Libya is a massive country, boasting extensive oil reserves and a beautiful desert landscape. Expats moving to Libya are sure to have many questions about life in this destination. Here are answers to some of the most 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, foreigners are warned not to travel to Libya for any reason. Infrastructure and basic services are limited in Libya’s main towns.
Should I live within an expat compound in Libya?
Accommodation for expats moving to Libya is usually organised by an employer or sponsor. Depending on the company, they may opt to put all employees in one of the expat compounds usually situated just outside the main city, or they may choose rather to give employees an allowance with which they can select their 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 sense of community. They also cultivate 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 international 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 expats should engage the services of a health insurance provider that 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?
It's not possible to get a business or work visa for Libya without sponsorship from an employer. Once a business endorses an expat and initiates the application process from within Libyan borders, the expat must formally request a visa application from the Libyan consulate in their country of origin. They should then send the completed form and all necessary documentation to the consulate for processing, and be prepared 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 the employer. Space is extremely limited due to the small number of institutions, so children should be enrolled 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. It’s best to avoid driving at night.
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 in many other Middle Eastern countries. 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 require 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?
This is increasingly the case, but the range of stock is still very limited. It is advisable to bring electronic items and transformers and any Western luxury items along when moving to Libya. The local fruits and vegetables are of high quality and also very reasonably priced. The most difficult Western amenities to find are cosmetic products.
►To learn about aspects one may have to adjust to, read our page on Culture Shock in Libya
Are you an expat living in Libya?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Libya. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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