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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

General COVID-19 Travel Advisory in Operation

General advice to avoid non-essential travel and ‘Normal Precautions’ list of exemptions:

In accordance with Government policy, which is based on official public health advice, the Department of Foreign Affairs continues to advise against non-essential travel overseas. This includes Great Britain but does not apply to Northern Ireland. It also includes all travel by cruise ship.

Travel to a very limited set of locations is exempted from this advice. Individuals arriving into Ireland from these locations will not be required to restrict their movements upon entry. These locations currently have a ‘normal precautions’ (“green”) security status rating. As of 4 August 2020, these locations are:

  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • Greece
  • Greenland
  • Hungary
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Norway
  • Slovakia

Inclusion on the list is based on the current epidemiological situation and related public health information in each location. The list and related travel advice will be reviewed on a fortnightly basis, based on advice from officials, including public health experts. Any updates or changes will be based on Government decisions. The latest updates will always be uploaded first to this General COVID-19 Travel Advisory. Country-specific tabs will be updated subsequently, and as quickly as possible, but this advisory is the primary source of information for the latest version of the list. The above list was updated on 4 August following the latest review.

If you are considering travelling outside of Ireland:

Irish citizens travelling to locations with a ‘normal precautions’ (“green”) rating are advised to follow the public health guidelines of the local health authorities and to continue to practice physical distancing measures, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette etc. The security rating for all other locations remains unchanged at either to ‘avoid non-essential travel’ (“orange”) or to ‘do not travel’ (“red”).

The purpose of the Department’s Travel Advice is to provide information to the general public so that individuals can make informed decisions for themselves.  The COVID19 pandemic continues to accelerate internationally, and there are significant risks associated with international travel. Citizens should be aware of the possible limitations to any consular assistance that could be provided. Any citizens who are considering travel abroad are advised to monitor closely our travel advice and we recommend that citizens download our TravelWise App and follow us on Twitter. Citizens travelling abroad should also register with their local Irish Embassy or Consulate and regularly check their website and Twitter accounts for details of any local public health measures and travel restrictions.

Should you need to travel for essential reasons, you should inform yourself about any requirements in place in the destination to which you are travelling.  Flight restrictions and route cancellations are happening on a daily basis worldwide and there is no guarantee that air routes will continue to operate as scheduled. Testing and restrictions may be imposed or may already be in place in other countries. It is important to check with your insurance provider on coverage at this time.

What to do on entering Ireland from abroad:

The Irish Authorities advise anyone coming into Ireland, apart from Northern Ireland and individuals arriving in Ireland from locations with a security rating of ‘normal precautions’ (“green”), to restrict their movements for 14 days, and this includes citizens and residents returning to Ireland. Restricting your movements means staying indoors in one location and avoiding contact with other people and social situations as much as possible. To ensure that this is being observed all passengers arriving to Ireland from overseas are obliged to complete a mandatory Public Health Passenger Locator Form and to submit it to the relevant authority at their port of entry. For further details please see the Irish Government Advice Page. Exemptions are also in place for providers of essential supply chain services such as hauliers, pilots and maritime staff. Check the Irish Government Advice Page for full information on these requirements and further advice on returning from abroad.

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 Twitter accounts for details of any local public health measures and travel restrictions.

Overview

Security status

Avoid non-essential travel

Security Status Last Updated: 17 March 2020

Latest travel alerts

On 4 August 2020 a large explosion occurred in the port area of Beirut causing widespread damage to buildings and infrastructure in the city and surrounding areas. Lebanese officials have linked the explosion to a fire in a warehouse storing ammonium nitrate and are reporting large numbers of injured and missing persons.

A two-week State of emergency was declared in Beirut, effective from 5 August.

There is an increased risk of protests and demonstrations. If you are currently in Beirut, you should avoid the immediate area of the incident and any protests, remain vigilant and follow the advice of the local authorities.

There is significant disruption to services across the city and many hospitals are only taking emergency cases. The airport remains operational.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Lebanese authorities have put in place a number of measures to limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). According to the current measures:

  • Large gatherings are banned.
  • Face coverings, covering the mouth and nose, must be worn when outside the home and in vehicles (unless travelling alone, or exercising).
  • Individuals must maintain a safe distance from one another and avoid crowded areas.
  • Those over the age of 65 years old are advised to stay home and not go out unless absolutely necessary.
  • Private cars should have no more than three people in them (including the driver), unless they are all from the same household.
  • Other vehicles should limit passenger numbers to a third of total capacity.

 

Beirut’s Rafic Hariri International Airport reopened on 1 July 2020.

All passengers travelling to Lebanon must fill this health declaration form online before departure, as required by the Lebanese Ministry of Public Health.

People travelling to Beirut will be required to comply with testing and self-isolation measures to reduce the spread of coronavirus. Check with the airline and Lebanese embassy before booking. Any passenger who shows symptoms of illness including covid-19, will not be allowed to board the aircraft.

  • Travellers arriving in Lebanon from countries where PCR testing is available, except for children under five years of age, are required to take a PCR test at a laboratory certified by local authorities within 96 hours prior to travel, and to show the result at check-in before proceeding to immigration. If the test result is positive, the passenger will be prohibited from boarding the aircraft.
  • Upon arrival at Rafik Hariri International Airport, passengers will be required to take another PCR test, and must adhere to home quarantine until receiving the result (between 24 hours to 48 hours). Certain airlines are covering the cost of this test whilst others may not. Travellers should check with their airline. There are some exceptions to these measures – travellers should check with the airline.
  • Passengers travelling from countries without PCR testing capability will be required to have a test on arrival excluding children under five years of age. Passengers travelling with some airlines may be required to pay $100 for the test, to be paid through the airline, whilst certain airlines may cover the cost. Travellers should check with their airline. Passengers will have to take a second test after 72 hours at their own expense at an accredited laboratory in accordance with the instructions of the Lebanese Ministry of Public Health and must adhere to quarantine until the result of the new PCR test is issued via text message along with an electronic copy.
  • For passengers travelling from countries where PCR testing is not available for all, but who have conducted the PCR test there within 96 hours prior to their trip to Lebanon and the result was negative, it is possible to be exempted from another PCR test 72 hours after their arrival in Lebanon, according to the decision of the Ministry of Public Health Medical Team at the airport.

If you test positive, you will have to self-isolate and follow Ministry of Health guidelines.

Passengers who left Lebanon for a period not exceeding one week will be exempt from PCR testing on arrival.

Passengers travelling to Lebanon, except military personnel, diplomats, members of international organizations, UNIFIL and members of the Lebanese National Social Security Fund or staff cooperative, need to possess an insurance policy that is valid for the duration of their stay in Lebanon, covering all costs of treatment for Coronavirus on Lebanese territory.

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

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