Fire and rescue services
We haven't changed our overall level of advice:
Exercise a high degree of caution in Lebanon overall.
Higher levels apply in some parts of the country.
Do not travel to the north-eastern Beka'a Valley region, areas south of the Litani River (except the city Tyre), Palestinian refugee camps, and Tripoli's Jabal Mohsen and Bab-al-Tabbaneh neighbourhoods.
Do not travel to:
north-eastern Beka'a Valley region due to the unpredictable security situation and regular violent incidents.
south of the Litani River - except the city of Tyre - due to the presence of landmines and unexploded ordnance and the uncertain security environment
to Palestinian refugee camps as extremist groups operate there and the Lebanese state has no formal security presence
Jabal Mohsen neighbourhood and Bab-al-Tabbaneh neighbourhood, due to the risk of unrest and violence in these areas.
Reconsider your need to travel to Dahiyeh in Beirut's southern suburbs and northern Lebanon, north of the line from El Kuds/Jamal Abdul Nasser Road in Tripoli to Sir Ed Dinniyeh and Laboue.
Reconsider your need to travel to:
Dahiyeh in Beirut's southern suburbs, including the area west of the airport road
Tripoli (except the neighbourhoods of Jabal Mohsen and Bab-al-Tabbaneh)
Northern Lebanon, north of the line from El Kuds/Jamal Abdul Nasser Road in Tripoli to Sir Ed Dinniyeh and Laboue
There's risk of violent civil unrest in these areas.
Full travel advice: Safety
Full travel advice: Health
Full travel advice: Local laws
Full travel advice: Travel
Full travel advice: Local contacts
Be extra cautious. The security situation is unpredictable, caused by:
conflict in neighbouring Syria
the threat of terrorist attacks
ongoing political and religious tensions
Following an exchange of fire on the border between Lebanon and Israel on 1 September 2019, we advise Australians to monitor the media for latest information, subscribe to Smartraveller and follow the advice of local authorities.
Be prepared to leave Lebanon quickly. In a crisis, you're responsible for getting yourself out of Lebanon. Don't depend on the Australian Government to organise your exit.
To be well-prepared, have:
up-to-date travel documentation so you can leave quickly
passports for children born in Lebanon
current passports for family members travelling with you
If violence increases, roads and highways could become blocked. This includes routes to airports and borders.
Heavy demand for flights could limit your departure options.
Political changes in the region and international events may prompt large demonstrations or violence. Planned and on-the-spot demonstrations happen.
The ongoing conflict in Syria is affecting stability in Lebanon. Violent incidents related to Syria occur across Lebanon, including:
improvised explosive device (IED) attacks
Anti-government protests occur. Some have escalated into clashes between protesters and security forces.
Authorities use various measures to break up crowds, including:
This has resulted in injuries.
Public protests and events that draw large groups of people can turn violent. You could be caught in violence directed at others.
During civil unrest:
avoid all crowds, protests and demonstrations
pay close attention to your personal security
monitor the media and other sources for news on planned and possible actions
avoid areas where violence has occurred or is likely to occur
plan your activities to avoid potential unrest on days of national significance
be prepared to change your travel plans in case of disruptions
If you're in an area affected by clashes:
follow the advice of local authorities
Stay indoors during celebratory gunfire, which often happens during and after political speeches.
If transport disruptions affect your travel plans, contact your airline, travel agent or insurer for help.
Leave Lebanon if you're concerned about your safety.
In Beirut, protests sometimes close main highways. Groups protest against:
the situation in Syria
the security environment
Civil unrest can affect the highways between central Beirut and the international airport.
Reconsider travelling to the Dahiyeh region, including:
the area between the Camille Chamoun Sports Stadium and the airport
east of the main airport road
west of the airport highway to the coast
south from Adnon El Hakim Road to Abbas El Mousawi Road
This area does not include the main airport road (Hafez El Assad).
In November 2015, 2 suicide bomb attacks occurred outside a mosque and a bakery in Borj el Barajne. At least 43 people died. More than 200 were wounded. Security in the area is still unstable.
Don't visit Palestinian refugee camps in any part of Lebanon.
Extremist groups operate inside camps. The security situation is uncertain and could get worse without warning.
The Lebanese state has no formal security presence in the camps. Armed clashes between rival groups happen. Violent crime is common.
Don't go to Tripoli's Jabal Mohsen and Bab-al-Tabbaneh neighbourhoods. Violent clashes in the early stages of the Syrian conflict killed more than 200 people. Although violence mostly ended in late 2014, the risk of civil unrest is still high.
In 2019, a lone wolf terrorist attack in Tripoli killed four members of the security service.
Lebanese authorities say extremists have taken refuge in northern Lebanon, including throughout the Akkar district.
Avoid the north-eastern Beka'a Valley region, extending east and north from Rayak. This includes:
the towns Arsal, El Qaa and Ras Baalbek
Clashes between Lebanese security forces and militants are possible.
The conflict in Syria has led to regular violent incidents in these areas, including:
Take extra care in the Beka'a valley, south of Zahle and Rayak, where the security environment is uncertain.
In August 2016, a roadside bomb exploded in Zahle. It killed 2 people and injured many others.
Don't travel within 5km of the border with Syria, including:
north of the Halba-Qoubaiyat road northern Akkar
Hermel Wadi Khaled
the Golan Heights
The conflict in Syria has led to repeated violent incidents in these areas.
Don't travel south of the Litani River, except to the city of Tyre. The threat of armed conflict is high.
The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) maintains peacekeeping activities south of the Litani due to ongoing tensions.
Tyre has experienced recent security incidents. If you visit Tyre:
pay close attention to your personal security
monitor the media for changes
follow the advice of local authorities
When entering and exiting Tyre, don't stray from the main highway north of the city.
Israeli forces are in the southern border town of Ghajar. There are still tensions in the surrounding region, including the Shebaa Farms. Shelling has been reported.
Although the presence of Lebanese Armed Forces and United Nations peacekeeping forces in southern Lebanon has improved security, more clashes could occur. The situation could change quickly.
You could be caught up in violence directed at others.
Avoid areas where military activity is ongoing. Be ready to leave at short notice.
Be extra careful in the city of Sidon. It has a history of violence between Lebanese armed forces and local militia.
Don't visit the Palestinian refugee camp of Ein El-Hilweh. Use of heavy weapons and snipers has been reported there. Many people have been killed or injured.
Extremists may target Westerners, including in Beirut.
Terrorist attacks are likely and could occur anytime at any location.
Security services are in a high state of alert and continue to carry out operations to prevent attacks.
If you notice a security operation is underway, leave the area straight away.
In planning your activities, consider the level of security at known terrorist targets.
Targets associated with the Lebanese Government, which may be a target in the future include:
the Lebanese Armed Forces
infrastructure such as airports and public buildings
UNIFIL has also been targeted.
Other targets could include areas popular with foreigners, such as:
buildings associated with embassies, foreign companies and international organisations
schools and places of worship
hotels, clubs, restaurants and bars
shopping centres, markets and grocery stores
promenades, cinemas, outdoor recreation events and other tourist areas
Extremists have increased attacks in the lead-up to and on days of national and religious significance.
Terrorism is a threat worldwide.
Kidnapping happens with political, ideological and criminal motives. Targets have included foreigners.
Always be alert to your personal security and surroundings.
The Australian Government's longstanding policy is that it doesn't make payments or concessions to kidnappers.
Crime in Lebanon is not high by international standards.
However, crime may happen, including:
petty theft such as bag snatching (including by youths riding motorbikes)
home break-ins and armed robberies
assault and sexual assault
Always be aware of your surroundings.
Transport and tour operators don't always follow safety and maintenance standards. This includes for adventure activities.
If you plan to do an adventure activity:
check if your travel insurance policy covers it
ask about and insist on minimum safety requirements
always use available safety gear, such as life jackets or seatbelts
If proper safety equipment isn't available, use another provider.
Lebanon is in an active earthquake zone.
Bush and forest fires occur in the summer months (July to September), especially in heavily forested areas. Avoid fire-affected areas. Monitor the media for updates.
Sand and dust storms are common. They may pose health risks, especially to people with breathing problems.
If a natural disaster or severe weather happens:
monitor the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System
follow the advice of local authorities
Get comprehensive travel insurance before you leave. Your policy needs to cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. The Australian Government won't pay for these costs.
You'll probably need a specialised insurance policy that covers travel to high-risk destinations. Most Australian policies won't cover you for travel to Lebanon.
If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. This applies to everyone, no matter how healthy and fit you are.
If you're not insured, you may have to pay many 1000s of dollars up-front for medical care.
what activities and care your policy covers
that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away
Consider your physical and mental health before you travel, especially if you have an existing medical condition.
See your doctor or travel clinic to:
have a basic health check-up
ask if your travel plans may affect your health
plan any vaccinations you need
Do this at least 8 weeks before you leave.
Not all medication that is available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.
If you plan to bring medication, check if it's legal in Lebanon. Take enough legal medicine for your trip.
Carry a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating:
what the medicine is
how much you'll take
that it's for personal use
Be aware of possible health risks caused by Lebanon's ongoing waste disposal dispute and poor drinking water quality.
Health concerns include:
possible water contamination
air pollution caused by burning waste
To minimise health risks:
keep away from uncollected waste
drink boiled water or bottled water with sealed lids
Cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) have been reported in:
the United Arab Emirates
Other countries have reported imported cases from returned travellers.
Avoid contact with camels. Don't consume raw camel milk, undercooked camel meat, or anything contaminated with camel secretions.
Get medical advice if you have a fever, cough, breathing difficulties or diarrhoea.
The standard of medical facilities and care in many of Lebanon's large hospitals is as good as in Australia. However, the public health system doesn't work the same way. Most recommended hospitals are private and expensive.
There's no reciprocal healthcare agreement between Australia and Lebanon.
Doctors usually expect up-front cash payment for services. Treatment can be expensive.
Before treating patients, hospitals usually require a guarantee of payment such as:
confirmed travel insurance with medical cover
an up-front deposit
The American University Hospital in Beirut has a decompression chamber.
You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that may appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling.
Crimes under Lebanese laws may not be considered offences in Australia. Religious law has the same standing as civil law, which incorporates family law, marriage, divorce and custody.
If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
All family law matters are based on local religious laws. This includes child custody and divorce decisions.
If you're involved in custody or other family disputes, speak to a lawyer before you leave Australia. Ask for advice on how religious law may affect your family circumstances.
Lebanon has not signed the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. There is no quick method to return a child abducted by a parent to Lebanon back to Australia.
Lebanese nationals and non-nationals can stop family members from leaving Lebanon if there are pending family court charges. It won't matter if the family members are Australian citizens.
Authorities have stopped Australians and Australian-Lebanese dual nationals, including mothers with children, from leaving Lebanon. Relatives have legally placed border alerts ('stop orders') where there are pending family court charges. Stop orders are not difficult to arrange.
The Australian Government can't prevent or overturn a stop order on an Australian citizen.
Penalties for drug offences are severe and include mandatory jail terms.
Serious crimes, such as murder and treason, may attract the death penalty.
Access to some areas of Lebanon is restricted.
Authorities may detain you and take your camera if you photograph or film:
military personnel or facilities
major civilian infrastructure (such as power stations)
Same-sex relations are illegal in Lebanon. Penalties include jail terms.
Some Australian criminal laws still apply when you're overseas. If you break these laws, you may face prosecution in Australia.
Australians may be charged under Australian law if they take part in conflict in other countries.
Lebanon recognises dual nationality. However, Lebanese citizenship takes precedence over the second nationality.
If you're a dual national, Lebanese authorities will treat you as a Lebanese citizen. This limits the consular services we can give if you're arrested or detained.
If you're a dual citizen re-entering Lebanon on your Lebanese passport or identity document, make sure:
your Lebanese documentation is up to date
you meet all entry requirements
Standards of dress and behaviour are modest in parts of Lebanon, particularly at religious sites.
Take care not to offend. If in doubt, seek local advice.
Public displays of affection may cause offence in conservative and religious areas.
Some hotels ask for proof of marriage before renting rooms to couples. Hotels may refuse you accommodation if you can't provide proof.
The Islamic holiday month of Ramadan will be from late April to late May in 2020. Respect religious and cultural customs and laws at this time.
Avoid eating, drinking or smoking in public or in front of people who are fasting.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders.
Make sure you meet all entry and exit conditions. If you don't, the Australian Government can't help you.
People of most nationalities, including Australians, can get tourist visas for Lebanon on arrival.
Entry and exit conditions can change at short notice. Contact the nearest Lebanese embassy or consulate for details about visas, currency, customs and quarantine rules.
It's against Lebanese law to travel to Israel.
If you are an Australian dual national of Lebanon or another Arab nation and you've travelled or intend to travel to Israel, authorities can arrest and imprison you.
Authorities can hold anyone for questioning for several days and then deport them.
If there's evidence that you've travelled to Israel, or intend to, authorities will refuse your entry to Lebanon or deport you. Evidence includes:
Israeli exit or entry stamps in your passport
Egyptian or Jordanian stamps from border crossings with Israel
travel itineraries or tickets that include Israel as a destination
souvenirs from Israel
Lebanese Border Control checks all travellers' names on arrival and departure against a database of border alerts (stop orders).
Border alerts are raised if there are pending court cases or warrants for people:
who are wanted for an offence in Lebanon
who have been convicted of an offence in Lebanon
with pending family court charges (see Local laws)
If your name matches an entry in the database, authorities may detain you. You'll have to prove the record doesn't relate to you.
Carry supporting identity documents.
Travellers have been detained due to cases of mistaken identity.
Some countries won't let you enter unless your passport is valid for 6 months after you plan to leave that country. This can apply even if you're just transiting or stopping over.
Some foreign governments and airlines apply the rule inconsistently. Travellers can receive conflicting advice from different sources.
You can end up stranded if your passport is not valid for more than 6 months.
The Australian Government does not set these rules. Check your passport's expiry date before you travel. If you're not sure it'll be valid for long enough, consider getting a new passport.
Your passport is a valuable document. It's attractive to people who may try to use your identity to commit crimes.
Some people may try to trick you into giving them your passport. Always keep it in a safe place.
If your passport is lost or stolen, tell the Australian Government as soon as possible:
The Lebanese Pound is the official currency of Lebanon.
Both US dollars and the Lebanese Pound (also known as the Lebanese Lira) are accepted throughout Lebanon.
Currency exchange facilities and ATMs are widely available in Beirut and other large cities.
Not all shops, hotels and restaurants accept Australian Credit or debit cards. Make sure you have access to cash during your stay. Tell your bank before you travel to Lebanon.
Pay close attention to your personal security.
Monitor the media for updates on changes that may affect your safety and security.
If you plan to drive in Lebanon, you should hold an International Drivers Permit.
Armed security is present throughout Lebanon, including at road checkpoints.
Always carry ID. Follow the advice of security personnel.
Driving can be dangerous due to:
poorly maintained roads
snow and ice in winter
poor local driving habits
There are many unexploded weapons throughout Lebanon, including:
Most are in the south, especially south of the Litani River.
Minefields aren't always clearly marked. Those that are marked can shift away from signed areas.
To protect yourself from landmines:
ask local residents for advice
stay on sealed roads
avoid walking or driving cross-country
Roads may be blocked during demonstrations and civil unrest. This includes routes to and from the airport and border crossings.
The Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport can close at short notice. Check with your airline for updates and departure options.
Don't use service (shared) taxis or taxis hailed on the street, especially late at night.
There have been reports of armed robberies of foreign passengers travelling in service (shared) taxis. Victims were taken to isolated locations and robbed at gunpoint.
Only use taxis from recognised companies.
Australian Embassy staff in Beirut have been advised against flying through Syrian airspace. If you have concerns, contact the relevant airline before booking. Flights paths are subject to change.
DFAT doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths.
Check Lebanon's air safety profile with the Aviation Safety Network.
Depending on what you need, contact your:
family and friends
Always get a police report when you report a crime.
Your insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
Contact your provider with any complaints about tourist services or products.
Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.
For consular assistance, contact the Australian Embassy in Beirut.
Downtown Beirut, Lebanon
Phone: (+961 1) 960 600
Fax: (+961 1) 960 601
Check the Embassy website for details about opening hours and any temporary closures.
The Australian Embassy in Downtown Beirut may temporarily close at short notice due to security concerns. In times of civil unrest, call ahead for advice before going to the embassy.
In a consular emergency, if you can't contact an embassy, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on:
+61 2 6261 3305 from overseas
1300 555 135 in Australia
Be the first to know official government advice when travelling.