Frequently Asked Questions about Libya
Is it safe to pursue jobs in Libya now?
The security situation in Libya remains uncertain and is subject to change. Currently, expats are warned not to travel to Libya for any reason. Infrastructure and basic services are limited in Libya’s main towns and many international schools closed during the conflict, and some have yet to reopen.
Should I live within an expat compound in Libya?
Accommodation for expats moving to Libya is usually organized by an employer/sponsor. Depending on the company, they may opt to put you in one of the expat compounds usually situated just outside the main city, or they may choose rather to give you an allowance with which you can select your own accommodation. Although expats can rent a villa or an apartment from a Libyan landlord within city limits, they should be mindful to make sure that all appliances, structural components and amenities are in order. Libyan landlords can prove neglectful once they’ve received the annual payment up front.
The expat compounds are great options for families given the on-site facilities, security and presence of other children; they also cultivate a sense of camaraderie among fellow foreigners who have moved abroad.
Does Libya have a reliable healthcare system or should I consider looking abroad for treatment?
Due to Libya’s long-time international sanctions, the country’s healthcare system was forced to develop without any type of global influence. As a result, facilities are not up to par, and hospitals are often understaffed and ill-equipped. It is highly recommended to seek treatment for serious complications abroad – so make sure your healthcare provider covers emergency evacuation procedures. There are some private clinics manned predominately by expats that have elevated levels of care, but again, these are not prepared to handle grave situations.
What do I need to get a business visa in Libya?
I's not possible to get a business visa for Libya without sponsorship from an employer. Once a business endorses you and initiates the application process from within Libyan borders, you must formally request a visa application form the Libyan Consulate in your country of origin. Send the completed form, two passport photos, an official Arabic translation of the vial pages of your passport, a letter of sponsorship from your employer, proof of a return airline ticket, your passport, and the Libyan visa fee to the Consulate for processing. Then…prepare to wait.
Can my child attend state schools or are there international schools available in Libya?
There is a smattering of international schools in Libya. Many of these are endorsed by corporations, and thus tuition may even be subsidised, depending on your employer. Space is extremely limited due to the small amount of institutions, so be sure to enrol your child as early as possible.
I’ve heard driving in Libya can be dangerous, is there any way to avoid this?
Libya has one of the highest road death rates in the world. Driving in Libya is extremely dangerous, and should be undertaken with the utmost caution. Libyan traffic officers poorly enforce laws, and Libyan drivers are erratic and unpredictable. Always exercise extreme caution and defensive driving techniques. Furthermore, it’s best to avoid driving at night, when police are known to set up roadblocks to trap drunk drivers.
As a woman moving to Libya, what do I need to keep in mind?
Women in Libya are entitled to a greater degree of individual freedom than many of the country’s Middle Eastern Islamic counterparts. Most national legislation does not discriminate against women, but equality is still nonetheless skewed. Women have freedom of dress, but still, most appear conservatively clothed and often carry a light scarf for a situation that may beg more modesty. Though they have the right to appear in public alone, it is not recommended for a woman to appear solo after nightfall.
Are Western items available in the shops?
Increasingly this is the case, but the range of stock is still very limited. It is advisable to bring electronic items and transformers with you, and any Western luxury items you may want. The local fruits and vegetables are of a high quality and also very reasonably priced. The most difficult Western amenities to find are cosmetic products.