The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all but essential travel to Libya.
The incidence of violent crime, especially carjacking and robbery, has become a serious problem. In addition, political violence in the form of assassinations and vehicle bombs has increased in both Benghazi and Tripoli. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning dated September 22, 2011, and notes the resumption of full consular services to U.S. citizens on August 27, 2012.
Libyans cast ballots on July 7 in elections deemed to be free and fair according to election observers. Libya’s General National Congress replaced the Transitional National Council in August 2012 and will lead the country until elections are held on the basis of a new constitution.
Despite this progress, violent crime continues to be a problem in Tripoli, Benghazi, and other parts of the country. In particular, armed carjacking and robbery are on the rise. In addition, political violence, including car bombings in Tripoli and assassinations of military officers and alleged former regime officials in Benghazi, has increased.
Inter-militia conflict can erupt at any time or any place in the country. Seven Iranian Red Crescent officials were kidnapped July 31 in Benghazi by local militia members, and as of the date of this warning, they have not been released.
There have also been several reports of militias briefly apprehending and detaining foreigners due to perceived or actual violations of Libyan law. The Embassy’s ability to intervene in such cases remains limited, as these groups are neither sanctioned nor controlled by the Libyan government.
U.S. Embassy Tripoli resumed full consular services for U.S. citizens in Libya on August 27, 2012.
U.S. citizens traveling to, or remaining in, Libya should use extreme caution and limit nonessential travel within the country, make their own contingency emergency plans, enroll their presence in Libya through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), and provide their current contact information and next-of-kin or emergency contact information.
The Embassy’s website, includes consular information and the most recent messages for U.S. citizens in Libya. U.S. citizens in need of emergency assistance should call 091-379-4560 within Libya or 218-91-379-4560 if dialing from outside of Libya.
For information on “What the Department of State Can and Can't Do in a Crisis,” please visit the Bureau of Consular Affairs’ Emergencies and Crisis link. Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
For further information, U.S. citizens should consult the Department of State’s Country Specific Information for Libya. Stay up to date by bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well. You can also download our free Smart Traveler App, available through iTunes and the Android market to have travel information at your fingertips.