For urgent consular assistance call
+61 2 6261 3305 from overseas
1300 555 135 from within Australia
For information about COVID-19, read our article.
Do you or someone you know need help?
30 July 2020
There's a ban on overseas travel from Australia. You can’t leave Australia unless you get an exemption from the Department of Home Affairs.
If you’re overseas and wish to return to Australia, we continue to encourage you to plan your travel home. However, be prepared for possible delays.
When you arrive in Australia you must quarantine for 14 days at designated facilities in your port of arrival. You may be required to pay for the costs of your quarantine. View individual State and Territory Government information.
If you're staying overseas, make plans to stay for an extended period. Follow the advice of local authorities and minimise your risk of exposure to COVID-19. Stay in touch with family and friends so they know you're safe.
Our network of embassies and consular posts around the world will provide you with up-to-date local advice and support throughout this difficult period.
Do you or someone you know need help?
For urgent consular assistance call
+61 2 6261 3305 from overseas
1300 555 135 from within Australia
For information about COVID-19, read our article.
Do you or someone you know need help?
Do not travel to Lebanon.
Do not travel overseas due to the health risks from the COVID-19 pandemic, significant disruptions to global travel.
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 within 5km of the border with Syria due to likely unrest and cross-border clashes.
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:
Following an exchange of fire on the border between Lebanon and Israel on 1 September 2019, and military activities that occurred near the Blue Line in the Shebaa Farms area on 27 July 2020, 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:
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.
The security situation in the region remains unpredictable and could deteriorate with little or no warning.
On January 3, 2020, an Iranian senior commander and Iraqi paramilitary leaders were killed in a US airstrike near Baghdad International Airport. On 8 January, Iran fired missiles against two military bases in Iraq. Iranian authorities have also acknowledged responsibility for the shooting down of a Ukrainian International Airlines flight shortly after take-off from Tehran on 8 January. Be alert and monitor media for the latest update.
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:
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:
If you're in an area affected by clashes:
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.
Avoid areas of Beirut where protests have been occurring since the 4 August explosions.
In Beirut, protests sometimes close main highways. Groups protest against:
Civil unrest can affect the highways between central Beirut and the international airport.
Reconsider travelling to the Dahiyeh region, including:
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:
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:
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:
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, where military activities took place on 27 July 2020. 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:
UNIFIL has also been targeted.
Other targets could include areas popular with foreigners, such as:
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:
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:
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:
This advice pre-dates COVID-19 and the Australian Government's travel ban for all Australians.
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.
Consider your physical and mental health before you travel, especially if you have an existing medical condition. Consider whether you may be in a vulnerable category for COVID-19.
See your doctor or travel clinic to:
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 medication for your trip.
Carry a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating:
The standard of medical facilities and care in many of Lebanon's large hospitals is generally as good as in Australia. Most recommended hospitals are private and expensive. You'll probably have to pay up-front.
There are health risks related to Lebanon's ongoing waste disposal dispute. These include possible water contamination, waterborne illnesses and air pollution caused by burning waste. Keep away from uncollected waste. Drink only boiled or bottled water from bottles with sealed lids.
COVID-19 remains a risk in Lebanon. If you are in Lebanon and have symptoms of respiratory illness, contact a doctor immediately. Follow the advice of local authorities and check with the nearest embassy or consulate of Lebanon to confirm the latest entry requirements (see 'Travel').
The health care system is under strain from COVID-19 and the 4 August 2020 explosions in Beirut. Adherence to wearing masks and social distancing practices is reduced following the 4 August blasts. Authorities are issuing fines to people for not wearing a mask outside their residences, which is a mandatory requirement.
Cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) have been reported in:
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.
Be aware of possible health risks caused by Lebanon's ongoing waste disposal dispute and poor drinking water quality.
Health concerns include:
To minimise health risks:
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.
Some hospitals’ ability to provide medical care may be impacted by COVID-19 caseload and the 4 August 2020 explosions in Beirut. As a precautionary measure the Embassy has recommend its staff wear a mask when outside if they are in an area affected by the explosion.
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:
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:
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:
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 mid-April to mid-May in 2021. 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.
Visa rules may have changed since COVID-19. Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. Make sure you meet all entry and exit conditions. Check with the nearest embassy, consulate or immigration department of the destination you're entering. If you don't meet the conditions, the Australian Government can't help you.
You can get a tourist visas 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.
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.
Beirut International Airport has resumed operations at reduced capacity. You'll need to submit a negative COVID-19 (PCR) test result before boarding your flight. You'll also need to register and complete a ‘health declaration’ on the Lebanese Ministry of Public Health’s COVID19 Pass website prior to your travel. You may need to undergo a COVID-19 (PCR) test again on arrival, and observe a period of self-isolation, as per local authorities' advice.
Depending on where you're travelling from, you may be required to undergo quarantine at a government-designated hotel at your own expense and/or undergo a COVID-19 (PCR) test while in quarantine. Contact your airline or the nearest embassy or consulate of Lebanon for further details.
Local authorities have announced a restrictions including a night-time curfew and closure of some venues. Travel to and from airport is allowed for passengers with flight ticket.
It's mandatory to wear a face mask outside your residence. Security forces are enforcing these restrictions with some exceptions. These measures, including closure of public or commercial institutions may change at short notice. Follow the advice of local authorities.
To enter Lebanon from Syria by land you'll need a negative COVID-19 PCR test result and a valid plane ticket to travel via Beirut airport. You could be stranded in Lebanon if you don’t have a valid plane ticket. These entry and exit requirements may change without notice, contact relevant Lebanese authorities and your airline directly before making your travel plans.
If staying in Lebanon:
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:
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:
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. Contact your bank before you travel to Lebanon.
Most banks and money transfer companies only hand out Lebanese Pound for international remittances received. Following the 4 August explosions in Beirut and a decision from the Central Bank of Lebanon, Western Union’s local agents are paying transfers in USD cash. Check with the money transfer service for the latest update, as arrangements may change with little notice.
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:
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:
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:
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.
The Embassy is currently closed to the public and unable to take phone calls.
In a consular emergency, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on:
Be the first to know official government advice when travelling.