Hundreds of covid-19 infected people have been confirmed in Lebanon, and new cases are reported daily. The number of deaths due to the virus is still low. With effect from March 15, the Lebanese authorities introduced a medical emergency to limit the spread of infection in the community. The measures include the temporary closure of border crossings, ports and Beirut airport, a general curfew between 21:00 and 05:00 and a general call to limit their outside time to absolutely necessary errands. Grocery stores and pharmacies are open. Banks and other services are closed. The measures have been extended until 10 May. Norwegian citizens are encouraged to reconsider planned travel, in line with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs travel advice related to the spread of the coronavirus.
Since October 17, there have been extensive demonstrations throughout Lebanon. Node in Beirut, main roads to and from Beirut, as well as roads in and around other cities are periodically blocked. It can therefore be difficult to move around. Violent clashes occur.
Lebanon is in a serious financial crisis and banks are exercising some form of capital controls. It is currently not possible to withdraw US dollars with international credit cards in ATMs, but local currency is available in ATMs that accept international credit cards.
Norwegian travelers are advised to bring US dollars. Credit cards are generally accepted in Beirut and most major tourist destinations. Travelers should be aware that some businesses, including restaurants and hotels, want cash payment. It is recommended to inquire with hotels ahead of the trip.
- Countryaah: Beirut is the capital of Lebanon. Check to find information of population, geography, history, and economy about the capital city.
The situation remains unclear and can change quickly. Norwegian travelers are encouraged to take the necessary precautions when traveling to or staying in Lebanon. Norwegian travelers and residents are encouraged to avoid large crowds, keep abreast of developments, follow local news and follow the advice of local authorities.
It is the individual’s responsibility to assess whether it is justifiable to complete the journey. Norwegian travelers are encouraged to take out private travel insurance for all trips to Lebanon, as well as to register on reiseregistrering.no.
The security situation in Lebanon is also affected by the war in neighboring Syria. There is generally high security preparedness in the country. In some areas there is still the presence of armed militia.
The risk of terrorist attacks or outbreaks of armed clashes is higher in some areas. This is especially true in the north-east of the Bekaa Valley, areas along the border with Syria, Beirut’s southern suburbs, Tripoli and the province of northern Lebanon and several of the Palestinian refugee camps. Security-threatening events along the so-called “blue line” towards Israel or in Unifil’s area of operation may occur. Terrorist attacks or other security-threatening incidents in other areas of Lebanon cannot be ruled out.
Any visits to Palestinian refugee camps should take place through organizations with sufficient local insight and after a closer assessment of the security situation in the camp in question.
Norwegian travelers should be aware that cluster munitions and anti-personnel mines can still be found in parts of Lebanon. When walking, it is recommended to follow marked trails and inquire with the locals in the area.
There are high accident rates in traffic. It runs at high speeds and the traffic picture is unclear and unpredictable. Driving patterns are different than in Norway, and traffic rules are not always observed. It is encouraged to use taxis only from registered companies, which are clearly marked. The use of so-called service taxis, where you share taxis with several unknowns, is not recommended.
There is a risk of an earthquake in Lebanon. In February 2008, the country was hit by several earthquakes, the largest of which was 5.3 on Richter’s scale. Only minor injuries were reported.
Local emergency numbers are: 112 – general emergency number (police), 140 – medical assistance/ambulance (Lebanese Red Cross), 175 – fire department.
In the event of a crisis or emergency contact the embassy by phone:
+961 (0) 1 763 200 or e-mail [email protected]
Outside the embassy’s opening hours, the UD’s 24-hour operating center can be contacted by phone: +47 23 95 00 00 or e-mail: [email protected]
Please note that entry regulations may change. The Foreign Service is not responsible if the following information on entry regulations or visa requirements is changed at short notice. It is the responsibility of the traveler to ensure that travel documents are valid for entry and to familiarize themselves with the current entry rules for each country.
Norwegian citizens need a visa to stay in Lebanon. Travelers on a Norwegian passport can obtain a tourist visa upon arrival at Beirut airport. The visa is free of charge and usually applies for one month upon entry. It can normally be renewed for up to 90 days by visiting General Security’s offices. To fill in the required papers on arrival, travelers are advised to have readily available addresses to stay at during their stay in Lebanon.
Visas can also be applied for in advance from the Lebanese Embassy or Consulate.
Passport must be valid for up to six months after scheduled departure date. Israeli stamp in the passport must not occur. Travelers may be rejected upon arrival if the travel document contains this.
Norwegians traveling to Lebanon with emergency passports may be denied entry, as emergency passports are not accepted by Lebanese authorities. From experience, Norwegian citizens of Lebanese origin, or stateless Palestinians born in Lebanon, are considered by Lebanese authorities as Lebanese citizens and not Norwegian citizens. This limits the embassy’s ability to reach consular assistance if arrested by Lebanese authorities.
Travelers with a travel certificate for refugees/foreigners passports (green and blue travel document) must obtain a visa at the Lebanese Embassy in Stockholm in advance.
Objects for personal use, such as electrical equipment, camcorders, etc. need not be declared in customs upon arrival and departure. You can bring pets if you have a veterinary certificate. Further information on customs and other rules can be obtained from the Lebanese Embassy in Stockholm.
Coronavirus (covid-19): Norwegian travelers should keep abreast of the development of the coronavirus. There are hundreds of confirmed cases of infection in Lebanon, and new cases are reported daily. The number of deaths is currently low, and people who have recovered are also reported. In cooperation with the WHO, the authorities have implemented several measures to limit the risk of infection.
With effect from March 15, the Lebanese authorities introduced a medical emergency to limit the spread of infection in the community. The scheme has been extended and expanded a number of times and the measures now include temporary closure of border crossings, ports and Beirut airport, a general curfew between 21:00 and 05:00 and a general call to limit its outside time to absolutely necessary errands. Grocery stores and pharmacies are open, while all other service and entertainment offerings are closed. The banks are closed to the public. The measures are valid until 10 May.
Keep in touch with your travel agent or airline. Norwegian citizens are encouraged to reconsider planned travel, in line with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs travel advice related to the spread of the coronavirus. Further measures may be taken at short notice.
The authorities have created their own telephone number, +961 (0) 1 59 44 59, to be used in the event of suspected infection. It is also possible to call the general emergency line in Lebanon, 1214 or Lebanese Red Cross, 140.
Otherwise, follow the advice of local authorities, guidance and instructions on how to deal with the situation. Information is available, among other things, on the Lebanese Ministry of Health’s website (English) and via the website of the WHO’s country office in Lebanon (English).
The public health services in Lebanon are limited, and reduced access to health services, both private and public, must be expected.
You can find more information and guidance from the Norwegian health authorities on the website of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. See also UD’s answers to frequently asked questions about travel and coronavirus.
Many private Lebanese hospitals and medical services in the largest cities hold high standards. In rural areas, however, the standard is often lower. Medical treatment can be very costly in Lebanon and travelers are strongly encouraged to take out travel insurance before departure. Some hospitals require cash payment and do not take credit cards.
Tap water should not be drunk. Feel free to check the seal on water bottles.
Seek medical advice well in advance of departure for any vaccines. See the overview of which vaccines the National Institute of Public Health recommends for short or longer trips to Lebanon.
For more information see; Public Health Institute, and World Health Organization (WHO) web pages about Lebanon.
Time difference in relation to Norway is + 1 hour. According to allcitycodes, national phone code is +961. There are several nationwide GSM networks available. The current is 220 volts. The sockets are just like the ones you are used to in Norway. Power outages occur regularly.
Lebanon’s currency unit is Lebanese pounds but US dollar usage is also widespread. The exchange rate between the two is (as of 2018) standardized to USD 1 = LBP 1500.
Visa and Mastercard can be used to withdraw local currency and US dollars from ATMs. Banks are usually open from 08:30 to 14:00 and are closed on Sundays. Credit cards are accepted in major cities in several shops, restaurants and hotels. Several shops in the cities are open all day until approx. 22:00. Some shops are closed on Sundays.
National holidays are: January 1, January 6 (Armenian Christmas Eve), February 9 (St. Maroun’s Day), March 25 (Mary’s Message Day), Catholic and Orthodox holidays in connection with Easter (moving), May 1, May 25 (release day), eid al fitr (moving), August 15 (Mary ascension), eid el adha (moving), hijiri (moving), ashoura (moving), November 22 (Independence Day) and 25-26 . December.
Beyond Arabic, English and French are widely used. Culture and cultural codes vary from different parts of the country. Beirut has a modern and many places liberal culture, while several other cities/towns are more traditional and imply a somewhat stricter dress code. This also applies to religious sites and buildings.
Always carry a copy of your passport with you. For crossings at military checkpoints in the country, authorities periodically check the passport of a traveler or a valid ID document. When passing control posts, follow the instructions and exercise caution.
Taking pictures of security forces and military checkpoints is prohibited. To travel south and east of Tire/Sour, you need permission from the military office in Saida. Unfortunately, the embassy cannot assist in obtaining such permits.
Possession of drugs is prohibited and the penalty is high, even in small quantities. Lebanese law has a provision against “any sexual act of unlawful nature” which opens the way to prosecute homosexual acts. However, this section is rarely used.