Expats should note that tourist visas for Libya are only available through tour operators. Also be aware that visitors holding travel documents containing a visa (valid or expired) for Israel, or any evidence of entry in Israel, will be refused entry.
Work visas for Libya
Everyone entering Libya needs a visa to do so. Most of the burden of proof for business visas and work permits for Libya falls on the hiring company. Prior to entering the country, applicants need 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. At this point, expats should advise whether or not their family will be following. In some cases their visas can be processed together, and the extra administrative hassle of completing the process again can be avoided. If this is not feasible, then they can only formally apply for their visas once an expat has migrated to the country and invites them.
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 document.
The documents that need to be sent to the consulate vary, but may include a formal letter of invitation, passport photos, round-trip air tickets, 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 personal identification documents, such as birth and marriage certificates, 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 the police station 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 only 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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