesh. Should you choose to travel to Libya, you should exercise extreme caution at all times and never travel alone.
A state of emergency is currently in place since April 2019 following ongoing armed clashes between Eastern forces and government troops.
Recent Security risk events
The terrorist group ISIL/ISIS is operating in the country and targeting westerners and western interests. Many embassies have been attacked including those of Middle Eastern and Arabic countries (UAE, Egypt, Morocco & Algeria). There have been a number of recent car bomb attacks in Tripoli, Tobruk and Benghazi, as well as regular gun battles between factions.
On the 25th of December 2018, a suicide attack on Libya's Ministry of Foreign Affairs occurred in Tripoli after three gunmen entered the building with one detonating explosives inside, killing two people.
On the 24th of November 2018, gunmen raided the oasis town of Tazerbo in Lybia killing 9 people, injuring 5 persons and kidnapping 20 others. The attackers are thought to belong to Islamic State.
On the 10th of September 2018, gunmen stormed the headquarters of the National Oil Corporation in Tripoli in Libya, they exchanged fire with security forces. 4 persons were killed and 10 were wounded.
On the 27th of August 2018, the 7th Brigade launched an offensive against a coalition of Government-aligned militia in order to gain control. 39 people died in the clashes and over 100 were injured.
On the 15th of January 2018, clashes occurred between two local groups, the Bugra group and the Special Deterrence Force over the control of the Mitiga Airport in Tripoli, responsible for the death of 9 people and for wounding 32 others.
On the 2nd of May 2018, the Islamic State Group attacked Libya's electoral commission headquarters in Tripoli, killing 13 persons and injuring others.
The Libyan National Army announced that all vessels in Libyan waters require army approval for transit, following the January 4, 2015 bombing of a Greek-operated oil tanker near Derna, that killed two crew.
On the 4th of October 2017, a bomb attack carried out by ISIS targeting the main court building in Misrata killed 4 people.
On the 23rd of August 2017, ISIS carried out an attack on a checkpoint in the central district of al-Jufra, killing 11 people.
In January 2017, the former Minister of the Interior Ashour Ben Shuwail was injured in an attempted bombing attack by suspected Islamic terrorist organisations. Several other people were killed in the explosion.
In December 2016, a suicide bomber killed eight Libyan army troops near the eastern city of Benghazi. IS claimed responsibility for the bombing in a statement circulated online.
On the 2nd of October 2016, a Dutch journalist was shot dead in Sirte by an IS Sniper, while reporting on the fighting in Libya.
In 2015, ISIL attacked Mabruk oilfield some 170 kilometres southeast of Sirte, killing 9, and 3 foreign national workers from an oil company were kidnapped. ISIL remain in control of Sirte and the central coastal region.
ISIL recently launched a large scale attack where at least 9 people, including 5 foreign nationals, were killed during the attack on an international hotel in Tripoli frequently used by foreigners. There are also recent unconfirmed reports circulating that 5 Egyptian nationals have kidnapped and held for ransom by Islamic extremists. The risk of kidnapp in Libya is currently very high for all Foreign nationals.
All travel to Libya should be with the appropriate level of armed Close Protection with all movement being meticulously planned with logistical support in place.
There have been demonstrations in cities and large towns which you should not get involved in at all cost. Heavy fighting continues in residential areas of Benghazi city as a result of the political instability. Avoid large gatherings and monitor the local media when possible.
Crime rates are high in all areas of the country mostly due to the ongoing armed conflicts and political instabilities. Take into consideration the high risk of theft, assaults and armed banditry. The road between Tripoli and the Ras-al Jadir border crossing with Tunisia is at a particularly high risk of banditry.
Tripoli is still a potentially dangerous city and presents a high risk to foreign nationals with near daily reports of car jackings and kidnaps.
Libya's International Relations
The foreign relations of Libya were largely reshuffled after the Libyan Civil War, with the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi and the foundation of the current Libyan State. Libya has received much foreign aid from the US, UK and France, before and after the war, leading to improved relations.
Travelling around Libya
The standard of driving in Libya is poor, but the roads around main cities are generally in reasonable condition. You should avoid all off-road driving due to the risk of unexploded landmines.
Foreign nationals especially those from western countries including news teams are thought to be high priority targets of mistreatment and kidnappings by the armed groups in Libya, so you should travel with protection at all times.
There is a widespread and worsening shortage of diesel and petrol and lengthy queues at fuel stations are common. It is advised to take extra fuel supplies during any extended travel and have adequate supplies of food and water in your vehicle.
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 Libya
Police emergency: 33 35 613/614
Medical emergency: 193
Currency: Libyan Dinar
Time now in Tripoli:
Consular information for Libya
U.S. Embassy Tripoli
U.S. Embassy Tripoli personnel are currently working from the U.S. Embassy in Malta.
Telephone: NOT AVAILABLE AT PRESENT
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: NOT AVAILABLE AT PRESENT
British Embassy Tripoli
At present there is no British Embassy Tripoli personnel in Libya.
Telephone: +44 207 008 0000
Visa requirements for Libya
A visa is required by all visitors to Libya; if that have been applied for overseas, they may not be accepted in the country due to its ongoing conflict. You should contact you closest Libyan Embassy for more information on applying for visas. Should your passport contain a stamp indicating you have travelled to Israel, you will not be allowed to enter the country.
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 Libya are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. It is recommended for most travellers to also get Tetanus and Hepatitis A vaccinations.
There is no risk of Yellow Fever in Libya, however, if you are coming from a country where there is a risk of the disease, or transiting for longer than 12 hours in an at risk country, you will have to provide a certificate of Yellow Fever vaccination. Check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure.
Personal hygiene must be paramount, the local water supply avoided at all costs and bottled water inspected prior to consumption. There have been a number of cases of bottled water being refilled with tap water and re-sold.
Medical facilities in Libya are of short supply and poor condition as they frequently face damage and disruption. There are private clinics available in Tripoli but any serious cases will face evacuation to a better equipped country. You should keep this in mind when purchasing travel and health insurance and ensure that it will cover all medical situations.