Getting a visa in Lebanon with ease March 2019 |

Here’s how to get a visa in Lebanon

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Keep a level head with our guide to getting a visa in the Switzerland of the Middle East.

Navigating the visa system in any country can be tough, whether you’re traveling, studying or working abroad. The documents, passport photos, photocopies and hidden fees can all make you want to give up and go back home.

If you’re going to a country like Lebanon, where information isn’t readily available, it’s easy to sink into hopelessness before you even board a plane.

We’re here to help you navigate Lebanon’s complicated visa system. We tell you when and if you should apply for a tourist visa, how to apply for a student visa and what to do when applying for a work visa.

Tourist visas

You’ve probably read on the Lebanese embassy’s website that you can buy a $30 single-entry visa or a $75 multiple-entry visa. Sounds like a good idea, right? Wrong.

Buying a visa ahead of time is a common mistake a lot of Americans make before their first trip to Lebanon. Because it sounds safer than risking being turned away at the airport, they gather the required forms and FedEx their passports before booking a flight.

Not only is this a long and expensive process, but it’s also unnecessary: US citizens are entitled to stay in Lebanon for up to three months on an entry visa without paying fees.

How do I get a tourist visa?

When you land at the Rafic Hariri International Airport in Beirut, you’ll see a sign that says “Visas.” This is not for you: US citizens get their visas at passport control.

Before getting in line, you’ll fill out a pink card with your personal information, the purpose of your visit and where you will be staying. You absolutely must include the address of your hotel or family you’re staying with, otherwise you risk being detained.

The border official will stamp your passport. validating your visit for one month. If you plan to stay longer, renew your visa for two more months at the General Security building in the area you’re staying in.

Student visas

Studying at the American University of Beirut or the Lebanese American University? Getting a student visa is significantly more complicated than a tourist visa.

But you can’t do anything before you enter the country. Instead, you’ll first need to enter on a tourist visa. Once you’ve arrived, you’ll apply for a student visa with:

  • A completed residence permit application form, signed and stamped by your university’s office for international students and registrar.
  • An enrollment certificate from your university, notarized by your embassy and stamped by the UNESCO Council of Higher Education.
  • A notarized statement pledging to not work during your stay in Lebanon.
  • Proof of housing from your local mukhtar, which is similar to a mayor who has a smaller jurisdiction.
  • A paid statement of university fees.
  • Your bank statement.
  • Three passport photos.
  • Three copies of the first page of your passport.
  • Three copies of your entry visa.
  • 300,000 Lebanese pounds — or about $200 American dollars.

Submit all documents to your local General Security office, where you will pay your fees and have your photo and fingerprints taken. It’ll take around a month for General Security to process everything.

Five tips for applying for a student visa in Lebanon

  1. Start as soon as you can. Getting your documents together takes a lot of time, and even planning can take longer than you expect.
  2. Make an appointment at the US Embassy. Appointments are open in the morning only and fill up fast. You can enter the US Embassy with your documents and cash to pay fees — that means no keys, purse or phone. Going with a friend’s car is best — that way, they can keep an eye on your stuff while you’re inside.
  3. Prepare for extra fees. Every step of the application process costs money. And getting anything notarized at the US embassy costs $50.
  4. Renew your entry visa if you need more time. If your experience is like mine, you won’t be able to get everything together in a month.
  5. Check your status with General Security. The last thing you want is to be turned away because they’ve made changes or you’re missing a document.

Work visas

If you’re lucky enough to find a job in Lebanon that provides a work visa, there’s not much for you to do — it’s up to your employer to put together your paperwork and pay any fees.

Processing can, however, take more than six months. Just make sure you’re in the country legally while your employer gets your paperwork together. You might have to go to Cyprus for a day to renew your entry visa.

Bottom line

Getting a visa for Lebanon can be confusing and nearly always take longer than your expect. But it’s possible with persistence and by staying on top of the process and documentation.

Common questions about visas in Lebanon

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18 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    MichaelMarch 4, 2019

    I have a British passport issued in Geneva where I live. Do I need to apply for a visa before I leave or can I get it on arrival at Beirut airport?

    • finder Customer Care
      AnnaMarch 4, 2019Staff

      Hi Michael,

      Thanks for your question! With a British passport you should be able to get a three-month tourist visa when you go through passport control in Beirut.



  2. Default Gravatar
    denaJanuary 10, 2019

    I am from Germany when i want to extend my.1 month visa in Lebanon do i need to report personally? or can someone do it for me? and what will happen to tourist who still stay in Lebanon more than the given 3months Extension?

    • finder Customer Care
      AnnaJanuary 10, 2019Staff

      Hi Dena,

      Thanks for your question! You can renew your visa for an additional two months by going to your local General Security office — you might want to call or ask around to find out which one is closest to you. You’ll have to renew your visa yourself, however. If you overstay your three months, you’ll have to go to the main General Security office in Beirut to apply for an exit visa before traveling. You can typically get an exit visa the same day you apply, depending on how early you arrive. To avoid overstaying your visa you can also travel to another country when the three months are up to become eligible for another three-month tourist visa (Cyprus is a popular choice).

      Hope this helps,


  3. Default Gravatar
    GabeJanuary 5, 2019

    Hi, I’m Indonesian planning to study Arabic for few months. The institute advises me to make tourist visa and extend the visa when I get to Lebanon. How long will I get for the visa extension?
    And is it possible for me to travel out of the country and come back with that visa extension? Because I will need to go back to Indonesia by the end of Feb and go back to Lebanon in March to continue my study.

    Thank you

    • finder Customer Care
      AnnaJanuary 7, 2019Staff

      Hi Gabe,

      Thanks for your question! As an Indonesian citizen you may be required to apply for a visa before you travel to Lebanon. Consider consulting the Lebanese embassy in Jakarta to get specific details of the process you need to follow before you travel. It’ll have the most up-to-date information.

      If you aren’t required to get a visa beforehand, you can get a one-month visa at the airport and renew it for an additional two months at your local General Security office in Lebanon. You can also leave at any time and return with a new one-month visa that’s eligible for another two-month renewal.



  4. Default Gravatar
    NimetDecember 27, 2018

    Hello there,

    I’m married to a Lebanese man in Beirut and reside in Beirut with him, however I was wondering how can we obtain a visa for my family to come visit us.

    Since there is no online help, my husband has to take days off from work to go inquire about tiny bits and often they do mislead a lot, it’s a hassle to be honest , hence I’m trying to gather info online as much as I can.

    Thanks for your help

    • finder Customer Care
      JeniDecember 28, 2018Staff

      Hi Nimet,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      If your family members are US citizens, this page is a good reference. You may contact the Lebanese Embassy and following their process in obtaining a visa or get their visa at the passport control of Rafic Hariri International Airport in Beirut upon arriving. They will then fill out a pink card with their personal information, the purpose of their visit and where they will be staying. Your family must include the address where they are staying, otherwise they risk being detained. Please note that the visa is free.

      I hope this helps.

      Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any other enquiries.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!


  5. Default Gravatar
    LouisSeptember 13, 2018

    Hello am a traveler agent of football i need an invitation for my player they have conpotition in Lebanon so how do I go aboutit

    • finder Customer Care
      johnbasanesSeptember 14, 2018Staff

      Hi Louis,

      Thank you for leaving a question.

      There are two ways of getting into Lebanon. One is contacting the Lebanese Embassy and following the process of obtaining a visa. Two is When you land at the Rafic Hariri International Airport in Beirut US citizens get their visas at passport control.
      You’ll fill out a pink card with your personal information, the purpose of your visit and where you will be staying. You absolutely must include the address of your hotel or family you’re staying with, otherwise you risk being detained.
      The border official will stamp your passport. validating your visit for one month. If you plan to stay longer, renew your visa for two more months at the General Security building in the area you’re staying in. Hope this helps!


  6. Default Gravatar
    JuliSeptember 9, 2018

    Cant work permit be done after your visa was extended for the second time?

    • finder Customer Care
      AnnaSeptember 10, 2018Staff

      Hi Juli,

      Thanks for your question! You might want to check with General Security to get the most up-to-date information for your specific situation (it sometimes varies depending on your nationality). However, you can generally get a work permit as long as you’re still legally in Lebanon, regardless of how many times you’ve renewed it.

      Hope this helps!


  7. Default Gravatar
    ManojAugust 14, 2018

    I want to work in labanon and I have no job offer my qualifications High school
    So plz tell me how can I work there

    • finder Customer Care
      AnnaAugust 15, 2018Staff

      Hi Manoj,

      Thanks for your comment! Your options for getting a work visa in Lebanon depend on your nationality. In some cases, you might be able to stay in Lebanon on a tourist visa for three months while your look for a job and then have your visa transferred to a work visa. Otherwise, you might need to find a job first and have an employer sponsor you. You might want to reach out to general security yourself to find out what your choices are.

      Good luck!


  8. Default Gravatar
    SusanJune 13, 2018

    can some truck his/her visa online?and how should I go about it please?

    • finder Customer Care
      AnnaJune 13, 2018Staff

      Hi Susan,

      Thanks for your question! Unfortunately there’s no way to track your visa online. The best way to check on your visa’s status is to visit in person. And even that can take at least a few hours. If you need to speed up your application, you can pay to have it expedited. This typically takes at least three days and costs around LL105,000. You can get started by visiting the main general security building and explaining your situation.

      Hope this helps!


  9. Default Gravatar
    maryJune 6, 2018

    How long does it take to get a Lebanon working visa?

    • finder Customer Care
      AnnaJune 6, 2018Staff

      Hi Mary,

      Thanks for your question! It depends on how you go about it and how long General Security takes to process your application. It took me around six months to process my work visa since I entered on a tourist visa and had to change my status after I found a job. I’ve heard of it taking as long as a year, however. If you already have a job lined up, you might want ask your future employer what the current procedure is, since the rules often change.

      Keep in mind that General Security doesn’t always have your visa ready when they say it will be, so it’s difficult to predict how long it’ll take. The good news is that you can pay to have your application expedited if you need to travel. This typically costs around LL100,000.

      I hope this helps!


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