US citizens are required to have a visa to enter Libya, and occasional requests for letters of introduction from the Transitional National Council are made by customs officials. Visas should be applied for via a reputable Libyan tour company, with fees varying by provider. All prospective visitors should request exact visa requirements and costs at their nearest Libyan Embassy, as rules may change without notice.

Health and Safety

Routine vaccinations should be kept up to date, and shots for hepatitis A and B are advised. Healthcare in Libya is not up to Western standards, but is better than in many other African countries, with several private clinics in Tripoli recently reopened. Those on regular prescriptions should bring enough supplies and, as a precaution, malaria medicine should be carried, although the disease is relatively uncommon. Full health insurance is the sensible option, along with a medivac add-on for transportation to Malta or mainland Europe in the case of serious injury or illness. Bottled water is a must as sources may be contaminated or infrequent outside the cities.

Several world countries, including the USA and UK, post travel warnings about Libya, but those wishing to visit this fascinating land need not be put off as long as they stay within safe areas and employ awareness and common sense. Traveling in the interior with a reliable tour company familiar with risky areas is the safest way to get around. Security checkpoints between major cities still operate, staffed by various militias without official training, but your guide should be able to deal with their requests.

For travelers to the border and desert regions, the US Department of State advises caution and compliance with local rules, and photography and filming is not recommended. An increase in street crime and weapons since the revolution has taken place, with the 16,000 prisoners released from Libyan jails to fight the Gaddafi regime blamed for most attacks. Car doors should be kept locked at all times, and traveling or walking at night is a bad idea, as is displaying valuable possessions and jewelry.