COVID-19 Exceptional Travel Advisory Notice
As countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including travel and border restrictions, the FCO advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. Any country or area may restrict travel without notice. If you live in the UK and are currently travelling abroad, you are strongly advised to return now, where and while there are still commercial routes available. Many airlines are suspending flights and many airports are closing, preventing flights from leaving.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to Libya, and for British nationals still in Libya to leave immediately by any practical means. This advice has been in place consistently since 2014. Local security situations are fragile and can quickly deteriorate into intense fighting and clashes without warning. On 15 March, Libyan Authorities announced that due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic all air, ground and maritime Libyan borders would close on 16 March for 3 weeks (with potential extension).
Consular support is not available from the British government from within Libya, as consular operations remain suspended. If you need to speak to a consular officer in the UK, call the FCO in London on +44 (0)20 7008 1500.
Since 3 April 2019 there has been a significant build-up of militarised forces in the west of Libya. Sporadic armed clashes have taken place to the south and west of Tripoli. Forces opposed to the recognised government have reportedly gained control over a number of towns, including Gharyan (75-80km from the capital). Prime Minister Serraj has announced a state of emergency and full mobilisation of military and security units loyal to the government. On 14 September 2019, Mitiga airport was closed following artillery shelling.
Inter-militia fighting has periodically caused the temporary suspension or closure of airports, closed roads and led to the closure of some border crossings. All airports are vulnerable to attack. Tripoli International Airport has been closed since 13 July 2014. Heavy clashes between militia groups in late August and September 2018 resulted in over 120 deaths and nearly 450 wounded.
Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Libya. On 25 December 2018, Daesh claimed responsibility for an attack on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tripoli which killed at least two people. On 10 September 2018, a terrorist attack on the National Oil Corporation in central Tripoli killed 2 people and wounded many more. At least 13 people were killed and many injured following a terrorist attack on the High National Election Commission in Tripoli on 2 May 2018. In August 2019, a car bomb explosion in the eastern city of Benghazi killed five, including three foreign nationals.
There remains a high threat throughout the country of terrorist attacks and kidnap against foreigners, including from Daesh-affiliated extremists (formerly referred to as ISIL) and Al Qaida, as well as armed militias. Daesh and Al Qaeda have attacked a number of oil and gas installations and killed or kidnapped workers, including foreign nationals. See Safety and security and Terrorism
If you choose to travel to Libya against FCO advice, you should consider your security arrangements carefully and take all necessary security precautions, including contingency plans. You should also take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel. If you’re entering Libya as a media representative, you should get press accreditation from the relevant Libyan authorities.
Following the attack on the coalition base at Taji in Iraq on 11 March, and subsequent US airstrikes, tensions may be raised across the region. There is a possibility of an increased threat against Western interests, including against UK citizens. You should remain vigilant and keep up to date with the latest developments, including via the media and this travel advice.
You must get permission before taking any photographs or interviewing at or near military facilities. If you choose to travel to Libya against FCO advice, you should get the right visa, or risk deportation. See Entry requirements