Includes information on business customs, travel advisory, visa requirements, and other aspects of international travel.
Lebanese business dealings are formal yet hospitable. Punctuality is generally expected for business meetings, and the three working languages are Lebanese Arabic, French, or English.
Business cards are commonly used. Dress code is formal in most business and official settings. Gifts are common and are accepted on most occasions.
U.S. companies and visitors are advised to carefully assess the situation in Lebanon by consulting the Department of State Travel Advisories at
U.S. citizens are advised to maintain valid travel documents and enroll with the Department of State or the U.S. Embassy in Beirut through the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program STEP.
Visas are required for entry into Lebanon and may be obtained at Lebanese embassies and consulates (Lebanese Embassy in the United States at http://www.lebanonembassyus.org/consular-services/). Citizens of the following countries can obtain a cost-free of one month extendable to three months upon arrival at the Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport (Beirut-RHIA):
European Union European Union / EFTA, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Bhutan, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Iran, Ireland, Japan, , Kirgizstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Macedonia, Malaysia, Malte, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uzbekistan, Venezuela.
More information is available at the Lebanese General Security’s website.
Travelers who hold passports that contain visas or entry/exit stamps for Israel will likely be denied entry into Lebanon and may be subject to arrest or detention. Even if their travel documents currently do not have Israeli stamps or visas, persons seeking entry into Lebanon who have previously traveled to Israel may still face arrest and/or detention if this travel is disclosed. The Government of Lebanon has the authority to refuse admission to U.S. citizens and to detain U.S. citizen travelers for further inspection. Travelers who have previously worked in Lebanon without the appropriate work visa may be denied entry, or subject to detention or deportation. Travelers who have overstayed their entry visa validity in Lebanon must adjust their status with General Security’s Department of Passport and Immigration and receive an exit visa prior to their departure. Individuals who are detained pending deportation are expected to pay the cost of their own airline ticket and will remain under detention until they have gathered the necessary funds.
U.S. Companies that require travel of foreign businesspersons to the United States are advised that security evaluations are handled via an interagency process. Visa applicants should go to the following link(s): State Department Visa Website.
The monetary unit in Lebanon is the Lebanese pound (LBP), also called the lira. There are ad hoc controls on foreign exchange. U.S. dollars remain in short supply but high demand, forcing a volatile depreciation of the LBP. Cash and credit cards are the most common method of payment in Lebanon, although those using international credit or debit cards will be forced to use the official exchange rate, while goods are priced at the market rate (1,507.5 LBP/USD versus an average of 18,000 LBP/USD in September 2021). Bank ATM machines are widespread, and cash may be withdrawn in Lebanese pounds or U.S. dollars.
International calls are expensive. The fixed-network is managed by state-owned OGERO, and is generally reliable. Lebanon has two GSM networks that are also owned by the government: Touch and Alpha. Prepaid cellular cards are available at a monthly subscription fee of around $25 (including internet service and 11 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) charges. Internet service is available for limited access, and is also accessible to visitors at many hotels and internet cafes. DSL, ADSL, HDSL and wireless broadband internet connections are available in most of the hotels in Lebanon, though the service is slower than what is commonly available in the United States. 4G services are available across the country, although the current economic crisis and power shortages are degrading service.
The standard voltage in Lebanon is between 220V - 240V, as in Europe. This requires a power converter since the standard voltage in the U.S. is in the range of 100V - 120V. The frequency in Lebanon is 50 Hz and the power sockets used are of type C / D / G.
Lebanon lacks adequate public transportation, but private, un-metered taxis and shared cabs are available in and around the capital. Rental cars are readily available at a daily cost starting at $25, depending on the type and model of the car. Many international airlines serve Beirut. However, direct flights from the United States to Lebanon are allowed only under the following circumstances (based on a 2007 amendment to a 1984 presidential proclamation):
-U.S. air carriers under contract to the United States Government can engage in foreign air transportation to and from Lebanon of passengers, including U.S. and non-U.S. citizens, and their accompanying baggage
-of goods for humanitarian purposes
-any other cargo or materiel
Arabic is the official language in Lebanon, but French and English are widely spoken.
Lebanon’s economic crisis has resulted in a shortage of medicines and medical equipment. Doctors and nurses are leaving the country. Hospitals are running out of fuel for their generators. Although the quality of healthcare is deteriorating, many Lebanese hospitals are still able to provide modern care. Doctors and hospitals normally expect immediate cash payment for services if a client does not show evidence of a locally accepted health insurance coverage.
Local Time, Business Hours and Holidays
Local time is GMT +3 from March 28 to October 31, 2021, and GMT +2 from November 1 to March 27, 2022.
Government offices hours are as follows:
- 8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday
- 8:00 a.m. - 13:00 p.m. Friday
Bank counters are generally open on the following schedule:
- 8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday
- 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Saturday
Private office hours vary and some exceed the 40-hour workweek.
Public holidays in 2021 are as follows:
January 1: New Year’s Day
January 06: Armenian Christmas
January 18: Martin Luther King Day
February 15: Washington’s Birthday
March 25: Annunciation Day
April 2: Good Friday (Western)
April 30: Good Friday (Eastern)
May 13: Eid El Fitr
May 31: Memorial Day
July 5: Independence Day
July 20: Eid El Adha
August 9: Islamic New Year (Al-Hejra)
September 6: Labor Day
October 11: Columbus Day
October 18: Prophet’s Birthday
November 11: Veteran’s Day
November 22: Independence Day
November 25: Thanksgiving
December 24: Christmas Day
Temporary Entry of Materials or Personal Belongings
There are no restrictions on the temporary entry of goods and equipment. Temporary importation of commercial samples, professional equipment and goods for use at trade fairs and exhibitions such as computers, repair tools, photographic and film equipment, musical instruments, industrial machinery, vehicles, jewelry, clothing, medical appliances, aircraft, race horses, art work, prehistoric relics, ballet costumes, and rock group sound systems require a temporary admission document known as the ATA (Admission Temporaire) carnet. This is obtained exclusively from the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Beirut and Mount Lebanon (CCIB - BML).
By presenting an ATA carnet to Lebanese Customs, the imported products and equipment pass duty and tax-free into the country for up to one year. At the end of the year, all the items listed on the carnet must be returned to the temporary exportation country. Video, audio disks, and tapes may be subject to search and seizure.
More information is available on Chamber of Commerce Industry and Agriculture of Beirut and Mount Lebanon at http://www.ccib.org.lb/en/?p=post&id=16..