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Old 27 Jan 2011
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Arrow Libya transit visa - Jan 2011

Quick update to the various previous posts on the Libyan transit visa process:

We obtained ours in Tunis - took 3.5 weeks - a lot more than the two weeks some of previous posts, and our waiting coincided with the Tunisian president's fall, so felt longer!

The embassy entrance is on Rue de Guinee (GPS Lat: 36.818463, Long: 10.182199)

1) Documents:
  1. copy of carte gris/V5C
  2. Arabic translation of your passsport details. Despite the change in the regs for tourists visa which now require no Arabic translation, you need this for the transit visa. For Brits, best to get a stamp for free at the UK passport offices rather than pay the British Embassy in Tunis a visit and shell out TND 28 to Her Majesty. The British embassy had a list of translators who provide an official translation. Our translator provided an A4 sheet with a translation as well as filling in the stamp on our passports - the latter is very handy for police checks in Libya, ideally as photocopies.
  3. A letter to the Consul General explaining why you need a transit visa. We wrote ours by hand at the embassy. Initially, they asked for an Arabic translation, but in the end accepted the English one.
2) Wait
3) See step 2
4) We managed to get the phone number of the only person (Madame Nazereen) at the embassy who spoke good French, and periodically checked in.
5) After 3.5 weeks the visa authorisation arrived from Tripoli. Two hours, two passport photos and TND 45 later, job done.


Visa was valid from the date of collection for 7 days. We were later told in Libya that it was 7 days from entry into Libya. We entered one day after the date of issue and stayed for 7 days, but on exit the immigration officer pointed to his superior the issue date on the passport, and thought there was a problem as we were on day 8 since issue date. The friendly senior officer waved us through. So, worth double checking the validity period.

So obviously the tranist visa waiting time can vary a bit - worth bearing in mind the costs of time/money of waiting versus the cetainty of a tourist visa in 10 days or so. We went for the transit option as we only planned to use the coastal route to Egypt, and see some of the Roman/Greek ruins. We had no problems with visiting the tourist sites with a transit visa.

Given that we had no escort/guide, a few things that are normally done by the escort are worth bearing in mind:

1) We carried photocopies of the Arabic translation of our passport & visa details to hand out at police checks.

2) We registered with the local police and got our passports stamped (LYD 21 for two of us). This is best done early in the trip as it just makes the police checks on the road easier. Most evenings, regardless of where we stopped, a friendly plain clothes policeman checked in with us to see where we going next and that we are ok. There are designated free / 10LYD camping sites - see Camping & Camping Sites in Libya:.
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Last edited by MovingHouse; 27 Jan 2011 at 15:39. Reason: typo
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Old 20 Jan 2012
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Thanks for the fantastically useful post.

We're midway through a South Africa to England overland trip and are planning on and Egypt - Libya - Tunisia - France route. Your visa was a tranist type, did you consider a tourist visa and what were the differences? Does anybody require the 'accompanying guide' we hear so much about?

Also how was the coast road? The typically panicky foreign office website in the UK advise 'against all but essential travel' to pretty much the entire collection of towns and cities along the north of the country, how did you find the traveling, local authorities and accommodation (in particular the campsites.)

Thanks in advance

Ian and Laura
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Old 20 Jan 2012
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Assuming things calm down in Libya, and the visa process remains unchanged:

The transit visa, unlike the tourist visa, allows you to travel along the coast road without an escort. This can be anywhere between 70- 100 euros per day depending on which agency you use, and whether they travel in your car or under their own steam. The main coastal route in straightforward to navigate despite very few signs in English. Google Maps had good street level info for the cities (tracks4africa not that useful). So for us, the transit visa was useful given we were only planning to do the coast, having being to the desert proper on earlier tours, and a lot cheaper.

Historical sights: The eastern side has Phoenician ruins (Tolmeita, Apollonia, and Cyrene) which are all very nicely situated by the sea. Cyrene and Apollonia are well preserved. On the Western side are Leptis Magna and Sabratha both of which are spectacular.

Camping: There aren't real camp sites en route. You can park up in car parks, outside hotels/youth hostels etc for free or a nominal charge like 10LYD. People are very friendly and was safe. You will need to check security post-revolution - it used to be safe because it was a police state.

Driving: good roads and high speed local traffic - need to watch the latter.

For us seven days with the transit visa was plenty as we had already been to Leptis before and so skipped it this time. Might be bit more of a squeeze if you want to do all of the coastal sights.

Some practical info on our website below: For Overlanders section.

Obviously, worth double checking everything as this was pre-/during revolution info.
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