Most individuals will need a visa to enter Libya, except nationals from exempt countries and those eligible for tourist visas on arrival. This includes Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey.
Expats moving to Libya for work will be glad to learn that most of the burden of proof for business visas and work permits falls on the hiring company.
Tourist visas for Libya
Tourist visas for Libya are only available through tour operators or visa agencies, as most embassies currently do not issue them due to safety concerns. Visa agencies will typically collect an applicant's documentation and send it to the embassy for approval. The application is usually processed within two to 15 working days, so prospective visitors should plan accordingly.
Single entry tourist visas obtained on arrival are typically valid for 90 days from the date of issue for a 30-day stay. There are also two types of multiple-entry visas, valid for 90 and 180 days respectively, but these are not available for issue on arrival and must be applied for ahead of time.
Note that anyone holding travel documents containing a visa (valid or expired) for Israel, or any evidence of entry into Israel, will be refused entry into Libya. Nationals from Sudan, Pakistan, Yemen, Bangladesh, Iran and Syria are also banned from entering the country.
Work visas for Libya
Before they can enter the country, applicants require a letter of invitation from the sponsoring company. This can be a time-consuming process. It's best to apply as early as possible to avoid delays.
The sponsoring company for a visa or work permit will initiate the application process by formally requesting the visa from within Libyan borders. Expats will need to supply their future employer with basic details to facilitate this process.
Once the employer applies to the Libyan embassy, a reference number is issued and the application is officially recorded in the system. At this point, expats should contact the Libyan Consulate in their country and request a visa application form. They will cross-check the reference number and email the necessary documents.
The documents that need to be sent to the consulate vary, but may include a formal letter of invitation, passport photos, the visa fee, and the complete visa application form. The application process can take up to six months.
Lastly, it is a good idea to have documents officially translated into Arabic as well.
Exit and re-entry visas for Libya
If leaving Libya for a holiday or a business trip, expats will need to visit a police station at their destination within the first week of arrival and have their passport stamped. Expats living in Libya on a resident visa must formally obtain an exit/re-entry visa each time they depart and return to the country. The exception to this rule is if the expat is in possession of a multi-entry resident visa – it is therefore best to apply for this category from the start.
*Visa regulations are subject to change at short notice, and expats should contact their respective embassy or consulate for the latest details.
►Working in Libya provides expats with information about the business world
"We got work visas as part of our university job offer, which can be exchanged for an Iqama (residence permit) once the probation period is over. We got loads of help from our employers, otherwise it’s a very long process; not hard but you must be very patient."
Read more about French expat Jameela's experiences 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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