Living in Libya
Advice for British people living in Libya, including information on health, education, benefits, residence requirements and more.
This guide sets out essential information for British national residing in Libya, including advice on travel, health, employment, residence requirements and more. We are unable to provide any guidance on general lifestyle enquiries apart from the information and links listed below. See our information on what the British embassies can and cannot do for British nationals.
You should read this guide in conjunction with the FCO Travel Advice.
To ensure that you stay safe, avoid problems and make informed decisions when living or travelling abroad, refer to the FCO Travel Advice for Libya.
Healthcare in Libya is on the whole below the standard available in the UK. You should discuss your healthcare requirements with your employer or host in Libya. Ensure that you have adequate medical insurance cover. You may find the NHS Choices information on healthcare abroad helpful.
Employment and recognised qualifications
You need to be sponsored by a company in Libya to work. Your local Libyan sponsor or employer in Libya would need to apply to the Ministry of Labour, Ain Zara, Tripoli. The next step is application for work visa made to the Immigration Authority, Salah Adin, Tripoli.
Most UK qualifications are recognised by the Libyan Government however you will need to get your documents legalised in the UK.
Entry and residence requirements
For entry requirements to Libya, contact the Libyan Embassy in London. Application for residence permit is made by your local Libyan sponsor or your employer in Libya. Refer to section on Employment and recognised qualifications.
Dual Libyan-British nationals must enter and exit Libya on their Libyan passport. If you are a dual national, you will be recognised as a citizen of the passport which you used to enter Libya. This limits the ability of British officials to provide consular assistance.
Children with dual Libyan nationality entering Libya on a Libyan passport will be recognised as a Libyan citizen and may require permission from both parents (or permission to travel from the Libyan court) to exit the country if travelling with one parent.
Driving licences and vehicles
UK driving licences can be used for driving in Libya for one month by those who enter Libya as a tourist or for business. You should ensure that you have a translated copy of your UK driving licence with you at all times.
International licences are valid in Libya provided that it includes an Arabic translation. Local driving licence can be obtained from the Licence Department, Fournaj, Tripoli, by those who have a residence permit. In all cases, translated and certified copies of documents in English will need to be submitted with the application.
You can open a bank account in Libya if you have a residence permit. Banks normally require to see your passport, Libyan immigration status and sponsorship letter from your employer in Libya.
You should seek independent financial advice if you are concerned about UK or Libyan taxation regarding your employment in Libya.
If you receive a UK benefit and are going abroad, even for just a short time, you should notify the office that pays your benefit before you go. In fact any change in your circumstances, such as moving in with a partner, starting work, or even moving house, should be reported immediately to the relevant authority paying your benefit or pension.
Spending time out of the UK, whether for a holiday or to live, doesn’t necessarily mean your benefits will be affected. But failing to notify your local benefit office of time spent abroad is considered an offence and could lead to prosecution, imprisonment and even the confiscation of your home and possessions.
You may still be able to claim some benefits if you travel or move abroad, or are already living abroad, and what you’re entitled to depends on where you’re going and how long for.
For details on which benefits you can and cannot claim if you live in Libya, see the information on benefits if you are abroad.
If you suspect someone of fraudulently claiming UK benefits whilst living in Libya, you can report a benefit thief online.
For further information on benefit fraud visit the benefit theft website.
Social ethics and traditions
Local laws reflect the fact that Libya is an Islamic country. You should dress conservatively. The sale and consumption of alcohol are against the law throughout Libya. Importing pork and pork products is prohibited in Libya. Homosexuality is considered a criminal offence in Libya. Refer to the FCO Travel Advice for Libya for further information as well as doing your own research.
If you live in Libya and are considering returning to live in the UK (for example on retirement), you should consider how you will support yourself and how non-British members of your family may be able to accompany you. There is information available to help you make informed choices about living abroad and thinking about returning to the UK.
If you have not made full National Insurance (NI) contributions, remember you may not be eligible for state benefits or support. HM Revenue & Customs provide some useful information on returning to live in the UK for non-residents, including how to make NI contributions from abroad.
Your entitlement to free NHS treatment depends on the length and purpose of your residence in the UK, not your nationality. You must be able to show UK residency to be eligible for free treatment, even if you are a British citizen. The Citizens’ Advice Bureau or NHS can provide further information.
If you wish to return to live in the UK with family members who do not hold British citizenship, they will need to meet the UK’s immigration requirements for settlement in the UK. See the UK Border Agency for details.
For advice on claiming your state pension from abroad, please contact the Department for Work and Pensions international pension centre.
This information is provided as a general guide and is based upon information provided to the embassy by the relevant local authorities and may be subject to change at any time with little or no notice. The FCO and the British embassy will not be liable for any inaccuracies in this information. British nationals wishing to obtain any further information must contact the relevant local authority.