I Can’t Get a Libya Visa

As I am planning a trip to North Africa in March to Algeria, Tunisia and Libya-my plans have hit a snag. I have been told by four reliable sources that it is impossible for an American to get a visa to Libya as a result of the crappy foreign policy that the Bush Administration used. The top Libyan tour agencies have assured me they were hopeful for the new Obama Administration to change policies and re-open diplomatic relations. Libya opened up to the West a few years ago and Europeans and Canadians are welcome in the country but Americans after first being allowed in-are no longer. This is really annoying and really pisses me off. I can get a visa to Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, North Korea and almost any other undesirable country on the planet but not to Libya. This is worse than the Cuba situation because there are ways around that but not into Libya. You need the visa. This strikes me as kind of ridiculous and throws a wrench into my plans as I am trying to visit every country in Africa by sections. However, I will have to make the best of it and get back to Libya on my next trip to Africa after hopefully relations have been restored-so to speak.

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  1. Why not substitute that trip until relations get better with a sweep through Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi?

  2. Because I have to be in Prague and the time issue gets me in March so the proximity of North Africa plus the fact that I need time to do the gorilla treks in Rwanda which I won’t have this March…maybe over the summer.

  3. You could always consider Algeria, Tunisia, Chad and the Central African Republic. All flights would be non-stop, and from Bangui, CAR there are direct flights to Paris every day. Then really all you would have left is Libya and Sudan up north which you could do at the same time at a later date. Just an idea.

  4. I don’t think my friend Jake would want to go to Chad or the CAR

  5. Last suggestion – to make it interesting you could go always go Corsica, Sicily, Lampedusa, Tunisia, Algeria. Have the best of both world’s, the Mediterranean & North Africa. It’s funny your friend is down with Algeria but a no-go on Chad or CAR, a lot more madness is going down in Algiers then N’djamena or Bangui.

  6. Bingo, heading thru Malta to visit a friend and hopefully Lampedusa as well. If not, def be there in May after Sicily. Pain to get there. Corsica and Sardinia this summer as well.

  7. I hate red tape and stupid diplomatic issues. Hopefully with the new President Cuba and others will more freely open so we don’t have to sneak in etc.

  8. I’ve heard various things on the visa situation.. I’ve been trying to go to Libya for a few years now. Usually I hear you need to book a tour with 3-4 people to get the visa, passport translated, etc, but still haven’t heard firsthand evidence they’ve let in American tourists lately. It’s only the tourist visa that’s a problem; business visas seem to be issued timely for oil workers.

  9. Whats up Jordan, I spoke to every major Libyan tour agency and they all said it is virtually impossible to get a tourist visa unless you’re on a big group and even then its still not definite for Americans as I cannot get a word on any Americans that have been in lately even on thorn tree. Other nationalities can get them and then of course you need to have them translated etc which is a minor pain in the ass but doable…I thlought about getting a phony business visa but I figure why invite trouble-thats the last think anyone needs out there so I guess I will just wait it out-hopefully changing soon.

  10. Hi there, I\\\’m Libyan and right now I\\\’m staying in Italy. Let me tell you that tourist visa to Libya is hard for everyone except for Arabs, because our damn president does not want any westners to enter that damn country. Just like us Libyans, we need visa almost every where, even to the damn toilet. Man, there is nothing to see, its a fucked up country with lots of sand, rich country but people are poor….thanks to Al-Qadhafi, he hates us so much. You can google that to know why, its a long story.

    My advice to you go to Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt. I have been to these countries and they are AMAZING.

  11. That’s for your comment and glowing endorsement haha. No seriously it is ridiculous and to torture their own people with this red tape is crazy to me. I hope to get there sometime soon but those other 3 countries you mentioned I agree are all amazing. Good luck Mustafa.

  12. Dave Romi says

    Hi Lee,

    Referring to Mustaf’s reply, my first visit to Libya in January 2006 (with eyeoflibya.com) left me with the desire and determination to return to this fascinating, and largely unknown, country – particularly to its south-western corner – the desert region of the Fezzan and the Jebel Akakus.

    Who told you Libya’s full of sand and poor people!!!! The ruins in Libya are claimed by some to be the “most beautiful in the world”

    I really really hope one day I can quit my day job and go and settle out there. From what I know of Libyan society, things are more relaxed than in some other countries. The Libyans are very friendly people, regardless of their ethnic background, colour or social status.

    I suggest you to contact http://www.eyeoflibya.com. Their itineraries are flexible, so you can make adjustments on the road to make sure you’re having a good time. Libya is a safe destination and offers a great scope for trekking and climbing because of its diverse climatic zones.


  13. Hi Dave, I actually called the tour company you recommended and they still can’t help Americans get a Libyan visa. Their advice was to wait a few months and hope relations improve with our new administration but they did seem knowledgable so I will keep them in mind for when I do decide to try again. Thanks.

  14. Hi Lee,

    Try http://www.temehu.com/visa-Libyan-for-Americans.htm . Lots of information regarding Libyan visa for Americans.
    Good luck.

  15. Thanks Tom, I’ve seen that site and ones like it but that still doesn’t help to clarify or make easier a very difficult situation with the visa. Not much unlike the Angola situation I am currently facing as well.

  16. Hi Lee,

    I agree. The good news is that this is set to change very soon. Remember, the Americans started issuing visa for Libyans in Tripoli, and it is only a matter of time when the Libyans return the favour.

    But, having said that, did you try applying for a business visa?

    It is expensive: around $1500, but you can get it, sometimes. Mind you though you cannot use it for tourist purposes; maybe along the coast.

  17. Contact eyeoflibya.com they should be able to obtain the Visa for you! Good luck, Dave

  18. Lee, I feel your pain.

    I’m a dual U.S./Spanish citizen out of Dallas and I was fascinated with travelling to Libya after a group of friends went on a desert trek to Libya and told me about their experiences.

    I was informed about the difficulty of U.S. citizens getting visas, so I used my Spanish passport .. I know, lucky me.

    They LOVED it, and couldn\’t stop gushing about the friendliness of the people, and the amazing Roman ruins at Leptis Magna and Sabratha, and the beauty of the Libyan desert and the Akakus region with prehistoric rock art.

    I contacted Libya Expeditions , who seemed to have a great reputation (www.libyaexpeditions.com), and they processed my visa for me and arranged a 10 day tour and it was AMAZING.

    Libya Expeditions offer guided fixed tours, but they\’re very helpful and can even custom-design an itinerary for you – definitely recommend them for a Libya vacation.

  19. Jay thanks and I hope that Americans can soon enjoy the same trip as I’ve heard nothing but great things. Like everywhere else including Congo where I am right now…the people are always wonderful, its generally the politics that screw everything up.

  20. No more waiting.

    No more expensive visas.

    At last, Americans can visit Libya on normal tourist visa, just like other Europeans can.

    The lates update confirms that Libya has finally lifted its ban on Americans travelling to Libya on the 19th of May 2010 (see http://www.temehu.com/visa-Libyan-for-Americans.htm ).

  21. Tom, thanks for telling me about this…ironically right after you posted this I got the same or similar email from like 20 different people but thanks for posting the great news, it is certainly a game changer if in fact its actually true although the US State Dept hasn’t changed their entrance requirements thingy they have on their site so I just wonder if its reliable but seems promising…also even if it is I hope they dont rescind the laxness anytime in the near future like they did a few years ago.

  22. I have been attempting to get a libyan visa for a year now!! I have searched the net all over to verify this news!! I love it! It says that I can get a visa at Tripoli airport. Is this risky?? I would like to have everything in place before traveling.. Who do i get to do the arabic translation? Thanks soo much for your responses!!!

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