Travel Tips for Libya, Updated Intl. Guide – Travel Medicine, Inc.
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Capital: Tripoli

Time Zone: +2 hours. No daylight savings time in 2008.
Tel. Country Code: 218
Electrical Standards: Electrical current is 127/230 (volts/hz). European Style Adaptor Plug. Grounding Adaptor Plugs D, F.


There is a low risk of malaria in North Africa and the Middle East, but other insect-transmitted diseases, such as leishmaniasis and viral infections, are potential threats. Safe water precautions, safe needle, and insect-bite prevention measures are important.


World Health Organization
Travel Health Services
Country Insights
Travel Warnings
Consular Information
Foreign Commonweatlh Office


The U.S. Embassy in Tripoli is operating with limited staff and in interim facilities. A consular officer is available to provide assistance to U.S. citizens. Appointments for routine services can be made by telephone from 9am – 4 pm Sundays through Thursdays (except U.S. and Libyan holidays) at (218) 21-335-1235 or via e-mail at In the event of an emergency involving an American citizen, the after-hours telephone number is (218) 91-220-0125.
General information, including forms, is available on the U.S. Embassy’s web site at

• Embassy of Canada
Al-Fateh Tower, Tower 1
Tel: [218] (21) 335-1633
Fax: [218] (21) 335-1630

• British Embassy
Tel: [218] (21) 340 3644/5
[218] (21) 335 1084 Consular/Visa/Management


HIV Test: Testing is required for those seeking residence permits. Short-term visitors are exempt. U.S. test results are accepted.

Required Vaccinations: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for all travelers older than one year arriving from infected areas.


Passport/Visa: Officially known as the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, 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.

Entry requirements for Americans: US nationals require a visa unless travelling together as a family, and holding a letter with proof of sponsorship from an established Libyan company. A passport is required.
Entry requirements for UK nationals: UK nationals require passport and a visa.
Entry requirements for Canadians: Canadians nationals require a passport and visa

The restrictions on the use of U.S. passports for travel to, in, or through Libya were lifted in February 2004. Please see the section below on Special Circumstances.
The Government of Libya does not allow persons with passports bearing an Israeli visa or entry/exit stamps to enter the country. At this time, neither Libya nor the U.S. provides visa services to the general public in each other’s countries; U.S. visitors to Libya should therefore plan to obtain a visa via a third country. Libyan visas require an invitation or sponsor, can take up to several months to process, and should be obtained prior to travel. All visas are vetted and approved by immigration departments in Tripoli and only issued by the appropriate Libyan Embassy upon receipt of that approval. There may be another wait for actual visa issuance once approval has been received. For tourists, the visa application procedure in most cases requires a letter of invitation from an accredited tour company in Libya; for business travelers, a letter of invitation is needed from the Libyan business entity. Americans who apply for Libyan visas are experiencing significant delays, often waiting several weeks or months if their applications are approved at all. Inconsistent Libyan visa practice is subject to change without notice and visa service to American citizens is often blocked without warning. With few exceptions, Libya has stopped issuing tourist visas to Americans. It is recommended that Americans always obtain individual Libyan visas prior to travel, rather than group visas. Americans who expected to enter on group tour visas or individual airport visas arranged by Libyan sponsors have routinely been denied entry at the air and sea ports and have been forced to turn back at the airport or remain onboard ship at the port while other nationals disembark. The U.S. Embassy in Tripoli cannot provide assistance to American citizens seeking Libyan visas.
Inquiries about obtaining a Libyan visa may be made through the Libyan Embassy in Washington, D.C. The Embassy is located at 2600 Virginia Avenue, NW – Suite 705, Washington, DC 20037, phone number 202-944-9601, fax number 202-944-9606. Neither the Libyan Mission to the UN in New York nor the Libyan Embassy in Washington, D.C. accepts visa applications. The closest Libyan visa-issuing office to the continental United States is the Libyan People’s Bureau in Ottawa, Canada; however, that office frequently declines to accept visa applications from American citizens.


Cholera: Cholera vaccine (not available in the U.S.) is recommended primarily for people at high risk (e.g., relief workers in refugee camps, certain healthcare personnel) who work and live in highly endemic areas under less than adequate sanitary conditions. Not recommended otherwise.

Hepatitis A: Recommended for all travelers >1 year of age not previously immunized against hepatitis A.

Hepatitis B: Recommended for travelers who might be exposed to blood or bodily fluids from unprotected sex with a high-risk partner; from injecting drug use with shared/re-used needles and syringes; from medical treatment with non-sterile (re-used) needles and syringes; from contact with open skin sores of an infected person. Recommended for any traveler requesting protection against hepatitis B virus.

Influenza: Vaccination recommended for all travelers >6 months of age who have not received a flu shot in the previous 12 months.

Polio: one-time dose of IPV vaccine is recommended for any traveler >age 18 who completed the primary childhood series but never received an additional dose of polio vaccine as an adult. Available data do not indicate the need for more than a single lifetime booster dose with IPV (Inactivated Polio Vaccine).

Rabies: Recommended for travelers spending time in remote locations, or outdoors in rural areas where there is an increased the risk of animal bites. Pre-exposure vaccination eliminates the need for rabies immune globulin in the event of a high-risk animal bite, but does not eliminate the need for additional treatment with rabies vaccine.

Routine Immunizations: Immunizations against tetanus-diphtheria, measles, mumps, rubella (MMR vaccine) and varicella (chickenpox) should be updated, if necessary, before departure. MMR protection is especially important for any female of childbearing age who may become pregnant.
• The new Tdap vaccine, ADACEL, which also boosts immunity against pertussis (whooping cough) should be considered when a tetanus-diphtheria booster is indicated.

Typhoid: Recommended for all travelers with the exception of short-term visitors who restrict their meals to major restaurants and hotels.


Health care in Libya is on the whole, below the western standards. There are, however, several private clinics in Tripoli. If you require treatment local hospitals and private clinics should be able to stabilize you, but you would normally be medically evacuated to Malta or mainland Europe for further treatment.
All travelers should be up-to-date on their immunizations and are advised to carry a medical kit as well as antibiotics to treat travelers’ diarrhea or other infections; they should bring drugs for malaria prophylaxis, if needed according to their itinerary. Travelers who are taking regular medications should carry them properly labeled and in sufficient quantity to last for the duration of their trip; they should not expect to obtain prescription or over-the-counter drugs in local stores or pharmacies in this country - the equivalent drugs may not be available; or be of unreliable quality.
• Travelers are advised to obtain travel insurance that provides for medical evacuation to more advanced medical facility in Europe in the event of serious illness or injury.

The U.S. Embassy maintains a listing of doctors and hospitals at:

• Tripoli Medical Center
University Road
Tel: [218] (21) 360-8361/70 (Switchboard)
Tel: [218] (21) 462-3921 (Outpatient Dept.)
Ministry of Health facility (1300 beds); 24-hr accident emergency services. In February 2007, the Medical University of Vienna International signed a management agreement with the Tripoli Medical Center. The Medical University of Vienna International is responsible for staff training, development of standard operating procedures (SOPs), and medical consultation.

• Tripoli Clinic
Airport High Way Road
Near by Briqa oil company
Tel: [218] (21) 360 84 02
[218] (21) 361 85 58
[218] (21) 582 5031
Fax. [218] (21) 361 85 70
80 beds capacity divided between male, female and pediatric department. In each department there is a ‘VIP’ room and special room for the relatives; 5-bed, fully-equipped ICU; facilities for resuscitation & first aid treatment are available 24 hrs; surgical and medial doctors on 24-hour duty; all specialties on call; ambulance service; aeromedical evacuations arranged to Malta or mainland Europe.

• Saint James Hospital
Outpatients & Day Case Clinic
Wesayat El Bderi
Ben Ashour
Tel: [218 (21) 3620242
A five-story medical centre offering out patient, diagnostic and day care medical services.

• Libyan Swiss Diagnostic Center
Ben Ashur, Jraba Street
Tel: [218] 9693 361 21
[218] 4104 360 21
[218] 4105 360 21
Provides outpatient diagnostic and treatment services covering most specialties as well as in-patient hospital care.


AIDS/HIV: The prevalence of HIV in Libya is estimated at 0.1% or less. As in other regions, known high-risk groups in the North Africa and the Middle East include men who have sex with men (MSM), female sex workers and their clients, injecting drug users and prisoners. The quality of the available data, however, is open to question.
Libya has primarily blamed injecting drug use for causing 90% of all known HIV infections in this country. Because of religious beliefs, the criminalization of homosexuality, and other factors, a public health approach to the problem has been discouraged; basic preventative measures, such as free condoms and safe-sex education, are still lacking in the region.
• Transmission of HIV can be prevented by avoiding: sexual contact with a high-risk partner; injecting drug use with shared needles; non-sterile medical injections; unscreened blood transfusions.
• The threat of HIV/AIDS should not be a primary concern for the traveler. However, there may be a concern for a subset of travelers who may be exposed to HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, through contact with another person’s body fluids or blood. Although travel has contributed in a general way to the global spread of AIDS, fear of traveling because of this disease is not warranted.

Accidents & Medical Insurance: Accidents and injuries are the leading cause of death among travelers under the age of 55 and are most often caused by motor vehicle and motorcycle crashes; drownings, aircraft crashes, homicides, and burns are lesser causes.
• Heart attacks cause most fatalities in older travelers.
• Infections cause only 1% of fatalities in overseas travelers, but, overall, infections are the most common cause of travel-related illness.
• MEDICAL INSURANCE: Travelers are advised to obtain, prior to departure, supplemental travel health insurance with specific overseas coverage. The policy should provide for direct payment to the overseas hospital and/or physician at the time of service and include a medical evacuation benefit. The policy should also provide 24-hour hotline access to a multilingual assistance center that can help arrange and monitor delivery of medical care and determine if medevac or air ambulance services are required. Health insurance is essential.

Hepatitis: All travelers should receive hepatitis A vaccine. Hepatitis A is transmitted through contaminated food and water. Travelers who will have access to safe food and water are at lower risk. Those at higher risk include travelers visiting friends and relatives, long-term travelers, and those visiting areas of poor sanitation.
• Hepatitis E occurs in this country. Epidemic and sporadic cases have been reported Libya and other countries in North Africa. Sero-positivity rates of 60% are reported in Egypt but seroprevalence rates in Libya are unclear. Transmission of the hepatitis E virus (HEV) occurs primarily through drinking water contaminated by sewage and also through raw or uncooked shellfish. Farm animals, such as swine, and also deer and wild boar, may serve as a viral reservoirs. (HEV is one of the few viruses which has been shown to be transmitted directly from animals through food.) In developing countries, prevention of hepatitis E relies primarily on the provision of clean water supplies and overall improved sanitation and hygiene. There is no vaccine.
• The overall hepatitis B carrier rate in the general population is estimated at up to 7%. Hepatitis B is transmitted via infected blood or bodily fluids. Travelers may be exposed by needle sharing and unprotected sex; from non-sterile medical or dental injections, and acupuncture; from unscreened blood transfusions; by direct contact with open skin lesions of an infected person.
The average traveler is at low risk for acquiring this infection. Vaccination against hepatitis B is recommended for: persons having casual/unprotected sex with new partners; sexual tourists; injecting drug users; long-term visitors; expatriates, and anybody wanting increased protection against the hepatitis B virus.
• Hepatitis C is endemic at a high level with a prevalence of 8% in the general population. Most hepatitis C virus (HCV) is spread either through intravenous drug use or, in lesser-developed countries, through blood contamination during medical procedures. Over 200 million people around the world are infected with hepatitis C — an overall incidence of around 3.3% of the population of the world. Statistically, as many people are infected with HCV as are with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Leishmaniasis: Low risk of cutaneous leishmaniasis is present. Sporadic cases have been reported from rural villages in the northwest, in the semiarid area extending from Tripoli to the Tunisian border, and from the coast to the plateau of the Jebel Nefusa. No cases have been reported from Tripoli. Visceral leishmaniasis (kala-azar) has been reported from the Benghazi region and the northeastern coastal areas. Visceral leishmaniasis tends to be associated with settlements, with dogs as the primary reservoir.
• The parasites that cause leishmaniasis are transmitted by the bite of the female phlebotomine sand fly. Sand flies bite in the evening and at night. Contrary to what their name suggests, sand flies are not found on beaches. They are usually found in forests, the cracks of stone or mud walls, or animal burrows.
• All travelers should take measures to prevent sand fly bites. Insect-bite prevention measures include applying a DEET-containing repellent to exposed skin, permethrin (spray or solution) to clothing and gear, and sleeping under a permethrin-treated bednet.

Malaria: There is a very low to absent risk of malaria from February to August in the valleys and isolated oases in the southwest (Fezzan). There is no malaria risk in urban areas.
Chemoprophylaxis is not recommended for Libya; however, travelers should be aware of the small risk of malaria and should take mosquito-bite prevention measures.

A malaria map is located on the Fit for Travel website (, which is compiled and maintained by experts from the Travel Health division at Health Protection Scotland (HPS). Go to and select Malaria Map from the Libya page on the Destinations menu or A-Z Index.

• Malaria is transmitted via the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito. Anopheles mosquitoes feed predominantly during the hours from dusk to dawn. All travelers should take measures to prevent evening and nighttime mosquito bites. Insect-bite prevention measures include applying a DEET-containing repellent to exposed skin, applying permethrin spray or solution to clothing and gear, and sleeping under a permethrin-treated bednet at night.
• You should consider the diagnosis of malaria if you develop an unexplained fever during or after being in this country.

Other Diseases/Hazards: Mediterranean spotted fever (occurs primarily in coastal areas; contracted from dog ticks, often in suburban areas)
• Brucellosis (risk from unpasteurized (raw) goat, sheep and cow milk, and cheese. In the north-western region of Libya, brucellosis seroprevalence is high in animals and human populations.)
• Diphtheria
• Plague (outbreaks have occurred near Tobruk; more cases reported in 2009.
Read more:
• Relapsing fever (tick-borne and louse-borne)
• Toxoplasmosis (infection rates as high as 52%)

Rabies: Animal rabies occurs throughout this country. Foxes, jackals, and hyenas are the principal animal reservoirs. No recent human cases have been reported. All animal bites, especially from a dog, should be evaluated immediately.
Rabies vaccine is recommended for: persons anticipating an extended stay; for those whose work or activities may bring them into contact with animals; for people going to rural or remote locations where medical care is not readily available; for travelers desiring extra protection. Children are considered at higher risk because they tend to play with animals and may not report bites.
• Pre-exposure vaccination eliminates the need for rabies immune globulin, but does not eliminate the need for two additional booster doses of vaccine. Prompt medical evaluation and treatment of any animal bite is essential, regardless of vaccination status.

Sandfly Fever: Significant potential risk is present. Transmission occurs primarily April–October throughout the coastal regions. Travelers to these regions should take measures to prevent sandfly bites.

Schistosomiasis: Risk of schistosomiasis is present in widespread areas of the southwest, including valleys in the central Fezzan and the Ghat district on the Algerian border. Transmission also occurs in Darnah on the northeastern coast. Cases also reported from Taourga, an oasis located 240 km east of Tripoli. There is no risk on usual travel itineraries around Tripoli.
• Schistosomiasis is transmitted through exposure to freshwater streams, rivers or lakes during activities such as wading, swimming, and bathing. Schistosoma larvae, released from infected freshwater snails, penetrate intact skin to establish infection. All travelers should avoid swimming, wading, or bathing in freshwater lakes, ponds, or streams in remote areas. There is no risk in chlorinated swimming pools or in seawater.

Travelers' Diarrhea: Moderate to high risk outside of first-class hotels and resorts. Travelers are advised to drink only bottled, boiled, filtered, or treated water and consume only well-cooked food. Most large urban areas have piped water, but supplies are intermittent and delivery systems are subject to contamination. A quinolone antibiotic, azithromycin, or rifaximin, combined with loperamide (Imodium), is recommended for the treatment of acute diarrhea. Diarrhea not responding to antibiotic treatment may be due toa parasitic disease such as giardiasis, amebiasis cryptosporidiosis.

Tuberculosis (TB): Tuberculosis is highly endemic in Libya with an annual occurrence was greater than or equal to 40 cases per 100,000 population. Tuberculosis (TB) is transmitted following inhalation of infectious respiratory droplets. Most travelers are at low risk. Travelers at higher risk include those who are visiting friends and relatives (particularly young children), long-term travelers, and those who have close contact, prolonged contact with the local population. There is no prophylactic drug to prevent TB. Travelers with significant exposure should have PPD skin testing done to evaluate their risk of infection.

Typhoid Fever: Typhoid fever is the most serious of the Salmonella infections. Typhoid vaccine is recommended by the CDC for all people traveling to or working in North Africa, especially if visiting smaller cities, villages, or rural areas and staying with friends or relatives where exposure might occur through food or water. Current vaccines against Salmonella typhi are only 50-80% protective and do not protect against Salmonella paratyphi, the cause of paratyphoid fever. (Paratyphoid fever bears similarities with typhoid fever, but the course is generally more benign.) Travelers should continue to practice strict food, water and personal hygiene precautions, even if vaccinated.