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Here’s how to get a visa in Lebanon

Study, work or sightsee in this small but diverse nation.

On April 9, 2019, the US Department of State issued a travel advisory to Lebanon encouraging citizens to “reconsider travel to Lebanon due to crime, terrorism, kidnapping, and armed conflict.”

Lebanon is currently at a level-three warning level out of four levels overall, the fourth declaring “Do not travel.”

Tourist visas

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 to the Lebanese embassy before booking a flight.

Not only is this a long and expensive process, it’s also unnecessary: US citizens are entitled to stay in Lebanon for up to three months on an entry visa without paying fees. Save your time and money by requesting a visa on arrival at the airport.

How do I get a tourist visa?

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

Before getting in line, fill out the provided pink card with your personal information, the purpose of your visit and where you will be staying. You must include the address of your hotel or family you’re staying with, otherwise you risk being detained. It’s also a good idea to keep your plane ticket handy.

The border official stamps your passport, validating your visit for one month. If you plan to stay longer, renew your visa for two additional 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? To get a student visa for Lebanon, you’ll need the following documents on arrival to the airport:

  • An admission statement or student card for the accredited Lebanese university you’re planning to attend.
  • A document that proves you have sufficient funds to finance your studies.

Students attending through a grant or scholarship are exempt from documentation. But you’ll want to take along the address of where you’ll be staying in case authorities have questions.

Five tips for applying for a student visa in Lebanon

  1. Start as soon as you can. Gathering your documents takes a lot of time, often 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 only — that means no keys, purse or phone. Ask a friend to come along to 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 may not be able to get everything together in a month.
  5. Check your status with General Security. Avoid getting turned away because they’ve made changes or you’re missing a document.

Work visas

If you’ve already landed a job in Lebanon, your employer must apply for your visa through General Security. A company representative will need to get preapproval from the Labor Ministry. In some cases, they’ll also need to prove that a Lebanese person is unable to perform your job.
If you’re hoping to find work after landing in Lebanon, you can apply for a work visa at the Bureau of Public Relations with separate documents that indicate:

  • The length of your stay and reason for visiting.
  • The address where you’ll be staying.
  • The commercial relationship you’ll be engaging in.
  • Your financial stability to prove solvency.

Work visas applied for through the bureau are granted for one month and renewable only once.

Prepare for your trip: Lebanese embassies and consulates

The political climate in Lebanon can vary from month to month, so you’ll want to stay informed on current events and policies.
Start by contacting the Embassy of Lebanon in Washington, DC, at 202-939-6300 or info@lebanonembassyus.org
Or visit the Lebanese Consulates General in the United States at locations in Los Angeles, Detroit and New York City.

Visa services

Deal

24/7 support for stress-free travel visa application for your next trip

Bottom line

US tourists can enter Lebanon for up to three months with a visa on arrival. But you may want to consider studying up on the country’s political history and travel warnings to prepare for your stay.
If you’ve yet to book your flight to the Middle East, compare flights to get the most affordable deal for your travel budget.

Common questions about visas in Lebanon

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28 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    DanikaAugust 29, 2019

    Hello! I’m Mexican I came to Lebanon with a visa for one month obtained at the Airport, if I stay longer (3months) and I don’t notify the General Security, paying a penalty fee at my exit is enough, or I need to get an exit visa necessarily(?)

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      AnnaAugust 29, 2019Staff

      Hi Danika,

      You need to get an exit visa to leave — they don’t have an option to pay at the airport. You can do this by visiting the main general security building within a week of your flight and pay a 50,000LL fine. It can take several hours, so get there early. You can speed up the process by making sure you have passport photos on hand, though you can also have those taken at the General Security building.

      Hope this helps,

      Anna

    Default Gravatar
    VarshaJuly 4, 2019

    Hello!

    Just writing to ask if anybody knows the minimum amount required in your bank balance for a tourist visa to Lebanon (applying from India). Thanks in advance!

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      BellaJuly 5, 2019Staff

      Hi Varsha,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      There is no specific information on how much is the minimum required amount in your bank account for applying for a tourist visa in Lebanon. It’s best to check with General Security to get further information for getting a tourist visa to Lebanon.

      I hope this helps.

      Kind regards,
      Bella

    Default Gravatar
    JazelJune 11, 2019

    Hi, I’m finished with my 2 year contract here in Lebnen, just waiting for 2 months more to leave country and go back to the Philippines, my question is, if I leave Lebanon the day my work permit expires will it cause me a problem with the immigration? Do I need to secure exit visa? Because my friend who went home last march paid 200$ in the airport because she is leaving Lebanon same day as her working visa expires without having exit visa. I hope I could find the answer here. Thanks in advance

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      AnnaJune 11, 2019Staff

      Hi Jazel,

      Thanks for your question. I’m not sure how it works for citizens of the Philippines — finder.come is a US-based site. I was able to leave the same day my work visa expired, though I had someone representing my employer come with me to cancel the visa. You might want to have your employer contact General Security to learn what the procedure is for your specific situation to be safe.

      Anna

    Default Gravatar
    DesmondMay 21, 2019

    I have been processing my working visa since last month and the told me that the visa is not out,which is more than six weeks and the agent said my visa is not out…… Is it true??

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      AnnaMay 21, 2019Staff

      Hi Desmond,

      Thanks for your question! Unfortunately General Security can take its time processing visa applications and it’s not uncommon for it to take several months (it took about six months for my application to be processed). Even if they say it’ll only be a few weeks.

      What you might be able to do is pay an additional fee to have your visa expedited. In that case, you or your agent should go to General Security’s main office to submit the request. Typically you can pick up your residency card three days after submitting your request.

      Hope this is helpful,

      Anna

    Default Gravatar
    MohammadMay 13, 2019

    I’m here in India. I want Lebanon work visa. Can you told me about work visa. I mean haven’t work visa for Indian from Lebanon. Bec I’m trying to find visa as long time but still I’m fail. Please help me to find work visa. Thanks

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      AnnaMay 14, 2019Staff

      Hi Mohammad, Thanks for your question.

      You’ll need to find an employer that can sponsor you to get a work visa to Lebanon. You can either go to Lebanon, find a job and have your employer transfer your visa from a tourist to work visa (that’s what I did). Or you can get a job before you leave India and have your employer apply for your work visa beforehand. Unfortunately, there’s no way to get a work visa without already having a job with an employer that’s willing to sponsor you.

      Hope this helps!

      Anna

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