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Lebanon

If you’re travelling to Lebanon, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information.

Security Status

  • Normal precautions
  • High degree of caution
  • Avoid non-essential travel
  • Do not travel
  • Overview
  • Safety and Security
  • Local Laws and Customs
  • Climate
  • Additional Information
  • Embassy Contact

Overview

Overview

General COVID-19 Travel Advisory in Operation:

Avoid non-essential travel until further notice:

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade advises against all non-essential travel overseas until further notice. This includes Great Britain but does not apply to Northern Ireland. It also includes all travel by cruise ship.

If you are currently travelling outside of Ireland:

Flight restrictions and route cancellations are happening on a daily basis worldwide and there is no guarantee that air routes will continue to operate. For this reason, where commercial flights are still an option, we recommend that people who wish to do so make arrangements to return to Ireland as soon as possible.

We are working with airlines to show maximum flexibility to those passengers who need to change their existing flight arrangements. Where commercial flights are no longer available, we are working side-by-side with our international partners to identify alternative options where possible.

It may not be feasible or possible for everyone who wants to travel back to Ireland to do so in the short term. We ask Irish citizens remaining abroad to make decisions that safeguard their health and well-being and that they follow local public health and safety requirements.  We ask that they remain in close contact with family, friends and their local Irish Embassy or Consulate. 

We know that this is a stressful situation for citizens and our embassy network is working around the clock to provide people with all the information and assistance that we can, bearing in mind the situation is unfolding across multiple countries and is not one under our control. 

What to do on entering Ireland from abroad:

The Irish Health Authorities require anyone coming into Ireland, apart from Northern Ireland, to restrict their movements on arrival for 14 days. Check the Irish Health Service COVID-19 Advice Page for full information on these requirements. This includes Irish residents. Exemptions are in place for providers of essential supply chain services such as hauliers, pilots and maritime staff.

Where to go for more information:

We continue to make updates to our online travel advice for over 200 countries and recommend that you download our TravelWise App and follow us on Twitter. If abroad you should register with your local Irish Embassy or Consulate and regularly check their website and especially their Twitter accounts for details of any local public health measures and travel restrictions.

Security status

Avoid non-essential travel

Latest travel alerts

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

On 15 March 2020, the Lebanese Government declared a state of national emergency in response to the coronavirus outbreak. This means that:

  • Effective immediately until 29 March, individuals must remain at home and only leave in extreme circumstances;
  • From 19 March until 29 March inclusive, the closure of Beirut Rafic Hariri Airport, with some exceptions including for Diplomats accredited in Lebanon and those working for International Organisations;
  • Effective immediately until 29 March, public and private institutions and companies are to close, with the exception of bakeries, supermarkets, hospitals and haulage companies.

Some countries are imposing restrictions on travel from Lebanon. If you are travelling from Lebanon, you should check the situation at your destination before you travel.

For more information about COVID-19 see the health section of this travel advice.

The Lebanese Government on 11 March banned all travel to and from 11 countries where there have been what they call significant outbreaks of the coronavirus.

The ban on Italy, Iran, China and South Korea came into effect imediately.

A four-day grace period has been allowed for travel to and from France, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, Iraq, Egypt and Syria to allow people to leave and return to and from these countries. The ban on travel to and from these countries will come into effect on 15 March.

Political tensions and security concerns are heightened at present as a result of unrest in neighbouring Syria and the wider region. Protests, armed clashes and kidnappings of foreigners have occurred throughout the country and certain areas of the country should be avoided, such as the southern suburbs of Beirut, north Lebanon, near border areas and in refugee camps.

There is a threat of terrorist attacks, which could occur at any time in the country. Lebanese security authorities are at a high state of alert and conducting security operations across Lebanon. If you notice or suspect a security incident is underway, you should immediately leave the area. You should be vigilant at all times, avoid crowds and crowded places and follow the advice of the Lebanese authorities.

Health

Coronavirus

There is an ongoing outbreak of a novel coronavirus in many countries around the world and cases have also been reported in Lebanon.

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Please be wary of these symptoms and seek immediate medical attention should such symptoms occur.

International travellers: practice usual precautions

You can reduce the general risk of acute respiratory infections while travelling by:

  • avoiding close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections;
  • frequent hand-washing, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environment;
  • avoiding close contact with live or dead farm or wild animals;
  • travellers with symptoms of acute respiratory infection should practice cough etiquette (maintain distance, cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing, and wash hands).

Additional information on the Coronavirus can be found via the following links:

Ministry of Public Health - Lebanon

WHO - World Health Organisation

ECDC - European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control

HPSC - Health Protection Surveillance Centre

HSE – Health Service Executive

DFAT Travel Advice Centre +353(0)16131733

Emergency assistance

The best help is often close at hand; try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.

There is no Irish Embassy in Lebanon, so we are limited in the help we can provide in the event of an emergency. You can contact the Embassy of Ireland in Cairo if you require assistance or advice. Irish citizens with a genuine emergency can leave a voicemail message on the outside of office hours. Make sure to leave your name, mobile number, current location and the nature of the emergency. An Embassy Duty Officer will return your call.

EU Directive on Consular Protection

Under the EU Consular Protection Directive, Irish nationals may seek assistance from the Embassy or Consulate of any other EU member state in a country where there is no Irish Embassy or permanent representation.

Our tips for safe travels

  • Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities
  • Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
  • Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly in an emergency, such as a natural disaster or a family emergency
  • Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates    
  • Read our Topical ‘Know Before You Go’ guide

Safety and Security

Safety and security

Political unrest

The political situation in Lebanon is fragile and has the potential to deteriorate quickly. Regional developments also have the potential to trigger popular unrest.

If you’re in Lebanon, we advise you to exercise extreme caution and to consider your need to remain there, to monitor this travel advice and the local media for updates on the situation.

Regional tensions

Political tensions and security concerns are heightened at present as a result of unrest in neighbouring Syria and the wider region. Syrian military forces have made several incursions into Lebanese territory. Protests, sectarian violence and kidnappings of foreigners have occurred throughout the country, particularly in the northern city of Tripoli.

Terrorism

There have been a number of attacks by al Qaeda-linked militants, mainly in the south. The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and Lebanese Government interests, particularly the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), have been targeted for attacks by some of the militant groups, some of these involving fatalities.

Landmines

Unexploded ordnance, particularly in the South, and in the Bekaa Valley, is a risk. Don’t stray off main routes, particularly in rural areas, and always check with your local contact before travelling to affected regions.

Kidnapping

Foreign nationals can be potential targets for kidnapping throughout Lebanon, particularly in the northern city of Tripoli and Baalbek or other parts of the Bekaa Valley, where we strongly advise you to keep to the main roads and larger towns.

Protests and Demonstrations

Protest and demonstrations can turn violent with little warning. We strongly advise all Irish citizens in Lebanon to avoid all protests and demonstrations. If caught up in a demonstration Irish citizens should not attempt to take photos and should leave the area immediately.

Crime

The risk to tourists from petty or violent crime is low in Lebanon, though vehicle crime is on the increase. You should always take sensible precautions: 

  • Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place. 
  • Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home.
  • Avoid showing large sums of money in public and don’t use ATMs after dark, especially if you’re alone. Check no one has followed you after conducting your business.
  • Avoid dark and unlit streets and stairways, and arrange to be picked up or dropped off as close to your hotel or apartment entrance as possible.
  • Keep a close eye on your personal belongings and hold on to them in public places such as internet cafés, train and bus stations.

Reporting crime

If you’re a victim of a crime while in Lebanon, report it to the local police immediately. And you can contact the Honorary Consul in Beirut or the Irish Embassy in Cairo if you need help.

Driving

If you’re planning to drive in Lebanon, you should be extremely careful as the accident rate is high and road standards are variable. If you want to drive:

  • Bring your full Irish driver’s licence and your international driving permit and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance. Your international driving permit must be certified by authorities on arrival
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law and you risk being detained, fined or banned from driving if caught
  • Keep your vehicle doors locked and your bags kept out of sight to prevent opportunistic bag-snatching if you’re stopped at traffic lights
  • Avoid driving outside the main cities at night

Road closures

The road to the airport can be closed sporadically due to various factors, including local sectarian clashes, civil unrest in Syria and protests against government policies.

Diesel engines

If you’re driving your own car in Lebanon, be aware that vehicles with diesel engines are now banned.

Hiring a vehicle

If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.

Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).

 

Local Laws and Customs

Local laws and customs

Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or may even be illegal.

Muslim culture

Although Lebanon may seem less conservative than its neighbours in the region, we recommend you dress modestly when visiting sites of religious significance, and areas outside the main cities.

Ramadan

During the holy month of Ramadan, avoid eating, drinking or smoking in public in certain areas as this may cause offence.

Illegal drugs

Illegal drug use (no matter what the drug) carries stiff penalties, including fines and long prison terms. 

Local laws

While you’re in Lebanon, you’re subject to local laws, including ones that may seem harsh by Irish standards. For example, the laws around custody of children are significantly different to those in force in Ireland, so if you’re a parent, you should be aware of your legal position.

If you have to deal with any legal matters in Lebanon, particularly about family law, we strongly advise you to get professional legal advice.

Photography

It’s against the law to photograph or video government buildings or military personnel, equipment and installations.

Climate

Climate

The temperature in certain areas of Lebanon during the summer months in some areas can reach over 40 degrees Celsius and you should drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.

Earthquake

Lebanon is in an active earthquake zone. If you’re travelling to or living in Lebanon, make sure you know what to do in the event of an earthquake.

Forest fires

Bush and forest fires are common during the summer months in Lebanon (usually June to September) particularly in heavily-forested areas. Follow local reports closely for warnings of forest fires and avoid any areas that may have fire warnings in place.

Sand storms

Sand and dust storms are also common so follow local reports closely for warnings.

Additional Information

Additional information

Entry requirements (visa/passport)

Irish citizens need a visa to enter Lebanon, which is usually available on arrival to tourists travelling on ordinary passports. If you want more information on the entry requirements for Lebanon, ask your travel agent or contact the nearest Embassy of Lebanon in London.

You can also check with them how long your passport must be valid for.

Regional travel

Having Israeli stamps in your passport or entry/exit stamps from Egypt’s and Jordan’s borders with Israel will prevent your entry into Lebanon.

Health

Novel Coronavirus

There is an ongoing outbreak of a novel coronavirus in China. Cases have been reported in other countries, including Lebanon.
Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Please be wary of these symptoms and seek immediate medical attention should such symptoms occur.
International travellers: practice usual precautions
You can reduce the general risk of acute respiratory infections while travelling by:

  • avoiding close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections;
  • frequent hand-washing, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environment;
  • avoiding close contact with live or dead farm or wild animals;
  • travellers with symptoms of acute respiratory infection should practice cough etiquette (maintain distance, cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing, and wash hands).

Check with your doctor well in advance of travelling to see if you need an vaccinations for Lebanon.
Additional information on the Coronavirus can be found via the following links:

Ministry of Public Health, Lebanon https://www.moph.gov.lb/

WHO - World Health Organisation

ECDC - European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control

HPSC - Health Protection Surveillance Centre

Water

In general, tap water is not safe to drink. Bottled water is cheap and readily available.

 

Embassy contact

Embassy Contact

We do not have an Embassy in Lebanon, please contact Embassy of Ireland Egypt.

If you are an Irish citizen and in need of emergency assistance outside of normal office hours, then you can contact us on the following emergency number: +20 1274443942

Alternatively, the Duty Officer at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade can be contacted at +353 1 408 2000.

Embassy of Ireland
18 Hassan Sabry Street
Zamalek
Cairo
Egypt

Tel: +202 27287100
Fax: +202 27362863

Monday to Friday 09:30-12:30

Contact us

Honorary Consulate Contact

Mr. Georges H. Siam
Badaro 2000 Building 1st Floor
Badaro Street
Badaro-Beirut
Lebanon

Tel: + 961 139 5005
Fax: + 961 139 2005

Email: Email us